I think Kelvin Grove will always be a bit special for us. When we moved to Brisbane we found our temporary accommodation and started our life here. The main characteristics of the suburb are modern buildings and a young atmosphere. The QUT university village is buzzing with students most of the day and night.
And it is even livelier when the weekend comes! But that is more due to the weekly village market, which is held in the centre along Blamey Street, every Saturday between 6-1pm. During this time cars and the busy crossroad give way to fresh herbs, ripe fruits, fantastic pies and cheerful street bands, and us heading to our very first market day. If you have not read the behind story of the market days just click here.
One of the most typical and widely used ingredients of the Australian cuisine is sweet potato, which I heard of before but never really used it. It has a long shape and two main types. One of them has orange skin and flesh, and its flavour is a bit similar to pumpkin. The other one has purplish skin, cream-coloured flesh and tastes more like chestnut. You can boil, bake or grill them. They make amazing side dishes (I love them oven baked the most!), main courses (as part of a vegetable dish) and even desserts or soups. I really started to like using sweet potato not only because it is a versatile ingredient but also because it is pretty healthy. It is a great source of B6-, C-, and D-Vitamins, Magnesium and Iron. It also helps maintain the skin’s elasticity and facilitate digestion.
The other new experience regarding potatoes was about the brush potatoes. It is amazing how thick is the layer of soil on each potato and how different (reddish brown) and strong is its colour compared to what you find in Europe. Before you actually start cooking you have to allocate extra time for cleaning the potatoes properly. In the supermarkets and kitchen shops you even find funny brushes, which will help you do the job. I must admit I would not have believed that you need a special tool just for this, until I made my very first dish with brush potatoes. Also those who do not wish to spend time on brushing can go for the ready washed packages, which seem to be rather popular as well.
I have started to get used to the fact that in Brisbane you find sushi joints almost on every corner, but it was something new that there is such thing as a Japanese pizza, or okonomi (also called Japanese pancake).
The main ingredient of this dish is cabbage, which together with some pancake-like batter is baked on a flat grill plate. We can choose from various toppings (bacon, bacon+mozzarella, egg, bacon+corn+mozzarella – the latter one is the Aussi special!), and finish it off with some sauce. Apart from BBQ we can go for Kewpie, the Japanese mayonnaise. I was happy to find out that its flavour is very similar to the Hungarian mayo, much more than any other mayonnaise that I have tasted in Australia. Regarding the choices of toppings I wished that there were more vegetarian options. However I really liked that the boys of Okonomi House paid attention to such details as choosing a traditional kimono style working uniform.
The goat pie guy
My curiosity was ignited by the name. I must admit first the goat part seemed a bit unusual, even bizarre. I cannot help it, until now I associated goat only with dairy products. But the stall and smells were so inviting that I could not resist, I had to taste this very promising goat pie. And I am glad that I did!
It turned out that every pie is freshly hand-made on Thursdays and Fridays, and then during Saturdays and Sundays markets it fulfills its mission to make bellies and taste buds happy. Normally you find 2-3 different fillings at the stall, and can buy pies hot or cold. The latter one can be frozen and reheated later on. First we tried the Deluxe, which is kind of the signature pie. It is slow cooked goat with honey and thyme, topped with port and redcurrant jus, which melts into the pie once it is heated. Seriously delicious! Next week we had to go back for more, but this time we bought two Himalayans, which is tomato based and its main spice is Nepalese curry. If possible this was even better! Or how André says: It is seriously the best meat pie I have ever had, and you can quote me on that! And we have not finished yet! There are more pies with more destinations’ inspiration, like the Moroccan, Indonesian, Tuscan, or the Jamaican. We should try them all!
Materials with joys
I really like it that at the markets in Brisbane (or at least where I have been so far) apart from food you can also find crafts, clothes, and accessories, which attract me like a magnet. The colourful and neat stall of Deja Vu Vintage Rose calls for your attention with its beautiful fabrics, and flowery patterns. And once you step closer you can even find cardigans with a hand-made decoration on them, which are done by the owner of the shop.
At the other pretty colourful and cheerful stall they were selling knitted stuff. This was interesting because in July it was still rather chilly inside the house, so I was into finding anything, which would keep me warm. All the goods – home shoes, gloves, hats, scarves etc. – are made of merino wool and imported from Peru. And by choosing them we do not only get something, which makes us smile even on a grey and cold day, but we also get to support Fair Trade.
When you are moving you do not think much about what you are going to eat when you have a break. That is why we came up with the idea well in advance to stock up some pies for the moving day. You can imagine that after a day of packing, carrying, and cleaning how happy our tummies were with such fuel.