Fresh Produce

(Competition Entry) Greengrocer Story





For those of you who know me well, it will come as no surprise when I tell you that fresh fruit and vegetables are my inspiration. I base my meals on what is in season and I love walking around perusing the produce. When I find a fruit and vegetable shop like SuperFresh at Crows Nest that shares my passion, it is a wonderful experience. I know you can find all sorts of Greengrocers, they range from the very high end ones that display the produce like art and the original ones that have been the same for fifty years. I enjoy visiting all of these but SuperFresh at Crows Nest is within walking distance from where I live when I am in Sydney. Situated in Atchinson Street it has on-site parking and is often busy with customers. The residents from Crows Nest and surrounding areas come from many different cultural backgrounds and SuperFresh stocks all the fruit and vegetables they like to cook with from Bok Choy to Fennel, it’s all on the shelves.

The business is owned by a husband and wife team, Carmelo and Natalie Develi, and they have owned the business for a year and purchased it from Carmelo’s Uncle who had owned it for almost thirty five years. It has been in Italian/Australian hands all that time. When I walk in I often find Carmelo stacking the shelves and talking with customers, lamenting that the last of the figs have been sold. I listen and smile because I am the same and can tell what time of year it is by what’s on the shelves. I always seem to be asking for something before it’s in season and I’m excited to sample this years crop and cook with it. I enjoy buying Borlotti beans, Persimmons, Figs, Fennel, Feijola and all sorts of other produce that you don’t find everywhere. It’s the little things I notice like the cucumber’s have flowers on the end of them and zucchini too. That’s how you know this produce is fresh.




There are lots of young people working behind the counter speaking to each other in Italian. It is almost too good to be true that over one side there is a deli and coffee shop where I can sit and have a coffee before walking back home.


We are very lucky in Australia to enjoy some of the best produce I have ever tasted. Enjoying the simple routine things of life can make everyday so enjoyable and just like Carmelo enjoys working with his produce, I enjoy finding the best I can and cooking with it. I also believe in shopping with the independent greengrocers as much as possible. It’s better practice and better produce as far as I’m concerned. I like to have a personal relationship with my greengrocer and my butcher. Nothing better than walking into the store and being told they have kept something for me, knowing that I would appreciate the quality.



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Benito’s Polpetta Recipe

As most of you know I am married to an Italian, Not just an Italian but a “Siciliano” from Sicily!

His father cooks for us when we visit him in Melbourne. Benito is a wonderful cook, he does all the things the best cooks do but without fuss or fanfare.  He considers it normal to plant your own zucchini seeds, grow your own zucchini, harvest the flowers and the vegetables and cook them for dinner. This is the way the Italians have always done it. When he lived there with his wife and sons he had a very productive vegetable and fruit garden, but now that he lives alone he has reduced the plantings. There is always a great meal to be enjoyed in Benito’s kitchen but when you open the fridge, it is clean and sparse looking. The cupboards only hold essentials. I have tried to adopt some of the principles of this cooking but I cannot stop hoarding things in the pantry and fridge.

However I do buy my produce and meat fresh. I don’t ever take meat out of a freezer except for the pets. I prefer to be influenced by what looks good on the day.

I would never buy my meat from a supermarket and prefer to buy my fruit and vegetables at a greengrocer.  The Italians have always shown me that eating and food is something you do for your family, it is part of the love.











Benito’s Polpetta

For the meatballs

500 grams of Pork mince

500 grams of beef or veal mince

3 tablespoons of Pecorino cheese

2 eggs

1/4 cup of chopped continental parsley

1 cup of breadcrumbs

salt and pepper

For the sauce

Diced garlic (up to you how much)

2/3 of the bottle of Passata sauce

1 clove of garlic diced

some beef stock if the sauce becomes to thick




Place all the meatball ingredients together in a bowl and mix really well.

Roll into small balls, the size is up to what you prefer.

Put two tablespoons of olive oil in a large deep fry pan and fry the meatballs gently. Turning over so all sides are cooked.

Then add the diced garlic and 2/3 of the bottle of the Passata sauce on top of the meatballs. Place the lid on the fry pan and leave to simmer for thirty to forty minutes.

Add salt and pepper to taste.

When serving grate fresh pecorino on top of the meatballs and sprinkle with more chopped continental parsley.

Serve with bread or pasta.








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Moroccan Lamb Cutlets with Jerusalem Artichokes

When I go out to the greengrocer it is often what I find there that determines what I make for dinner. Today I saw the most gorgeous jerusalem artichokes. Now not many people would call jerusalem artichokes gorgeous. They are very similar looking to ginger and many a time at the big supermarkets, the check- out operator has put them through as ginger instead. They have a very distinct taste and make wonderful soups too. The coriander also looked luscious so that influenced me to make a Moroccan tagine with lamb cutlets and jerusalem artichokes garnished with coriander. It is a delicious meal to come home to on a winter evening. You can cook it in a pressure cooker if you are at work all day. Serve with couscous and sprinkle with coriander over before serving. I also sprinkled some pomegranate seeds on the couscous.

Here is the recipe for your enjoyment.

8 lamb cutlets
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 onions (thinly sliced)
4 garlic cloves (chopped)
1 heaped teaspoon “Ras El Hanout”
1 tablespoon cumin powder
1 teaspoon coriander powder
1 stick cinnamon
2 teaspoons salt
400ml beef stock
freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons fresh coriander (chopped)
1 tablespoon harissa paste
3 chopped pieces of preserved lemon
1/2 lemon (juice of)

1 can of chickpeas
1 can of chopped tomato

Sliced Sweet potato

200g jerusalem artichokes (sliced)

Heat a large casserole pan with the oil over a medium heat. Fry the chops in batches until browned on both sides and set aside on a plate. Reduce the heat slightly, then add the onions, garlic and salt to the pan and fry for 6-7 minutes until golden brown. Add the ras el hanout, cumin, coriander, cinnamon, preserved lemonand chopped coriander and fry for 30 seconds. Add the harissa  one can of chopped tomatoes and stock and bring to a boil. Return the lamb to the pan and stir in. Add sliced jerusalem artichokes and sweet potato.  Put on a lid and reduce the heat to low. Cook for 1 1/4 hours. Add the tomato and cook for 15 minutes. Add the can of chickpeas to the top of the pan and cook for a further 7-10 minutes until cooked through. Squeeze in the lemon juice and sprinkle with more coriander. Decorate with pomegranate seeds just before serving.

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