The smells, the noise, the hum of different conversations, the food and the never-ending inspiration. My love for a good market goes way back to our days when life was that little bit simpler and we really didn't have a worry in the world and very few responsibilities. It was a time when we lived in a place that will forever have a piece of my heart.
It's those giant trees, the sheer cliffs, the rugged coastlines, the incredible produce, the delicious restaurants and those beaches! Oh, those beaches that stretch for miles and miles! Where is this place, I hear you ask. Over in the West, down south to be exact and Margaret River is her name.
For anyone who has been given the gift of travelling here will understand exactly what I am on about when I say that she casts some sort of magic spell upon you! If you haven't yet spoilt yourself with her beauty, then I highly recommend you do yourself the favour. But, be warned.....You may never want to return home!
I owe "Margs" a lot, she was incredibly kind to us over the 2 years that we got to call her home. The memories we made could fill hundreds of books and if it wasn't for me becoming home sick, then we could very well still have been there.
It was here that I really became fully immersed in the wonderful world of food. Masterchef had just begun on the TV and I was absolutely hooked! I bought as many food magazines as I could get my hands on and dived deep into learning as much as I could, creating different meals each night which would be served on either our blue plastic camping plates or our mismatched ones from the lions shed (its like a huge garage sale set up in a big shed out in the industrial estate. It's also how we furnished our little rental home too, so many goodies!)
I would ask the chefs and cooks I worked with as many questions as I could think of in between making coffees. I just wanted to soak everything in like a sponge. I had definitely found my passion! A little food for thought though (pardon the pun) but before I left home I barely knew how to boil an egg, yes it's completely true and my husband, Ben actually taught me a thing or two in the kitchen. Including how to cook pasta properly and the joys of a slow cooked pasta sauce.
So, fast forward 9 years or so and here I am today, cooking and creating to my hearts content. Having learnt so much more then I ever could have imagined, and still learning! I opened my own café to which I cooked and baked everything from scratch and then sold that same café 4 years later to go on to create celebration cakes for weddings and birthdays. And then I launched this blog, where I get to share my passion for cooking and to hopefully inspire you to get into your kitchens', to not be afraid of giving this cooking thing a go and to get creative. You never know where it may lead!
Now, where was I before I started writing about this little food journey of mine? oh yes, that's right, at the market! Where the inspiration for this sausage ragu with fresh pappardelle came from. Again, good quality, fresh, simple ingredients that produce wholesome deliciousness is all that is needed, with a little love thrown in of course!
A good glug of olive oil
1 onion, finely diced
2 small carrots, finely diced
2 sticks celery, finely diced
1 small zucchini, finely diced
2 garlic cloves, diced
500g chorizo sausages or you could use Tuscan sausages too which are equally as delicious. (I bought the chorizo ones from the South Melbourne Market at Hagens Organics)
a good pinch of dried greek oregano
2 dried bay leaves
700ml tomato passata
300ml chicken stock (homemade if possible, it really does make a difference or the best quality you can afford)
1 tbsp. balsamic vinegar
1 piece of parmesan rind
2 nests of fresh pappardelle
Bring a large pot of salted water to the boil.
In a large frying pan, over a low heat add in your oil then add the onion, carrot, celery, zucchini and a large pinch of salt and cook for about 10-15 minutes until softened and just starting to colour. Add in the garlic and cook for another minute or so.
while the onion mix is cooking away, remove the meat from the casing and then add into the pan, stirring and cooking until browned all over. I sort of break them up a bit as I am stirring. sprinkle over the oregano, add the bay leaves and pour in the passata, stock and balsamic. Stir everything together then pop in the parmesan rind and bring up to the boil before turning down to a simmer. Continue to cook for around 45 minutes to 1 hour until its turned into a lovely, luscious thick sauce. It may require a little longer to cook, so just continue to do so until its reached the consistency that you are happy with. Check for seasoning and add a few grinds of black pepper. Remove the parmesan rind and bay leaves. Just before the sauce is ready, place the pappardelle into the boiling water and give it a stir. They should take around 5-8 minutes to cook I always just keep checking and tasting them to make sure they are cooked perfectly.
Once the pasta is cooked, use a pair of tongs to remove from the pot straight into the sauce. I love doing this as the water that clings to the strands of pasta allows the sauce to take on a really lovely consistency. Give it a good stir so that each strand has a coating of that delicious, rich sauce. I love to serve it straight from the pan with crusty sourdough slices and of course a very generous grating of parmesan cheese.
This makes enough for 4 people or 2 hungry humans with leftovers for lunch the following day.