Living in Crouch End means living closer to the Ally Pally farmer’s market, a market I’ve heard many rave about yet I’ve never ventured the 4 miles north to visit. So I dragged M along on Sunday morning to shop for dinner and see what all the fuss is about.
This week it was in Ally Pally itself (I think it alternates with another location?), a mere 5 or so minute wander from Crouch End towers, and on a lovely early autumn morning, a very pleasant wander at that. It’s quite a small market, but perfectly formed. I think it’s fair to say I’d happily eat from every food stall, and enjoyed having a nose about. Being Ms Frugality (er, ish…) and with a very small kitchen and fridge in our current lodgings, I restrained myself and only bought some cheddar with blue from Keen’s (after trying their tasty toasties: sourdough with cheddar and red onion), a string of gorgeous smelling garlic from a lovely French man on a bicycle, and some fishy things, which kind of killed off my budget, but were just too lovely looking to resist. So after spotting the squid, I added 4 tiger prawns and a handful of mussels to my order and started thinking paella.
In downsizing to this flat while the big renovation takes place, I’ve had to sacrifice many things. Most keenly felt are the gapings holes left by my blender, my bakeware and most critically, my cookbooks. I only took three with me, and I miss the rest of the shelf! So only armed with the Leon book, HFW’s Meat and Nigella’s HTBaDG, I am googling recipes more than usual. I found one for squid, chorizo and prawn paella, and pretty much followed it. I was convinced I had paella rice in the cupboard, but couldn’t find it when I looked, so substituted arborio.
My initial shame at splurging 12 quid on squid was mitigated when I saw how much food I made! Turned out I had enough for 4 dinners, and then a packed lunch, not too spendy at all.