Frome Independent Market

Last Sunday, I joined the throng of people and dogs wandering the Frome Independent market on a stunning Spring day. Taking up practically the whole centre of town, the market covers a really great range of products from independents, including second-hand goods, art, fashion, food and drink.

It felt like a little adventure as we wandered Frome town centre looking at stalls – they seemed to be everywhere! We started in the ‘flea market’ area and browsed vintage fashion, books and homewares. Thankfully, the prices ranged from 1 pound per piece jumble sale style to carefully curated vintage all priced separately. I think it’s nice to have something for everyone. I picked up a couple of cute plates that I want to use as photography props and did some wishful thinking about a few other items.

Frome Market

Because we’d skipped breakfast, we were getting quite hungry by this point and didn’t want to keep wandering until we had found food. Thankfully the next section of the market was the ready to eat food. There was a brilliant selection to choose from, including American BBQ, Italian, salt beef, Thai, Indian, Japanese, pies, Persian, hog roast and more. It made for some serious internal arguments because I hate making a decision when there is so much choice. After passing the Thai stand however, I knew what I wanted – it smelled just as I thought it should and I could see the Pad Thai being made right there in front of me. Despite the noodles being a little chewy, the flavour was awesome and the rest of the ingredients were well-cooked.

Food at Frome Market Food at Frome Market Food at Frome Market

I should also mention that while we waited in line, we may have bought some ambrosial cannoli from the stall next door. They were perfect. Crispy where they should have been and the fillings were creamy and light (despite being so so naughty).
Food at Frome Market Food at Frome Market

After re-fueling, we continued on to the high street. Here’s where you’ll find green and white striped farmers’ market tents lining the street, separated by that throng of people and dogs I mentioned earlier. We perused hand made homewares and fashion and stared longingly at locally made bread, cakes, pies, dips, beers, ciders and wines, as well as local produce like meat, vegetables, dairy and oils, knowing we couldn’t very well buy one of everything. My husband is a huge fan of Portuguese tarts, so the local purveyor was one of our stops. Probably one of the best I’ve had – a perfectly crispy, light shell with a just-wobbly custard, I can definitely recommend them.

Goodies at Frome Market Goodies at Frome Market Produce at Frome Market Produce at Frome Market Produce at Frome Market

From there, it was up a narrow cobbled street with small independent makers displaying their wares on small tables. Beautiful art, cupcakes and beauty products were just a few of things you could pick up. At the top it wasn’t obvious where to go and going back down the street we just came up seemed a little crazy considering the number of people, but we took a small street and it turns out there were even more stalls there! See, adventure!

At the bottom we went back to the cobbled street to revisit The Bakemonger to buy some of their stunning and colourful edible art. As I said to them, I hate buying such beautiful things knowing I’m going to destroy them (by eating them). Later in the day with a cup of tea, I demolished the citrus tart I bought, which had the most divine thin and buttery tart shell.

The Bakemonger at Frome Market

I can honestly say I haven’t enjoyed a market as much as I enjoyed this one in a really long time. I really did feel like I was on an adventure, even though at the beginning I was slightly overwhelmed by the sheer size and choice. I’m really looking forward to going back to find more exciting things that I probably missed this time around.

 

The details
Where: Frome
When: First Sunday of every month, 10am to 3pm
Website: thefromeindependent.org.uk

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Christmas gift guide for the foodie in your life

Every Christmas people ask, ‘what do you want for Christmas?’ and every year I don’t know what to say. I can imagine I’m not the only person who goes through this, so I’ve put together this Christmas Gift Guide to make things easy!

If you’re buying for a foodie friend (or for yourself) here are some great gift options:

COOKING CLASSES

Brisbane: Experience Sunnybank cooking school
A three-hour hands-on class where you’ll learn from a master. You’ll prepare five recipes from either Banquet style, Chinese peasant or Yum cha (and get to eat is obviously!).
Cost: I believe the class is around $80 per person, but give the organisation a call on 3345 7500 to check or make a booking.

Bristol: Little Kitchen Cookery School
Classes range from seasonal goodies (i.e. Christmas) to breadmaking, sugarcraft and vegetarian cookery.  You can buy vouchers as gift or just making the booking for your foodie friend.
Cost: £40-60 per person

 

FOOD TOURS

Brisbane: Foodi Chocolate Walking Tour
A three-hour tour encompassing four of Brisbane’s best chocolatiers. Not only will you learn about chocolate production, you’ll get to sample plenty.
Cost: $49 per person

Bristol: The Bristol Food Tour
This three-hour tour aims to showcase the best independent food and drink vendors in the Bristol. I’ve seen nothing but excellent reviews and I’m looking forward to going myself.
Cost: £35 per person

 

HIGH TEA

Brisbane: Matcha High Tea at Sinmei Tea Rooms at Scrumptious Reads
Matcha is super popular right now and you’ll find it in liquid and food form all over the place. Sinmei has amazing matcha and you’ll get to try some of their matcha sweets (which change regularly) along with something green to wash it all down.
Cost: $35 per person

PS. Scrumptious Reads is a brilliant place to find cook books!

Bristol: Classic Afternoon Tea for two at Chin! Chin!
A selection of delicious finger sandwiches, scones, cakes & treats, and tea or coffee. You can buy vouchers if you’re giving it as a gift to another couple.
Cost: £29.90 (PS. Keep an eye on Wriggle for deals!)

 

FINE DINING

Brisbane: Friday Night Supper Club at Montrachet
Chef Shannon Kellam puts together a seasonal, regional and creative 5-course menu that changes every two weeks. This is outside their main menu and is only available on Friday nights. Seating is always limited, so I recommend making a reservation well in advance.
Cost: $110 per person

Bristol: Lunch or dinner at Casamia
Recently awarded ‘Best Restaurant’ and ‘Best Fine Dining Wine List’, this is the perfect place to take a special foodie someone.
Cost: £98 per person

 

FOOD/DRINKS

Brisbane: Dello Mano brownies
A box of Australia’s best brownies will make anyone’s day, even if they aren’t a foodie! If you don’t want to get them brownies (one would ask why!), they make amazing cakes too.
Cost: From $16

Bristol: Swoon Gelato voucher
Obviously gelato melts, so the best way to get your foodie friend some Swoon gelato is by getting them a voucher. They do a stunning range of flavours which can be bought in various sizes, plus cakes and other gelato based goodies.
Cost: As much as you want to spend!

Bristol: Bluebird Tea Co. gift boxes
Bluebird not only have divine tea, they are mixologists and come up with some stunning blends (both seasonal and regular), like Christmas cake, Mulled cider, gingerbread chai, dark choc chilli chai and Dozy Girl Chamomile (one of the ones I have). They have a range of tea gifts available, such as tea cocktail kits.
Cost: £5-27

 

GADGETS
4-in-1 Polygon measuring spoon
Even though this is still on Kickstarter, I think these spoons are ingenious! For the price you get a set of spoons – one tablespoon and one teaspoon. Expected delivery is January 2017 and I think any foodie would appreciate such an innovative gift.
Cost: $8 USD

The Whisk Wiper
Sadly, the whisk wiper isn’t yet available for purchase as the designers need to fill Kickstarter orders first. However, you can sign up for updates. In this case, print out a picture and put it in a card for your foodie friend so they know your plan!
Cost: TBC

Custom embossed rolling pins
If your foodie friend is a keen baker, they will love these rolling pins. While there are quite a few etsy stores selling them, you can get them from Valek too. They have a big range available.
Cost: €20-40

 

BOOKS

River Cottage A-Z
I won’t lie, I’m looking forward to owning this book. I went to the Bristol launch and hearing Hugh talk about the recipes made it sound even better.
Cost: £26.00 in the UK on Amazon | $59.95 in Aus at Booktopia

Chocolate by Kirsten Tibballs
I went to one of the launches for this book and really enjoyed seeing Kirsten talk about chocolate and make chocolate goodies (for us to try). The book has stunning images and recipes for all experience levels.
Cost: $44.50 in Aus  at Savour School | £16.59 on Amazon

Jamie Oliver’s Christmas Cook Book
As a big fan of Jamie, Mel is super keen to get her hands on this one.
Cost: £11.99 on Amazon | $29.99 in Aus at QBD

We hope you’ll find something you’ll love here! We’d love to hear your ideas in the comments below too!

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A few of my favourite things

We all have a few places we return to over and over again, whether it’s the atmosphere or one particular dish. I like to try as many things as possible, but there are a few establishments I’ll go back to regularly:

Yim Thai, Yeronga
These guys do a killer Pad See Ew! Skip the usual Pad Thai when you’re craving Thai and give this other top notch noodle dish a go. I first had it in Thailand when I did a cooking class and it totally changed my mind about Thai food. Pad See Ew is a wide flat rice noodle dish with meat of your choice, egg, plenty of vege, and soy sauce. Even though I’d like to replicate, I haven’t managed it yet!

Kim Khanh, Darra
I love going to Kim Khanh for lunch or dinner. It’s probably gone through a few owners in its time, but the food is always tasty and really good value! You’ll pay about $9 (last time I was there) for a bun cha, whereas a lot of places charge $12 or more! They do a really great pho too!

Boundary Street Markets, West End
I’m terrible at making decisions when it comes to food. Whenever I take a long time, my fiancé reminds me of the time I made him walk around Shibuya, Japan for 45 minutes in the freezing cold only to end up back where we started at a little restaurant across the road from our hotel. Anywho, I love that I can get what I want at the Boundary Street Markets and he can get what he wants and no decision has to be made on one cuisine or one place to dine. Not to mention, everything I’ve eaten so far I’ve really enjoyed!

Pennisi Cuisine, Woolloongabba
This isn’t a restaurant or cafe, but I think it’s where a lot of them do their shopping! The variety is amazing and you can find almost anything despite the size of the shop. If you’re after fresh goodies (so much cheese!), they have a huge range to choose from and if you’re after some probably hard to find items, you can search through the shelves and likely find it. I could easily spend an hour here and still not want to leave.

Zum Kaiser Restaurant (The German Club), Woolloongabba
It’s so good that it’s probably bad for me. The food at Zum Kaiser is seriously good and the portions are massive. Their butter parsley potatoes are to die for and they know how to make crackling unbelievably crispy. Even though I know I should try something different, I inevitably end up with the same thing: pork belly – moist meat, crispy skin, delicious potatoes and yummy sauerkraut.  Oh yes!

King of Kings, Fortitude Valley
This is my go-to for Yum Cha. Dad used to take us for Sunday lunch every now and again and when I was old enough I started introducing my friends. It became an annual thing to go for lunch on my birthday (until I got a 9-5 job, that is). A long lunch, with many courses is the best way – the trolley comes around, you take one or two items, eat, chat, drink some Tsingtao then repeat. My favourite dish is the tofu skin rolls, so delicious! It’s actually been a while, so I should go soon!

Dello Mano, Newstead
To be honest, it’s probably better for my wallet and my waistline that I don’t make it here as often as I’d like. Not only do Dello Mano make the most amazing brownies you’ll ever eat, they also do other sweet things and savoury meals (gotta balance these things out) that are just as good. I’ve only ever had great food and service here, and I often go home with a box of brownies to share (yes, I do actually share). For the record, my favourite Dello Mano brownie is the Honey Caramelized Macadamia.

Do you have a favourite place you like to go to often?

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