A brush with a new market and two ways with basil
Organic veg boxes, homemade jams and chutneys, fresh crusty bread and croissants and beautiful fairy cakes displayed and sold in a stylish way that the French do so well. All this at the Dubai Garden Centre.
I’ll cut to the chase here. In the the next installment of where to buy local, fresh, organic fruit and vegetables in the U.A.E., Bumble Box has arrived. The brainchild of Sonia who has been working tirelessly to get something off the ground since the Nazwa farm shop closed, “I am a mother of three children, I am passionate about this, I will work for free”.
Bumble box has an exclusive contract with the Mazaraa organic farm in Abu Dhabi to supply the produce for their new box delivery scheme. There are two sizes of veg box (small 80 AED and large 130 AED) crammed full of whatever is in season and they will deliver in certain areas too.
Sonia hopes to bridge the gap between the customer and the farmers so they can plan and grow in sufficient quantity the items there is demand for. For instance we were only able to taste the melons, strawberries and passionfruit as there were not enough to buy, and they were sweet, juicy and delicious. Hopefully with this partnership there will be greater supply next year.
Other stalls included Crumbs, a French bakery and cafe (located opposite on the Sheikh Zayed Road), who sold really good bread and pastries. “The chef is French, the flour is French,” enthused the man on the stall in a very thick French accent.
Cooking ID were selling home-made preserves ranging from apricot jam to tapenade and some little chocolates too. The chocolate was Belgian
but the sellers were French and so were the cooks.
Finally Scrumptious – Anna who home-bakes with organic free-range eggs, had the most beautiful array of cupcakes. A bit of a juxtaposition against the veg boxes as my friend Foodiva pointed out. She was getting a lot of interest from the throng of Mothers with toddlers.
I bought a large veg box because I wanted lots of tomatoes and it contained cherry, plum and beef toms. I wish the Bumble Box market would sell loose goods too though. One onion is not going to see me through the week and they didn’t have any eggs or laban for sale.
Having already bought basil at the Souk al Bahar market the day before and getting more of it in my veg box I had to do something quick. Pesto was the obvious choice and I also made a salsa verde with lots of basil (although without anchovies as KP detests them). This is such a versatile sauce which goes really well with grilled fish, steak or a dressing on salad. I drizzled it over my organic tomatoes with some chopped spring onions. The bunches of basil, put in a small vase of water, scent my house with spicy fragrance more beautiful than flowers. No picture of the salsa verde as it was eaten so quickly – boom, boom.
Salsa Verde (I’m sure you have a pesto recipe but contact me if you don’t)
Ingredients – adjust the quantities of herbs to taste
big bunch of basil
half a bunch of mint
half a bunch of parsley
1-2 cloves of garlic
1 tablespoon of grain mustard
2-3 tablespoons of capers (rinsed)
extra-virgin olive oil
juice of half a lemon
freshly ground black pepper
Method – Whizz all the ingredients except the oil and lemon juice together in a blender. Slowly pour in about 6 tablespoons of oil and blend again to make a creamy emulsion. Add lemon juice, taste and adjust seasoning.
Apologies to all who understood my dreadful pun – I couldn’t resist!
If you went to the market what did you think? Love to hear where your favourite place to shop is if you are farther afield.