Cooking with Mark

THE SIMPLE JOYS OF A FARMER’S MARKET

Use fresh produce for this simple veggie dish of stuffed portobello mushrooms

Finally, it feels like winter. I can sit outside and have lunch, but what I’m most happy about is that the Farmers’ Market is back, bigger and better, on Friday and Saturday morning. I’ve been monitoring their Instagram feed to see when it reopens. Located in Business Bay, it was founded by the restaurant Baker and Spice in 2010. So what’s so great about it? Getting up early on the weekend isn’t everyone’s idea of fun, but it is well worth it. I’m always being quizzed about living in the UAE, a reason why I make sure my Instagram doesn’t only reflect the shiny parts of my life. Yeah, we have beaches, malls and all-year-round sun but we also have jobs, and, contrary to popular belief, I don’t spend all my days at the beach or brunching. In the past, I’ve posted pictures on Instagram of the market and people have messaged me asking if I’m at an ‘actual’ farmers’ market, to which I always reply yes, just like the one we used to frequent in London. I love the location of this market; in the shadow of the Burj Khalifa, you couldn’t find a bigger contrast. The market has grown over the years.

IN THE SHADOW OF THE BURJ KHALIFA, YOU COULDN’T FIND A BIGGER CONTRAST. THE MARKET HAS GROWN OVER THE YEARS

Before it was very much a pull-up, have a mooch around then head back to the car kind of scene. Now it’s a full event. I’ll drop friends a message and say what time I’ll be there and we’ll hang out, catch up over a coffee or the absolute must-have, the fresh homemade lemonade. All the produce is grown across the region, not shipped in from miles away. I see the same regular vendors every year standing proudly behind their neatly presented stalls. Something I always stock up on is the eggs, oh-so-fresh and tasty, the yolks golden — soft poached on some fresh bread also bought from the market, they are a real weekend treat. Last season, I tried turkey eggs for the first time. I always take along my bag-for-life and stock up for the week ahead. One of my favourite vegetables is spinach, and unlike the prepacked stuff in stores, the organic version is packed with taste and free of pesticides. It is perfect for the recipe alongside, a great veggie dish that’s packed full of goodness and ready in minutes. The Market on the Terrace is definitely my favourite vegetable patch. If you are there today, let’s catch up?

Recipes, food styling and photography by Mark Setchfield

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