Wednesday, 17 November 2010

This little piggy went to market.

A recent, and important, discovery has been Castle Market. Don't get me wrong, I always knew it was there, I had even visited it before, but I hadn't SHOPPED there before. This time I went in search of bargains, a decent butchers and fishmongers and a sense of well-being, knowledge that my money would be going directly to the stall owners rather than the fat cats of Tesco.

On the first visit I felt confused and lost. I wandered around taking it all in; feeling out of place and vulnerable amongst all the hard-core shoppers, hustling and bustling by me, nodding in recognition of each other. I restrained from gazing at a store for too long for fear that I might catch the owner's eye and encourage him to speak to me. A bright, white supermarket, the market is not!

However, there is everything you need here; meat, fish, fruit, veg, canned goods, bread and the odd greasy cafe. I walked around, adjusting to the environment. Relaxing a little, I decided to stick to what I know and aimed for the fruit and veg section. Because, whilst some of the meat stores looked a bit scary, I thought 'You can't go wrong with fruit and veg, can you?' Well you certainly can't at market prices. I was astounded at the bargains and quickly overcame my nerves, filling two bags of shopping for significantly less than I would normally pay. But the market isn't just about bargains; there is a huge variety of foods available including plantain, scotch bonnets and fresh herbs. The first visit was declared a success; even the husband approved.  I would be back!

Over the next couple of weeks I continued to concentrate solely on fruit and veg whilst surveying the meat counters sussing out what was available and for what price.  When at home I searched the net for cooking techniques to see what I could do with these new finds. Armed with a few ideas, I finally hit the meat section.  There is, amongst the usual cuts, goat, rabbit, ham hocks, pork cheeks, ribs, steaks, shanks, tongues, tripe and various types of liver, kidney and heart. I was glad I had done my research as I knew exactly what I wanted. The butchers were friendly, smiling and chatty and I came away with everything I wanted, at the price I wanted it. I am now converted.

I said that the market was an important discovery. In terms of inspiration, it has been. I am now looking at cooking with other cuts of meat, offal, different fish and seafood.  I'll be facing some real culinary challenges, discovering new food, learning new skills and generally developing my cooking skills.


  1. Hey I live in Sheffield too and love going to Castle Market. First time I went in was a little bewildering but now I enjoying going. I feel a lot more satisfied when I leave there with bags full of goodies than from a trip to Asda! Shame I don't get to town so often :( x

  2. That is a shame Charlotte, it certainly is a more satisfying experience than Asda!