One of my favourite things about my move Northside last year was being close to Preston Market. Having this market institution on my doorstep, and watching it evolve over this past year to appeal to a wider range of audiences, has been an exciting experience. Being a neighbourhood institution, it has been a balancing act between keeping the market that the locals have always loved, and keeping on trend by offering more modern aspects that appeal to the growing younger audience. Pairing up with Laneway Learning has been a great way of doing this, such as the amazing Paella Masterclass with Gringo Paella that I participated in last week.
The range of people that shop at Preston Market is remarkable. All you have to do is dedicate a few hours to people watching on a Saturday (or Sunday, as the market is now open Sundays) morning to see the vast array of people that choose this space to do their weekly shop or catch up. From the elderly with their trollies, who know their favourite stallholders by names, the families with kids participating in some of the great activities there, to the late 20s generation slowly moving into Preston and surrounds grabbing some groceries for their next Masterchef cook up.
I fall into the third category. I am in my late 20s, don’t know any of the stallholders names (yet!) but love shopping there because of the huge variety of exceptional produce at market prices. I love home cooking, and the market is the perfect place to grab a variety of ingredients to cook with at home. I can’t say I am able to ‘quickly pop in’ to the market though, as there is so much to look at and I am easily distracted by the array of ingredients and foods on offer. I can’t leave without getting Gozleme for breakfast (classic spinach and cheese) and if my willpower is really low, some hot jam donuts (nothing better!)
The last time I visited the market, I grabbed the ingredients for a simple and easy ‘quick’ Duck Ragu. From the duck fillets, to the freshly made fettucine, to the vegetables and passata needed for the sauce. This is a simple recipe inspired by a recipe by my good friend and pasta guru Daniel Tonin from Pasta Classica (see original recipe here), and is super easy to whip up, not needing the slow cooking that a Duck Ragu normally needs.
So why not invite someone you love over, hit up the Preston market and grab your ingredients, and cook them something special for dinner!
Two duck fillets, chopped into 1-2cm pieces
3 celery sticks, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
1 onion, diced
10 small cup mushrooms, chopped
2 garlic bulbs, diced
2 cups passata
½-1 cup of red wine
1 can chopped tomatoes
1 bunch parsley, chopped
400 grams fresh fettucine
Heat a little olive oil in a large saucepan. Over medium heat, add onion and garlic and sauté for 3 minutes. Add duck and saute until browned. Add the wine to deglaze the pan, bring to a boil. Add carrots, celery and mushrooms and saute, stirring for 5 minutes. Add passata, canned tomatoes, passata and a handful of the chopped parsley, and season with salt and pepper. Bring heat to low, place saucepan lid on, and allow to simmer for half an hour.
Meanwhile, fill a large saucepan with water and bring to the boil. With 8 minutes to go on the ragu, add the fettucine and cook until al dente (I find tasting the best way to know!) Spoon ragu over the fettucine, and top with shaved parmesan and a sprinkle of parsley.
You can read more about the Preston market here.
Have a delicious day,