Hangover feast: Bacon and egg crumpet sandwich
Whether it is a quick sandwich at lunch or Sunday roast with family, food really is about how
it makes you feel and with all the food programs at Carriageworks, this is your safe space to
share those feelings.
Take a tour of Sydney's best eateries right here with The Sunday Telegraph's Eat Street. Are you hungry for more inspiration? Follow us on Instagram. #SydneyEatStreet
ARTISAN WEEK & PEPE SAYA
Pierre "Pepe" Issa has never lost touch with the most important people in his business life - his customers.
Pepe went from selling small batches of Australian cultured butter at the Carriageworks Farmers Market, garnering the respect (and business) of renowned chefs and restaurateurs across Sydney with his award-winning product, to building Pepe Saya into more than $5 million in sales per year.
But yet both he and his wife Melissa Altman are still at the famous Sydney market every weekend talking to his customers despite "80 per cent (being) chefs, restaurants, and food-services such as airlines".
Celebrating the passion that brought him to this point, Pepe has spearheaded Artisan Week from August 17-24, encouraging people to support 100 per cent Australian producers, such as Linga Longa Farm, Olsson's Sea Salt, and Chunky Dave's Peanut Butter, even featuring different artisans and their respective stories with daily posts on their @PepeSaya Instagram feed.
But what exactly is an artisan when it comes to food?
Pepe explains: "If I want salami, I'm going to go to an artisan butcher. He's transparent how he makes it, he'll tell you where he bought his beef from, what goes into it. There is a level of transparency that exists in the Artisan movement - what's what an artisan means.
"There's an unwritten rule: Artisans will sit down with you at a table and break bread and when you ask them a question about how their product is made, they just openly tell you. "There is no secret. And that is it. That's as basic as it is to be an Artisan. There is no secret in food. It's very natural.
"If you saw how you made it, you'd never buy anything else. Try it and you'll see - things are genuinely made differently."
And while actual tastings at the markets have been put on hold, normally, that's what he'd have you actually do - try it.
Pepe notes though one of the biggest obstacle in getting people to try artisan products is just getting them to the market itself.
"People have this vision of (market-goers) rocking up in European sports cars," saying that's not the case at all.
"You'll find that the majority of our customers that buy Pepe Saya, and any other products at the markets, they're not wealthy, they're wealthy in culture and understanding food systems," he reveals.
"They are wealthy in the knowledge they have."
As for the actual cost he says "we're no more expensive than grocery stores; that's a myth. Yes, I get the convenience is not there, and that is our Achilles Heel as artisans, but I can tell you, everyone is trying hard to address that", explaining how now more than ever, artisans have begun to sell their products online so that customers can still avoid the middleman and buy directly from the producer.
Starting out, Pepe had a vision: "My objective is that 24 million Australians, we need to tell them all about the butter - they don't have to like it, but I want them to know about it- the only way I know how to do that is one person at a time."
Be that at the markets or knocking on the doors of hatted-restaurants.
"Tastings at the markets, the markets are our core. The people who are interested in food will orientate themselves around that - people that are interested in food take other people that might not be interested in food with them and they get exposed to these products and then you hear things like 'OMG, have you tasted this?'"
In other words, supporting artisan producers, can be, well, heavenly.
- Carriageworks Farmers Market; pepesaya.com.au
LINGA LONGA FARM
Ask nan and pops about their ancestry and you'll probably learn about the family name and hear rumours of royal lineage but talk to Greg and Lauren Newell of Linga Longa Farms and you'll get details going back through six generations of farmers.
Amazingly those records go back even further for their cattle, which can be traced to the Hereford breed herd that first came to Australia. That's great on paper, but what does that mean to the consumer?
"Transparency," says Greg. Have a chat with him and you'll get a low-down on the exact microbes in the soil, the minerals in their water and generations of health records.
Linga Longa (say the name slowly and you'll get the connation, plus a nod to the virtue of patience on the farm) is a true nose to tail production, or as Greg prefers to call it "conception to consumption".
"We know where everything comes from and where it's going."
So, in addition to offering certified grass-fed, hormone-free and antibiotic-free beef, they take the process full circle and produce a nutritious beef bone, which, because it comes from younger has much more collagen than other versions.
They've even made one for their kelpie - Paw-licious.
For those who really want to see how it's done, they also have a farm-stay, four-bedroom self-contained cottage where you can watch all the action from the comfort of a pools-side lounge chair.
- Carriageworks Farmers Market; buymeat.com.au
CRUMPETS BY MERNA
There is the scientific reason that crumpets have their trademark holes or the actual reason.
Merna Taouk much prefers to go with the actual reason: "And you know what those holes are for, right? They're to be filled up with butter. That's my theory anyway."
And that is hard to argue given crumpets and butter go together just like, well, crumpets and butter.
Merna is the namesake behind Crumpets by Merna, whose sourdough crumpets are made in small batches using local ingredients: Pepe Saya buttermilk, Australian wholemeal flour, and Olsson's Sea Salt flakes.
"I grew up eating crumpets as a kid," says Merna, adding it was a moment sitting on a plane returning from an overseas trip that she thought, "I really want a crumpet," and thus Crumpets by Merna was born.
"I had already been at the markets every Saturday making desserts," she says.
"So I had a presence there and decided I wanted to make crumpets and sell at the market. When I first started, I was using white flour (but) I realised after tasting it, it was everything I didn't want it to be.
"I already used a lot of wholemeal flour in my baking, so I gave that a try. It's nuttier, more wholesome. After working on it a few months, trying different things, I came in to get the crumpets approved.
"It wasn't quite there yet but wanted to get the process started - and they told me I needed to start selling them on Saturday. This was on a Wednesday!"
Her crumpets have since developed quite the fanbase: from local cafes and restaurants to airlines and five-star hotels.
"It's a basic recipe but there are lot of steps involved to end up with a product that is light and fluffy with the right amount of holes," she revealed.
"When you eat our crumpets, you can taste the fermentation, you can taste the buttermilk."
So, just how do crumpets get those trademark holes?
"Every ingredient has a different role to play," Merna said.
"Once the batter goes on to the hotplate, the gases start to rise from the batter - a half-hour process - and when the bubbles rise, they pop."
There are four flavours in Merna's range: traditional buttermilk; vegan-friendly coconut; blueberry; and chocolate.
"I love cheddar cheese on my crumpets, or tomatoes with lots of pepper and salt," Merna added.
She also uses them to make French toast, and at the markets, along with other stallholders makes a hangover burger using Moobi Valley meat and a fried free-range egg.
These can be bought at markets and online, where you can also purchase their house-made jam and Pepe Saya products)
- Carriageworks Farmers Market; crumpetsbymerna.com.au
One gulp of Country Valley milk, and you'll soon be thinking of dairy in a whole new way - it's just that darn good.
With their milk processing plant a mere 100m from the rolling hills of their 300-acre dairy farm, John Fairley, Country Valley's owner explains that it's this proximity and the ability to monitor the grazing of the 145 cattle that makes the difference.
"The soil is the basis for everything," he says, adding that by tending to the "dirt" (that's layman's term for microbes), that's how the nutrients come through.
"This is the best winter we've had in a very long time - the rain and the warm soil," says John, noting how the fresh sprigs will result in a sweeter milk.
But to truly understand Country Valley, you need to head to the markets; that's where John's passion comes alive.
Here, he is a bit of a patriarch, an eloquent champion of local producers who understands that a superior product carries more weight than words.
He knows that his customers are his best salespeople, so stands quietly aside and listens to people chat about his milks, yoghurt, cheeses and, from the adjacent table, Pepe Saya's butter range made from Country Valley dairy products. Here is also where the fun begins - John and Pierre "Pepe" Issa - business associates, buddies and, in their element, a veritable comedy duo.
It's a friendship that started, simply enough, with milk but is built on trust and shared commitment to quality, which they both firmly believe is best achieved with the support and dedication of all these local producers.
- Carriageworks Farmers Market; countryvalley.com.au
Everyone has a weekend ritual, be it an early workout, lazy long lunch or, if you're a fan of farm-fresh produce, a spot in line for Kurrawong Organics' weekly pick brought in hours earlier by farmers Lesley and Quentin Bland.
A fixture on the market scene, the pair have been providing premium fruit and vegetables s from their-family owned farm for over 12 years, garnering a large and loyal following along the way, a following that was distraught when they were unable to do their weekly shop during lockdown.
The Blands heeded the call and began assembling pre-order veggie boxes for pick-up. The option proved so popular that they are continuing the offering so that now, rather that queuing, customers can place an order before 8am on Fridays to be picked up between 8am-12pm the following day.
The boxes, which include a set assortment of seasonal produce ($25-$50) will also have the option to add on extra items.
Now, you pop by, wave hello, grab your goodies and go or maybe linger a bit, coffee in hand and stroll the stalls for something new - unencumbered by a weeks' work of delicious, farm-fresh organic produce hanging off your arm just waiting to be eaten.
- Carriageworks Farmers Market; organicveggiebox.com.au
CHUNKY DAVE'S PEANUT BUTTER
Besides the name on the label of this artisan peanut butter, Dave Hemming's other title
could be an accidental entrepreneur; someone that had zero interest in starting a business
but in a quest to solve a problem, finds the solution which just happens to be so good, it
For Dave, formerly a record producer and software engineer, the impetus was weight loss. He couldn't find a peanut butter that fit into his diet, so he created his own, substituting natural ingredients for all the processed elements in the standard supermarket brands.
By dealing directly with the farmers, he began sourcing, roasting, and blending his own peanuts, developing recipes for three varieties: smooth, chunky, and chilli.
Starting off at local markets, his versions proved so popular that you can now find Chunky Dave's Peanut Butter at several independent food retailers but if you want to hear the whole spiel, pick some up at Carriageworks Farmers Market.
TWO GOOD CO
What started ten years ago as a "cookout" and organic soup kitchen to help the disadvantaged in Kings Cross, has become one of Sydney's favourite (and healthiest) pre-packages meal services, not just because the food is organic with many recipes developed by such uber-chefs as Matt Moran, Peter Gilmore and Kylie Kwong (as if that weren't enough) but all proceeds go to help women in domestic violence shelters and provide them with the opportunity to develop valuable hospitality and culinary skills while working in the kitchen.
While the meals - which by the way are part of their "Eat One, Treat One", program
- can be delivered Tuesday through Friday, it's worth picking them up at Carriageworks Farmers Market where they also sell other products such as jams, Macadamia and lemon myrtle cookies and salted chocolate brownies along with the ever-popular winter favourite, chef Ivan's Goulash and Ribollita Tuscan Stew.
THE BREAD & BUTTER PROJECT
From the people behind Bourke Street Bakery, one of Sydney's favourite spots for sourdough bread, sausage rolls, and meat pies, comes Australia's first social enterprise bakery.
Established as a means to provide refugees and asylum with on-the-job-training and TAFE accreditation, The Bread & Butter Project has since become a commercial business (but still a registered charity) with 100 per cent of profits going back into the business.
Sourdough bread and yummy pastries never tasted or felt so good.
CARRIAGEWORKS FOOD PROGRAMS
With COVID-19 restrictions in place, Carriageworks' events (besides the Farmers Market),
like everything else with an element of social interaction, have been put on hold, but when
life returns to some semblance of normality, these are some things foodies need to include
on their bucket list:
Carriageworks Night Markets
Twice a year (summer and winter) Carriageworks plays host to more than 7500 people who come to experience one of Australia's premier dining experiences.
Celebrating the best of Australia's seasonal produce, these markets play to a specific theme and regularly feature over 50 renowned chefs, brewers and mixologist, curated by some of Sydney's pre-eminent chefs.
Past events have been overseen by culinary veterans including Kylie Kwong, James Viles (Biota), and Ben Milgate and Elvis Ambrahanowicz of Bodega and Porteño who featured such places as Chin Chin, Fish Butchery, Three Blue Ducks and LP's Quality Meats.
Carriageworks Farmers Market Curated Boxes
The finite details are still being hashed out but, fingers crossed, towards the end of the year, Carriageworks will be selling two different-sized boxes made up of seasonal produce and selection of the week's markets specials. Stay tuned.
Artisan producers at Carriageworks Farmers Market, love telling the stories behind their products and the best way to get that conversation going is by tasting their wares.
On market days, many stallholders will set out bite-size samples for customers to try. Whether it's an orange slice or a bite of cake, it's great to know what you're buying and an excellent way to try something new.
It's no surprise that Sydney chefs hit up the markets for inspiration, so to pay it forward, you'll often find them giving cooking demonstrations using fresh ingredients from the various producers and appliances from the food program's sponsor, Smeg Australia.
Some of the most prominent names on Sydney's food scene share their secrets in tickets Masterclasses held in a state-of-the-art Smeg kitchen Past sessions have welcomed the likes of Clayton Wells (Automata, A1 Canteen) who featured his signature umami-flavoured dishes, Analiese Gregory, (Franklin Hobart, Quay) who actually dives in the waters of Tasmania to procure her seafood, Rodney Dunn, head chef and owner of The Agrarian Kitchen Cooking School & Eatery and author of The Truffle Cookbook, and Brent Savage's (owner/chef Bentley Restaurant & Bar, Monopole, Yellow and Cirrus) spring-time vegetarian dishes.
From the Farm
A video series, in partnership with Smeg Australia that shares the stories of six Carriageworks Farmers Market producers including ones from Kurrawong Organics, Mimosa Rock Oysters and Pasta Emilia.
Held on what is unofficially the hospitality industry's day of rest, MAD Mondays is a series of talks designed by and for the restaurant industry to help make a difference in the cooking community, with past conversations delving into such poignant issues as sustainability, leadership and migration.
Originally published as Hangover feast: Bacon and egg crumpet sandwich