Denman Masthead

Fyshwick Markets food hacks

Emma Macdonald

There are many types of people who go to the Fyshwick Fresh Food Markets.

First are Canberra’s food-obsessed – those dedicated souls who turn up as the gates open at 7 am to ensure they have the best pick of the freshest of local and seasonal ingredients which they rush home to turn into gourmet spreads for their suitably impressed friends and families.

Then there are the average mums, dads and kids who just prefer fresh and reasonably-priced food, want to support small business and enjoy the hustle, bustle, smell and tastes of Canberra’s most established food market.

But did you know there’s a third category? That’s for the time-poor and harried who want delicious home-cooked food, but don’t actually have the time or inclination to cook it themselves.

People like me.

After years of dedicated research, I have discovered many a useful food hack at the Fyshwick Markets, and in the spirit of bringing a gourmet edge to everyone’s existence, I am prepared to share a few recent meals and suggestions.

Do you know the degree of technical difficulty involved in crisping pork belly this perfectly? Zero when someone else knows what they are doing.

Firstly, if you are keen for a showcase meat dish, there are several butchers on-site with a range of quality meat products you can take home and cook. But you could also go for option B) and head for the Fyshwick Gourmet Organic butcher shop where a selection of meats are already roasted to perfection. You can choose from beef short ribs (don’t forget to grab the sticky sauce) to lamb shanks, pork hocks, and roast chook. They have even saved you the effort of roasting your own potatoes.

But how about grabbing a ridiculously crisped and crackling slab of pork belly? Serve it with an Asian-inspired noodle or salad dish and no one need even know you weren’t monitoring the oven like Marco Pierre White for the last three hours.

Similarly, seafood can be tricky or simple depending on your levels of enthusiasm. Tricky is boiling and shelling a crab. Simple is buying pre-peeled prawns and a bottle of salmon roe from Sea Harvest, adding a jar of Beerenberg Creamy Seafood Sauce from Mart Deli and – with the help of some iceberg lettuce and a ripe avocado from Farm Fresh – whipping up a 1970’s-inspired seafood cocktail quicker than you can sing an ABBA song.

I spent hours peeling these prawns and mixing my cocktails sauce. Kidding.

Which brings us to dessert. Chocolate mousse is always a winner with the crowds, but do you have time to buy all the ingredients and hover anxiously by a double boiler to ensure it doesn’t curdle?

Yeah, me neither most of the time.

Thanks Belgian Chocolate Mousse Company of Bowral for your tubs of fluffy chocolatey goodness. We might just drape some Pariya Pashmak Persian Fairy Floss over that and (you can buy both at Mart Deli) and stick a raspberry on top.

The secret to my light and fluffy chocolate mousse? Buying it already light and fluffy.

From the fresh dips at Ziggy’s and Deli Planet to save you washing out your blender to the selection of cooked beans and Cassoulet products at Deli Planet, there are ways around spending your entire day shackled to the kitchen – unless, of course, that is your favourite place to be.

Deli Planet also stocks a range of Dinner’s Ready pre-made meals you just need to reheat.

If you can’t even summon the will to put together a cheese or antipasto platter, ring Euro Deli and they will lay it all out for you depending on how many mouths you want to feed.

And for the final word on easy meals – stay tuned for the impending opening of Winifred’s Place – a sister restaurant to Braddon’s Chez Frederic. Winifred’s will follow the same model, providing a place to come and eat breakfast, lunch and dinner, (including table service and a huge communal table) but will also be providing a full range of gourmet takeaway and catering options for those who want to grab it and go.

Gnocchi made daily from Winifred’s Place, the new venture from the Chez Frederic crew opening soon at the Fyshwick Markets.

Until you’ve tried chef Sarah Poguet’s home-made pasta, you haven’t really lived. The new place even promises two pasta machines – one completely gluten-free to ensure the highest standards for customers and even offers free delivery on the south side for larger orders.

Photography: Emma Macdonald 

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Emma Macdonald

Emma Macdonald has been writing about Canberra and its people for more than 20 years, winning numerous awards for her journalism - including a Walkley or two - along the way. Canberra born and bred, she’s fiercely loyal to the city, tribally inner-north, and relieved the rest of the country is finally recognising Canberra’s cool and creative credentials. More about the Author