As we spend more time with Sophie and Nicole of Cookes Food, it becomes more and more evident how incredibly passionate they really are about local produce! Their love of local food is exciting and contagious, somehow Sophie even makes a 2am wake up call about lettuce seem appealing! – Jenny x

Photo – John Deer

Anyone that works in the fruit and vegetable industry works on a totally different timetable to you or I. Peter Canavo, owner and head forager of Flavours Fruit and Vegetable has absolutely no problem contacting me at 2 or 3am with a query about what colour I want in my baby butter lettuces. I love the attention to detail that this company offers me. Every so often with my order I get a package consisting of seasonal samples and I’m so lucky that Pete puts in some things I might never be able to find…beauties include finger limes, blood limes, samphire, all the seasons best; winter rhubarb, autumn pears, spring asparagus and summer cherries, all in beautifully different shapes and sizes.

Photos – John Deer

I have used many fruit and vegetable suppliers, however to me I needed a closer relationship where they recognized that I don’t want produce out of season or from overseas and I’m pretty strict about that. I need guidance from the supplier as to what’s in, what’s out and what’s having a bad week due to weather. I have been known to tell my clients that I won’t get them something if it’s out of season even if the Peruvian version is available in the supermarket.

Photos – John Deer

As consumers we should be having a close relationship with our grocers just as much as our butcher. I rarely shop at the supermarket as I cannot stand the way you have no idea what you’re getting or where it’s from – it kills the dialogue about food that is so important… so get to the market people!

Flavours Fruit and Vegetable
3/21 Lindaway Place
Tullamarine   VIC   3043
(03) 9310 4899

Flavours figs with ricotta, hazelnuts and sweet vinegar syrup

2 figs (ripe is best)
200g ricotta
¼ cup hazelnuts
2 tbsp caster sugar
2 tbsp red wine or sherry vinegar – buy a nice one as your only as good as your worst ingredients!

Photo – John Deer

In a small saucepan combine the sugar and the vinegar.  Gently cook until you have a syrup, set aside to cool.

Tear open your figs and place on a lined baking tray.  Sprinkle with some of the chopped hazelnuts, place the ricotta to the side of the tray and place in a pre heated 180 degree oven for 5-10 minutes.

Remove from the oven and drizzle with the vinegar syrup.

Photos – John Deer

It’s up to you how you serve it but there is something lazy and pleasant about the roasting tray sitting in front of you, it also keeps it warm for longer.

- Sophie and Nicole x