Posted: 12 Nov 2012

Right now I’m loving…

Pope Joan’s talented chef Matt Wilkinson has a thriving veggie patch out the back of his Brunswick diner, but he doesn’t have the space or time to grow enough for his busy kitchen.

So he turns to his favourite producers, and these are his top five local foods this month.

1. Avocado

The team at Barham Avocados up on the Murray River grow a sweet and big Reed avocado that make other varieties look very average.

2. Banjo steak

I learned about this small cut of meat from the inside of the back leg from Alan Snaith from Warialda Belted Galloway Beef. The banjo steak is so full of flavour and texture. It’s my new favourite cut.

3. Dehydrated white balsamic powder

I’m not usually a fan of powders, but this product from the Melbourne Food Ingredient Depot is a gem. Deep fry some potato chips then add this powder and you have the best salt and vinegar chips you’ll ever taste.

4. Scallops

The Polacco family dive for scallops down at Kangaroo Island. They’re easily the best scallops in Australia. Hands down.

5. Salsify

Salsify is a white root vegetable, a bit like a parsnip but skinnier. Rod and Meg Blake at Bellellen Organics in the Grampians have been trying to grow salsify for two years, and they’ve nailed it. I got a batch of baby salsify from them. They were like baby carrots, and they were simply amazing. Can’t wait for next year.

Check out Matt’s take on the season’s best fresh produce at Pope Joan, Bishop of Ostia and Spud Bar.

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