when life gives you a big bunch of lovage....
My recent trip to Romania was such an inspiration. I met with fellow bloggers at a local Food Bloggers Conference, I visited a couple of restaurants and talked to some very talented Romanian chefs. But maybe the most inspiring moment, was a private market tour organised by my best foodie friend Monica at the biggest farmer’s market in Bucharest: Piata Obor. As I grew up in a rather big Romanian town, going to the local farmer’s market was a weekly habit. Back in the times, the farmer’s market was the only place where we could buy our food. But as the big supermarkets started to open shops in town, farmers markets began to lose momentum. Soon, going to the farmers market began to feel like a chore. It wasn’t ‘cool’ anymore. Then I moved to London, and the only thing close to what I knew as ‘farmer’s market’ was Borough Market. I was fascinated by all the beautiful fruits and vegetables on offer. And I still am. Only that Borough Market is a completely different experience. And well… I can’t exactly go there for my weekly shopping. So back to Piata Obor in Bucharest, I was struck: mountains of fresh cherries, strawberries, tomatoes, green beans, yellow beans, peas in their pods, little gerkins, all the herbs and seasonal vegetables you can think of. All fresh from people’s gardens or small farms. And for a fraction of the price I’d pay anywhere in London. I wanted to get a bit of everything. I wanted to go home, with bags full of fruits and veg, and throw up a party. I wanted to spend a day or two at that market, talk to the farmers, talk to the customers and tell them how lucky they are. I felt like crying. Where did we – the western consumers – lost all of that? And most important: will we ever going to get it bak?
I left Piata Obor with a big bunch of lovage. I took it to London. And for almost a week now, I’ve been using it in everything I cooked: stews, broths, salads, pasta. Everything. To remind me of home. To remind me of our amazing farmers. Our humble markets. And of the simple joys of life.
Lovage pesto with lemon and pumpkin seeds is a play on the traditional basil pesto recipe. Lovage pesto can be used as a condiment for pasta, or as a dressing for summer salads.