Thursday, April 13, 2017

Top Ryde City :: Your one-stop-shop for fresh produce

Despite the rise of home delivery and online shopping, I hope grocery shopping doesn’t become a forgotten pastime. Online shopping can’t replace buying fresh produce from a store, nor does it give you a holistic overview of what produce is in season.

I prefer to cook my own dinners from time to time, instead of going out or getting takeaway. Cooking to me is a mindful practice that is relaxing and also a healthier eating option because you know exactly what goes into the food you prepare. Sometimes I look at recipes and think, “OK I’m going to shop for these ingredients”, but most of the time I walk into a store that sells fresh produce, gauge what’s fresh and in season, and immediately I have a rough idea of what I’m going to make for dinner.

I recently headed to Top Ryde City shopping centre in Sydney’s North West to get my groceries for the week. I visited a greengrocer called Golden Banana, JC Chicken, Top Ryde Baker's House and a florist called Wild Rose. The produce in these stores was all fresh and seasonal.

Golden Banana was my favourite as the store has an excellent range of fruit and vegetables, in particular, they stocked Asian greens that I have not seen in supermarkets. Golden Banana also sold the rare South American achacha fruit from North Queensland, which tastes like a slightly more tangy version of a lychee.

Not only does Golden Banana sell fresh fruit and vegetables, they also stock other gourmet consumables like fresh eggs, homemade guacamole, pasta, rices, cured meats too. Golden Banana has just about everything you need to prepare a nice meal at home.

JC Chicken is the place to go to if you want fresh chicken. They sell everything from whole chickens to chicken pieces. For a time-saving option, you can also purchase pre-prepared chicken schnitzels (chicken schnitzels are my favourite and I love the plain breadcrumbed variety as well as herbed breadcrumbed schnitzels). They stock chicken sausages which are perfect for weekend barbeques and chicken skewers marinated in a honey and soy flavour or satay sauce.

Top Ryde Baker’s House offers everything from freshly baked bread rolls to bread loaves that are the perfect dinner accompaniment. They also have a great selection of cakes and pastries for dessert.

On the same floor as JC Chicken, there is a florist called Wild Rose. Wild Rose sells beautiful, fresh flowers. I love having flowers in my home for no special reason other than the fact that they brighten up the space.

Here are some ideas for cooking up a healthy weeknight dinner using some of the fresh produce I bought at Top Ryde City.

1. Nori rolls

I made a few brown-rice nori rolls with chicken, carrot and cucumber and tamari dressing. Japanese style nori rolls were one of the first things my mum taught me to make when I was a kid. Since then, I’ve modified my mum's original recipe by using brown rice instead of sushi rice.

All you need for this recipe are some nori sheets, rolling bamboo, carrots, a Lebanese cucumber and grilled chicken pieces (I marinated them with salt, pepper and turmeric then fried them in a pan with fresh curry leaves).

Tamari dressing is easy to make. Just use tamari soy sauce as a base, add a teaspoon of lemon and a teaspoon of tahini. I got the chicken pieces from JC Chicken and all the vegetables from Golden Banana and flowers from Wild Rose. 

2. Chicken stir fry

Another weeknight favourite is stir fried egg noodles with turmeric chicken, Asian greens and chilli. This is an easy recipe to make using Chinese cabbage, baby bok choy, snake beans, chilli, egg noodles and grilled chicken seasoned with turmeric, salt and pepper.

Cook the egg noodles (according to the packet instructions), blanch the greens, and grill the chicken separately. Then, simply stir fry all the ingredients together in a wok on a high heat. There should be enough left overs for lunch the following day! All vegetables are from Golden Banana, and chicken strips are from JC Chicken.


3. Herb crusted chicken
Herb crusted chicken with achacha and root vegetable salad is an easy yet delicious dish. You can buy ready-made crumbed chicken from JC Chicken—simply just fry it in a pan and you’re done! I made a root vegetable salad using orange and purple carrots, radishes, capsicum, corn and lettuce. For a little sweetness, I added the flesh of the achacha fruits.

I also like to have homemade guacamole on the side to complement the crumbed chicken. The salad and guacamole are sourced from ingredients from Golden Banana at Top Ryde City. The fresh flowers are from Wild Rose at Top Ryde City.

Getting there

Driving to Top Ryde City shopping centre is the best way to get there, particularly if you are buying a lot of groceries. As a tip, parking is a lot easier if you go early in the morning.

If you want more information on alternative transport, opening times and Top Ryde City retailers, check out the Top Ryde City
This blog post is sponsored by Top Ryde City.

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