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My Market Rules

Sunday 3rd August 2014

I get to do some pretty cool stuff in the name of #edibleadventures research (check out the hashtag on insty for pics) but eating is probably my favourite. Which is why an invitation to judge the first “My Market Rules”: Pear-edition was met with utter delight.

Each market hosted its own heat under the watchful eye of Vikki Leng, with two traders going head-to-head, cooking their best pear-based recipe. Of these, the top 3 were chosen to determine which Melbourne market had the best… pear.

As a market trader, food is life – which made judging these three dishes extremely difficult.

Tony Pham’s Australian pear salad with crispy tiger prawns was fresh and zingy and perfect for summer. Rhonda Tannous’ use of pomegranate molasses and spiced yoghurt with her poached pear was just divine. But it was Naheda Hassan’s blue cheese and ricotta cream that took her poached pear to the next level, nabbing the prize and keeping the trophy on home-ground at Prahran.

Here’s the recipe for the dish that I simply couldn’t go past – perfect for your next dinner party.


Poached Pears, Ricotta & Blue Cheese Cream & Pistachios

(serves 4)


2 cups shiraz
1 cup water
2 cups sugar
10 cloves
2 cinnamon sticks
4 small – medium ripe pears

Ricotta & Blue Cheese Cream:

500g ricotta
4 tbs honey (see Tip)
50g blue cheese (see Tip)
Zest of ½ lemon
Finely chopped pistachios (see Tip)

To poach pears:

Place Shiraz, water, sugar, cloves and cinnamon sticks in a medium-sized saucepan. Bring to boil, stirring occasionally until sugar has dissolved.

Peel pears and, leaving pears whole, remove cores (optional).

Add pears to syrup and bring to boil. Reduce heat and cook pears gently until tender, about 15 minutes. Remove pears and set aside to cool. Return syrup to boil and cook until reduced and slightly thickened. Remove from heat and set aside to cool.

Meanwhile, prepare Ricotta & Blue Cheese Cream: Using a stick blender, combine ricotta, honey, blue cheese and lemon zest until smooth.

To serve: Place a thick strip of Ricotta & Blue Cheese Cream on each serving plate and place a thin strip of chopped pistachios on top. Arrange one pear alongside, carefully spoon a little syrup over each pear and serve at once.


Use less honey if desired.

Naheda recommends using an extra creamy Danish blue for this recipe. If using Gorgonzola, only use half the amount to prevent overpowering other flavours.
Try using different nuts such as walnuts or hazelnuts.

Well done to all of the traders that were involved – it takes serious courage to put your food out there for judging (trust me, I’ve been there). Thanks for making my job so easy and the decision so hard. For the full recipes, head to

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