Monday, 8 September 2008

Blooming brilliant Borough (oh and brownies!)

Without wishing to come over all Eliza Doolittle on you (and no for once, I'm not going to subject you to videos of anyone singing All I want... I promise) I love Borough market, although my visits haven't been frequent, as I'm rarely up early enough on a weekend to really enjoy my time there, and I generally spend my time trying to spot people I'm with and not lose them. I also tend to feel a bit overwhelmed, as even for a self-confessed foodie, Borough hits you with it straight on the nose. Pigs head? Check. All manner of fish? Check. Mushrooms that cost per kilo about the same as my week's salary? Check. As I say a bit overwhelming, but this time I was going with someone who knew what they were doing. Or so I had been promised (accurately as it turned out) and so at 6am on Saturday morning, I found myself wrapping up against the cold to go and 'do' Borough properly. Like a foodie should. And I should apologise for the lack of photos, my charged and ready camera was just that, charged, ready and on my chest of drawers. Bugger.

Up at 6 and out of the house at 7 (ish... well it was a Saturday). From the rain the night before I had wondered if we were going to have to swim or take a dinghy, but the day dawned bright and sunny - if decided chilly. Autumn is definitely on it's way folks and I for one am happy about that. In the face of the UK refusing point blank to produce more than half a dozen proper summer days this year, I have decided to embrace autumn and be like Keats, celebrating in 'seasons of mists and mellow fruitfulness' and all that. You see, it's not just random musical theatre references and cupcakes you get here... we're cultured in the pantry too!

Where was I? Oh yes, Borough market. We made our way across London; for once I had remembered my hessian bags (although after looking around the early morning shoppers I am beginning to feel the 'need' for a basket of some description. Someone stop me now) and I was wrapped up in all manner of layers in an attempt to keep my back toasty warm. Just incase that failed I also had a small selection of my prescription medication in my bag. For once I was not missing out on this.

We started off with breakfast at Roast; I don't often post about eating out because it's not something I do that regularly. However, I'm prepared to make an exception in this case. Aside from the fact that my breakfast companion felt sorely neglected because I had my nose pressed (yes, literally) to the window overlooking the market, sighing happily over the vegetables, the lavender, the fish I could see... well anything really. I have to say that it is quite possibly up there as one of the best breakfasts I have ever eaten. I had (being a girly) the Tattie scone and fried egg, bacon and mushroom which was fabulous. The mushroom was so meaty, and the bacon tasty and crispy. My only (teeny, tiny) complaint would be that the tattie scone was very thin, maybe I'm a bit of a glutton, but I'm used to them (and expected this to be) a bit more substantial - although as I didn't finish my breakfast anyway I feel a bit of a fraud saying that. My companion for the day had The full Borough of which I *may* have pinched a sausage and a taste of black pudding. Verdict on the black pudding is that it's still like a slightly grainy, very meaty sausage and if I didn't know what was in it I would definitely shy away from it less. In actual fact I've decided to stop being a big fat girly about it and embrace the black pudding. Well not literally, because that would be a bit icky. Again, a lovely plate of food, and can I just ramble on about the tea. I'm not sure which tea we had but it was a delight to have proper (as in not bagged) tea. I drink a lot of tea, and yes PG Tips does feature heavily in my intake. But (and this is a big but) there is little better than proper tea, made with leaves in a pot. Heaven. I think I managed to make this stretch to three cups and was a very happy, full bunny, ready to take on whatever Borough had to throw at me.

We started off with vegetables, throwing the red beetroot that had been admired from afar, golden beetroot, banana shallots, leeks, mixed wild mushrooms, and possibly fennel into our basket with gay abandon. As always the freshness of the produce staggered me. Tomatoes that smelt of tomatoes (a huge bugbear of mine when they smell and taste of nothing), vegetables that looked like someone had just dug them up that morning, and an abundance of colours and smells that just seem to have been sanitised out of our regular shopping experience. There were lots of parents there with children in prams and pushchairs and instead of the ear-splitting tantrums that fill the supermarkets there genuinely seemed to be a lot of interested, if slightly quizzical children, who not unlike your author were quite awed at the range and variety of sights and smells. Restraining myself from declarations that I needed a coffee (I really didn't, but I find the smell of the Monmouth coffee impossible to ignore!) we continued to potter and fill our bags with kippers, salted fudge (really wonderful stuff even if it sounds all kinds of wrong), comte cheese (love this too much to be allowed to visit Borough regularly) more harrissa (yay!) Did I say figs? Figs, and of course... Brownies! On account of it not being Lent this time, I treated myself and my new flatmate to the Flour power bakery's finest produce which made a wonderful brunch with coffee yesterday. A potter off to the side of the market took us to Neal's Yard Dairy which I have never braved. Bolstered by my fabulous shopping partner's amazing confidence, and probably the big breakfast, we hopped in and were met by the incredibly helpful staff. Purchases included two types of Goats cheese (one significantly more strong, more goaty -?- than the other) some creme fraiche, clotted cream butter, bramble jelly as a gift for my mummy and some Scottish heather honey.

Our bags full, our purses and wallets empty (and one of us in need of a lie down and some strong meds) we headed back to the car. In all honesty I was overwhelmed by what we had bought and how much fun we had had. My cheeks were rosy from the chill, and the excitement that we still had to make our purchases into a lunch/ dinner hybrid (is there even a word for that? You have brunch but what for this.... linner? dinch? Hmm maybe I'll just say tea). I can honestly say I haven't had so much fun for a long time. Certainly since before the beginning of the summer.

In the next post... Galindafied pasta. Yes it's true, taking my inspiration from Laura at Hungry and Frozen... I've managed to weedle Wicked into a post... watch this space ;-)


hungryandfrozen said...

The market sounds so exciting :) and Hoorah for tomatoes that smell like tomatoes! Is it too much to ask?! lol. Looking forward to Galindafied pasta!!

Anonymous said...

Wow, sounds like you had a wonderful time. I went through a phase of visiting fairly regularly but haven't been for a while, you've really brought it to life though and made me want to go again.

bron said...

Seriously love Borough - do my weekly shop there and eat like royalty.

I write about it too - if you want a few ideas to explore on your own.



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