borough market

Exploring Borough Market, London

I was recently in London visiting my father. It was the hottest week of the summer reaching a “staggering” 34 degrees – which for me is certainly a more favourable temperature and I must say I was rather grateful. Usually my visits to England are during October after finishing the season working on yachts…not excactly my favourite time of year for the Northern Hemisphere. A visit to Borough Market was set to be the perfect activity for a hot summer’s day.

Market Day!

I was happy to be spending some quality time with my dad, BBQ-ing outside and slurping down several bottles of Pinot over a good chin-wag. We were discussing what I wanted to do while I was in London, and knowing that dad wouldn’t be keen to traipse around the busy (and melting) streets of London to “see the sights” – and to be honest, neither was I – I suggested Borough Market near London Bridge. Surprisingly my dad excitedly agreed. Probably because I had advertised it to him as an afternoon of food and wine tasting with promise of a lovely home cooked meal afterwards with our spoils from the market. Who can say no to that?

So off we trotted excitedly in search of some culinary delights. The tube was sweltering and by the time we made it to Borough market I’m sure my dad was already hounding for a cold glass of vino – I know I was! But, we were immediately distracted and drawn into what lay before us as we entered the market. A maze of stalls, you fight between your head and your stomach about which way to go, hoping you don’t miss out on something fabulous because “Ooh look – PFIFFERLINGE!” My father cried out with glee, like a child waking up to presents on Christmas morning. We hurried over to the fresh mushrooms at “Tartufaia” as if they were about to disappear like an oasis. I could see the German childhood memories flash before his eyes.

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Fungi and Truffles

Pfifferlinge (more commonly known as Chanterelles or even Girolles), are the trumpet shaped wild mushrooms found during the European Summer and Autumn months. Meaty in texture and rather strong in flavour, some might say slightly peppery and smokey. Absolutely delicious sautéed in butter with garlic and fresh thyme. They complement meats such as beef and pork, work well with rich creamy sauces and can even be used in a pasta dish. So we grabbed a few handfuls and added them to our menu for the following evening. We also sampled some truffle honey which was potent and to die for! But from 12 quid a jar, and me already having a suitcase that was 50 summer dresses overweight, I had to decline that one. I probably would’ve bought something from every stall if I had followed my heart and stomach. Ha! – and here’s me saying I have no self-control.

Finding inspiration

That night, I had planned on some seafood for dinner, so we picked up fresh Seabass from “Shellseekers Fish and Game”, I grabbed some Chermoula (a Moroccan spice rub) from “Spice Mountain”, and some veggies and herbs from the many beautiful fresh produce stalls. Just something quick and easy, but healthy and über delicious! I also got some yummy king prawns to have for a light lunch the following day.

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All that meandering through the beautiful produce of Borough Market was making us hungry. My dad was like a truffle pig searching for any little nibbles the vendors had available to sample! We were enticed by the delicious mushroom paté from “Paté Moi”, a secret family recipe made from organic mushrooms (man – we were really digging the mushrooms that day!). So we grabbed some freshly baked crusty olive bread from “Olivier’s Bakery” next door, to devour with the paté when we arrived home.

Hungry Hippos

By now we were both ravenous and sniffed our way to the street food stalls. They glowed with a certain angelic hue and I could’ve sworn I heard a choir singing in the background as we got closer. There was of course plenty to choose from so being sensible and not wanting food envy we checked them all out before making our decision. There was everything from Thai, vegan burgers, Indian street food, Middle Eastern delights, British pasties and pork pies, to North African dishes, Raclette, German Sausages and more. I went for some Phad Thai from “Khanom Krok”. I couldn’t resist the sizzling woks and it smelled soooo good! Dad of course went for the Bratwurst from the “German Deli” – his face once again lighting up with memories as a boy growing up in Berlin. Plus they had real German “senf”…so he was in his element.

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Wine O’clock

After stuffing our faces, we legged it to a little wine bar on the corner, “Bedales”, for a well-deserved pit stop. (There was that angelic choir again!). We sat outside and enjoyed a fabulous South African Chenin Blanc blend, nice and cold, and watched the world go by, gleaming over our treasures we had bought so far at Borough Market.

I thought that my dad would have had enough of me dragging him around through the hustle and bustle – on the contrary! He was raring to go, knowing there was more to explore – and the butchers to find. So we set off once again, with happy tummies and our wine level topped up. Hooray!

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We passed by endless stalls of beautiful cheeses – both French style and from local British farms. Stalls harbouring home-made gourmet products, marinated olives and other deli deligths, and plenty of the fresh produce kind. We circled back to “Northfield Farm Butchers” whom we’d spotted earlier, showcasing a mouth-watering selection of meats. Dad immediately had his eye on the beef fore rib and so did I! Aged on the bone for 3-4 weeks and a beautiful deep burgundy colour, we couldn’t resist. That, combined with the pfifferlinge and he was a happy man indeed!

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By then it was late in the afternoon and many of the stalls had started to close. So of course we went back for another glass of the Chenin Blanc and congratulated ourselves on a successful day 🙂

I’m pretty sure we didn’t even see all of it – there is so much on offer. But we thoroughly enjoyed it and were “well chuffed” with our treats we took home. I can highly recommend it to anyone visiting London, especially since it’s near several tourist landmarks. The website is great and gives you loads of information as well as some interesting articles and recipes www.boroughmarket.org.uk

Recipes from our delicious finds at Borough Market!

Forerib cooked

Roast Beef Fore Rib with Caramelised Onion, Pfifferlinge and Thyme

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Lemon and Chermoula Grilled Seabass with sautéed fennel and smashed aubergine with tomato and coriander

Chermoula Prawns

Chermoula Garlic Prawns with Tomato and Avocado Salsa

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