Thursday, August 28, 2008

More Markets

Markets, cherries, shark, tuffles : )
Borough Markets, London; cherries; yes indeed you are looking at a shark; an open bowl of truffles, the temptation!

As promised here are the rest of the photos from London's renowned Borough Market's. There's a lot of things to catch your eye and it is quite simply a feast for the senses. As some of you have commented, these markets are a little pricey, but the great thing is, it doesn't cost anything to look around and try a few samples. Perfect snacking for poor tourists.

Aside from the markets, there are a few cafes and shops just on its outskirts that are worth a look. I didn't really get a good chance to have a proper gander through them all but we did happen to stumble across a great little coffee shop called Monmouth Coffee.

It's quite a rustic little cafe with a wooden communal table filled with all manner of bread, jams and breakfast condiments and an array of pastries on a adjacent table. The coffee was fairly cheap, about £2 and I don't normally drink coffee, as I'm caffeine sensitive, but GT seemed to give it two great big thumbs up. You know the kind that comes with a cheesy grin. Considering I didn't writhe in disgust as I normally do when I have coffee that's been burned, this place is a absolute winner. And if the queue is any indication of how good the coffee is, well, the line snakes all the way outside and around the corner in the mornings, so be prepared to wait for good coffee. But the great thing is that they are quite efficient and you actually don't wait for too long. Let's just say it's a welcome departure from the ubiquitous franchise coffee shops that seem to overrun London. We did also have the chocolate truffles from Monmouth, wow were they incredible.

Aside from Monmouth, the equally famed Neal's Yard Dairy is just around the corner from the cafe and it is definitely worth going into the shop. From what I have read it seems like Neal's Yard was started by the same people responsible for Monmouth, so you know that the have a deep affinity with food and are interest in making good food.

Berries and mushrooms
Berries were the flavour of the month and in every corner you look there they were, here are blackberries, blueberries and redcurrants; and more mushies

Fresh food and beer
Fresh food is always plentiful at BM, fresh snapper, artichokes, and all manner of green beans; also an interesting find at the beer place- black chocolate stout

Pies, chillies and cute dog
Nuts and dried fruit; dried chillies hanging at the Spanish shop; cute Scottish dog; Beef bourguignon

Focaccia, Sausages, Mushrooms, Shortbread owls
All flavours of focaccia; French charcuterie display; shortbread owls; and yet again more mushrooms, this time Giroles from Poland for £10

Mushrooms again, empty bottles, and sausages
Yes, I do love taking photographs of mushrooms, here are some oyster mushies; L'Aventure lets you fill empty bottles with your choice of wine or olive oils, I can't actually remember; more mushrooms and more sausages

purple artichokes, turkish delights, lavender
Striking aubergine-coloured artichokes; turkish delights and a box of lavender

Well I hope this trip to markets has been a satisfying peek into the food culture of London. Much like you, I'm just discovering it for myself. I have noticed in general that Londoners love their sandwiches. I've never been anywhere, where there a several pre-made sandwich bars all metres away from each other. I guess the convenience is the main attraction, especially for those who have tight lunch breaks. But I must admit although sandwiches to me are a little blah, they are a much better and healthier option than say, Burger King or McDonald's if you need something in a hurry.

So that's all for now, I have a whole stack of dishes I made in Sydney that I haven't had time to post, so there's no doubt you will be seeing them in the next few weeks.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

New town, new look

beautiful blue vein cheese

Bet you were wondering if I actually got to London did you? Yes, I did arrive safely and surprisingly not at all jet-lagged. I must attribute the lack of jet-lag to the many years of doing shift work, I've been able to throw my body clock out the window, and who needs one anyway it never did me any good.

Aside from wondering where this blogger has been for the last couple of weeks, you will probably be wondering why this blog has been left in a state of limbo. Well to be frank, I haven't felt like blogging since I got to London. Actually I haven't felt like doing a lot of the things I am normally in the habit of doing back in Sydney. Take one for example of my many vices- sleeping in, well I haven't had a sleep in since I got here and it's not because I have a job to go to, it's because I instinctively get up at around 8 am every morning. It's quite peculiar seeing as snoozing until just before midday wa
s my thing, it was the thing I was known for and the thing that made me, me. So what's happened to me?

Vine tomatoes, cheese, cheese and bread
Cheery red vine tomatoes, gigantic wheels of Parmigiano Reggiano and lots of artisan breads

Being in this (northern) hemisphere must have turned things upside down as I also don't get my usual cravings for sugar. Now I'm all about savoury things, that's all I want to eat. Which isn't such a bad thing when there's always lots of beer to wash down the food, but when I walk by glass casements filled with beautiful pastries, my heart skips a beat but my stomach doesn't even jump.

In order to somewhat alleviate this effect from the change of hemisphere, we decided to head down to the famed Borough Markets just south east of London. The great thing about these markets is that it's open Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays, and unlike the Grower's Market in Sydney, which is once a month and starts at the crack of dawn, the earliest it opens on a Saturday is 9 am, which in my opinion is a much more reasonable hour and goes on until 4pm. So there's plenty of time to sleep in on a Saturday and turn up around midday for some lunch.

I won't go into too much detail about the markets as I think the photographs tell a better story, but I will say one thing, I do love a market that has a stall with every type of beer imaginable. Mmmmmm, although didn't find any Duff Beer.

Richard Howard's oysters and clams
Richard Howard Oysters, gigantic oysters and clams with a splash of lemon juice and red wine vinaigrette for £1.70 each. GT gulped them down too quickly for me to take a photo but apparently were very delicious, although it took a while to get the fishy taste out of his mouth.

Fagots, mushrooms and olives
Had a slight chuckle at the sausages after I was told they were an acquired taste; buckets of olives and a stall selling an array of mushrooms.

Chocolate!! and more mushies
I nearly fell over when we came across this stall displaying huge chunks of dark, milk and white chocolate, I tried to sneak in a bite but couldn't muster up the courage; more mushrooms the black ones are trumpettes, and quite the price.

Lavender, pumpkin, strawberries, ham
Beautiful bunches of lavender; pumpkins; strawberries and gorgeous Spanish ham hanging from the rafters.

pork leg, flourless chocolate cake tower, beer!
A little laneway to escape the crowds; a leg of pork; to my delight a tower of flourless chocolate cake- they were giving out free samples so I indulged in a couple; this is the stall that sold every kind of beer you can imagine, it's awesome.

So there you have it a little sneak peek into what I have been up to in London for the past two weeks. We did the tourist thing and visit all the attractions, I might post a few of those later on. Stay tuned for part 2 of pictures from Borough Markets, and don't worry I won't take as long as I did before.

And as you might have noticed M&C has a new and slightly improved banner.
I thought, since I'm in a new place, the blog needs a new look. Granted the look hasn't changed much, but hey who would ever turn down a make-over? I know Ricki Lake guests that would be banging down doors to get one.

Borough Markets
8 Southwark St
London, SE1 1TL
PHONE: +44 (0) 20 7407 1002

Thursday 11am - 5pm
Friday 12pm - 6pm
Saturday 9am - 4pm

Nearest Tube: London Bridge Station

Monday, August 11, 2008

On My Way

Off I go!

I guess there isn't much to say other than, Goodbye! I'm off on a jet plane en route to London tomorrow via Kuala Lumpur. So exciting!

So really, it's not completely and utterly good bye, but just a farewell to good old Sydney. I'll sure miss her sunny days, resplendent turquoise beaches and great seafood, seeing as there probably won't be much of two of those three things I just mentioned in the UK. I just had a look at the weather forecast in London for the next couple of days and it looks bleak all round. Just my luck, thanks England, you're living up to your reputation. Glad I'm packing the umbrella.

Bound for the UK

So I guess, it's so long for now, the next time I'll be seeing you is in London-town and I hope you'll be following my adventures up in the other hemisphere.