Archive for July 2007


Borough Market

July 23rd, 2007 — 9:33am

Borough market mushroom pile

Borough Market is food heaven. I can’t believe we didn’t get round to visiting sooner. It exceeded expectations. We tasted so many samples as we moved between stalls – all were delicious.

Borough market parmesan stall

The selection of cheeses on sale was awesome; a sharp, creamy caerphilly, a strong gorgonzola, the best parmesan I have ever tasted and a stunning selection of really mature creamy cheeses that, in the words of the seller, had, “a taste of the farmyard about them.”

Borough market Argentinian stall

It was tempting to buy a bit of everything but we decided to calm down by seeking out lunch as the smells wafting around the market were so mouthwatering. Still riding the wave of our recent “ultimate kebab” quest, we headed for a stall selling Greek food and ordered 2 lamb kebabs in flatbreads with tzatziki. The breads were perfect and the lamb juicy. My tzatziki has always been lacking a certain something (see previous post) but today I found the answer – dill. It was perfect. And the sun was out.

Borough market mushroom stall

We found these irresistible boxes of fungi; our mouths watering in anticipation of picking some up next week. We dreamed about classic mushrooms on toast and something perhaps with the more exotic meats on offer such as ostrich steak. I’ve only eaten it once before in South Africa and my memory is hazy.

Borough market chocolate stacks

The huge slabs of chocolate had crowds gathered around gawping and I made a mental note of the vibrant array of currants; red, white, black, they will all be delicious in my summer pudding – the first of the year. Next week is going to be a good one.

Anyway, enough about next week, what about today? I wanted to make one of my favourite salads, feta and watermelon. Now, I know what you are thinking, but I was making it way before Nigella made it famous (honest!) and mine is slightly different. Today, instead of the feta, we pick up some of the tangy Caerphilly and substitute that, which is wonderful. Much more exciting than the feta. I also add toasted pumpkin seeds to my version which I think adds wonderful texture and nuttiness.

Watermelon, Caerphilly & Pumpkin Seed Salad (Serves 2 with seconds)

1/4 large watermelon, seeds removed and cut into chunks
A wedge of Caerphilly (pictured below)
Handful pumpkin seeds, lightly toasted
Olive oil
Mint, leaves of 1 small bunch, chopped finely
1/2 average sized red onion, sliced thinly

- Combine the red onion with the melon and crumble in the Caerphilly.
- Mix the mint with enough olive oil so that it looks like a mint sauce and drizzle over the salad.
- Combine everything gently and garnish with the pumpkin seeds.

Caerphilly cheese

We ate the salad with strips of rare, rib-eye steak from our beloved butcher (yes, it is that good, it makes you snub the meat at Borough Market) which we cooked on the barbecue. We can’t wait to go back. I have my eye on those currants, some seared scallops for lunch, some ‘coconut drop cakes’, chocolate brownies, those mushrooms, oh dear…..

Steak with watermelon and caerphilly salad

1 comment » | Main Dishes, Markets, Meat, Salads

Beetroot with Cumin and Feta

July 17th, 2007 — 12:12pm

Beetroot and feta salad with summer prawns

We have been without gas now for a week. The weather is far too unsettled to rely on the barbecue and the ‘hot plate’ that they (the gas people) have given us in the meantime is not capable of boiling a pan of water. This is inconvenient as we received some glorious beets in our veg box this week and I have been itching to make a salad with them.

It occurs to me that this is one of the few times that a microwave may actually be useful and after peeling them and slicing them into thin rounds I plop them into water and let the evil machine do its job. They take around 15 minutes to cook this way, which surprises me as I expect it to just nuke everything in 10 seconds.

This makes a really earthy, sweet/sharp salad which I think will eat brilliantly come rain or shine and, let’s face it, we’ve had both most days this year.

Beetroot with Cumin and Feta

5 medium beetroot
½ a standard block of feta
½ teaspoon cumin seeds
Olive oil
Balsamic vinegar

- Peel and slice the beets into 1cm (ish) slices. Cook the beets in boiling water until just tender (or steam, which would probably be nicer).
- Allow the sliced beets to cool and spread on a serving plate.
- Drizzle with olive oil and balsamic vinegar and sprinkle over the cumin seeds.
- Crumble over the feta and serve.

Beetroot and feta salad

We eat the salad with one of my favourite prawn dishes – amended to include some extra veggies out of fear that they will be overlooked due to lack of gas. The original recipe is from Steven Raichlen’s ‘High -flavour Low-fat Italian Cooking’ and it is so scrumptious with some crusty bread and a green salad, it is one of those recipes that you keep coming back to again and again. I haven’t reproduced the recipe as printed as I haven’t used it for years. I basically made it as described here but with a bit more wine, some thinly sliced fennel, broad beans and the finely chopped fennel fronds.

Pan Fried Prawns

Around 14 raw tiger prawns, peeled and de-veined
White wine (a good splash)
A pinch of chilli flakes
3 fat cloves garlic, peeled and given a smash with something heavy
A handful flat leaf parsley, chopped
2 handfuls cherry tomatoes, halved
Olive oil

Prawns sizzling in the skillet

- Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a good, sturdy pan (I used my trusty cast iron skillet).
- Add the garlic cloves and fry over a high heat for a minute or so.
- Add the cherry tomato halves along with a pinch of chilli flakes until nicely seared.
- Add a good splash of white wine and allow to bubble for a minute before adding the prawns until cooked through.
- Add the parsley right at the end and serve immediately.

I think that it is essential to have some good, crusty bread to mop up those sumptuous juices – irresistible!

Beetroot Bunch

1 comment » | Fish, Main Dishes, Salads, Side Dishes

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