My Food Fix in London, England: Borough Market

During my short visit to London, I knew I had to check out the famous Borough Market before I left. Let’s just say that if I lived in London and was extremely wealthy, I’d totally go to there every day (but maybe skip on weekends because it gets incredibly busy). I went on a Saturday morning which tends to be their busiest day, and I can confirm: it was indeed busy. Business aside, I still had a great time meandering through the different food stalls. Stalls range from not only fresh fruit and veg, meat, poultry, cheese (er my gawd the cheese), baked  goods, cured meats, and desserts and sweets, but also a variety of street food vendors.

As soon as I walked in, I was met by these amazing chunks of 24-30 month aged parmesan.

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I think I saw a cheese vendor around ever corner.
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Piles and piles of colourful turkish delight.

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And plenty of sweet baked goods too.
IMG_3528London in general can put a dent in your wallet (an all day tube pass cost me $24AUD!), and the Borough market is no exception. That said, you can totally get away with just trying free samples and feeling fairly satisfied. Most vendors offer free samples to lure in potential customers. Overall, I tried a few different types of sausage, burger meat, paella, so much cheese, salami and turkish delight all for free. Because of this, I ended up only needing to buy one dish. So, although it can get quite expensive, you can work your way around by being aggressive and pushing people out of the way when the food vendors bring out free tasters.

There was an amazing variety of different foods. If I had an extra day in London, I would totally come back to try a salt beef sandwich.

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There were plenty of Indian options too. Pictured below are vegetable fritters and samosas. IMG_3522

These mini coconut pancakes looked really interesting too. I think they were Thai kanom krok. They kind of look like Asian-Dutch pancakes, hey.IMG_3518

I recently went to Spain (after I visited the Borough market), so I have a particular soft spot for the moreish, carb-loaded dish and am currently drooling as I write this.
IMG_3500When I was walking around, I spotted quite a number of people chowing down on a delicious looking, giant bread roll filled with some sort of meat. From their expressions, I knew I had to find this beauty and after circling the market twice, I finally found it.

Hog roast roll

Succulent cubes of roasted hog meat served with fresh rocket and topped with a small handful of crispy crackling. The pork was really tender and well seasoned, and the rocket was a nice accompaniment to cut through the rich, fatty pork. Also, the soft sourdough bread acted as the perfect vehicle to soak up the pork juices (mmm pork juices). I thought some aioli and/or mustard would have been nice to add some tanginess, but overall it was really tasty. It was giant too, so it was extremely filling and well worth the £6.

Hog roast roll

It turns out I only took a photo of the whole hog on my phone, so I apologise for the camera quality. That said, the photo of the roll above is also from my phone and I think it looks amazing (not to toot my own phone or anything).

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Normally the market is open every Monday to Saturday, but in December, it’s open every day until Christmas eve. If you make it to London, I’d definitely recommend a stroll through Borough market, even if it is just to try the free samples!

Details for Borough Market

Opening hours:

Monday – Thursday

10:00am – 5:00pm

Friday

10:00am – 6:00pm

Saturday

8:00am – 5:00pm

Sunday

Closed

Address:

8 Southwark St, London SE1 1TL, UK

Mac and Cheese

Serves: 4-5

Time: 45 minutes


Cheese is probably my ultimate weakness, closely followed by pork, and then carbohydrates. So, what do you get when you add them all together? Absolute happiness.

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Ingredients:


 

  • 400g speck or bacon
  • 400g macaroni
  • 30g butter
  • 30g plain flour
  • 850ml milk, I added a bit of cream too as I had some left over
  • 2-3 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • 200g cheddar
  • 200g mozzarella, plus extra to sprinkle on top
  • 2 tsp tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp ground nutmeg

 Method:


 

1. Put a large pot on the boil for the pasta. Chop speck or bacon into small dice and pan fry until crispy. Reserve rendered fat if you’d like to add it to the mac and cheese.

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2. Make your roux. To do this, on a medium heat melt the butter in a saucepan and add the flour. Stir continuously until the flour is cooked through. This took me about 4-5 minutes. Then, add the chopped garlic and continue stirring for another 3-4 minutes.

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3. Once you’ve reached a nice golden colour in your roux, turn the heat down to low and slowly whisk in the milk. Let simmer for 5 minutes. Take off the heat, add the nutmeg, cayenne, salt and pepper (I love pepper so I like to add a lot), and the grated cheeses. I like to use 2 types of cheese; cheddar for taste, and mozzarella for the stringy, cheesy consistency.

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4. Cook the pasta in salted water for 2 minutes less than you normally would and add it to the cheese sauce. This is because we will continue to cook the mac and cheese in the oven to finish it off. Add the cooked speck and stir through.

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5. Spread onto a large tray and sprinkle over the remaining mozzarella. Bake at 200ºC for 10-15 minutes until the cheese melts and becomes golden brown in colour.

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I like to serve it with some roasted broccolini, mainly to convince myself of the balanced meal I’m about to eat, but also because there’s something about broccolini or even plain broccoli that goes so well with mac and cheese. I simply roasted them in the oven for 10 minutes with some salt, pepper and olive oil.

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Enjoy!