Maltby Market & Spa Terminus

I visited Maltby Market and Spa Terminus for the first time just before Christmas. I arrived there in time for lunch after enjoying coffee and croissants in Borough Market. The close proximity of the two markets make them ideal for merging breakfast into lunch.

While that may be so, they are no way in competition. Maltby is smaller yes, but still maintains an element of surprise which Borough does so effortlessly with its nooks and crannies. The characterful arches in Maltby have a lot to do with this. You see, Maltby Market is perfectly placed on Ropewalk, close to an area known as Spa Terminus: a series of railway arches which allows food businesses to operate with the comfort of long-term tenure. They operate as wholesale traders during the week but at the weekend, swing their doors open to the public. The area is deeply rooted in food production which makes it great to see a full market operating and feeding off that established energy.

I feel I have many visits ahead of me before I feel fully au fait with Maltby and Spa Terminus. That is what is so intriguing about it all: this air of mystery. Is it a market? Are they the same or two separate things? Or is it a market showcasing the produce in the area? I’m not sure, but the not knowing keeps me coming back.

Market Heroes

The Cheese truck

Like many other living and breathing humans, I find the sight of a toasted cheese sandwich hard to resist. Even though the toasted cheese sandwich is becoming a bit of a commodity in itself, with a toastie café having just opened in Soho, these guys are one of the originals.

St John Bread and Wine

The Maltby branch of St John is housed in one of the quaint arches which makes for a relaxing sit down after battling the market crowds outside. Justin Gellatly of Bread Ahead was previously Head Baker and Pastry chef here, so you might find you recognise those doughnuts famous for their pastel hues and air-like consistency.

Little Bird Gin

There is just something so cheerful about this little arch that really sends my Saturday into a swing. Even on the cold December day of my first visit I was drawn to the warm ambience at this cute gin bar. The spirit itself is made in small batches locally in South London, drawing on grapefruit and orange botanicals. The kitsch menu features such wonders as Rhubarb Robin Negroni and the Early Bird Breakfast Martini, should the mood strike you before noon.

Monty’s Deli

Mark, of Monty’s Deli guards the secret recipe of his delectable sandwiches very closely. The food is described as ‘Jewish soul food’ and a lunch break here will soothe your soul and cradle your very being. The bagels, the salt beef, the mustard-everything, is all produced by hand. A real honest to goodness sandwich.

 

Maltby Street Market

LASSCO Ropewalk

41 Maltby Street,

London,

SE1 3PA

 

Spa Terminus

Dockley Road Industrial Estate,

Dockley Rd,

London ,

SE16 3SF

Brockley Market

A friend had been inviting me to come to a Saturday market near her and I finally took her up on the offer. Perched in the leafy square of Lewisham College car park is Brockley Market. Despite the day being bitterly cold, it didn’t dampen the spirit among producers and traders. Crowds of eager market goers arrived in their droves ready to bag their weekly groceries or simply indulge in a beautiful lunch from one of the many street food stalls.

The market was set up by photogropher Toby Allen who was frustrated by the limited selection of fresh produce in the area. He saw potential for a market in the car park and decided to go about setting one up. And so Brockley Market was born, the shortage of fresh ingredients was no more and all were happy. The Brockley dream continues each Saturday 10-2.

Market Heroes

Mons Cheesemongers

Carefully selected cheeses from France and Switzerland, Mons trades at several markets around London, as well as supplying cheese to shops and restaurants.

Kooky Bakes

My friend was particularly excited to show me the wonders of the Kooky Bake, and I must say, it made my Saturday. Kooky these bakes are, from peanut butter and jelly cupcakes to a s’mores brownie. You’ll need to sit down after this one.

Saltwood Fish Bar

After quite a bit of pacing around, I decided to settle on lunch from here. I was in a decidedly savoury mood and was sold by the thought of polenta crusted Pescado Frito. This is a dish I could happily put on my long list of possible last meals.

Brockley Market

Lewisham College Carpark,

Lewisham Way, Brockley SE4 1UT

Twitter

Instagram

 

Borough market

I am unashamedly enthusiastic about Borough Market. Sure, it might get more than a little busy, but where doesn’t in London? It is, and always will be, everything that I want in a market.

The origins of Borough go as far back as the eleventh century, before being abolished by parliament in 1755. The perseverance of the local Southwark community could not be quashed though, and they raised £6,000 to buy an area of land known locally as ‘The Triangle’. This is the site where you can visit Borough Market today.

The local spirit that brought Borough Market back to life can still be seen and felt in the its ethos today. Operating as a charitable trust, the market is run by a board of trustees and constantly strives to give back to the community which so adores it. The regular series of educational events marks its place as not only a food market, but a place of food education and a space in which to discuss and share ideas. The popular demo kitchen events engage and encourage participation, while the traders themselves are always on hand for a chat and culinary advice.

So yes, Borough Market might be busy, but it has got heart and an honesty often hard to find in a city where trends are king.

 

Market Heroes

Spice Mountain

My, my, where to start with this Aladdin’s cave of treasures? Many a cooking project has begun for me in Spice Mountain. Be not fooled by the name, as this store has so much more than spices: from dried herbs and freeze dried fruit powders to lentils. The staff, as well as fellow shoppers, are beyond helpful with recipe tips and advice. In fact, it’s not unusual to have your entire week’s menu planned while waiting in line to pay. Go, impart, receive and enjoy!

The Parma Ham and Mozzarella Stand

I dream about the smoked mozzarella I buy here. Unlike some, it retains the soft succulence of its unsmoked counterpart. I’m always comforted my small menus as it usually means the few things on offer have been devoted every care and attention; the same is true here. The Parma Ham and Mozzarella stand literally does what it says on the tin, and it does it very well.

De Calabria

I first fell in love with the olive oil, closely followed by what has now fondly become known in my house as “that crack cocaine tomato thing”. Yes, you’ve guessed it, this “tomato thing” is a highly addictive tomato condiment consisting of a hypnotic mix of chilli flakes, fennel seeds, wild oregano, sun-dried tomatoes and that olive oil. It goes exceedingly well with the smoked mozzarella above.

 

Borough Cheese Company

I have tried a lot of cheese at markets and one of my favourites is comté. Borough offers quite a lot of this hard, cows milk cheese and having tried them all, I have pledged loyalty to this one. Sometimes I surprise the taste buds with a sample from a rival, but one taste of this makes me forget why I doubted.

Olivier’s Bakery

The thought of one of their sugar dusted-crisp on the outside but soft on the inside-almond croissants is enough to get me through even the most challenging week. I positively jump out of bed every Saturday with anticipation of the glorious first bite. This theme continues with Olivier’s range of pastries and bread.

Horn OK Please

This delicious Indian street food is a refreshing burst of lightness perched amongst rows of burgers and other carnivorous things. The dosa is a firm favourite and makes battling the lunchtime crowds worthwhile.

Turnips

Come for the displays, and leave with a heavy bag. Turnips is the place to come to remind you why you really should, in fact, eat your greens. From the common house apple to a less domestic papaya, you’ll be sure to come across it in here. On my first couple of visits, I couldn’t imagine actually buying items here as it has a sort of novel aspect. However, as time has gone on, I find myself popping in here more and more for specific things I know I won’t find elsewhere.

 

I could go on. But like Borough itself, it is a topic worth revisiting.

 

 

Borough Market

8 Southwark Street,

London, SE1 1TL

Triple Garlic Lasagne

Over the weekend I was working on a project that turned into a whole lot of fun. April 19th is National Garlic Day and as such, the perfect excuse to delve into some garlic experimenting, pungent enough to deter even the most adamant vampire. With wild garlic season in full swing, I have been itching to find new ways to use these fragrant leaves. Something that kept coming back to me was the idea of a wild garlic lasagne; the combination of the garlic with sweet tomato passata, layered with silky pasta seems somewhat godly to me. With a task at hand, I had the perfect excuse to get testing!!

The idea of a ‘vegetarian lasagne’ never sits easily with me. What does that even mean? What kind of vegetable? Be more specific! With this recipe, I wanted it to escape this dreary description and simply be a celebration of an ingredient that isn’t meat. Instead of focusing only on wild garlic, I decided to embrace National Garlic Day whole heartedly and make this oft unexciting dish, a celebration of garlic in several of its guises. With that, Triple Garlic Lasagne was born!

This decadent take on the Italian classic makes the most of the humble bulb, transforming it from sidekick to star. The recipe layers the flavours of three garlic varieties so that every mouthful is a revelation. The béchamel and passata are infused with smoked garlic, while the mushroom layer gets an umami kick from the balsamic notes of black garlic. Taking it all to a new garlic height is a layer of luscious wild garlic pesto. If that isn’t enough excitement, the whole affair is sealed with a layer of smoked mozzarella.

You are welcome.

Ingredients (for 4)

3 cloves of black garlic (I use South West Garlic Farm)

2 cloves of smoked garlic

6 layers of fresh lasagne sheets

300ml smoked garlic infused béchamel sauce (make a basic béchamel sauce, adding 6 whole, unpeeled cloves of smoke garlic. They will add a subtle smokiness to your sauce)

150g smoked mozzarella

100g wild garlic pesto (make as you would basil pesto, reducing the amount of garlic cloves to 1)

450g chestnut mushrooms

Handful of chopped parsley

500ml Isle of Wight Tomato Passata

50g grated parmesan for the top

1tbsp toasted pine nuts

You Will Need

Oven-proof dish, olive oil, agave syrup/sugar, salt and pepper.

Method: 

1 Preheat the oven to 200°C/ 180°C (fan)/ 400°F/ Gas 6

Peel and chop 2 cloves of smoked garlic

2 Heat a medium sized pan with 2 tablespoons of olive oil over a medium heat

Add the smoked garlic to the pan when hot

Allow the garlic to come to a ‘dance’ (never a tango!)

Add the passata and a squeeze of agave to the pan, turning the heat down. Cover and allow to reduce while you prepare the rest. Taste after a few minutes. Season

3 Peel and chop the 3 cloves of black garlic

Wash and slice the mushrooms. Set aside

Heat a medium sized pan with 2 tablespoons of olive oil over a medium heat and add the black garlic when hot. Simmer for 1 minute

Add your mushrooms, a handful of chopped parsley and stir every so often until browned nicely. Set aside

4 Now to assemble the lasagne!

Lather the bottom of the baking dish with some passata and a few dollops of pesto

Layer 2 lasagne sheets on top

Top with a third of the passata, mushrooms and pesto.

Repeat until you have 3 layers (I like to sneak a few torn pieces of smoked mozzarella in the middle layer to increase the euphoria!)

5 Pour the béchamel over the top, sprinkle with the grated parmesan, and top with the rest of the smoked mozzarella

Finish with a grind of pepper

6 Put the dish in the oven for 35-40 minutes or until the top is browned and bubbling

Allow to cool before serving

Top with the toasted pine nuts and your best looking wild garlic leaf to up that Instagram factor, if that’s what you’re after. Either way, enjoy!

Triple Garlic Lasagne

The Bath Soft Cheese Co.

A permanent presence at Borough Market, and my local Islington farmer’s market, the Bath Soft Cheese Company are a stall to behold. They keep things simple, boasting four varieties of very, very good (all organic) cheese. At markets as big as Borough, it’s easy to be overwhelmed (or satiated) by the amount of cheese on offer; from Swiss to French, the options are indeed endless. Though cheese, in all its forms are a welcome sight, there is something charming about the minimalism of the Bath Soft Cheese display. Here, you will not find elaborate stacks and gaudy signage, but rather neat rows of the goods themselves. At Bath Soft Cheese, the cheese speaks for itself.

 

The Padfield family have run their farm in Somerset for three generations, with the cheese being made in the same buildings where Lillian Padfield made cheese at the turn of the twentieth century. The original recipe for Bath soft cheese dates back to  the beginning of the nineteenth century, where it was even coveted by Admiral Lord Nelson himself. It certainly has all the marks of a small, family run business, fuelled by a passion for their product. I ask Laurence, their market trader at my local farmer’s market in Islington,  what her favourite thing about the cheese is: “It is made with love”, she remarks in her musical French lilt. It is the family’s clear love for what they do, that makes the cheese the excellent product it is. And it’s true; often my best kitchen exports are those made when feeling relaxed and in a ‘dash of this, pinch of that’ type mood. It is when I am flustered and anxious to impress, that the food often disappoints. A friend told me once that in certain sombre moods, her bread making expeditions result in a flat loaf. Once the bread rises again, she knows the cloud has passed. I don’t think we can underestimate the effect we can have on the food we make. At Bath Soft Cheese the theory rings true.

But now, the cheese itself:

Bath Soft

The cheese which lends its name to the entire affair is one of the creamiest, silkiest brie-like cheeses, I have ever tasted. This square piece of heaven is hugged protectively by a white rind, which when cut, reveals the heavenly mess inside.

I like to simply enjoy this cheese with some good, crispy baguette, some crunchy greens and a tomato or two.

 

Kelston Park

A larger version of Bath Soft, its round shape makes it suitable to cut into wedges. Named after the parks where the Bath Soft Cheese herds graze, this version is a smooth and creamy delight. The longer ripening process serves to intensify the flavours, and therefore heighten its euphoric potential.

I have witnessed many an amicable pairing of this soft cheese with figs, grapes or any seasonal fruit of your fancy.

Wyfe of Bath

Taking its name from Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales, this gouda-like cheese is both creamy and nutty. It’s also suitable for vegetarians.

A semi-hard cheese, it is delectable with some sweet relish or a punchy, onion chutney; let your taste-buds lead the way.

Wyfe of Bath 2

Bath Blue

Ah Bath Blue; the cheese on permanent residency in my kitchen. I have a weak spot for blue cheese, and this to me, is the perfect one. It reaches those creamy depths but still manages to peak  into stilton-esque territory. ,

I dare you not to nibble this one in greedy intervals, standing at the fridge. If you do get as far as sitting position, suitably armed with eating utensils, I love it on some warm brown bread, with Isle of Wight Oak Smoked Tomatoes. You are welcome.

The Bath Soft Cheese Company offers tours of their dairy, where you will also find their beautiful cafe and cheese shop. They can be found at Borough Market and many of the London Farmers Markets. Their full list of retailers can be found on their website.

Isle of Wight Tomatoes: The Tomato Stall

I remember the first time I bought some Isle of Wight tomatoes at my local farmers market in Islington. I had noticed them before at Borough Market, but hadn’t actually tried anything.”What’s so special about these tomatoes I keep seeing?” “Try one”, came the simple reply from the stall holder.  I haven’t looked back.

 

These tomatoes are seriously good. They are sweet and succulent, and have the power to transform even the blandest salad into something tasty and refreshing. The Tomato Stall has been around since 2007 and has grown hugely over this time, now stocking in several stores and restaurants in London and the UK, including the iconic Fortnum & Mason. Yet despite this,  The Tomato Stall has not lost it’s small-scale charm, remaining a familiar sight at markets in London and beyond.

The dedicated team on the Isle of Wight grow over 40 varieties every year, but not before trialling 200 in a quest for taste perfection. That’s a lot of tomatoes! They are at the top of the tomato game and luckily for us, they decided to launch a range of tomato inspired products too, including Oak Roasted Tomato Infused Balsamic, Organic Isle of Wight Tomato Ketchup and the incredible Isle of Wight Tomatoes Oak Roasted with Sunflower Oil, the mere thought of which has me reaching to the cupboard. The entire range is completely free from additives and preservatives; indeed why alter something so naturally perfect?

 

For quality, sustainability and sheer flavour, we expect to pay a little more, and yes IOW tomatoes are a little more expensive than the average tomato. In these times of frugality, many people hesitate at paying more for a product they could buy more cheaply, dare I say, in the supermarket. Curious to embark on a little experiment one Sunday at the farmers market, I decided to forego my beloved IOW tomato haul and buy some from a neighbouring stall. Were they cheaper? Yes. Superior? No! Nor was I eating them with the same abandon throughout the week. Not only do the IOW tomatoes perk up many a work day lunch, they make regular starring appearances at dinner time, whether charred and perched atop grilled chicken or made into a delicious sauce to lather through some spaghetti. Their quality and taste is incomparable and absolutely worth the extra spend. I haven’t bought my tomatoes anywhere else since!

 

Although their main season runs from March-November, a small amount are available all year round online, from their market stalls and selected stockists. Have a look at their website to find out where you can buy your IOW tomatoes, and be sure to check out their excellent recipes, including “The Ultimate Bloody Mary”! 

 

 

Butternut des Enfants Rouges

Little did I realise that Wednesday 11th is Armistice Day in France and therefore a National Holiday. Thankfully the markets remain open and I avoid having to make a very sorry visit to Monoprix. I creep out early in the morning to a very sleepy Paris, for a run to Marche Monge: two birds and all that. It is a perfect winter morning; an icy blue sky allows the piercing sun to dart off the sheen on the deserted streets.

Marche Monge, running since 1921, is right in the heart of the Latin Quartier in the 5th Arrondissement. The market itself is on a charming square, aptly enough named Place Monge. There are roughly forty stalls scattered around a painfully cute fountain, that could seduce even the most hardened supermarket heart.

I reach the market pretty quickly; quickly, given that I stop more times than I wish to admit, to press my nose against a boulangerie window. I make many trips around the small square, admiring and tasting, including a delicious, thick galette filled with spinach and swiss cheese. Clem, although Breton, is not a fan of seafood so I decide to shelve experimenting with fish on this trip, although this does not stop me stopping to take in the awe-inducing sights of the fishmonger displays. The vegetables are particularly luscious at this market so I decide to stock up on some gorgeous bright greens, radishes and spring onions which will form the basis of salads with dinner over the next few days.

Every market I encounter features at least one stall with AB (Agriculture Biologique) certification, which means that the products are 100% organic (or at least 95% in the case of processed goods). I make my purchases, enjoy a café crème and croissant and make for home.

With only salad so far for dinner, I return to the apartment to drop the food and quickly change for the second and oldest covered market in Paris: Marche des Enfants Rouges. I must say, I had heard a lot about this market and having missed it on other trips, I was looking forward to it. The name, ‘Market of the Red Children’ (or something to that effect) comes from the orphanage which was located on this site during the 16th Century, in which the children all wore red clothes which were donated by Christian charities. Today it’s a much less sombre affair, with a myriad of aromas floating through the air from the cocktail of international food stalls.

image

image

The mixture of Lebanese and Moroccan spices get me thinking about dinner and my mind starts to conjure up some ideas. I pick out a substantial looking butternut squash, some plump, juicy prunes and crunchy blanched almonds. With my flavour thesaurus, I set my mind to work over lunch. My mind wanders to Clem’s kitchen where I mentally check what appliances I’ll have at my disposal. A quick text confirms my fear: no oven. This sends a little shiver down my spine as I am a person who struggles to cut a butternut squash even after it has been in the oven a little while. But, as I say to Clem, this is a good thing; it means more of a challenge. Gulp.

P1000322

I stare into the microwave, as I watch the butternut squash do the rounds (don’t worry, I pierced it several times). It seems to do the trick and I slice it in half, lengthways to reveal the succulent, orange flesh. I cut it up into cubes and toss into a pan of hot water to boil for a mere three minutes. I decide to plump up the Moroccan factor with some couscous, which I start to cook at this point. I must add that I have decided to include cheese in each market haul; it would seem wholly disrespectful to the land of beautiful, delicious, delectable, gooey fromage, not to. So as I cook, Clem and I are nibbling on some of that very stuff, with chunks of fabulous baguette from her local (and 2015 winning, best baguette in Paris don’t you know) boulangerie.
image

I toss the cubes of butternut into a hot pan of nicely sautéed garlic, and season them with salt, pepper and lashings of the blanched almonds, which gives the squash a lovely, crunchy coating. I allow this all to brown nicely before adding the prunes, which I have chopped into small pieces. I add a little soy sauce to the couscous to up the flavour, and dollop it onto some hot plates, before spooning some of the Autumnal, Moroccan squash mixture on top.

image

image
The verdict is in...

Overall, a heavily improvised and errratic first dish but one that was truly influenced by what I saw and smelled in the Marche des Enfants Rouges; and that to me, is more enjoyable than following a recipe. Of course, it is also a plus that my critic seemed pleased. Phew!

A bientot!