I love thee for thy fruit and veg and meat
The quality of which cannot be beat,
For the best end of lamb and ideal fish.
I love thee for the clatter and clamour
Of market traders, by sun and candle-light.
I love thy seasonality, as I strive to get it Right;
I love thee purely, thy beef I shall Braise.
I love thee with a passion put to use
In my old kitchen, and with my childhood's faith.
I love thee with a love I doubt I'll ever lose
With my lost rolling pin, --- I love thee with the hunger,
Smiles, meals, of all my life! --- and, if God choose,
Next time I'll buy more cheese from your cheesemongers.
So, I think that Elizabeth Barrett Browning had the edge (mind you, she probably spent more than five minutes thinking it up), but I'm hoping that my first (and undoubtedly last) foray into poetry will give you an idea of just how much I love the fabulous Borough market. I can be there in 25 minutes, yet I don't go nearly often enough. I love the hustle and bustle of the crowds that descend on Saturdays, I love the contrasting smells that fill the air and I love the passion held by each market trader. I love to watch people greedily biting into Ostrich burgers, fresh-as-a-button scallops and freshly shucked oysters...
I love the free samples. I love the weird and wonderful ingredients. I love the enthusiasm. I lovet that there is a stall entirely devoted to the products of the Orkney Islands...
I love that you can buy a chorizo burger or a gourmet sausage in a bun. That you can buy a huge vat of olive oil or the teensiest drizzle of truffle oil. I love that I always buy twice as much as I intended to. I love the setting, in the shadow of Southwark Cathedral...
Most of all, I love the sheer diversity and variety of this colourful and noisy market. Everything you could want to eat from the smelliest cheese...
....to the freshest of fish....
... to the featheriest of fowl...
I was lucky to leave with a bunch of the first of this year's forced rhubarb. I made a wonderful rhubarb and ginger crumble - what a treat. The recipe will follow of course. But I thought I'd just leave you today with a word on the wood pigeons that I bought last week at the Clapham Farmer's Market. I decided that I would keep it simple and roast one of the birds for my supper and serve it with roasted potatoes, Chanteray carrots and parsnips (and the requisite peas, of course).
The key with any small game birds is keeping the meat nice and moist - they dry out really quickly. The woodpigeon was small enough to wrap the entire birdie in streaky bacon. I pulled out the giblets (retaining them for the gravy) and stuffed a little onion and thyme inside the cavity, along with a knob of butter.
I then roasted at 200C for around 40 minutes. I removed the bacon for the final 5 minutes to brown the skin a little. There was a little juice which I used, with the giblets, to make a deliciously rich gravy. The meat was delicious but there was quite a lot of work involved for a relatively small amount of meat. I think that next time I might remove the breasts rior to cooking and cook them quickly to serve as part of a salad. It was a good meal overall though - I should have made some bread sauce to complete it however.I still have one wood pigeon to go, so would love to hear of any ideas you may have to ring the changes with the next one. I'm leaving you today with the glorious sight of the Houses of Parliament at sunset which I enjoyed when I decided to walk home along the river from Borough Market.