Borough Market and more

I hear from foodie bloggers that Borough Market is more of a tourist destination that food nirvana these days. Whilst there was much to tempt the eye and the other senses, I was certainly fighting my way past the heavy tide of tourists.

Unfortunately, this trip was more under than over-whelming. There was major disappoinment from a promisingly-named kangaroo burger, which lacked any distinctive flavour, basically tasted like a cheap beef burger, and perhaps it really was. Certainly there were many delicious samples of cheese, charcuterie, oils, spreads, turkish delight and chocolates, but so much was over-priced beyond imagination. For instance each portion of baklava commanded £6 apiece. I’ve made a mental note to seek out decent Comté cheese next time I am in France.

Anyway, onwards we headed and in Chinatown we found much more reasonably priced (and tasty) nibbles. Also bubble tea – I love that stuff!

London is one of these places where there is always something bizarre and entertaining happening round the corner. We came across a completely random epic pillow fight taking place in Trafalgar Square. Brilliant! Feathers flying everywhere (including sticking en masse in my hair) we fled via Boris Bikes onwards through to the Royal Parks.

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I’m afraid I made a detour to pop by Ottolenghi – as I wanted to satisfy my curiosity – having never paid a visit to this foodie emporium before. I came out significantly poorer, and slightly disappointed by the offerings, but I’m glad I tried it at least!

To end the day off we curled up with Borough Market bread, pate and Ottolenghi salads, watched Never Let Me Go, which was horribly sad. Finally finished off with super quick baking spree for tomorrow. I’m moving houses soon, and fairy cakes are a great way of using up the contents of the baking cupboard. This particular batch was very girly, but I did another (more manly) lot in yellow fondant icing with melted dark chocolate writing piped on top. Brilliant fun.

Fairy Cakes

  • 2 large eggs (record their weight)
  • the weight of 2 eggs in soft margarine, caster sugar and self-raising flour
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • apricot jam
  • ready-rolled fondant icing
  • edible lustre
  • writing icing
  • wafer daisies

Preheat the oven to 180˚C and line 2 bun tins with fairy cake cases. I get 16-18 cakes.

Whisk the margarine and sugar together until soft and fluffy. Put the eggs into a jug, and break up with a fork. Then gradually dribble the egg into the other bowl, little by little whilst whisking by mad to stop the mixture from separating. Whisk in the vanilla extract.

Dump the flour and baking powder into the bowl, and fold it in gently with a big metal spoon. Using the spoon, place a spoonful of cake mix into each paper case, and pop into the oven for 12- 15 minutes until risen and nicely golden on top. Set out to cool on a cooling rack.

Brush the top of each cake with warmed apricot jam. Roll out the fondant icing onto a surface sprinkled with icing sugar, and cut out circles with the aid of a glass, or cookie cutters. Stick the circles onto the tops of the cakes. Brush with a little edible lustre, pipe on some writing and stick on the wafer daisies.

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