Friday, 20 February 2009

This little Piggy

In the wise words of Samuel Johnson, "When a man is tired of London, he is tired of life" lies more truth than many people would believe. Even after living in this city for well over 5 years, there are still many places in London that will slap a massive, unstoppable smile on my face. One is walking across Waterloo bridge, from which you can see so many famous landmarks your head starts spinning to take it all in. Another is walking through the revolving door of the Sainsbury wing of the National Gallery, knowing that you are only a heartbeat away form some of the most amazing master pieces created in the history of art. But the place that gives me the biggest of thrills is coming out of London Bridge Station, crossing under the railway bridge and being hit by the noise and bustle of the London Borough Markets.

These markets recently celebrated 250 years of trading on its current site, and the history of the market can be traced back for almost 2000 years. Tucked under railway arches and flanked by the magnificent Southwark Cathedral, this market holds such an abundance of mouth-watering produce, it truly is a food-lover's heaven. Stalls upon stalls containing home-made breads, pastries and baked goods. Cheese and dairy products originating from all corners of the globe. Hand reared, free-range and organically fed fowl, pork, lamb and beef as well as game and venison. Variates of fresh fish and sea-food to make the jaws of even the most seasoned cooks drop in awe. Barrels filled with olives, pickles, nuts and dried fruits, dazzling all passers-by with their multi-coloured displays. Tasting glasses filled with home-pressed wines, ales and ciders, enticing all with their fragrant bouquets. Fresh fruits, vegetables, herbs and flowers in all sizes, shapes and colours. Here you will never be left wanting, as you can find anything your heart might desire, from the most extravagant truffles to the humblest of chicken eggs.This morning after a short telephone call from my sister, during which I exclaimed, "Of course I'll be home, I don't have anywhere to go!" I realised with a jolt that there is always somewhere to go on a Market day! So with the sun making it's appearance and finally turning the perma-grey sky of London to Periwinkle blue, I grabbed my trusty Nikon, a large shopping bag and made my way to London Bridge station. This little piggy was going to the Market :)

Before you can even see the market, you are met with the enticing smells of frying sausages and home-made burgers, North African spiced flat breads, stewing curries and many more amazing meals being served up by the traders. The crowds of people are something to be reckoned with, especially if you hit the market at lunch time, but it's good for the traders and therefore good for the market.

Walking around the stalls, talking to the friendly traders, sampling some of their fine produce and snapping away with my camera, I started seeing visions of a great big plate of Anti-Pasta as a special treat for our Friday dinner. Olives, pickled garlic and Dolmades were my first purchases, then I acquired a brilliantly purple aubergine, some vine-ripened plum tomatoes, sweet yellow bell peppers and a bag of chestnut mushrooms from the fruit and veg stalls. Next onto the cured meats and smoked sausages and finally a few hearty chunks of French, Dutch and Swiss cheese. It's so easy to get carried away here, and as I don't have a platinum card in my wallet, I thought it best to take my lovely purchases and start the journey home to prepare this magnificent meal.

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