Thursday, December 17, 2009
A busy summer: lots of eating, not much picture taking
As I grow more and more aware of how much time has passed since my last post, I am equally guilt ridden and proud. Guilty that I neglect my blog so much, proud that I have been having too much fun dining and cooking and enjoying life to post. Or perhaps I'm merely lazy. You be the judge.
Waaaay back in October I picked a morning that I thought I could get to Billingsgate Market to shop. They open at the crack of dawn but stay open until mid morning. There are many markets in London that do this. But I am quickly finding that if you wait until the last few hours of trade, there will be no one around. Seriously. Crickets. That was the case at Smithfield at 10:30. The market is advertised as staying open until noon, but I think that they only mean the doors are left unlocked until then. By the time we arrived not only had the trade closed but everything was hosed down and tidily put away. Like I said, crickets.
Billingsgate Market turned out to be still bustling in their final 15 minutes of open hours. About half of the traders were still selling, while they were putting things away, mind you, but they were also hawking some very good deals. I bought the last of two gorgeous varieties of clams for £10. It seemed to me that was around 3 kilos I brought home. Also, there was a gorgeous salmon which was wrapped up for me with the greatest of care in a black garbage bag (read in sarcasm), but who had crystal clear eyes and every scale intact. I believe that was £9. Wow. It was a mob scene in there at the end, so I imagine that during the peak of trade it's much like Columbia Flower Market- the only air space is overhead.
I wish that I could boast an elaborate presentation on the clams and the salmon, but no. The clams were steamed with wine, butter, garlic and herbs. The salmon was slathered in butter and green herbs for one side and olive oil, ras el hanout and paprika on the other side. All delicious.
I do plan to return to Smithfield Market during peak trade one day, which would mean some interesting tube riding at 5 am, and once I have I shall report back as soon as I can.
Other things I have eaten since my last post:
The Mad Hatter's Tea Party at Fat Duck
Bones and Offal at St John
On the bone Lamb Shank Pie at The Fox and Anchor
One day when I am feeling inspired enough to compete with much better writers I may wax on about the meal at Fat Duck. It was inspired theater combined with culinary prowess. Worthy of the high price tag indeed. In fact I would go so far as to say that it was a steal at that price!
Who can resist a picture of a well baked Dutch Baby?