The cold weather has really grabbed London now, and with it’s friend, the rain, has made it a thoroughly miserable place. Well, miserable in that, being wet is no fun, but, in truth, I do like the autumnal evenings as long as I am inside in the warmth looking out or next to a roaring fire in a pub somewhere! This was not the case yesterday where I was exposed to the weather alot more than I care for.
From my current Zone 5 outpost, I made the trek into London yesterday to revisit my old routine, Marylebone Farmer’s market for my veg and random other bits, The Ginger Pig for some smoked streaky bacon and whatever else takes my fancy, La Fromagerie for, on this occasion, granada ham & pata negra chorizo as I already have too much cheese in the fridge & finally, a nice lunch, this time at Orrery Epicerie next to the Conran Shop on the Marylebone High St.
The whole of the transport network seemed to grind to a halt, the trains were down due to signal failure and the northern line wasn’t running because of engineering work, but, I had a date to keep, so I made it down with a combination of buses, tube and lots of walking. The weather was really grim, I don’t know how many eyes I nearly pulled out with my spotty umbrella’s spokes, that’s the hazard of being 5 foot 3 inches! Well, a hazard for the other pedestrians anyway, all you tallies look out, I am coming to get ya!
I had my heart set on pumpkins, I am determined to fill my week with them. They’re a favourite of mine and I always have some lurking around. An ex flatmate was not so enthused and used to bemoan my collection of shrunken heads, at one point I had 7 large ones from an organic pumpkin farm in Ireland filling the cupboard (& I lived in London). I am nothing, if not excessive. On this occasion, I bought one big onion squash and 6 small pumpkins. They were so cute and they will be tasty. That lot sounds heavy, but I didn’t stop there, I continued with a big celeriac and a bag of potatoes, an Irish girl needs ‘em. Other little bits and bobs like Chegworth juices (apple and beetroot – wonderful) and tomatoes followed and then we headed off to the Ginger Pig, who, sadly had sold out of sausage rolls but had lots of bacon.
To finish, we went to La Fromagerie. I like La Fromagerie alot and will dedicate a post to it at a future date. The one I usually go to is on Moxon St but occasionally I pop to the one in Highbury as it’s nearer work and my new home. It’s a fantastic cheese shop with a cheese room and lots of other bits and pieces – seasonal veg, great meats, chocolate, cakes, honey – all presented beautifully. It’s one of the few places in London that sells buffalo ricotta. You can eat there too around an enormous rustic table. I tease myself by receiving their mailing list of Slow Food and other events. They had a fantastic one last week based around Frances Bissell’s Scented Kitchen, I really must go soon! I wanted Bayonne ham but they didn’t have any, so I was advised to try the Granada ham, which is good at this time of year. They gave me a little taste and it was all I could do to stop myself grabbing the leg and running with it, so I got 12 slices and tried to stop myself pulling it off the slicer as it was sliced. Whilst waiting and reviewing the other meats I decided that I would try some pata negra chorizo also. I wasn’t disappointed.
We didn’t eat there on this occasion, as we wanted something light, so that we could go for dinner later on, so we went to the Orrery Epicerie up the road where I indulged in a ham and leek quiche with potato, salmon, olive and dill salad and my friend had a croissant with ham and cheese. My food was delicious, the pastry was crumbly and the filling creamy, eggy & divine. The salad was full of flavour and worked really well. The croissant was a disappointment, however.
So, what do do with all of this stuff? Well, first, lumber it home, via the bus and tube as the trains were still all cancelled. It’s my own fault really for attempting such a heavy load, but whilst walking down the hill I slipped and fell, cutting my knee and shin in the process and feeling that stinging pain familiar from falls in childhood. And I almost reacted in the way I did then, throwing a strop! But, I remained calm and am proud of myself. For comfort, when I got home, I made a salad out of the granada ham, some farmer’s market tomatoes and some salad leaves. It was like a band aid for a toddler, I instantly felt better! The ham was excellent, wafer thin and intensely flavoursome. I had been advised that granada hams are really good at this time of year, I must really find out why! I would recommend that you try some if you get a chance.
So, what next with all of these bits and pieces? I think that I will start with a pumpkin & celeriac soup then maybe some stuffed baby pumpkins. Perhaps then a chilli or a curry for Halloween? It’s going to be a pumpkin kinda week!
Marylebone Farmer’s Market – Cramer Street Car park, Just off Marylebone High Street, W1 http://www.lfm.org.uk/mary.asp
The Ginger Pig, 8-10 Moxon Street, London W1U 4EW
La Fromagerie, 2-4 Moxon Street London W1U 4EW & 30 Highbury Park London N5 2AA