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Fifteen apprentices at Borough Market

Fifteen apprentices at Borough Market


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On Friday 7 March the Fifteen apprentices pitted themselves against each other – and some of London’s finest chefs – as they headed to the world-famous Borough Market for sunny lunchtime service.

Every year the apprentices are split into teams and asked to come up with a lunch menu, served from stalls at one of London’s biggest food markets. With some of the UK’s best producers and chefs cooking there every day competition was stiff, but the three teams had come up with some delicious recipes.

Nice Buns, led by Mariam, served up spicy jerk chicken and sticky char siu pork baguettes that were gorgeously crispy, sweet and spicy.

BBQ in a Cloud, led by Elliott, made fluffy steamed buns filled with sliced confit pork belly in a sticky glaze with pickled cucumber and rocket.

And last but not least, Barnie’s Skewers were on fire with a choice of red-wine marinated chicken or lamb wraps, barbecued and served with peppers and plenty of chilli sauce.

One team had to win, and the heat was really on as the sun made a rare appearance and the hungry office workers came out in droves.

By 12.45 Barnie’s Skewers had run out of lamb, the BBQ in a Cloud had a queue around the corner, and you couldn’t move for people with char siu pork around their mouths.

But it was pretty clear within the first 45 minutes who was going to do the best. Although BBQ in the Cloud made the most in terms of sales at £504.20, Barnie’s skewers just pipped them by selling £479.50 but squeezing an extra £39.50 in donations.

Altogether the teams raised £1,359.34 for charity – an amazing feat only outdone by the teamwork and delicious food they fed the punters.

Hungry? Why not try Jamie’s jerk chicken recipe for yourself?


Midsummer bakewell tart

To make the pastry, mix the flour with a pinch of salt in a food processor and add the cold butter. Add enough cold water for it to form into a dough. Wrap in clingfilm and chill for at least 1 hour. Preheat the oven to 190C.

Grease a 23cm tart tin and roll out the pastry on a lightly floured surface until large enough to line the tin. Do so, then line with baking paper and weigh down with baking beans. Bake for about 15 mins until golden. Remove the paper and beans and bake for a further 5 mins.

Cream together the butter and sugar until fluffy, then beat in the eggs. Fold in the dry ingredients, zest and a pinch of salt.

Spread the jam over the base and top with the frangipane. Level out and bake for 25 mins, until golden. Add the almonds on top in the last 5 mins of cooking. Dust with icing sugar if you like.


Comments

Re: Borough Market, London: A Very Literary Food Paradise

Re: Borough Market, London: A Very Literary Food Paradise

Wow--I wish we had a market that satisfying in the States!

Re: Borough Market, London: A Very Literary Food Paradise

There is a covered market in Boston, I cannot vouch for the quality of the market now since the last time I was there was around 1997 (and not too knowledgeable about produce or cooking yet, as a young teen still eating goldfish crackers on a regular basis).

Re: Borough Market, London: A Very Literary Food Paradise

There are several actually, though perhaps lacking the literary quotes. For instance the market at the Ferry Building in San Francisco is fantastic. The Farmer's Market in LA is not bad either (esp. for prepared foods). There are several open air and covered markets in NYC. And so on.

Re: Borough Market, London: A Very Literary Food Paradise

I used to love wandering round that area of London many years ago. The market wasn't anything like as good then, though. I now live in Ontario, in Canada, where they just don't seem to 'get' markets like the English do. I feel so homesick now!

Re: Borough Market, London: A Very Literary Food Paradise

I'm a Brit, and I had no idea how fancy shmancy this market is - probably because celebrity chef Jamie Oliver has mentioned it a few times, and I think he lives/works nearby. I hope the quality reflected the prices: £7.95 for fish with chips costing extra is not cheap! Having said that, it's now on my list for a visit.

Re: Borough Market, London: A Very Literary Food Paradise

Actually, £7.95 is for the fish with the chips the separate price you see for chips is for the chips only (and a huge bag of them at that). To me, it's a pretty fair price for what was a

mound of freshly fried chips!

Re: Borough Market, London: A Very Literary Food Paradise

I feel ashamed that I've lived all my life in the UK and never been here! Thank you for opening my eyes, Maki this is a must the next time I visit London. It looks as worthy an attraction as any of the tourist draws, and it looks like it encompasses everything I love most about market culture.

Re: Borough Market, London: A Very Literary Food Paradise

mmmm pork and stilton wrapped up in that crust. looks like heaven! :D

Re: Borough Market, London: A Very Literary Food Paradise

I think you've summed it up perfectly, Maki.
"Food wise, the prepared foods are the main draw of Borough Market"
And, unless my memory is being really tricksy with me, I don't think this market was always quite so heavily balanced towards the visitor.
For a while now, I tend to feel disappointment during my visits here as I long for more fresh produce, particularly good quality ingredients that are affordable (they don't have to be that cheap to be good value). When I was stuck at home for health reasons there was no problem in receiving boxes of delivered organic vegetables, now I'm back at work this is impossible.
Borough market is now geared for adventurous non-cooks. Sums up the climate here in London, there's a wealth of cooking shows and recipe books are very popular, but few people like to actually cook anything (and when they do there's a desire to use modish and expensive ingredients - you can see this tendency in Masterchef). Borough market fulfills this desire perfectly.
Last time I went to Borough market amongst what I picked up were: a posy of fresh herbs, some of which I have no idea what they were - these made a delicious omelet. A bunch of white asparagus - divine! Some first rate hojicha and sencha from EastTeas. Cheese, bread and milk from the Neals Yard Dairy - picked up a terrific pamphlet over the REAL dangers of eating cheese when pregnant which was helpful and informative. Some gorgeous apples that still had some crunch to them (I was allowed to try before I bought). But the main reason I went was to find the kind of young artichoke I enjoy eating during late Spring time in Spain. Only one place had them and I then found they had almost no flavour, which was a real blow.

The sad thing is that there isn't that much difference between coming here and going to the Waitrose at the Brunswick Centre on a Saturday. A modest farmers market has opened at this centre so that there are now a decent selection of stalls selling beautiful local produce as well as the prepared dishes that draw the crowds in Bermondsey. Avoid the 'paella', which is in no way authentic, but the takoyaki (staffed by some lovely Osakans) is OK (although I think the cooking temperature was too high, a bit over gooey in the centre). But the real star is the fruit and veg section in Waitrose itself. The heirloom tomatoes are the best I've ever eaten in England, way better than what saw at Borough Market.
I wish that particular Waitrose wasn't the best place to get outstanding local produce. I'd love to see the sort of market one takes for granted in France or Spain in London.

Re: Borough Market, London: A Very Literary Food Paradise

Loretta, I guess to be fair, the markets in Spain and France have the advantage of having much readier access to local or almost-locally grown produce. I must admit that I was not hugely impressed with the produce at Borough Market, but I did put that down to the fact that I'm living in Provence right now, with access to the most amazing, mostly locally grown, fruits and veg, and in comparison just about everything else fades. And, also to be fair, if you compare the quality of what's available at supermarkets in France vs. the UK, I would say that the UK may have an edge. I guess that Borough Market does fulfill one role of a food market in that it's very entertaining! Also, while there does seem to be a preponderence of prepared-food vendors, perhaps that just reflects the demands of the local clientele (lots of office workers having lunch there). It could just be that more people in London rely on box deliveries of produce - which wouldn't really surprise me.

(As an aside, I can now say that the markets in little Zürich, with a population of about 1/20th of London, has an array of really nice fresh produce markets - one almost every day of the week! Produce delivery services are as yet almost unknown so far there. )

Re: Borough Market, London: A Very Literary Food Paradise

I think that's another excellent summary. I also believe that Borough Market does a very good job of fulfilling the real needs and desires of its clientele.
It makes it a very satisfying place to take visiting friends, just not the dream market I'd love to visit weekly in order to do some 'genuine' rather than novelty/instant gratification shopping. I just have to accept that my needs aren't shared by those who frequent the market - and I can't help but feel wistful as Borough Market did once, for a time, fulfill those needs beautifully.
I guess I posted the whinge as I feel frustrated that so much great produce is available in London but is inaccessible (at reasonable prices) to those of us who work standard hours and so cannot accept a regular food-box delivery. Oh well, I'll be on maternity leave later this year so veg-boxes will be a real bonus.


Where to buy these ingredients

Wright Brothers Oyster and Porter House

Richard Haward’s Oysters


About

Beca Lyne-Pirkis, originally from Cardiff now lives with her husband and two girls in Surrey. Her husband is a Medical Sergeant in the army, but Beca is no ordinary military wife.

Having gained a degree in Music from Cardiff University and a post-grad in Arts Management at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama, Beca is now a cook, food writer and TV presenter and this is all thanks to a certain baking programme.

In 2013, Beca was one of the baker’s dozen in the 4 th series of The Great British Bake Off. She quickly gained a following due to her homely style of baking as well as her warmth and humour with the other contestants. She proved herself week after week in the tent, proving her baking knowledge and skills through a variety of bakes from her Cherry Chocolate Brownies, Potato & Spelt Focaccia and of course her infamous Macarons. Beca just missed out on a place in the final, but being 4 th or a semi-finalist hasn’t stopped her at all.

Since leaving the tent in the Autumn of 2013, Beca now presents her own TV series on S4C called Becws – which is Welsh for Bakehouse. In the series, Beca shares some of her family recipes from Wales as well as from further afield and creates some new classics to inspire others. Having had a very successful 1 st series, a Christmas special was quickly commissioned as well as a 2 nd series, which is currently being edited and will be transmitted in the Autumn 2015. Please see the website for videos and recipes: http://www.s4c.co.uk/becws/english.html

Beca is also one of Borough Market’s chefs and is a regular in the demo kitchen at the World famous market. She also writes for the market’s website and is often asked to contribute recipes as well as do additional PR for the market.

She is a regular teacher at Seasoned Cookery School in Derbyshire where she shares her knowledge and skills on two different courses. Afternoon Tea Treats and Pies and Puddings are two popular courses at the school where Beca shares the secrets of making the perfect Macaron as well as an easy pork pie. http://bit.ly/V2g8lM

Beca has also given a masterclass to the current intake of apprentices at Jamie Oliver’s Fifteen restaurant in London. And has been invited back to do a similar masterclass with the next intake of apprentices later this year.

From the Good Food show in Birmingham, to the new Bakes & Cakes show, The BIG Cake Show, Cake International as well as a plethora of food festivals across the country Beca is a firm favourite at the shows and is already receiving requests for shows in 2016.

The brand Portmeirion also works with Beca from time to time through online activity, due to her style of cooking as well as leading a busy lifestyle fitting the brand image.


A Fairer Chance

In 2015, we’ve helped a young woman called Sarah apply for Jamie Oliver’s Fifteen apprenticeship scheme, which is an innovative and hugely successful scheme attracting around 200 applications each year all wanting a place on the year-long apprenticeship, which offers college and kitchen training alongside personal development opportunities to young people in London. 18 apprentices are eventually chosen, and if you want you can read more about the scheme and what the year holds for the successful applicants on their website. Back in May, our National Account Manager Rozie met Sarah in custody in HMP Holloway, and helped her apply, overcoming the challenges of applying from inside a prison without access to the online application processes. Sarah has passed a challenging three further stages – two days of cooking activities in the training kitchens, a day of group activities in Borough Market, and a one-to-one interview.

Rozie asked her a few questions about her experience at the point at which she had reached the final assessment stage:

Rozie: “How did you hear about Jamie’s fifteen apprenticeship programme?”

Sarah: “A few months ago I got the chance to attend a job fair at HMP Holloway prison, where I met some really nice people with some really good jobs, but the one that stuck out for me were the ladies from Fifteen. I went and spoke to them because I love cooking and out of everyone there I thought they would be able to offer me the best advice. While talking to them I realised that I ticked all the boxes for the apprenticeship and this could really be something I could go for. They said I would have to apply and write about why I like to cook and what my favourite things to cook are. That night I went back to my cell and started to write it all up. I got to think about this opportunity for a few weeks before Rozie from A Fairer Chance came in with the application and I still really wanted to go for it.”

Rozie: “How did you feel when you were told you’ve reached the final stage (we’re very proud of you!)?”

Sarah: “Ecstatic! I was really happy. I thought I had messed up on one of my days in the training kitchens and was really worried but when I was told I had made it through to the next stage I was over the moon. It feels really good to be doing something for myself.”

Rozie: “Tell me about your experience with the recruitment process so far? How have you found it?

Sarah: “I didn’t realise how many stages there would be! I spent a long time on the application and then assumed I would do some practical stuff and know if I was through or not but there has been a lot more to it. I have spent time in the training kitchens, done cooking tasks, one to one interviews, group tasks and I still have 1 more round to go! But I am really enjoying it.”

Rozie: “What’s been your favourite part about applying so far?”

Sarah: “I really enjoyed going to Borough market. I had never been before and there were so many stalls! We got to meet suppliers who have worked with Jamie’s and it was great trying some of the products. I had never seen so many different products in one place and it was great finding out about them all. We met people selling fruit and veg, meat, cheese, fish and I even went to a game butchers and bought a pigeon!”

Rozie: “What’s been the most challenging thing for you about applying so far?”

Sarah: “The first round was the hardest for me. I had only been out of prison for two days when I went and spent a day in the training kitchens. I didn’t know what to expect, but I thought I would just be asked to do some basic cooking tasks but we did some fishmongery and butchery and it was a lot harder than I expected! But I threw myself in and was surprise how much I enjoyed it.”

Rozie: “What experience cooking have you had in the past?”

Sarah: “Apart from home cooking which I have always enjoyed, I have also worked in prison kitchens. I am really good at following recipes and working with very basic ingredients. In the prison kitchens, I was responsible for preparing and cooking a range of meals using a variety of cooking methods and ingredients.”

Rozie: “Why would you like to train in Jamie’s kitchen?”

Sarah: “I feel because of the name attached to this apprenticeship it is of a much higher quality than other apprenticeship programmes. I have read through some of the year books and I know a lot of the successful apprentices have had previous personal issues like myself but there seems to be a full wrap around service offered and real support. Also the training offered isn’t just the basics but real training, like I could do this and really be a chef!”

Rozie: “Where would you like to be in 5 years?”

Sarah: “Obviously, one day I would like my own restaurant or catering company but I would like to spend a few years working under people and learning as much as possible. Different cuisines, different styles, and find out what I enjoy and work as a head chef somewhere. I want to learn as much as I can!”

Rozie: “How have you found working with A Fairer Chance?”

Sarah: “Really helpful. They have been so supportive. Rozie was coming into HMP Holloway to see me and help me with my application form on a weekly basis. Since release I haven’t had to chase them, they have stayed in touch with me and always contact me to see how I am doing. I don’t feel shy to ask for help as I know they genuinely want to help me.”

Rozie: “Firstly, what’s your favourite dish to cook, and secondly, to eat?”

Sarah: “My favourite dish to cook is rice and peas with fried chicken thighs and sticky citrus chicken wings and my favourite meal to eat is my mum’s leg of lamb. After she has cooked it she strips all the meat and then soaks it in the gravy. It is amazing!”

Sarah was offered a place on the Fifteen Apprenticeship Programme and started in Autumn. Sarah called our National Accounts Manager Rozie to tell her. Asked how she was feeling about securing a place on the prestigious programme, Sarah replied “Ecstatic… shocked… ecstatic… shocked!”

We’re less shocked. We KNOW she’s brilliant and absolutely deserves this. We are, though, absolutely ecstatic for her.


In Jamie Oliver’s footsteps

Do you remember those early Naked Chef days when Jamie Oliver lived in a bachelor pad with a fireman’s pole and a basketball net? He charged round town on his Vespa visiting chums like Gennaro and popping back home to cook something for his girlfriend, Gran or a gang of mates. He offered the same simplicity of flavours from the River Café (where he worked previously) but with accessible ingredients and in an exciting way. Who knew then what an empire he’d build and that twenty years later his cookbooks would remain consistent best sellers. Jamie’s 30 minute meals became the UK’s fastest-selling non-fiction book ever and helped him to become Britain’s second-best-selling author after JK Rowling.

But, in Britain, high-profile success inevitably attracts criticism – the media fell out of love with the ‘cheeky chappie’ and in certain foodie circles admitting to cooking from Jamie was akin to a Professor of literature confessing to reading Mills and Boon. I would agree that his mockney enthusiasm might have started to wear thin but his campaigns to improve food in schools (both in the UK and US) and to give disadvantaged young people the chance to follow a career in food demonstrated a serious intent. I remember vividly how refreshingly different the first book seemed and cooked as much as I could from it given the restrictions of my life in Saudi Arabia over the years have added another six of his titles to my shelf and most are used fairly regularly (Great Britain is the one I have yet to make anything from).

He seems to have put a lot on the line in the pursuit of his ideals but has been slammed for self-promotion never one to believe the hype I accepted an invitation to Fifteen with an open mind. Opened in 2002 and recently given a face-lift and a new head chef, Fifteen mentors 18 young, unemployed apprentices every year giving them a potential career path in the restaurant and catering industry. The profits from the restaurant (and from the one in Cornwall) go to Jamie’s charity ‘The Better Food Foundation‘ to help fund the apprentice programme and other initiatives to reconnect people with cooking and food. It has inspired other similar projects too.

Fifteen is located in an unglamorous part of London down a small, cobbled side street in a red-brick industrial building dating from 1906. The main restaurant is dimly lit with a wood-fired oven at one end, bar at the other, the ceiling space punctuated by modern chandelier dripping little rods of light. Everything looked welcoming in the evening sunshine and light streamed through the windows into the demo-kitchen on the first floor. I’d expected to write about the food but it was the people I met that night that gave me an insight into Jamie and his world.

First a welcome from the s’leb chef himself via a specially filmed video. “Hello bloggers” he chirped, a buzz of appreciated carried through the room – it made everyone feel very special. He thanked his team members and gave credit to the organisation of the evening to Merlin. √ Tick one.

Head Chef of Fifteen, Jon Rotheram started with a demo previously billed as ‘nose to tail eating’. Bit of an over-claim as he cooked some devilled kidneys and was honest about the extent of nose-to-tail cooking at Fifteen i.e. they are still working on improving it. The London bloggers and Jon all lamented how expensive Borough market had become for offal (mainly for tourists now) – I kept very quiet about my planned visit the next morning. The kidneys were soft, succulent with a warm, spicy sauce on crisp, sour dough toast. Jon, who started off a wee bit reserved, warmed up under the camera lenses and questions of a gang of eager foodies. He spoke of JO in amicable terms intimating they’d been friends for a long time. √ Tick two.

While watching the demo we were simultaneously dipping into a huge dish of prawns, peeling them and dunking into subtly savoury Marie-Rose sauce. Glad to see the prawns listed as ‘from sustainable sources’ (see why here). These were served with Herb salad with goat’s cheese all dishes were Jamie recipes available on his website.

Sitting down on pastel-painted country kitchen chairs at a long table covered with a blue and white checked table-cloth we dug spoons into bowls of Keralan veggie curry, Southern Indian crab curry and Lemon rice sprinkled with curry leaves. This had been cooked by Merci and Tyrone, who had graduated from Fifteen apprentice programme, forged a career in catering and returned to the Jamie fold. Merci mentioned that Jamie had tweeted his praise for her cooking that evening as she joined us at the table. √ Tick three.

The wine from SanPatrignano had been going down well even before we heard the back story behind it from Danny McCubbin. After many years of working with Jamie in various capacities, Danny has just set up the UK arm of non-profit organisation SanPatrignano. He chatted to us in a quiet, understated way about its mission to provide support and counseling to people struggling with drug addiction. His belief in a fairly radical approach to rehabilitation pioneered in Italy as an alternative to the current approach in the UK is unwavering. It is based around three rehabilitation and training communities in Italy, which help addicts rebuild their lives through counselling and help them to a secure future through vocational training and education. The dining room plays an important part in the community (and training) and wine making is one of the community’s most successful endeavours, created from vineyard to bottle by the residents. Sales of the produce including wine, cheese, olive oil, salami and honey helps to cover some of the costs of the organisation. It seems slightly incongruous that the residents are helping to create a drug (albeit a legal one) but the programme appears to be one of balance. Speaking with Danny there is no doubt about his commitment and dedication to helping some very marginalised and desperate people. The response to this online seems to have been pretty aggressive which is a sad indictment of some sections of our society to altruism. Danny was first introduced to SanPatrignano by Jamie. √ Tick four.

Dessert was made by Merlin who looks after online editorial and social media for JamieOliver.com and who is an absolutely gorgeous person (if this is not an entirely inappropriate comment for me to make about a 21-year-old chap) as was his Bloomin’ easy vanilla cheesecake with some liqueur-doused cherries. He was mortified that his cheesecake had cracks in it and served it to us with trepidation. I suppose testing out a recipe on a gang of food bloggers is fairly daunting stuff. Maybe it’s Dubai-living where there are always teams of people to do everything, but I was taken aback when Merlin, Danny and Merci all busied around clearing the table and loading the dish washer. It made this relaxed evening even more like being in someone’s own kitchen eating home-made food, as though Jamie had indeed invited us all round but just popped out for a while. √ Tick five.

The final person in the entourage was Joe Gray, another Fifteen alumni who admitted that it had put his life on track. I got the feeling that Joe has a lot in common with Jamie – down to earth, a risk taker, ebullient, intelligent but not academic. He sent us away with Piran Sea Salt from his new venture Slovely, which markets products from small producers in Solvenia (and, I notice, SanPatrignano). He was part of a hard-core group of us who descended to the Fifteen bar and sampled some of its stellar cocktails. I remember the exquisite Gin punch made with lavender bitters, lots of laughter and photo taking it gets a bit hazy after that.


The Borough Market Cookbook: Recipes and stories from a year at the market

Borough Market is the beating heart of London&aposs food scene. Every year millions of locals and tourists flock to Borough Market to soak up the unique atmosphere, interact with the expert traders and sample the

'Like the market, the book is exciting, instructive, seductive and inspirational.' -Claudia Roden

An essential gift for the keen cook in your life.

Borough Market is the beating heart of London's food scene. Every year millions of locals and tourists flock to Borough Market to soak up the unique atmosphere, interact with the expert traders and sample the world-class produce.

This gorgeous book takes you on a tour of a year at the Market, from the beginning of spring, through Easter and Midsummer, to Apple Day in October and the switching on of the lights at Christmas - with the most delicious recipes highlighting the very best of those celebrations.

Divided by season, each recipe celebrates at least one hero ingredient from that time of year: why not try Chilled asparagus soup in spring Rolled pork belly and sticky nectarines in summer Beetroot dal in autumn or Clementine sponges with cranberry sauce in winter? Along the way, you'll be introduced to key seasonal ingredients with shopping and preparation tips, straight from the artisan producers, that will change how you cook for ever.

Packed full of beautiful photography, much of it shot on location at Borough throughout the year, this is a cookbook that will inspire food lovers and home cooks everywhere, even if they only follow Borough Market from afar.

THE PERFECT WINTER MENU
Roast Delica pumpkin with crisp sage, seeds and curd
Intensely sweet and buttery winter squash, roasted with sage and its own seeds and then slicked with a sheep or goat's curd. Assemble on a large serving platter to kick off a dinner party.

One-pot golden chicken and Judión beans
A bowl of comfort ideal for this time of year: juicy chicken with golden, crispy skin, cooked in a warming broth with the creamiest butter beans. Make sure you have lots of crusty bread to mop up the juices.

Clementine sponges with cranberry sauce
An alternative to the traditional figgy pudding and brandy butter, though really they're too good to confine to just one day. The tart and syrupy cranberry-studded sauce is spooned over the citrus sponge and served with double cream for the most indulgent winter pud.

Spiced apple sour
Spiked with cinnamon, cloves, ginger and nutmeg, this is Christmas in a cocktail.


Where we ate:

  • Lima – SPECTACULAR. One of our favorite meals in London. It has a Michelin star and while it’s definitely a splurge, it was 100% worth it. The type of food is Peruvian, but with a ton of technique and beautiful presentation. Look at the beautiful octopus above! We also loved the Corn Cake, Paiche Amazonian Fish, and Beef Pachamanca. We thought dessert was more interesting than good, though we picked the bold desserts. We had the Chirimoya Mousse and Lucuma Fruit Ice Cream.
  • Dishoom – I ate here TWICE while I was in London. TWICE! I never do that. It was just that good and I wanted it again before we left. It’s Indian food like you’ve never had before. Even my husband, who says he doesn’t like Indian food, enjoyed everything we ate. I recommend the Vegetable Samosas, Okra Fries, Calamari, Mattar Paneer, Chicken Ruby, Black House Daal, and Chicken Tikka, with the Memsahib’s Mess for dessert. Oh, and the Chocolate Chai and Bhang Lassi were also very good for drinks.
  • Seven Park Place by William Drabble – Also a Michelin star restaurant, and just as amazing. It felt very white glove service and the food was intensely flavorful, beautiful, and satisfying.
  • Ottolenghi Notting Hill – WOWWWWWW. Yotam Ottolenghi is my new hero, and I just ordered one of his cookbooks because his food blew me away so much. This is a deli-style place so you just pick out what you want and they put it together on a plate or in a takeout container. Everything we had was amazing. Pete and I originally ordered a plate to share, then got a second plate. Enough said.
  • NOPI – Another Ottolenghi establishment, but as a trendy upscale restaurant. This place is more pricy than Ottolenghi, but has different food. Not to be missed! I loved my passionfruit drink, the aubergine, and courgette fries. Ask the staff for their favorite recommendations, too. They won’t steer you wrong!
  • Borough Market – DO NOT MISS. It’s a little out of the way, though if you pair it with the Tower of London, St. Paul’s Cathedral, or the Tate Modern it’s all in the same area. This place is a collection of booths/food vendors and everything we tried was delicious. Let your appetite be your guide here. Highlights we enjoyed were the Salt Beef Sandwich (photo above), Baklava, PieMinister, and Cornmeal Cake.
  • Bread Street Kitchen – AVOID. Probably the only place we regretted eating at. We were hungry and didn’t have any internet to look up any local restaurants, so we figured that being one of Gordon Ramsay’s restaurants, it would be decent. Wrong. The food was tremendously expensive and it downright sucked.
  • Bo Drake – A nice option in the Soho part of town. We had a bunch of small plates that we enjoyed, including tasty buns (pictured above), Asian ribs, and the Sesame Soft Serve for dessert.
  • Monmouth Coffee (Covent Garden) – Amazing pastries and coffee. Someone who lives in London told me to go here and I’m so glad I did. Get the brownie and a cappuccino.
  • Pierre Herme – Okay, Pete and I went here twice too. I screeched when I happened to walk by the place because I practically worship Pierre Herme. Get any of his macarons and you will be transported to Cloud 9. Also, if you try his new ice cream, let me know how it is. We missed it by a few days.
  • Pearl Liang – We ended up here mainly because it was late, was somewhat close to our hotel, and had decent ratings. I don’t recommend going out of your way to eat here, but we had some good dishes here. Some of the dishes were questionable though, and were left on the table mostly uneaten. Mixed bag.
  • Battersea Pie Station – This is a great place to stop for a quick bite. They have all sorts of delicious pies, with a wonderful flaky crust.

Alright friends, that’s it for the food in London! There will be more food covered when I take you to Bath, Oxford, and the Cotswolds. In the next post I’ll share all the spectacular sights to see in London. Until then, cheers!


Beca Lyne-Pirkis

Beca Lyne-Pirkis, originally from Cardiff now lives with her husband and two girls in Surrey. Her husband is a Medical Sergeant in the army, but Beca is no ordinary military wife.

Having gained a degree in Music from Cardiff University and a post-grad in Arts Management at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama, Beca is now a cook, food writer and TV presenter and this is all thanks to a certain baking programme.

In 2013, Beca was one of the baker’s dozen in the 4th series of The Great British Bake Off. She quickly gained a following due to her homely style of baking as well as her warmth and humour with the other contestants. She proved herself week after week in the tent, proving her baking knowledge and skills through a variety of bakes from her Cherry Chocolate Brownies, Potato & Spelt Focaccia and of course her infamous Macarons. Beca just missed out on a place in the final, but being 4th or a semi-finalist hasn’t stopped her at all.

Since leaving the tent in the Autumn of 2013, Beca now presents her own TV series on S4C called Becws – which is Welsh for Bakehouse. In the series, Beca shares some of her family recipes from Wales as well as from further afield and creates some new classics to inspire others. Having had a very successful 1st series, a Christmas special was quickly commissioned as well as a 2nd series, which is currently being edited and will be transmitted in the Autumn 2015.

Beca is also one of Borough Market’s chefs and is a regular in the demo kitchen at the World famous market. She also writes for the market’s website and is often asked to contribute recipes as well as do additional PR for the market.

She is a regular teacher at Seasoned Cookery School in Derbyshire where she shares her knowledge and skills on two different courses. Afternoon Tea Treats and Pies and Puddings are two popular courses at the school where Beca shares the secrets of making the perfect Macaron as well as an easy pork pie.

Beca has also given a masterclass to the current intake of apprentices at Jamie Oliver’s Fifteen restaurant in London. And has been invited back to do a similar masterclass with the next intake of apprentices later this year.

From the Good Food show in Birmingham, to the new Bakes & Cakes show, The BIG Cake Show, Cake International as well as a plethora of food festivals across the country Beca is a firm favourite at the shows.

The brand Portmeirion also works with Beca from time to time through online activity, due to her style of cooking as well as leading a busy lifestyle fitting the brand image.


Method

Use the tip of a sharp knife to split the vanilla pod in half, then use the blunt edge of the knife to scrape the seeds out. Combine the seeds, pod, cream and sugar in a medium to large saucepan with tall sides (as the cream is about to expand significantly).

Prepare a small bowl of cold water for the gelatine leaves to ‘bloom’ in.

Place the saucepan over a medium-high heat and boil for exactly 2 mins. Start the timer when the cream in the middle of the pan is beginning to bubble and threatens to rise up (not when it’s simply bubbling around the edge). Leave the gelatine to soak in the bowl of water for the same amount of time.

Remove the pan from the heat immediately once the time is up. Add the lemon juice to the hot cream, then squeeze the water from the gelatine leaves and add those too, whisking until dissolved. Leave to cool for 30 mins.

Decant the buttermilk into a medium size mixing bowl or Tupperware. Strain the cooled cream through a sieve (strainer) into the buttermilk, using the back of a spatula to push the cream and vanilla seeds through. Using the same spatula, fold and stir the two liquids together until they are one. Cover and refrigerate for at least 6 hours.

Prepare your choice of sharp seasonal fruits as you wish, or, if serving with strawberries: put the halved strawberries in a bowl 30 mins to 1 hour before serving, sprinkle with the granulated sugar, mix and add the white balsamic vinegar. Leave to macerate, tasting just before you serve in case more sugar and/or vinegar is required.

Use the biggest spoon you have to scoop a portion of set(ish) buttermilk cream per person, alongside a serving of tart fruits. Crumble the amaretti biscuits and pile near the cream (or leave for others to do so).


Watch the video: Graduate apprentice story: Jamie Wilton. Cohort 12. Fifteen Cornwall (December 2022).