a trip to borough market with kellin for english strawberries and cream, english scallops, and yes, english muffins.

kent strawberries with jersey cream

local and seasonal kent strawberries with jersey cream? victory for england! this stellar dessert of the first crop of tiny sweet strawberries with a gloppy dollop of thick cream in a cone comes straight from my favorite saturday morning activity, the always amazing borough market.  since kellin is a fellow seriously appreciative eater, we went there on her last day in london and indulged in a gluttonous orgy of market eating.

we started off the visit by going straight for the toasted cheese sandwiches, but i’ve obsessed about those enough. besides, i’ve got so many new things to share.  like…fresh scallops with bacon from shell seekers!

scallops and bacon

these beauties are hand-caught off the coast of dorset, super fresh scallopsthen fried up with some crispy bacon bits and an unexpected (and not really necessary) mix of asian vegetables like cabbage and bean sprouts. the scallops from shell seekers are so fresh they’ve still got that weird neon cantaloupe-orange muscle attached.  supposedly the ones in the shells will even snap at your fingers if you’re not careful. i ate mine quickly to minimize the risk of attack.

we perused homemade mustards and sampled welsh cheeses, purchased huge fresh mersea oysters, swigged fresh apple juice straight from the bottle, 8 kinds of baconsucked on fresh organic mango lassi, gnawed on lamb as well as chicken burgers, and generally passed the morning in a dreamy food-induced semi-comatose state of happiness. i may be able to get kell to move here just by enticing her with markets. i mean, how could you not want to live in a place where you can buy EIGHT kinds of bacon? streaky bacon. smoked streaky bacon. tamworth style back bacon. new forest back bacon. and more. it’s poetry for pork lovers.

i was also drawn to this luscious and colorful bounty of fresh fruit – flourescent green and jewel-toned purple grapes, bursting bright strawberries, and fuzzy plump figs.

fruit banquet

i bought a fig, but it wasn’t quite ripe enough to approach the smack-you-in-the-face-it’s-so-good deliciousness of the early season strawberries from kent in the first photo. according to the strawberries and cream sellers, the best berries are grown in kent, known as the ‘garden of england’ for its good growing weather and fertile soil.  but let’s be honest, you could cover anything with that custardy jersey cream and it would taste good. especially when you add…’world famous’ ultra chocolate brownies!

chris and kell and brownie and strawberries

oh yes. chris and kellin and i are ballers, so we made our own brownie sundaes, having purchased a brownie from this chocolate brownie mountainserious mountain-o’-brownies. perhaps it should more accurately be referred to as a pyramid of brownies.  or even better, a ziggurat of brownies.  it is certainly a temple at which i’m willing to worship. as you can see in the photo, i had to drop the camera and tackle kell terry-tate-office-linebacker-cake-stealer style to stop her from taking a huge bite out of the big rock brownie mountain. okay okay, i made that up. that link is pretty hilarious though. if i ever tried to go on a serious diet i would probably need a terry tate to follow me around and keep me in line. however, neither a diet nor a personal office linebacker is  likely to appear in my life any time soon, and i’m cool with that.

having given props to the oh-so-english kent strawberries and jersey cream, i’ll end with another so-british-you-don’t-even-realize-it item: the ENGLISH MUFFIN.  this is clearly what english muffins are supposed to look like, not those flat dry coasters we have in the states.  i didn’t try one, but i definitely will soon. just imagine it split open, toasted, craters overflowing with jam and clotted cream…mmm. must have now…english muffin

i’ll leave you with some ponderings on english muffins. i know you’ve been waiting forever to hear this, but  you really need to chill out and stop getting so excited, okay? so these lovely springy little hockey pucks of dough were labeled ‘luxury english muffins’ and i have seen muffins here of the cupcake-masquerading-as-something-vaguely-but-not-actually-healthy kind. just because a baked good isn’t liberally smeared with frosting does not make it good for you, people. anyway, this leads me to believe that the american variety of cupcakesque muffin has usurped the muffin title from the english muffin even here in the UK. does this happen often? i’m generally curious about what location-based food items are actually called in that location. like hawaiian pizza. or belgian waffles.  especially when that place speaks english. obviously the french call them pommes frites and not frites francaise because that would be ridiculous and so not french. but anyway. something to think about that is quickly losing priority in my brain as i debate whether or not to go get a snack. SNACKS!!

oh also –  do you know the muffin man?  you know, the muffin man (the muffin man).   in case you’re super confused and don’t know ‘the muffin man,’ it’s a nursery rhyme about a dude (yes, the aforementioned muffin man) who lives on drury lane. i think perhaps the song was invented because people found it amusing to repeat the phrase ‘muffin man’ over and over again, just as you may be doing to yourself right now. anyway…this is slightly embarassing to admit, but i get excited every time i see drury lane on the map of london. it’s a bit like taking the tube to never-never land or getting off the bus at sesame street.  the muffin man song is about street peddlers in victorian times who would go door-to-door selling muffins. and as you might have guessed, they sold the staid and simple english muffin and not the blueberry, corn, lemon poppyseed, banana nut, or double chocolate variety. okay, now i definitely need a snack.  goodnight, irene! i’ll see you (and muffins of all sorts) in my dreams.

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6 thoughts on “a trip to borough market with kellin for english strawberries and cream, english scallops, and yes, english muffins.

  1. Kellin says:

    I love everything English! Look how I am eyeing that brownie! Oh yes. Next time, lamb burger and the chorizo! Oh and every dessert they offer, obviously.

  2. mei says:

    chorizzzzzzzooooooh how i love you. i love you even more on a toasted bun and drizzled with olive oil.

  3. annie says:

    Oh man OH MAN. The anticipation for England/Italy Food Tour 2009 is KILLIN me. Can’t wait to see you ladies in September and eat my way across Europe. I think I’ll have to forgo sleep just in order to accommodate more food time.

  4. Nancy Wilson says:

    We just got back from our first trip abroad to London and Paris. How can I find out what variety of strawberries were served at Wimbledon??? They were “to die for!” Thanks for your assistance.

    • mei says:

      hi nancy,

      wish i could help you! maybe try contacting whoever did the catering at wimbledon? they’re likely to be from kent though, since that’s where so many of the strawberries come from. if you’re looking for really good strawberries in the states, i’d suggest going for a farmer’s market rather than the supermarket. and the smaller strawberries are often more flavorful. good luck on your hunt!


  5. Andy says:

    My wife and I love Borough Market! I know it sounds cheap…but we often go and just try the freebies on each stall. Most have cheese, sausages, snacks and even curry for you to taste for free. You’d be surprised how full you can be after eating so much from different stalls! We’ve even written a free guide to London, recommending that tourists visit……


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