Borough Market reopened yesterday after over a week closed, due to the aftermath of the terror attack.
I couldn’t get there for the 10am ringing of the Market bell, though I dearly wanted to be there, so I went back that evening, just to walk about, and find my traders to hug.
It had been heaving with people all day. Not gawkers who seldom spend but will grumble over the price of a cuppa and then moan if you get in the way of their photo taking, no. People BUYING. This is what the market needs, not endless photo seekers, but SHOPPERS.
These scenes greeted me. I’ll be honest and admit to being close to tears. I already wrote about what Borough means to me, here.
I think I almost ran to Ted’s Veg, and grabbed a hold of my lady and didn’t really want to let go. I did, in the end, and then bought beautiful fresh vegetables, cheese and some of the most fresh and fragrant mint to go home and cook dinner with.
I ran out of words and thoughts when I reached this point on my walk, and headed home, a little dazed. On the train home, I kept sticking my nose in the mint, and just inhaling.
I finally shook myself out of it when I got to Addiscombe, and managed to cook this lot up.
I’d say this would serve 3-4. Depending on the size of the mug you use. I think mine was a 10 oz old Starbuck’s mug.
Ras El Hanout Onions
2 large red onions, sliced into rough half moons (not terribly fine, probably about 5mm thick or so)
1 -2 tsp Ras El Hanout (mine wasn’t very strong, so I used 2)
½ tsp cinnamon
½ tsp brown sugar
3-4 tbs olive oil
Pile onions into a frying pan, add olive oil and mix well to coat.
Sprinkle over the spices and sugar, mix really well so everything has its fair share of spices.
Place over a high heat to get a char going, and toss to keep them moving around. (I use the Nigella Two Spoon technique)
Keep an eye, as you want caramelised not burnt. One or two will catch, because Onions.
After about 40-50 minutes of cooking, tossing them around every so often, add in ½ a cup of sultanas and cook for another 10 minutes.
They will eventually cook down to a sticky, warmly spiced, oniony mass.
ONIONS ALWAYS TAKE FAR LONGER TO COOK DOWN THAN THE TELLY TELLS YOU so don’t panic, you’re not doing it wrong.
1 large mug of wholewheat couscous
1 x same mug of boiling water + 1 vegetable stock cube dissolved in it
¼ tsp fine salt (you can always add more later)
1 tsp mild curry powder (or hot, your choice)
1 tsp olive oil 1 block of halloumi, sliced into 6
1 bunch fresh mint, leaves very finely chopped
Store bought crispy fried shallots if you have them, but totally not essential.
Pitted black olives (I had a tub of these, with bits of feta in, so bunged that all in MINUS their oil)
Put the couscous in a large bowl that cling film will stick to.
Stir in the salt and curry powder.
Dissolve the stock cube in the water, then pour that over the couscous. Add the oil.
Stir well, then cover with clingfilm and set aside.
Once the water is fully absorbed, fluff it with a fork, and pop it into your serving dish.
Add the mint.
Add the onions.
Add the olives.
Fry the Halloumi in the pan the onions came out of, chop it up and pop that in with the couscous.
Mix well, and eat!
My friend Kate and I went back to Borough this morning, to have our traditional early fried breakfast at Maria’s, and the atmosphere was different again. People were very happy to be back, but very tired after working like madmen to get everything cleaned, disinfected, cleared and set back up again. All that stock, left more or less open to everything. I can’t even think of the scenes they encountered when they got back in, or how much stock they’ve lost.
Keep going, keep supporting, KEEP BUYING.