Saturday, August 27, 2005

Cheese Eating Never Surrender Monkeys

So, just about every London based blogger has probably posted about Borough Market and the ever expanding farmers market, so not wanting to be left out and frankly because you can never take a bad picture there here's mine. Actually, I was on a bit of a mission today. Having ambled over to Nathalie at Cabbages and Kings and read her Caerphilly post I needed cheese, great lumps of it, and no namby-pampy French nonsense, no!, I needed British Cheese, great noble, smack you in the gob type cheeses. (You can tell I've given up smoking, huh).

First up was aforementioned Gorwydd Caerphilly made by the Trethowan's at Gorwydd Farm in West Wales. Nathalie has a great post about this cheese here, she met up with Martin Trethowan and had a chat. I'm not as connected as the good Nathalie (damn her eyes ;-)), so I'll just tell you that it is simply amazing stuff. Lemony and creamy with a good little kick.
Next up in my cheese frenzy was the award winning Dayelsford Organic Cheddar, handmade in small batches with unpasturised milk and aged for nine months in cellar conditions for what I can only describe as a Herculean cheddar. As the lovely chaps manning the stall said "it bites back". This was great everything a cheddar should be, other cheddars should run and hide, ashamed to bear that noble name. I was actually speechless when I tried it, one of those moments when all you can do is nod, smile and chew and when you swallow the only word you can mutter under your breath is "fuck!". Food so ridiculously good it makes you laugh.
The thing about Borough Market is that it is easy to get distracted. And end up eating a great deal. As happened to me, I had gone with cheese on my mind and ended up slurping down oysters. The lovely ladies from The Company Shed saw to that. They opened up two Rock Oysters from Mersea Island and dowsed in tabasco and lemon luice they set me up for lunch. Not bad for two quid. Thing is now I'm very hungry and the smell of cooking is basically assailing me from every direction.
This is a sight to warm the heart of any red blooded male. A lovely looking lady making kebabs, I was sold and was presented with a lamb shawrma kebab in flat bread with mint, coriander, vine leaves and
yoghurt. I'm afraid I didn't make that good an impression as I stuffed my craw, but it tasted too good to worry about how I looked until I realised I had grease and yoghurt all over my face.
My final stop of the day was a very finely dressed
gentleman at Wild Wood Groves. They specialise in Argan Nut Oil. Something that I heard never come across and am now supremely glad that I did. An oil only produced in Morocco from the Argania Spinosa Tree. And, man, it is good stuff. Nutty, toasty, pumpkinny (is that a word?). It has been used for generations in Berber cooking and a bit of research online told me that it's being used by a great many fine chefs to finish stews and soups. I'll give it a go and let you know how it goes.
In keeping with the very British (with one minor stop in North Africa) theme of today's shopping expedition I thought I'd treat myself with some Nyetimber sparkling wine. Made on the Sussex Coast I think it beats the crap out of most champagne and because it is British, a darn site cheaper. The bloke in the vintners told me that if it were French he'd be paying twice as much for a similar bottle and similar vintage. This stuff is excellent and has been battering the French in blind tastings. So that's all good then. Love it when we beat the French at their own game. Stop's me getting annoyed when then they do so well on the football pitch.
Finally a few images from the market today, including these wacky peaches that I didn't get a chance to try...


Sam said...

Monkey Gland
you have to read my sorrowful post about the Blind Nyetimber tasting. All I can say is: I tried REALLY REALLY hard. I was on a mission. I'd heard the same things you had, but maybe it's all propoganda?

my second bottle is resting for a year or two as Andrew suggested in the hope I can revisit the experiment with better results.

farmgirl said...

What a wonderfully delicious outing. Great photos. Pass the cheese, please! : )

cookiecrumb said...

My, you're feeling very oral, aren't you!?
That was a fun read. The cheddar looks snarky, the flying saucer peaches -- well, you should have tried one, they're really good -- and the Argan nut oil, how will I ever find any? (Yes, let's declare "pumpkinny" a word.)

Monkey Gland said...


That's such a pity! I've had two bottles of the 1999 vintage and really really enjoyed them. I reckoned it was more interesting than similar Champagne bottles around the same price (about 18 quid). I hope your resting bottle is a bit better.

Sam said...

it is a shame, but 2 years will pass very quickly and then I am going to try the experiment again.

shuna fish lydon said...

my most favoritest {as we are on the subject of new words) is the pronunciation of those full bodied Scottish words! It make me feel more Irish to pronounce them. I like those cheeses meself, like that they taste of the grass and the dirt.

like the gnarled hand of the oyster shucker and the detail on the beet because they're b&w. I'm happy to have some nice plum preserves from that very market waiting in my jam collection.

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