Marylebone farmer’s market…and lunch

I speak English….I grew up speaking English. Yes, born and bred in Nigeria but we always spoke English at home.

Long story? No not really. Both parents spoke different languages so the whole family communicated in English!

IMG_1252Monopoly….my childhood was spent trying to acquire property in Mayfair and Park Lane….and of course Bond street. Amazing just how much my knowledge of popular London street names was shaped by the long, hard hours my sisters and I spent sweating it out, trying to avoid going to jail and paying tax!

It was there I first came across ‘Marylebone’ station. At this juncture, I feel the need to repeat that English is my 1st language. Now the phonetics of Marylebone is fascinating for it doesn’t follow your traditional syllabic pronounciation.

Lesson #1: English is not always phonetic, especially by Monopoly

If like me, you see it and pronounce it as a 3 syllable word – Mary-le-bone…..you’ll be wrong as I learnt 20+ years later. 2 decades of saying in my head Mary-le-bone, only to learn that I was wrong and it is pronounced, rather poshly…Marl-e-bone! I just love the way it sounds. Don’t you?

I am comforted by the fact that many people have also made the same mistake :-), aah there is peace in numbers.

I am also that a stroll along a street by the said name brought so much joy and happiness to the FBC crowd….on a rainy sunday.

Lesson #2: Know the season, and dress accordingly

IMG_1153From left to right: Chris, hubby to Beth (Dirty Kitchen Secrets), Jamie of Life’s a feast, Mowie of Mowielicious, Beth of Dirty Kitchen Secrets and Sarah of Maison Cupcake. The photo’s mine!

That morning as I set out to meet the guys at Baker Street, I decided my black flats looked prettier than my boots. I feel as though I must explain my Nigerian heritage, where wearing boots is bound to make you the laughing stock for we don’t have have the weather for it. Saying that, sometimes I do find it difficult to dress weather-appropriately. I’m not used to wearing socks of any kind, except sleeping warmers and I wear pink and peach clothes in February, to the shock of many a person on the street!

Anyhow, my feet froze on sunday…for the first bit, till we sat down in the restaurant. They also got wet and looked ridiculous – a stark reminder that boots in winter rule!

IMG_1167Lesson #3: Protect your camera from the rain

We walked the short distance from Baker street to the market in Marylebone village. Stopping  of course every other minute to take photos.

Now I love my camera and recently picked up a fantastic tip for taking photos in the rain from A Guide to Photography by John Garrett (DK KISS series)! It may look silly but I’ll let you know it not only works but is bound to elicit comments from friends, colleagues and passer-bys….strange looks at the very least.

John says:

I always keep two plastic bags and some rubber bands in my camera bag. Then if it rains, I cut a lens-diameter hole in the clsed end of the bag and fasten it around the lens with the rubberband, This enables me to look through the opening of the bag, keeping the camera dry.

And that’s exactly what I did….with a Tesco paper bag (Photo courtsey of Sunita).

The lady at the Fish stall (story below) said, after the intial shock had passed, ‘I’ve seen Tesco bags used for many things, but never to protect a camera.’ Since it worked, I will continue to do it….regardless of how silly I look 🙂

a40 The market was lovely, and not at all crowded. A farmer’s market which to me spells, homemade, homegrown, delicious.

IMG_1171We started with a little tour in anti-clockwise fashion. First some cheese;

IMG_1183then pie for you can hardly come to Britain without catching sight of pastry-wrapped goodies!

IMG_1185Then cake ( I had the most amazingly lemony cake here).

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Tarts;

IMG_1206and quiches followed, mostly looking, not eating!

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And of course bread…..for no market is complete without its share of yeasty goods, except maybe a fabric market…or an electronic one :-)!

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Lesson#4: Fish in a jug

I was intrigued to find out that  sprats are sold by the jug….and not by weight! As were the herrings. That did remind me very much of Nigeria, where fish are sold in bowls and not measured on any scales. A bit comforting:-).

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I did come across an oyster stall but I figured no need to venture that far, since the oyster fix this lifetime’s been had!

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It was nice to wander round and see cooking inspiration from around the globe. From French inspired roasts;

IMG_1226To Italian bakes.

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Of course, there was loads more….but this was what I saw.

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After the market, on our hunt for food, we stopped by La Fromagerie. Loads of cheeses and other specialities….

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Starving and needing a place that could accomodate a dozen or so bloggers. After a few ‘nos’, we finally found a yes….and at a lovely resturant too – The Natural Kitchen.

IMG_1347….with sitting hastily arranged but very well put-together.

IMG_1310I guess to be honest, we could all relax a bit….and get to spend some ‘quiet’ time with our blogging compatriots…after FBC ’09!

IMG_1306While the food came, everyone chatted…..laughing and taking photos by the second. I got some of Mowie….in quick succession;

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And of  Beth … and Sunita.

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Orders were placed….and food started to arrive. First came the starters….and featured here – sweet potato soup. I remember Sarka saying it was nice and I wondered if I had made a serious error in not ordering a starter. However, I was starving and really wanted to wait on the main.

IMG_1348Then they started to arrive. First was Sarah’s fishpie with green beans;

IMG_1381 And then my pesto risotto with chicken and peppers! The Dutch would say ‘over heerlijk’ – meaning ‘over-delicious’ and that’s exactly what I thought.

IMG_1389First of all, it looked appetising….fresh, green speckles of basil, lusciously coating plump rice grains, peppered with chunks of chicken, red paprika and yellow paprika, finished off with shavings of Parmesan well perched atop the ridge of rice. Did I mention the drizzle of olive oil?

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The aroma that hit my nose, took me back to Rome in spring! Warm and inviting. And then the first bite – melt-on-the-tongue creamy rice, with the texture just as I like it best. Not too soft that it was rice puree but such that I could feel the individual grains but it didn’t take long to get them to smooth and silky. And then finished.

IMG_1416No seasoning was necessary…so the next best thing was to take a photo because….of no reason at all!

IMG_1374 The total experience – wow. (Thanks Jamie, I hope you can see that I’m trying to use all my senses to describe what I ate….and it is NO easy feat. It is amazing though that when you start thinking of it along these lines, you build up a catalogue of descriptions and analogies….Wow). So therefore Lesson #5 should be practice what you learn!

It was time to leave, I had a plane to catch and so I befre I headed off, I descended into the basement that houses the bathroom. As I neared the bottom of the stairs, I was inclined to head back up and get my camera, a post from David Lebovitz fresh in my head. In it, he describes how he sees the recipe for Gâteau Zoë, a chocolate cake on the walls of a men’s facility at a restaurant in Paris and has to make an extra trip to get the recipe, but I figure that the chances of that happening to me are slim and so I continue the journey.

The first thing to hit me the minute I open the door to the facilities is a board of ‘Did you know?’. In shock, and disbelief, I run back upstairs to the amusement of the staff in the basement, which also houses some goods for sale. Explaining to them that I wear the food blogger badge of honour, I grab the camera and head back.

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Sighs of relief and lesson learned. Lesson #6 – Don’t go to a restaurant facility…without your camera!Now while that wasn’t a recipe for killer shortbread, can you imagine living without this weetjes (Dutch for bits of knowledge)?

IMG_1426C’est fini. All said and done and the verdict/summary is I thoroughly enjoyed my weekend in London.

Since I came back, I’ve been preparing for Sinterklaas’s coming. Tonight he finally came and we celebrated it with some Dutch friends. An amazing experience. More on that in a couple.

Peace out, for its past my bedtime. Stay well.

http://sunitabhuyan.com/

[wpurp-searchable-recipe]Marylebone farmer’s market…and lunch – – – [/wpurp-searchable-recipe]

22 Comments

  1. Wow Oz, I totally love this post! It’s funny, dreamy, joyful and wonderful!! Oh, and your description of the risotto recalled its divine taste! I’d love to have another plate right now 🙂

  2. LOVE IT! I love your retelling and your photos are amazing! And I was down in the “facilities” as you so daintily put it, and I told Beth that we should steal the cool sign. You did better, you took a pic of it! Your funny, clever, wonderful post has made me relive this wonderful day once again! (BTW am I eating a rock or cheese in the cheese room?)

  3. Gosh, what a wonderful job you did with th round up…such a fun read! Love all your pcitures, especially the ones on Mowie in ‘quick succession’! Loved your read up too…it was wonderful to meet you Ozoz! xo

  4. Celia, Kate, Magda, Jan. Thanks.

    It was wonderful to be able to take photos of other people’s food (not just your own) without receiving bad vibes!

    And I’m glad you could share some of our fun and excitement as well as seeing the inside of La Fromagerie!

  5. Oz, thanks for the tour. I feel as if I were with you all. It must have been wonderful to be with people who don’t think you’re weird if you take photos of your food before you eat it–or WHILE you’re eating it!

  6. Oh Natasha, it was a wake up to warmth and comfort moment for me….

    Mowie, comfort and shock were words that rang in my mind when I met you on saturday…

    Sarah, Meeta- a girl’s got to do what she’s got to do,even if that includes bathroom photo shoots!

    Shayma – this seems to be my month of meeting people who’ve been/lived in Nigeria! Wow. And I do love my G10…though I have a DSLR yearning, rather seriously but…hmmm it is well

    Beth 990 sq – Pink ladies….ride on. I don’t have a choice anyhow cause my wardrobe is not fexi so…we make the best of what we have!

    Beth – DKS, it was lovely and the comfort of being one of many – from wrong pronounciations to failed recipes…is a comfort.

  7. LOL! Marlybone- oh I was so glad to hear someone else shared the same experience. And yes, it does sound so much nicer the correct way 😉 Had a lovely day with you and such lovely chats. Your pictures bring back such lovely memories…what a day! xx

  8. Ozoz-I love those pictures of the market! What a great technique to cut a bag so you can film in the rain. We had snow here yesterday and I wanted to shoot but was worried about the camera–I’ll use this technique next time.

    I think you SHOULD wear pink and peach year round 🙂 I do. People need bright colors in cold and dark winter months.

  9. Oz, i stumbled across your site via food52. i love that youre nigerian, i did my elementary schooling in lagos and have wonderful memories from there. these photos you have up are a visual dream- seems all food bloggers are connected as i recognised mowielicious and life’s a feast – we follow each other on twitter and i adore their respective blogs. yours is also very, very beautiful (love your g series canon). am but less than 2 months into the blogging world and get inspiration from bloggers like yourself. btw we still make jolloff rice religiously, at home and hope to do a post on it, soon. best wishes, shayma

  10. It’s so brilliant that we all had such a great time and can relive it all on each others blogs – and in such beautiful detail here, it’s like seeing last Sunday flash before my eyes!

    I didn’t realise it was Marl-e-bone until I moved here. It’s a London thing I guess along with Ho-bun and Plah-stow.

    I cannot believe that you took a photo of that sign in the toilet!!!

  11. Oh Oz! What an amazing summary of Sunday. It brought back all those memories and you really were using all your senses to describe it – I need to start applying my lessons learned. Also, I can totally relate to playing monopoly in Nigeria and not pronouncing the names correctly. You’re such comfort Oz, so glad I met you!

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