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Shoreditch Sunday

7 May

Spitalfields and Brick Lane are undoubtedly a Sunday mecca for the young and trendy, which is probably why I’ve avoided them for so long. But, being a new London resident and living payday to payday, there isn’t really much to do on a weekend that doesn’t cost money. And since they’re only a £1.40 bus ride away, it seemed like it was time to swallow my pride and find out what the attraction was (and hopefully find something sexy to eat whilst I was there).

Whilst waiting for the bearded one for over an hour (he got the wrong rail replacement bus and ended up in Homerton…*sigh*), I decided to take a little walk. Not far from the Shoreditch High Street bus stop, I stumbled across a disused lot, stuffed with street food and happy customers! Sweet heaven. I spent the rest of the day thinking about what sweet treasures it may hold.

Finally after chatting to some t-shirt designers and illustrators (it’s always time for a little networking) it was home time, and beardy boy agreed to go check it out before we jumped on the 67.

Inside, we found 3 vendors, none of which we’re foreign to me.

By the entrance, there was Yalla-Yalla. Recogniseable by their signature bright yellow branding, they serve up Lebanese and casual middle-eastern fare that critics have been going nuts over since 2008.

Deeper into the belly of the beast, we came across Street Kitchen. Straight from UK farms, sexed up, bistro style British. The slow roast pork on their menu read like a wet dream.

But there, shining like a beacon in a bright red 1959 vintage Citroen fire truck, was Engine. I had been excited about these guys since reading about them in the Evening Standard back in 2012 (remember that really sexy shoot with their red truck and the sexy 1940’s army babes? yeah…), and since I only had a tenner in my pocket, they seemed more than the obvious choice to grab a late lunch.

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At only a fiver a pop, my companion and I both opted for the Yoshi Dog. A Japanese style beef dog with the perfect ‘snap’ (if you don’t know what I’m talking about, ask Adam Richmon), smothered in Takoyaki sauce and Wasabi mayo, and sprinkled with crispy onions and seaweed. All washed down with a shandy no less. A perfect combination; and the seaweed sticks to your lips in a rather hilarious fashion.

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Also on the menu, is The Big Richard – ‘9 inches of smoked pork loving’ (“pun intended”), dill pickles, crispy onions, ketchup & mayo (so a bit of a classic then), Hose ‘A’ – 100% beef dog, smokey chipotle sauce, sour cream, crispy onions, cheese & jalapenos, and last but not least the Bacon Cheese – Double smoked ‘9 incher’ (pun probably also intended), melted cheese and rare breed streaky bacon.

Pocket friendly, thoughtful food, great service (I didn’t catch his name, but we had a nice chat with the guy serving us as to why it was definitely an excellent idea to serve shandy).

You can find them at their new permanent home alongside Yalla-Yalla and Street Kitchen –

HACKNEY HOUSE
186 Shoreditch High St
London
E1 6HU

@EngineFood
@Streetkitchen
@YallaYallaUK

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Borough Market

28 Nov

Last weekend, myself and my boyfriend Matt took a little trip down to Borough Market as I wanted to get some really special chutneys and preserves for my Brother and his wife for Christmas. So here’s what I got and what I thought!

Our first stop was England Preserves, where I picked up some Red Onion Marmalade and Pear, Date and Ale Chutney. Both been done a million times over, but generally done very well by England Preserves. Especially the Red Onion Marmalade, which I didn’t find too sweet, which can often be the case. Also worth a mention is their Red Currant, Rhubarb and Vanilla Jam. So unusual! In a good way of course. Cute packaging as well!

See where England Preserves are and what day they’re at the market here.

Next up we have Gujarati Rasoi from which I got some Apple Chutney. Now, I’m not a fan of Indian spices (my brother definitely is), but this apple chutney was lovely. Not too sweet or sour, and would be great if you wanted something a little different on your cheese board. Or just a break from traditional mango with your curry!

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Check out when and where you can find them at Borough Market here.

Now, over to Fitz Fine Foods. Wow, what a selection! From Truffle Sea Salt to Foie Gras, there was so much to see and try. Although having come to Borough Market specifically for preserves and condiments, I thought I’d better stick to my mission.

I settled on sampling their selection of mustards, and what a selection there was! After trying most of them, I decided on a jar of Wild Celery Mustard, and a couple of jars of Cassis Mustard (one for me!). The celery is really interesting; hot but really flavourful. You can definitely taste the celery! The cassis is a lot more mild and sweet, which I suppose is as to be expected with mustard made with blackcurrant liqueur!

A special mention has to be made for their Wow Wow Mustard; which, as the name suggests, literally made me go ‘WOW’. That stuff is HOT! (Well, to me it was. You will learn over the course of this blog that I am a major wimp when it comes to heat.) Lovely flavour though, and not sharp like an English Mustard can be.

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Location and times here.

Onwards and upwards to Temptings. Now, my only problem with Temptings, despite their wide selection of goods and generally friendly manor, was that it wasn’t easy to sample their stuff. Whilst taking a look at their stall, Mrs. Sandhu (well, I presume it was her), was seeing to another customer and preparing samples for them. I would have been perfectly happy to sample their wares myself, but just wasn’t able to. I can understand the dedication to customer service, with preparing samples for and seeing to each customer individually, but at 2:30pm on a Saturday afternoon when it’s an absolute zoo at the market, perhaps this wasn’t the most customer friendly approach?

Either way, I ended up buying a little jar of their Mint & Tomato Chutney, but I can’t let you know what it was like as I didn’t get to taste it!

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Temptings doesn’t have a website, but you can check out their bio and times/location here.

Now, this next stall, I have to say, was my absolute favourite of the day. Westcountry Preserves was an absolute delight, not only for their fantastic jams and chutneys, but for their customer service, friendliness, and reasonable prices!

I’m assuming the man I spoke to was David Trehane, and if so, he was an absolute pleasure! I asked him questions, and he gave me proper answers! (What would you recommend for Christmas? What spices are in this? If I eat this, will I need to call the fire brigade?) Funnily enough, I did end up trying something rather spicy, and he immediately passed me a cracker laden with blueberry jam “to take the heat away”. How incredibly kind! The guy is a gem.

I ended up getting 4 different jars from him – Special Real Ale Chutney, Cranberry Sauce with Port (for Christmas day turkey!), Hot Garlic Pickle, and last, but most importantly, Tipsy Strawberry Extra Jam with Champagne. Which, I can honestly say is THE BEST strawberry jam I have EVER tasted in my life. EVER. It’s absolute heaven. And I’m not even a strawberry jam sort of gal (definitely a raspberry person).

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The biggest jars of the day and the most reasonably priced. I’d recommend making the trip to Borough Market just to visit Westcountry Preserves!

No website unfortunately, but check out the bio and times/location here.

A special Mention has to go to Pate Moi, who’s mushroom pate was absolutely delicious, but unfortunately doesn’t have a particularly long shelf life. I’d definitely recommend it for entertaining! Or, you know, just yourself!

Times/location here.

ImageI also got this rather fetching shopping bag for a fiver. Good ‘ent it? 🙂

KERB

21 Nov

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If you haven’t heard of KERB yet, where have to been? And you say you’re into food…

Basically, for those of you who don’t know, KERB is a food collective, made up of (currently) around 46 street food trucks and vendors, and growing by the minute. These aren’t lay-by shacks serving up any old greasy slop to weary lorry drivers. Oh no my friend. These guys are the people who are passionate about their street food; who want to bring you fresh and exciting things for lunch (or dinner. Or maybe even breakfast) from all corners of the globe. Something different. Something inspiring. You catch my drift.

From Indian street food from Horn Ok Please, to organic Fro-Yo from Daisy Green via Pizza Pilgrims and their Piaggio Ape come pizza oven, with a dollop of Original Fry Up Material which serves up…well, you can guess from the name. If I sat here and listed every single vendor, it would take me like an hour, and I’ve put at link at the bottom of this post so you can go look yourself!

Their current permanent pitches are at King’s Cross, formerly occupied by eat.st, with between 4 and 7 different traders daily; and brand new from the 15th Nov at the Gherkin with 6 traders every Thursday. Both run between 11am and 2:30pm.

Having an event? KERB can organise a trader to come, pitch up and serve your guests something much more exciting than a soggy old buffet. They can suggest who will suit you best based on budget, cuisine and location, so you don’t have to trawl through everyone’s profiles and websites. (People who are getting married soon…take note!)

If you have a crystal ball and envisage that you’re going to be very very hungry tomorrow from 5:30pm-10:30pm, KERB are hosting ‘KERB Your Enfoodiasm’ at West Handyside Canopy, King’s Cross, N1C 4AA. 16 traders, wine, beer, and a ‘banging’ sound system. Have a look here to see which trucks are going to be there – KERB Your Enfoodiasm

Also, if you’re so inclined, the also have a Facebook page for the event – KERB Your Enfoodiasm Facebook 

Other links –

KERB Homepage

List of Traders

Blog

Twitter

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