Book review: Borough Market The Knowledge
The Knowledge takes the reader around the stalls of Borough Market
It's not much of a risk to assert that every UK chef has heard of London's Borough Market, whether they first visited the small, almost hidden market of 20 years ago, where only foodies, locals and chefs did their shopping, to the sprawling, multi-supplier mega-market it is now, rammed with weekend tourists and slow-moving hungry hordes.
The Knowledge takes the reader around the stalls, stopping off for some specialist knowledge and recipes on the way. Angela Clutton is the host, who also runs the Borough Market Cookbook Club and Borough Talk events and podcasts. She introduces each stallholder, such as Esther Crouch of the Parma Ham and Mozzarella Stand, who explains when to choose prosciutto San Daniele over prosciutto Mailia Nero di Parma, or Charles Tebbut of Food & Forest, who enthuses about walnut varieties, such as the bright pink Red Danube or the "nuclear warhead"-like size of the Garmisare. Samantha Wallace of Field and Flower has a passion for honey, explaining that pasteurised honey is essentially dead – just sugar without flavour – so it's important to splash out on the raw version with its flower-specific varietals.
These are followed by pictorial advice, in how to fillet fish, identify different clams, use unusual ingredients such as finger limes, or create a spice mix. The recipes obviously focus on products sold in the market, so there's a guide to cooking a pork tomahawk; stuffed hogget leg with spelt and chard; or partridges in sloe gin with creamed Jerusalem artichokes. Desserts include pineapple and rum upside-down cake; pear and ginger treacle tart; and Borough queen of puddings, an orange and cinnamon version of the classic with a caramel-coloured Italian meringue topping.
This is an unashamedly cheffy book, with a plethora of information and obscure facts about how to use lesser-known ingredients that will take dishes from so-so to surprising. One to have at your elbow while making your fantasy shopping list, and just the thing to brighten the dreary days of January.
The Knowledge by Angela Clutton (Hodder & Staughton, £27)