PB Eats… Borough Market

So after the sedate Christmas mood of Norway, it was good to be back in London where you can’t avoid Christmas – lights on every street, trees, decorations, lovely!  I am not big into the material/spending side – I’m more about the food, so where else to stock up on a few Christmas pressies than Borough Market? It was suitably decked, as expected.

We wandered around, and yes, there were lots of people and lots of stalls.  The free samples were mainly for cheese (nope), deli meats (nope), oils (yep).  I can’t write too much about the stuff I bought – but it was on the lines of nuts, chutneys and oils.  There is so much variety there, it is possible to buy something for everyone!  So presents done, we decided to fill our bellies.  Thankfully there are so many options for me, but today I was feeling like a spicy stir fry, so I made a beeline to my fav place, L’ailOlive.

There is a standard meal that I always order – vegetarian rice noodles with veggie gyoza.  Served piping hot with some fried onions on top.  This came to about £7.50, more expensive than Mr. A’s Ethiopian box that was jam packed with meat, veggies and rice for only £5.  

I should also say that they were served by a very Christmas-y lady, decked in a jumper, tinsel, baubles – and she had even done her nails – loved it!!

Now L’ailOlive specialise in garlic and chilli products, and they always have a couple of sauces to pimp our food with.  One contains dried shrimp, but the other one…ho ho ho (pun intended).  The Super Hot Garlic Peperoncino is dynamite, literally as the name suggests, super hot – and that comes from someone who can handle her chillies!  The kick is spectacular – and I’ve learned from experience to use this oil sparingly – amazing flavour, but definitely use with caution!  The stir fry was super delicious – hitting the spot on a cold London day.

Next – dessert. Keeping with the Thai theme, Mr. A spotted a place selling coconut pancakes – dairy free! Made with coconut milk and rice flour, they looked like little discs of snow, dotted with black sesame seeds.

Crunchy on the bottom, soft on the top, lightly set – they were very moreish and so so yummy.  8 to a portion for about £3 I think – I could have had about 32.  A must try for sure.   All in all, a good day out – I always come to Borough market with a plan when I want to buy foodie pressies, however on the eating front, anything goes! I always leave full and happy 🙂

PB Eats… Gujarati, Ghanaian, Thai

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – I love living in London.  I eat so many different kinds of cuisines everyday, all easily accessible, and all delicious! First stop this week was an early dinner at Chawalla, one of my go to places for Gujarati food in East London.  It is a vegetarian restaurant, and there is so much variety, from snacks to street food.  We started off with mogo, also known as cassava, a childhood staple.  It is usually boiled, fried and then eaten as they are, dipped in a mixture of salt, lemon and chilli powder. Or coated in a sauce.

Soft, crispy mogo, spicy tomato sauce, whats not to like?  Mains were channa puri – one of my favourite combos, whether made the Gujarati way or the Punjabi way.

A bowlful of sweet, spicy chickpeas in a thick sauce, 3 puris – deep fried, fluffed up flatbreads and an obligatory salad.  This meal had the right combination of textures and flavours.  Yummy.  A definite return restaurant 🙂

One of the other lunch time meals I had this week was Ghanaian food.  Now I thought it would be meat heavy, but I was pleasantly surprised to see a few vegetarian and vegan options on the menu at Chop Pot.  It is opposite Liverpool Street station, had few places to sit down and eat, and virtually everyone was there for a takeaway, including me.

I love peanuts, and when I saw the spicy pepper soup with spinach, I know that is what I was going to order.

It turned out to be a thick, smooth, creamy soup with a good taste of peanut, a massive (good) kick of chilli, a few bits of spinach and a lot of what I think was palm oil – you can even see it floating on the top.  It was a tasty soup, but I found it very heavy. Going back and sitting at my desk for the rest of the afternoon didn’t help.  If you have this soup, make sure it is followed by a long power walk!

Sunday night dinner was a girly affair – mum, sister and I went out for Thai at our favourite Thai place – Elephant Royale in Gants Hill.

We’ve been coming here for almost two decades now, and the food was always consistently good.  Unfortunately due to a combination of surly staff, terrible service and the consistency of the food virtually disappearing, visits in the last two years were down to nil.  But I’m happy to say that there has been a change in the entire management team, staff and chefs – and we’re (well, they’re) back in business!  What did we order?

Crispy spring rolls, stuffed with glass noodles and veggies – delish!

Thai Green curry, loaded with veggies, tofu and a wonderfully rich sauce.  There was also a hint of turmeric in there – added this wonderful depth of flavour…

Coconut Rice – this was the best part of the meal – plump rice, full of coconut…and sugar.  It went perfectly with the curry, and also served as dessert.. haha!

Green papaya salad, sans dried shrimp and fish sauce but loaded with everything else.  Refreshing and perfectly complimentary with everything else.   Thank you Elephant Royale!

So this concludes the highlights of the week, stay tuned for more eats – I’m ready if you are! 🙂