Am I allowed to blog about the food from the farmer’s market, do you think?

A Review of Blackheath Farmers’ Market, London SE3

Are farmers’ markets sufficiently a-little-bit coffee-shop-esque?

Coffee shops and farmer’s markets are after all, part of the same package; something that Grayson Perry would satirise us for frequenting.

But maybe if I write this blog, the Blackheath Bugle is going to come after me like a mafia boss when someone hits his turf, brutally obliterating the wannabe in the first scene of one of those mafia films I’ve heard about but never seen; just to show how hard he really is.

Gutted, man. Out in the first scene.

Honest Blackheath Bugle, I’m only going to talk about the cakes. Not the beetroot.

Our visit to the farmer’s market was prompted by a NEED for strawberries and a cake to share, and DEFINITELY NO MORE THAN THAT (in the way that you do when you have eaten quite a lot this week already). That was the intention right until were mobbed by the sheer number of cake stalls with lovely friendly people trying to persuade us to buy things (after we had hqueued… just to see what is available you understand).

In the end we fell for a mandarin marmalade cake slice and a ginger flapjack.

No offense to the mandarin marmalade cake AT ALL, which was very moist and orangey and a good combination of all the grown up tastes that make growing up worthwhile; but it was the ginger flapjack that got me typing and justifying reviewing farmer’s markets as if they were coffee shops.

There is a great crime in the world, that goes under various guises – sometimes the ‘fantastic young male chef flapjack’; or the ‘chemist-named-after-footwear flapjack’ – but generally refers to something sold in plastic wrapping under artificial lighting that technically meet the definition of a flapjack. (I haven’t checked the old Oxford English, but I’m figuring Oats and Syrup appear on the list somewhere.)

And then there is flapjack (all whisper “mmm…” in your heads) a sort of viscous solid, that keeps its shaper if you squeeze it together, but also crumbles about leaving lots of little bits to pick up when you thought that the treat was all over. Where you can hold little bits of oats between your teeth and work out the syrup. Or in this case, the gingery syrup. You knew syrup went with oats, you knew that ginger went with syrup. How can this be the first time I have experienced a combination of all three?

There are other good flapjacks in the village, just waiting to be reviewed by BCS. Subscribe if you don’t want to miss them 🙂 Or just subscribe.

Can anyone see? Did the BlackheathBugle join us…? If the coast is clear, I’d just like to add – that we really like buying the butter here and we have had great success with the herb and veg growing pot stall. I WAS TALKING ABOUT COFFEE, BLACKHEATH BUGLE, THAT’S ALL.

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Those Very Round Glasses

A review of Buenos Aires the Restaurant in Blackheath London SE3
(I’ll come back to the coffee shop in Greenwich some other time).

I know you have looked in the large windows of this restaurant and seen those wine glasses. Those are what draw you in are they not..? Those wine glasses. Beautiful and round… so very round. By nature I belong to the very-small-wine-glass school of thought (because the glass runs empty at about the same time the taste has stopped being special); but those wine glasses are so very round I can forgive how large they are.

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Here is my advice if you are visiting Buenos Aires the Restaurant. Do not under any circumstances think that because you are in an Argentinean restaurant, you are compelled to eat only meat at the expense of the side dishes. This would mean that you would miss out on generous portions of French fries, fresh and exciting Panache de Vedura, and that other really good thing. You know THAT OTHER really good THING with a Spanish name (not Que Ota Cosa), made with corn and cheese and ISN’T ON THEIR ONLINE MENU for me to check the name of like a diligent little non-spanish speaking blogger. What can I say? – It was my husband what ordered it – good man. But it was amazing. And mix of all those flavours and colours and textures was what made my last visit to Buenos Aires so worthwhile.

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To accompany the side dishes we had steak served with Chimicurri sauce. This looks pretty inoccuous – but goes excellently with the chargrilledness of the steak. I do not write such a dull sentence lightly. The chilli/tomato (and so much more) sauce with charcoal was a perfect harmony of flavours. I had thought that steak sauces were just a little bit Whetherspoons. What is the point of garlic or peppercorn sauce? Steak is good meat that should not be cluttered with too much irrelevant flavour – right? On this visit, I discovered that all of these steak and sauce combinations are chargrill&chimicurri sauce wannabes.

Now you know.

We finished with the mixed dessert platter. Apparently Argentineans would do nothing so quaint as to do mini editions of the 5 desserts and cheese portions on the platter in a Parisian cafe gourmand sort of a way. Each dessert appeared to be pretty much full size.

There were 2 of us.

Everyone looked at us.

I considered moving serving places to our table to look like we were a five-strong party, but I wouldn’t be able to fit the seats to match. I didn’t order my planned Remy Martin after that. I was too embarrassed.

It is difficult for me to comment on the respective qualities of each dessert given that my feeling was, ‘please, not more food, no more food, please’ and I am not 100% sure that some were not compromised by the proximity of the others, (rhubarb bread pudding sounds like a selection of subtle flavours that does not match up to the punch of a chocolate cake, for example). However I can comment that despite being a bit of a chocolate cake cynic, they actually do a rather good chocolate cake: No gratuitous death by icing, or goo. A good crumbly cake with a strong sugary icing.

By the way , when I ordered a Cabernet Sauvignon, they removed the round, round wine glasses and I got a bog standard straightish glass. (That glass could have been prettier if it was smaller in my opinon).

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Readers, we fall out? Already?

Readers, we fall out already?! I have now discovered the disappointing side of blogging. I was initially flattered when so many people came and told me that I made them want to eat a Boulangerie Jaaaaade lemon tart. Clearly this enthusiasm rubbed off even on me, as I went to Mara Interiors (who serve Boulangerie Jade cakes while you sit in their rather posh leather seats) this morning to enjoy one… only to discover that despite the labelling, and absence of passion fruit seeds, that it was not lemon; it was passion fruit. Now the owner apologised profusely, I do not believe that this was intentional… but we have to ask ourselves: Would anyone along the supply chain have had to replace lemon tarts with passion fruit if you had not all rushed off to eat them all.. leaving none for me?

We need to establish some ground rules here.

Here’s my suggestion: If I say something is great to eat/visit, by all means rush to try it, but you will need to lobby your local coffee shops for a ‘put aside for the blogger fridge’. At your expense I propose that for all good edible merchandise purchased in SE3 (not to mention SE’s 13, 18, 8 &10) a quarter of it is put aside for Blackheathcoffeeshop’s blog. Otherwise I will have to be left to hanging out in all the instant coffee and margarine cafes, and then where will you all be rushing too?

Ok. I’ve got it off my chest. You’re forgiven. Whaddya think – a blog about Hand Made Food, or Buenos Aires next?

Boulangerie Jade

Could someone correct me here? Having dated a French speaker I was introduced to pronouncing this place as Jaaaade, rather than Jayde. But I am starting to think that I am the only person in Blackheath to be doing this.

5 steps to enjoying a lemon tart at Jade – best enjoyed with a friend. (or just get two seats and regularly swap sides).

First: ensure you join the queue with enough space to distinguish the lemon tart from the passion fruit tart. The latter is nice, but lemon tart is special on a different level.

Order with a coffee from the grumpy waitress/cashier, and with any luck manage not to offend her at some point during the transaction. Break the lemon tart in half  and watch the lemon ooziness drip out (but not too much).

Argue over which of you will eat jade chocolate button (if it has one)
Enjoy!

Jade also tops my frequent visit list because the coffee is the best in the village and the Earl Grey is Twinnings (yet to find any other contender for Earl Grey, even in the expensive brands – suggestions welcome). Other ‘top the list’ products here are the croissants. They can be a little unusual looking sometimes, but- just the right amount of buttery  crumbs left on the plate to dip your finger into (so long as an over enthusiastic waitress resists whipping your plate away first); the tart tatin; and the chocolate tart; the florentines and the macaroons… and…

And make sure you check BOTH ends of the counter, with the exception of their very good sandwiches, there are some excellent savory options hiding on the other side of the till where you have had no time to check them out whilst keeping your place in the queue. But avoid the pizza. (very bad; worse than your own homemade version with wholemeal flour,; served cold; with broccoli.)
You may have observed a prejudice on my part for pastry here- the very impressive cream concoctions don’t quite appeal for a quick stop for coffee; but I am sure no one would regret shelling out £22 for a larger cream cake thingy for guests later in the day (please use the comment box below to invite me to dinner)