Going to MsMarmitelover’s is an absolute treat. Kerstin Rodgers, the woman behind the name (and the fascinators), is responsible for bringing supper clubs to the capital and continues to throw a fabulous mix of demonstrative food events in her Kilburn home. I recently attended the Underground Farmers Market, a candlelit mix of street food stalls, cocktail bars and vintage crafts tucked into every nook & cranny of her abode (even the bath was put to good use as the ‘honesty’ bar).
Even sitting and soaking up the atmosphere at this event would have sent me home with a smile (bunting, fairy lights, a sneaky bonfire, live acoustic music all for £5 a ticket), but of course I was there to try the food. From Mauritian street food to the arancini brothers to oysters to speciality hot chocolate, there was so much to chose from. Below is a summary of what I munched on.
Visiting the Greenwich Smokery stall was one of the most charming experiences of the night. Chris Box runs an urban micro-smokery where he smokes Loch-Dart Salmon, Cornish Mackerel or MSC-certified herring from the Thames Estuary and flogs them, sometimes for a pay what you think its worth prices, at both Greenwich & Leadenhall Markets. Wearing his head-torch (I think he must have missed the memo about the lighting) he prepped a freshly smoked mackerel and stuffed it with fresh herbs, smoked garlic and smoked lemons. Sealed with cocktail sticks, shoved onto a soaked bamboo stick and placed on the open bonfire to crisp up, it was utterly delicious. We ate it with our fingers by the bonfire whilst sipping dirty martinis.
Reiner’s Austrian Fine Foods
Reiner’s had me hooked when I heard the words hot pumpkin soup – perfect by the bonfire food. It got ten times better when Marco topped it with Pumpkin Seed oil, one of the specialist products Reiner’s import from Austria. Rich and intensely nutty, it really bought the soup to life and made it something special. I look forward to trying some of their other gourmet vinegars, cheeses and charcuteries down in Maltby Street Market, Bermondsey, where Marco Reiner trades from an archway with chef Franz Schinagl. Franz did a brilliantly fun and informative session at the market, during which he cooked two types of traditional Austrian dumplings – one spinach and one grilled cheese. Both were totally delicious but the spinach ones had me hooked. Boiled gently and served steaming with hot brown butter and grated alpine cheese, I could have eaten the entire plate. Kindly, the team have passed on the recipe, see below for full details.
E5 Bakehouse are an artisan sourdough bakery located in a railway arch in Hackney. I watched Ben, one of the head bakers, give such an interesting demo about sourdough that I left wanting to eat nothing but E5’s natural, tasty, locally nurtured loaves. The bakery uses a 200 year old rye sourdough culture which began life in Lapland, travelling via Sweden, and passed through 3 generations before being handed onto Ben. He kindly gave some of the ‘mother’ to those who watched; mine’s sitting in my fridge waiting eagerly for its feed of a mix of water and flour. I hope one day I open the fridge and it’s magically turned into a sourdough loaf. They do some great looking courses on Saturday’s where you can learn much much more than me, click here for details.
The full list of stall holders is shown on MsMarmitelover’s website. Thanks to the venue, and the host of course, this was unlike any other food market I have ever attended. The warmth, camaraderie, fab, varied food and generally brilliant atmosphere created by those who took part and attended will have me back next year.