Helena Smith is a travel writer and photographer, who regularly blogs about food and community. In a new series, she talks to some of Borough’s regular shoppers to find out their favourite Market haunts and ingredients—and what keeps them coming back. This time, Angela: a childminder
Interview and image: Helena Smith
Childminder Angela lives in a 1930s apartment block near Borough Market with her children Holly and Alfie and Suki the dog. Angela has looked after a host of children who live near the Market, joking that people must think she has a LOT of kids. A regular summer holiday treat for Angela and her family, between dance and drama classes for Holly and football for Alfie, is an Italian ice cream at Gelateria 3Bis. A couple of times a week the family head to the Market to shop.
I was born in Waterloo and I’ve always lived in the area. I only moved to my flat around seven years ago, but the children’s great, great grandparents lived in the building when it was new. People used to ask me why I wanted to stay around here and what was so great about Waterloo—they said, “it’s just a station!” but the area has become so popular now.
I’ve always shopped in the Market: when I was a kid we got all our meat and veg here. It has changed a lot, and the old stall holders have passed on, but I still love it. The produce is more unusual and lots of different cultures are reflected now but you can still get bargains, especially if you go early on a Saturday morning.
We buy veg here and fruit, for example the bananas used to make our easy-peasy ice cream. This is a really easy thing for kids to make and it’s healthy too, with no sugar or cream: just bananas and some vanilla. Most ice cream recipes are complicated and call for fancy equipment, but we’ve found that just a couple of frozen ingredients can make amazingly creamy ice cream.
Eat well, avoid waste
Just slice up four bananas, scrape out the seeds of half a vanilla pod, mix them together and freeze in a lidded container or sealable bag for a minimum of five hours—or better still, overnight. Take it out of the freezer, let it thaw slightly for 10 mins, then pop the fruit in a blender and whizz it up. Put the mix back in the freezer for an hour or so, then you’re ready to eat! You can also throw in a handful of raspberries or other soft fruits, if you’re in the mood.
A regular Borough Market stop for us is Fish! where we get fish and chips to take home, and the pie and mash shop next door. I used to look after some boys who sang in Southwark Cathedral choir, and I’d walk them there through the Market with my kids, buy some cheese and look at all the produce.
My daughter goes to the Charles Dickens primary school near here and she’s been to lots of school events at the Market. Local kids even set up their own stall there last summer, selling homegrown fruit and veg—it’s part of the School Food Matters programme, where they teach everything from planting seeds, to cooking, to creating a market stall. Through the project the Market encourages kids to eat well, avoid waste, and to understand where their food comes from: the ground!
I’m very involved locally—I helped set up a club for kids where there are free events, dance, football and tennis. It’s wonderful how much there is to do nearby: Mint Street Park, the Tate, walks down the South Bank and shopping at the Market. All my extended family still live in the area, and I wouldn’t be anywhere else.