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, local couple Marc and Tracy-Ann
Interview and portraits: Helena Smith
Marc and Tracy-Ann live on the Old Kent Road. Australian Tracy-Ann is a global lead in international child protection, while Marc, from Cornwall, is a talent manager working for the civil service. Marc and Tracy-Ann are devotees of the Market, shopping here at least once a week, people-watching in Maria’s Market Café, and expanding their culinary skills via the Borough Market Cookbook Club. Here they talk about their favourite Market stalls and eats.
We love Maria’s Market Cafe—in fact, we just celebrated our second wedding anniversary there. It’s a real old school place in the heart of the Market and it’s brilliant for observing the passing flow of tourists, locals and market characters. They dish up fantastic bubble and squeak. We often have lunch at Maria’s on a Saturday, a fish wrap from Applebee’s Fish, or roast pork with apple sauce from Roast to Go. And we might treat ourselves to a Bread Ahead sea salted caramel doughnut—they also do Easter hot cross bun doughnuts which are so worth the wait.
Another pause on a shopping trip is for scrumpy at The Cider House. It serves amazing brews from Burley in the New Forest. When it comes to stocking up for the week, we often ask traders for advice: at Shellseekers Fish and Game, for example, they helped us with how to cook octopus, and the butchers have great guidance about preparing game birds and venison. There’s never any pressure to buy, and it’s not expensive. For under a tenner we can buy onglet steak, fresh veg and amazing strawberries for dinner.
Always something new
Even though we know the Market so well, there is always something new to discover whether it’s fresh seasonal produce, or a brand-new stall. We were really excited when Wiltshire Chilli Farm appeared. Their sauces are so well-balanced, and we put them in everything: our own sauces, sandwiches and stews. Another big favourite is the mushroom pâté from Pâté Moi—such incredible flavour.
We love being members of the Cookbook Club. A cookbook is chosen each month, you enter a ballot to join in, and then the ballot-winners bring a dish they have cooked to discuss the recipe book—and eat! We always have Borough wine to drink, and we’ve had guests like Claudia Roden which is such a privilege. The idea is to cook things out of your comfort zone such as sweetbreads, and Mark always makes desserts, which he had never done before. We’re so looking forward to The Borough Market Cookbook coming out, and to giving it the Cookbook Club treatment.
We’ve learnt so much from studying different recipe books, but our favourite cookbook is still the one we made ourselves as a favour for guests at our wedding. It contains recipes from our life and travels together, such as this salmon parcel recipe, which is one of the first things we cooked together.