London’s “Real Food Market”: Gourmet Vegan and Vegetarian Goodies

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We certainly are enjoying our UK summer, especially the food part. Not only is it quite easy to choose something healthy among the myriad of fresh market items, but the gourmet aspect of market food can be quite striking–especially in London. The past week, we visited the Real Food Market  which is tucked in right by the Royal Festival Hall, in the Southbank Centre Square. It’s not as big as the Borough Market, but the quality of the food certainly does measure up to that of a great gourmet food market. In other words, it’s more like an open-air deli with lots of healthy goodies to sample. And even better, you can carry your freshly bought picnic items right up the steps and enjoy them by the river Thames. Lovely…

Among the highlights of the market goodies are the Somerset Ploughmen’s “Cherry Tree” fruit curds (*drooling*), the water ganache at The Chocolatier by Aneesh Popat, La Bruschetta, and the different vegan kibbe options at a Lebanese food stand (whose name we forgot!).

 

 

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I’ll start with the fruit curds at the Somerset Ploughmen‘s stand. Simply amazing. The tangy-ness of the fresh fruits was all what we needed on a hot summer day. All flavors were sublime, especially the passionfruit, lemon and lime, pina colada, and raspberry curds. I can’t wait until I use them in baking–I’m sure they’ll add a great flavor to some light tea cake recipes, like my lemon and chia cake (but I will be using the lemon-lime curd this time). These curds may not be suitable for vegans, but they are vegetarian-friendly.

The 'Cherry Tree' curds from "The Somerset Ploughmen" stand at the London Real Food Market

The ‘Cherry Tree’ curds from “The Somerset Ploughmen” stand at the London Real Food Market

Fruit curds by "The Somerset Ploughmen" at the London Real Food Market

Fruit curds by “The Somerset Ploughmen” at the London Real Food Market

IMG_4363   Another awesome dessert item at the market is none other than the water ganache by Aneesh Popat, “The Chocolatier“. Actually, the word “awesome” does not do these little creations any justice. Combining skills of the kitchen with those of chemistry, the chocolatier certainly knows what he’s doing. Popat’s creations are indeed a work of art, of science, and obviously, of heart. The moment your palate gets a say in this, a sudden influx of questions rushes through: how? what? why? It’s just too hard to fathom that this creamy, delish goodness is absolutely dairy and soy-free–100% vegan! No wonder Popat’s chocolates have made their way to Michelin-star restos and the tables of royalty. popat

A yummy vegan chocolate mousse pot from "The Chocolatier" at the London Real food Market

A yummy vegan chocolate mousse pot from “The Chocolatier” at the London Real food Market

We also enjoyed the fresh, simple bruschettas and tomato pestos at “La Bruschetta“. A simple, crunchy, no-frills tomato-basil bruschetta with a hint of parmesan is a great summer treat (vegetarian). Vegan options are also available, with carmelized onion threads or sun-dried tomatoes (instead of the cheese). We also got to sample some great pestos, spreads, and olive oils!

From "La Bruschetta" at the London Real Food Market

From “La Bruschetta” at the London Real Food Market

Busy at the Bread Tree Bruschetta--London Real Food Market

Busy at the Bread Tree Bruschetta–London Real Food Market

And as for the very vegan-friendly Lebanese cuisine, we were delighted to discover a new version of kibbe besides our own vegan versions of pumpkin kibbe or potato kibbe: mushroom and chestnut kibbe. The crunchy chestnut outer layer was a great accompaniment to the herby mushroom filling. Absolutely delicious. However, there was one problem: we would have preferred the kibbe to be baked instead of fried, as it would’ve saved tons of calories from fat. Plus, we think it would have tasted better (we always bake our kibbe instead of frying). There was also another nice version of vegan kibbe, the aubergine kibbe. Again, we think that the baked version would’ve tasted better (and healthier)–probably with a bit more basil in the kibbe’s outer layer.

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 What we didn’t get to try, though (but is in our next visit’s to-do-list), are the Moorish organic flatbreads, Koshari Street, and some of the fresh organic breads and juices. When you’re surrounded by so many yummy healthy options and everything tastes so good, you simply cannot sample all the food!

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