While I lived in London several years ago, I used to go to Borough market at least once or twice a week, as it was just a short walk from my flat off of Bermondsey street. I had my favorite vendors of course, but what I enjoyed most was wandering all around while sipping my Monmouth coffee and taking in all the sights, sounds and smells of the market, ideally before the hordes of tourists arrived and often after a long run along the Thames. It’s is one of the things about London that I miss the most, aside from all my favorite running routes along the river and in the parks. I like the Union Square Greenmarket, but it lacks the character, history and culinary diversity found in Borough Market.

It was a huge treat to find myself back in Borough market after a three year hiatus during my recent trip to Europe over the holidays. After a few days in Amsterdam and before heading to Paris, E and I spent a lovely, nostalgic week in London wandering everywhere and visiting all our old (mostly food-related) haunts. Whoever says London doesn’t have good food clearly doesn’t know where to go! Just a few of my favorites – pretty much any vendor in Borough Market, St. John’s Bread and Wine (best bread EVER + extremely English fare, Spitalfields), La Boca Dilupo (awesome Italian, Picadilly), The Garrison (cozy gastro pub on Bermondsey St, London Bridge), The Providores (great, casual tapas on ground floor, Marylebone High St), Metro Pizza (meter long insanely delicious pizza, Notting Hill and Battersea)…and SO many more.

Pizza shark, Metro Pizza (London) St John's Bread & Wine The Garrison

Borough market was beautifully renovated since I last visited. It felt great to be back, despite the pouring rain, especially because we were STARVING! We were staying in a hotel down the street (part of the nostalgia tour required staying in our old ‘hood, obviously) and had just finished a 90-minute hot yoga class at our old yoga studio near London Bridge.

Borough Market reunion Heavenly chorizo sandwich papardelle with tomatoes and mushrooms 

First stop was caffeine – my Monmouth cappuccino was delicious and as always, worth the long wait in line (rain never deters Monmouth coffee drinkers). Directly across from Monmouth is Brindisa, where we devoured a double chorizo sandwich with roasted red pepper and rocket (E was upset that I made us share one…but hey, we had a lot more food ahead of us). My favorite pasta vendor, La Tua Pasta, moved to a permanent covered location near the ostrich/rare meat vendor, around the corner from Brindisa. I used to buy their chestnut pappardelle every week to cook with roasted tomatoes, shitake mushrooms and white truffle oil (great pre-long run dinner), but since we didn’t have a kitchen, we got their cooked pumpkin tortelloni to eat there (delicious). We visited the Comte cheese stand (my favorite cheese of all time) and bought a big chunk to eat later on. The Tomato Stall was still there – their oak roasted tomatoes are like crack, SO good in pastas or paired with cheese. We got the garlic version to have with our cheese. Dessert was a Portuguese egg custard tart. I think we must have dropped 50 quid in less than 20 minutes (not to mention the calories ingested). It certainly is a pricey/dangerous market!

The Tomato Stall, Borough Market Portuguese egg custard tarts granola

One of our splurges was a massive bag of ginger granola by Mini Magoo. They have tons of different flavors and products (mostly low sugar/oil); this one is nice as its lightly sweetened, nice and crunchy with various seeds, tiny specs of ginger, whole almonds and dried coconut flakes. I love it in greek yogurt or with almond milk.

We somehow managed to resist opening the bag for the rest of our trip and brought it home to enjoy. Sadly, we just finished it and I wanted to see if I could create my own variation based on their ingredient list. I used maple syrup instead of agave, left out the whole almonds and coconut flakes, added a touch of coconut oil, added cinnamon and vanilla, and crystallized ginger chopped into the smallest pieces I could manage (I would love to know how they get their ginger pieces so tiny and crunchy, as mine were chewy and bigger).

Ginger coconut granola crunch crunch crunch close up

It tastes different but turned out great – crunchy, slightly sweetened, and full of whole grains, fiber, and healthy fats. It’s also gluten free and vegan (in case you care). I love it by itself, mixed with yogurt and fruit (+ almond butter, as I add that to everything), or simply with milk. The nice part about this recipe is that it’s extremely easy to make and can be adjusted to what you like – substitute different nuts/seeds, use different spices, substitute ginger for dried cranberries etc. I’m sure it would also work without the oil or with different sweeteners.

Oh and in case you’re wondering, we helped offset our two and a half weeks of complete gluttony with an average of 5-10 miles per day of walking to see the city sights plus 3-4 beautiful (COLD) runs around Amsterdam/London/Paris per week…THAT is how we do Europe! (I know – I’m a dietitian – but hey, we need vacations and love to enjoy our food too!)

Ginger coconut granola

Ingredients

3 cups rolled oats
1/3 cup maple syrup
1 tbsp coconut oil (In its liquid form)
1/4 cup pumpkin seeds
1/8 cup sunflower seeds
1/8 cup flax seeds
Pinch of salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 cup finely chopped crystallized ginger

Directions

1. Preheat oven 325
2. Whisk together maple syrup, salt and coconut oil in small bowl
3. Combine dry ingredients in large bowl
4. Pour wet into dry mixture and mix together so that it is evenly distributed
5. Spread mixture onto parchment lined cookie sheet (or use foil brushed lightly w/ oil)
6. Bake for 15 min, stir mixture, then bake for 2-3 10 minute intervals in between stirring until oats are crunchy (mine took a total cook time of ~45 minutes)
7. Remove from oven and let cool completely
8. Store in an airtight container

(Click here for printer friendly recipe)

To finish things off, a few more photos of our adventures in Europe!

Steaming hot pretzel in an Amsterdam night market  Pigeon graffiti, Amsterdam (?!)

Amsterdam  Beautiful Tower Bridge in all its glory Run!! East London  Chelsea Potter pub (where I met E)

Banana nutella crepe, Ile St Louis  The Mont Blanc at Angelina's in Paris

Le Penseur Playing with statues in Paris

Giant Lindor truffle Local memorial in residential Paris

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