London: High Tea heaven and Market madness!

Ahhh…it´s been a while! I apologise for my severe lack of posting while abroad, I really didn´t fancy writing a post and adding photos on my tiny iPhone with shaky wi-fi, so I figured it would be best until I got to a proper, civilised computer! In addition to that, there hasn´t really been a whole lot to post about anyway, as we have been in the UK most of the time so far, and whilst the food is great, it´s fairly westernised and not really that different to Australia, well, from what we experienced anyway. However, there were two places we went in London that were fairly touristy but still quite amazing 🙂

I´m sure that most people who have been to London have experienced the epic craziness that is Harrods. Wow. That place is insane. The only things I wanted to see were the Toy Kingdom (I had an amazing time when I was 8 years old and was feeling nostalgic) and of course, the heavenly food hall! It was insaaaaaane. There were so many people there that you could hardly catch a glimpse of the cupcakes, let alone to buy one, which would require a hefty bank loan anyway! Obviously the patisserie and the bakery were my favourite sections to look at, but they also had other areas such as a butcher, a fishmarket, a salami/cold meats sections and soups, sandwiches and salads, etc. Everything looked delicious. I settled on a brie and caramelised onion panini, and an amazing brownie – a bit boring I know but most brownies have walnuts in them, which I am allergic to, so it was a rare and beautiful moment!

The other amazing foodie experience in London was the awesome Borough Market. It´s not huge, but is very well known amongst the locals, and many top restaurants come to the Borough Market to pick up their fresh ingredients. The range on offer at the market was huge, and consisted of items such as cheeses, salami, truffles, seafood, pastries, artisan chocolate, goat´s milk ice cream, spanish paella, fresh fruit and veg, meats, juices, preserves, baklava, BBQs, Jamaican soul food, coffee, and my favourite, fresh pasta! I had, obviously, some pasta, which was the most delicious pumpkin tortellini with olive oil and pecorino. I would have taken more with me if I could have. I also had a fresh juice with pear and mint, and my boyfriend had a fresh falafel and the most amazing, and the biggest apple strudel I have ever seen – and I forgot to take a photo of it! We will definitely be returning to the Borough Market when we head back to London in November.

Another place I loved was M&M World! It´s a bit of a novelty, but the place is crazy – 3 stories full of M&M everything – clothes, PJs, homewares, souvenirs, and of course, every M&M colour you could ever dream of! I loved M&M World, so much I went twice and bought PJs! Wish they had one in Melbourne 😦

Dark Chocolate and Peanut Butter Tart

All I can say is YUM! And….omnomnomnomnomnom! Omnomnomnom. Omnom. Nom. Nom. This mouthwatering tart had been a work in progress inside my head for a while, and I wanted to make it for my birthday, as I LOVE LOVE LOVE anything with peanut butter. I was pretty happy with how it looked, even though the pastry was a little rustic looking. Okay, it was completely rustic looking. Plus, I forgot to put sugar in the pastry :/ oops! But it was still pretty awesome, even if I say so myself!
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I’m sure you can already tell, but this tart was super, super rich. Especially after the amazing slab of pork belly I had for my birthday dinner, it’s safe to say I was bursting by the end of it all! This tart was heaven for me, and will be for anyone else who loves the combination of peanut butter and chocolate. It was fairly simple to make, too. It just requires a bit of organising and beginning things the day before. You don’t have to make your own pastry if you don’t want to, either. There are some pretty good frozen pastries around that will still work really well 🙂 The shortcrust pastry recipe I used, I probably wouldn’t recommend. It was ok, but there are heaps of better ones out there. Have a look here to check them out.
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Peanut Butter ganache (adapted from Donna Hay):
  • 1 cup icing (confectioner’s) sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups of smooth peanut butter
  • 120g butter, chopped and softened
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla bean paste/extract
  • 2/3 cup (80ml) cream, thickened
  • Pinch of salt

Place sugar peanut butter, butter and vanilla in a bowl, and beat until light and fluffy (on high for about 5 minutes). Add the cream slowly and beat for another 2 minutes. If not using straight away, cover and refrigerate.

Pastry

Chocolate Ganache:
  • 100g dark chocolate (I used Green and Black’s 70% cocoa), chopped
  • 1/3 cup heavy thickened cream
  • 2 tbs butter
Place all ingredients in a small saucepan and stir over a low heat until melted. Place in bowl and let cool.
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Assembly:
Once the pastry has cooled completely, you can start assembling. Spoon the peanut butter ganache over the pastry and spread it out with a spoon so it is nice and even. Pour cooled chocolate ganache over the peanut butter ganache and gently spread out with a teaspoon, being careful not to blend the peanut butter with the chocolate – you want to create two definitive layers. Ideally, it is best to refrigerate the tart overnight, but if you’re using it sooner, try and refrigerate it for the maximum amount of time possible.
Sliced
You don’t have to decorate the tart if you do not want to, it would look great with nothing on top. I had heaps of leftover peanut butter ganache hence why I did all the piping on top. It probably made it that much richer, but it certainly photographed well, I think 🙂
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