The Heartbreaker Burger
The Food Stand: Tongue ‘n’ Cheek, Brockley Market (Saturdays Only)
The Hungry Ones:
Left to right: Gemma (The Boozy Rouge), Ollie (Burger King)
Gemma and Ollie ordered: The Heartbreaker Burger (beef and ox heart patty, cheddar, lettuce, dill pickles, ketchup and mustard)
Tongue ‘n’ Cheek at Brockley Market
Brockley Market has been a Saturday morning habit for me since it opened about two years ago. I have made it my mission to try all of the street food stands from Mike & Ollie, who have been there more or less since the market started, to Rainbo, who I discovered there only a few weeks ago, to Spit & Roast, very, very often. A visit to Tongue ‘n’ Cheek this weekend was a first for me, and it was about time. The stall always looks a little quieter than the others, I’m guessing because people are iffy about offal, but those who have been sing its praises very highly. Apparently the Philly Cheese Steak (£8 and bloody enormous) is the best in London. The Heartbreaker Burger is a mix of beef and ox heart, not for the squeamish, but a great alternative to the generic beef patties found across town. It had a delicious moist texture and a subtle offaly hum. The bread was decent, the cheese was good quality and the pickles sharp, however I couldn’t help but think it was missing something in the toppings – perhaps an extra slick of sauce to bring it all together. For £5.50 this is an excellent value burger, especially considering the high quality of meat that goes into it. A must for the burger lover who thinks they’ve seen it all.
About Burger League
The old rule that certain types of shellfish can only be eaten when there is an ‘r’ in the month means that I always endure the summer without a number of my favourite foods. After reading an article in the New York Times that explained why this was – the warmer waters and algae present in the summer months lead to an increase in the potential for food poisoning – I have observed this rule ardently, despite the temptations from supermarkets who still sell the shellfish at these forbidden times. My favourite shellfish of all is mussels, so almost as soon as the autumn rolls around, I visit my fishmonger for a bag. The repeat visits often continue until the onset of spring. There is something about the sound of them crashing against the sides of the pan, and the salty burst of steam when you open to remind you of holidays past and make you feel that you are in a French beach house somewhere, not in the midst of a British winter.
Moules Marinere is such a deliciously perfect dish that I anticipate it in the same way that I do many of my other favourites – especially as I usually do not have to cook it myself. When I first met Ollie, he would cook mussels for me all the time, with a side order of salted, skinny frites and a glass of cold muscadet. His recipe is so excellent that I have yet to find one in a restaurant that I enjoy as much. It has been a long time since he perfected it and he makes it so often that he knows it by heart, so to get my hands on it, I had to volunteer as sous chef for the evening whilst trying to write down each step in a wine-splashed notebook. Not the most conventional way of recipe research!
There is very little out of the ordinary in this recipe, the only wildcard being the addition of some finely-diced carrot to to give the sauce an extra amount of sweetness. The rest is your usual combination of white wine, garlic, shallots, cream and herbs that make the most beautiful mariniere you have ever had.
- 1kg mussels, cleaned and de-bearded
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- ½ medium carrot, very finely chopped
- 3 eschalion shallots, very finely chopped
- 5 medium cloves garlic, very finely chopped
- 1 bay leaf
- ½ tbsp fresh thyme leaves
- 250ml dry white wine
- 2 tbsp creme fraiche
- Sea salt and black pepper
- Flat leaf parsley, finely chopped
Heat the olive oil in a very large saucepan and sweat the shallot and carrot until very tender – about 5-10 minutes. Add the bay leaf and thyme and stir to coat with the oil.
Turn the heat up to high, add the wine and allow it to bubble away until reduced slightly. Keep the lid on the pan whilst doing this as it will create some steam with which to cook the mussels. Add the mussels and cook on a high heat. After a couple of minutes, pick up the pan and, holding the lid on tightly, toss to coat the mussels in the wine mixture. As the mussels just begin to open, take them off the heat.
Carefully pour the liquid from the pan into a separate saucepan, leaving the mussels and vegetables in the pan. Put the lid on the mussels and leave to one side. Heat the sauce on a medium heat until it is reduced a little further and stir in the creme fraiche. Season well and gently cook the sauce for a further ten minutes.
Pour the sauce back over the mussels, add the parsley and toss again. Serve in bowls with skinny fries or crusty bread.