Three summery recipes from Borough Market

·5 min read
This showstopper is sure to turn heads  (John Holdship)
This showstopper is sure to turn heads (John Holdship)

With more than 1,000 years of history, there’s no doubt that Borough Market is the beating heart of London’s food scene. Millions of people flock to Southwark every year to soak up the buzzing atmosphere, browse its many stalls, stands, restaurants and bars, and sample some of the world-class produce on offer.

Taking inspiration from the market’s seasonal roots, food writers Jenny Chandler and Kathy Slack have shared three recipes that are perfect for summer.

Chandler’s courgettini, pisatchio and wheat berry salad is perfect barbecue fare as it works just as well with fish or halloumi as it does with meat. It keeps brilliantly for a lunchbox the next day, too.

A little more adventurous, her charred octopus, piquillo pepper and butter bean salad is inspired by Spanish flavours. Get everything ready in advance, leaving just the charring of the octopus until the last minute for a showstopper (long, slow cooking will ensure it stays tender).

And finally, Slack’s cucumber and gin sorbet is a light, palate-cleansing dessert for a warm summer’s day.

Courgettini, pistachio and wheat berry salad

Serve this versatile salad at your next barbecue (John Hardship)
Serve this versatile salad at your next barbecue (John Hardship)

By: Jenny Chandler

Serves: 4-6


200g wheat berries (whole wheat grains)

100g sun dried tomatoes, roughly chopped

1 tbsp capers

50g green olives, roughly chopped

1 lemon, zest and juice

100ml extra virgin olive oil

2 courgettes, preferably 1 yellow, 1 green

1 clove of garlic, whole but crushed

½ red onion, finely sliced

50g pistachio nuts

A good handful of mint leaves, ripped

Plenty of black pepper and salt to taste


Simmer the wheat berries in plenty of lightly salted water for about 45 mins, or until they are tender (soaking for a couple of hours beforehand will speed up the process and is said to aid digestion too).

Drain the wheat berries and pour them into a large bowl. Add the tomatoes, capers, olives, ½ of the lemon zest and juice and about ½ of the oil. Give everything a good stir and leave the flavours to marry while you prepare the courgettes.

Spiralise the courgettes, or, if you haven’t fallen for that trend just yet, slice into ribbons using a vegetable peeler.

Warm the remaining oil in a large frying pan and throw in the garlic and red onion. Once the garlic gilds and smells divine, remove it from the pan (it will have infused the oil – you can always use it in another dish). Add the courgettes and toss them in the hot oil over the heat for a matter of secs until they are covered in the oil.

Add the courgettes, onions and oil to the wheat berry salad, sprinkle over the pistachios, mint and season carefully (keeping in mind that the tomatoes, capers and olives are quite salty) with salt, pepper and the remaining lemon juice and zest. Serve while warm, if possible.

Alternative: Substitute the wheat berries with pearled barley, freekeh, bulghur wheat or couscous.

Charred octopus, piquillo pepper and butter bean salad

An adventurous showstopper that’s worth the effort (John Holdship)
An adventurous showstopper that’s worth the effort (John Holdship)

By: Jenny Chandler

Serves: 6


About 1-1½kg cleaned octopus

1-2 red chillies, sliced in half

4 cloves of garlic, whole but crushed

1 large bunch of continental parsley

½ tsp salt

150ml extra virgin olive oil

1 x 660g jar of butter beans, drained

6 piquillo peppers (about 100g), sliced

2 lemons, cut into segments


Freezing the octopus will help tenderise the flesh, but be sure that it is completely thawed before cooking. Cut the tentacles off the octopus just below the eyes and then cut the head away from just above. Throw away the eye section and push your little finger through the centre of the tentacles to remove the little thorn-like beak.

Take a small saucepan and pack in the octopus’ head and tentacles with the chillies, garlic, parsley stalks (keeping the leaves for the salad), salt and the olive oil. The octopus should be almost covered by oil. Cover and place the pan on a really gentle heat, just a low simmer, for anything between 30 mins and 1 hour, until the flesh is tender when prodded with a fork.

Meanwhile, pour the beans onto a large serving dish and sprinkle with the sliced peppers and parsley leaves.

Once the octopus is ready, strain the fabulous hot juices over the bean salad. Taste and adjust with salt and lemon juice if required. You can refrigerate both the salad and octopus now, but be sure to eat it at room temperature.

Just before serving, heat up a ridged griddle or use a barbecue to sear the octopus for a couple of secs until it begins to char. Place on top of the salad with the lemon wedges and dig in.

Alternative: This salad would work wonderfully well with squid or cuttlefish, which will take just seconds to cook from raw on the griddle or barbie. Sear the translucent tubes and tentacles until they turn opaque.

Cucumber and gin sorbet

A light, palate-cleasning summer dessert (John Hardship)
A light, palate-cleasning summer dessert (John Hardship)

By: Kathy Slack

Serves: 8


300g caster sugar

40g liquid glucose

½ lemon, juiced

3 large cucumbers (600g in weight)

140ml gin


Put the sugar and glucose in a saucepan with 300ml of water. Set the pan over a low heat until the sugar has dissolved. Do not let it boil. Remove from the heat and add the lemon juice.

Juice the cucumbers. If you have one, you can do this in a juicer. If not, roughly chop them then whizz in a blender to make a watery puree. Line a sieve with muslin and set it over a bowl, then tip the puree into the sieve and leave for a few minutes so the juice drips through to the bowl below. You can gather the muslin into a bag and give it a gentle squeeze to encourage any last drops. Either process should result in approximately 500ml of juice.

Mix the sugary liquid and the cucumber juice together. Add the gin and put it in the fridge to chill. Once chilled, churn in an ice cream maker then transfer to the freezer to set completely.

You can visit Borough Market at 8 Southwark Street, London, SE1 1TL (020 7407 1002) or find more recipes online at