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"... there’s no despair in a seed. There’s only life, waiting for the right conditions – sun and water, warmth and soil – to be set free. Every day millions upon millions of seeds lift their two green wings."

Janisse Ray

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Friday
Mar272015

Fennel gratin with leeks and anchovies

Friday fun-day! Today I did my first live cooking demo at the Natoora shop in Turnham Green. And they call this work! Well, sign me up and call me ‘Chef’.

A month ago I started working for Natoora, the UK’s biggest importer and distributor of fine quality produce. Their main clients are restaurants - Ottolenghi, Heston, Gordon Ramsay, Alain Ducasse – you name them, Natoora supply to them. There’s also an online and retail shop where you can buy all manner of delicious things and then some.

In the last 4 weeks I have tried so many new varieties of fruit and vegetables that I am starting to lose count. Oranges? Yes. Tarocco oranges with a blush of pink – new favourite.  Tomatoes? Obviously. Danterini, Marinda and Iberico tomatoes – everyday please. Radicchio? Been there. Radicchio Triestino – just about the most beautiful vegetable I’ve ever seen:

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Sunday
Mar222015

Yak and Yeti

When I was invited last week to review the new branch of Yak and Yeti in Finsbury Park I have to admit that I was sceptical. I needn’t have been; my experience proved the old adage that you should never judge a book by its cover. 

From the outside Yak and Yeti looks like a chain and in a busy strip of mostly independent restaurants, I am more likely to choose somewhere that looks original. The décor doesn’t improve much when you step inside, but the service and food more than make up for it. All the staff are extremely knowledgeable about the food and very passionate about the dishes from their native Nepal.

Two of the waiters recommended the momo lamb, so we thought we had better try that. Good choice! It was the most interesting dish we had. Momo is a typical Nepalese street food that epitomises the mix of influences on Nepalese cuisine from its neighbours, Tibet and India.

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Wednesday
Mar112015

Yelp Blog School

Micro pigs, selfie stick injuries and Mary Berry versus Fanny Cradock. Hot topics at the blogger’s brunch hosted by Yelp London and About Time Magazine  on 7th March at The Newman Tavern.

Head hostess with the mostess, Angelica Malin, Editor-in-Chief at About Time Magazine, and her sister, Alicia, brought together 30 of their favourite London food bloggers, added 5 experts on all things digital, mixed with some speed networking, a sprinkling of advice and rounded up with a lovely brunch. What better way to spend a sunny Saturday morning?

Angelica Malin, About Time Magazine

Speed networking 

I was on Team Fanny Cradock and our first fling was with Alex Shebar, Community Director for Yelp London. He had some useful advice about making connections and growing the readership on a blog.

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Saturday
Feb212015

Ezogelin çorbası

Red lentil and bulgur soup with dried mint and Aleppo pepper

This soup was the first course in the five course meal my sister and I helped cook at Cooking Alaturka in Istanbul. It sounds plain, but it is hearty, wholesome and delicious. The people at Cooking Alaturka say:

This heartwarming soup, named after the bride Ezo, is so delicious and simple to make that you will want to make it all the time! You can use a chicken stock, but we prefer it with plain water, so that the other flavors come through more clearly. Don’t forget to squeeze a little lemon juice into it at the table. 

They also advise that there are pros and cons to serving it straight away versus leaving it overnight. If you serve it on the day it has a nice granular texture from the bulgar. However, the flavour is better the next day.

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Tuesday
Feb102015

Cooking Alaturka

On our trip to Istanbul, I took my sister to a cooking class at Cooking Alaturka. I was mainly in it for the five-course meal with wine at the end – surprise! – and that was definitely the highlight.

The cooking class is fun. My first impression of Chef Feyzi was that he seemed like a typically surly exemplar of the species, but he turned out to have a great sense of humour.

The class is aimed at beginners. Students are involved in simple tasks like peeling and chopping. Chef Feyzi does the rest. However, this should not deter more advanced students; if you are a good cook you will probably get more out of it in the long run, since you will find it easier to recreate the dishes at a later date. 

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