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“A word, a taste, a smell trigger memories I never knew I had. It is surprising how dishes can appeal directly to the emotions. With food, as with music, you can touch people and make them cry.”

Claudia Roden

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Tuesday
Jan102017

Bill's cheese souffle with tomato salad

This recipe is from Bill Oglethorpe, trader at Borough Market and owner of Kappacasein DairyIt first appeared on the Borough Market website as part of my series, I Am What I Eat, where I interview Borough Market traders about the foods that are important to them and why. This dish was one that his father used to make for the family when Bill was growing up in Zambia. 

“My father used to make a soufflé and that’s an incredible transformation,” says Bill Oglethorpe of Kappacasein Dairy. “It’s quite magical to see it rise in the oven. It was a special event.” Did his father used to make it for special occasions? “No, I mean it was an occasion because the soufflé made it special.”

This was my first time making soufflé – despite being a competent cook I have always been terrified at the prospect. It turns out there’s no need to be; if you follow the instructions carefully it will work just fine. However, timing is everything – a hot soufflé will last at most 5 minutes out of the oven, so have your plates, sides and guests ready. 

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Thursday
Dec292016

Clare's Budwig Muesli

Feeling a bit bloated after Christmas? Aiming for a fresh, healthy start in 2017? This recipe from Clare Skelton, trader at Borough Market and owner of Flax Farm, is a great breakfast and doubles as a nutritious dessert, bonus! This recipe first appeared on the Borough Market website as part of my series, I Am What I Eat, where I interview Borough Market traders about the foods that are important to them and why. 

"This is one of my favourite healthy foods,” says Clare. “It’s sort of a little treat, but also the basis of the Budwig diet”—a diet used by some people as a form of alternative therapy for a number of conditions. This recipe makes enough for one for breakfast, but it’s also a great dessert.

“It’s uber-healthy but I’ve done it at dinner parties and everybody loves it.” She likens it to eton mess pudding, “but less sweet and with much more flavour”. The recipe is very flexible—you can add whatever spices and natural flavours you like. If you are making it as a dessert, Clare also recommends a bit of kirsch, rum or juices for extra flavour. 

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Monday
Dec192016

Cinnamon buns for Christmas morning

This recipe is from the wonderful Arianna Halshaw, baker and pâtissier extraordinaire. Arianna is my colleague at Natoora, but until recently she owned her own bakery, Bittersweet Bakers. Since Arianna started working with us, office treats have taken on a whole new meaning (and my waistline a few more digits).

I arrange cooking classes for staff once a quarter and Arianna has been kind enough to teach a few of these. We did a Christmas special recently where she shared these cinnamon buns for Christmas morning.

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Monday
Nov212016

Debbie's roasted beetroot with goat's curd

This recipe from Debbie Vernon, trader at Borough Market and co-owner of Ellie's Dairy, is a great vegetarian dish that's easy to throw together. It is substantial enough for a light lunch, but also great as a starter or side dish. This recipe first appeared on the Borough Market website as part of my series, I Am What I Eat, where I interview Borough Market traders about the foods that are important to them and why. 

Debbie’s passion for good, honest food is rooted in her childhood. There was no supermarket when she was growing up—her parents bought meat from the butcher, bread from the baker and all their fruit and vegetables came from the garden. She loves this recipe because it is simple and delicious: “I don’t do complicated, it’s quick and easy—throw it in and it happens, you know?” 

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Saturday
Nov122016

#CookforSyria: Bashar's Mugadara

One of the most striking things about Bashar is how warm, generous and overwhelmingly positive he is. Without probing – and you do have to probe – you would never know the trauma that he has been through.

Perhaps it is not remarkable; all of the Syrian refugees I met when I visited Calais were equally warm and welcoming. It was their generosity that really struck me though; these people who had so little were so keen to show us hospitality. It was their way of thanking us for the bags of food we brought and the odd jobs my friends did around their makeshift homes.

Khairun Dhala, who runs the Marhabtayn Syrian Supper Club, tells me that “Syrians are very hospitable people”. One of the aims of their supper club is to show people that and “counter the image of refugees being scroungers or just wanting to take benefits.” It’s a friendly space where people can feel welcome, enjoy a good meal and learn a bit about Syrian food and culture.

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