Contrary to popular belief, I don’t spend all my time eating jerk pork and barbecuing things in the rain. I do other stuff, okay? No really. Here’s some things I cooked, ate and felt happy about in the past couple of weeks.

Firstly, a little tooting on my own trumpet as I point you in the direction of The Independent’s ’50 Best Food Websites’ article. They said nice things about Food Stories and 49 other sites, including blogs, online suppliers and all-round giants like Chowhound. I’m flattered to be included.

And while we’re talking about ME, I’ll take a moment to point you once again, this time in the direction of my recipe column at AoL Lifestyle. The latest recipe is a very easy smoked mackerel ‘pâté’.

I’ve been out on the town too, as per. Sometimes a woman has to step outside of Peckham you know. Last weekend I made what was frankly a humongous schlep up to the wild wilderness of Seven Sisters to the Akhaya Cookery School, for a Nigerian cookery class. What with Peckham being ‘little Africa’ and all, I wanted to find out more about the ingredients I see in local shops every day. During the 3 hour class we made egusi (a soup thickened with melon seeds), jollof rice (rice cooked in a spicy tomato stew) and akara (black eye bean fritters). The akara were my favourite; very light, savoury fritters, which are incredibly easy to make. I’ll be experimenting with those so expect a recipe soon. The classes cost £75 per person, you cook 3 dishes per class and take home more than enough food for 2 people. Here are some pics:

The bright and airy classroom.


 Very familiar ingredients for the Peckhamite; dried shrimp; chilli flakes; black eye beans; palm oil.

Egusi soup. The white stuff is the egusi (ground melon seeds), mixed to a paste with water then added to the soup. The green dried stuff is afang (a dried leaf which is a little like Spinach). 

Fried plantain chips. You can’t hear a thing when you’re eating them – that crunchy.

I’ve been eating out too. Last night I perched very happily for several hours around the bar of the Maille Mustard Pop-Up in Spitalfields Market. They kindly invited me down to try the ‘mustard menu’ cooked by Kerstin Marmite Loving Rodgers. I had rather too much fun; the market was buzzing, the wine was flowing and the food was great. It’s on tonight and Sunday too. Here’s the lowdown in pics:

If it’s mustard you’re after…

A ‘Mustardy Mary’  = the best ever bloody Mary. I can’t ever drink one again unless it has wholegrain mustard in it. A brilliant idea.

Steamed artichoke with mustard mayonnaise.

Smoked haddock with mustard and cheese and Asian mustard greens. The fish was umami-packed and delicious. The name of the yellow flower in the middle escapes me but Kerstin picked them from her garden; they surprised everyone by tasting incredibly sweet and delicious. A flower actually worth eating.

Amazing cheese board featuring Langres, Moustardier, Charollais and Comté surrounded by palmiers.

Mostarda tutti frutti ice cream with berries, mint sugar and mustard candy floss. Kerstin and I are both of the opinion that tutti frutti ice cream should be BROUGHT BACK IMMEDIATELY.

And in between all that, I’ve been rapidly expanding outwards due to my extremely close proximity to The Rye pub, which is serving Meatwagon food for the summer. In addition to my favourite chilli burger I’ve been packing away the following, at least 3 times a week.

Smoked pork sandwich

Pulled pork sandwich

Baby back ribs with slaw and deep fried okra. I will be deep frying okra very, very soon.

Smoked buffalo wings with blue cheese dip.

What can I say, get yourself down there.

The Rye
31 Peckham Rye
SE15 3NX

So there we go. Ooof. I think I need to go and exercise now.


Category: African food, Cookery Classes, Food Classes, Food Events, Food From The Rye, Peckham, Pop-up Restaurants, Press, Round-ups, Sandwiches, Sandwiches and The City, Street Food | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , 17 comments »

17 Responses to “Newsflash”

  1. Naomi

    I have been sitting here at work for the past 7 hours thinking about how much I would like to eat some ribs. I had an egg mayonnaise sandwich instead. You have killed me with that picture.

  2. Sam Hill

    Congratulations on being included on the list. The Maille popup looks great, really interested to read about the mostarda Tutti Frutti ice cream.

  3. Helen

    Naomi – Argh! Sorry! Ha ha ha. That’s quite funny though…

    Sam – you’re in luck! MML has posted the recipe here

  4. Kavey

    Tutti frutti ice cream rocks. I have suggested it’s high time for a revival too, but friends look at me in bewilderment or disgust, they just don’t feel the tutti frutti love.

    Congrats again on Indie list. x

  5. Catherine

    Isn’t that a courgette flower?

    Must try the mackerel pate, and the Mustardy Mary. Mustard rules.

  6. Helen

    Kavey – thank you! I think we should all start a club to revive the tutti frutti.

    Catherine – No it isn’t. It looked more like a lily than a courgette flower and had a lot more flavour.

  7. Helen

    Catherine – it is a day lily apparently. Kerstin is doing a post about it soon.

  8. lili

    I had a browse throught Indy’s best 50 food websites list and had a go at maybe 10 websites from that list. I can reliably tell you that your blog by far is better than some of commercialised crap Indy lists ahead of you. Bastards.

  9. Helen

    Hi lili – thank you! And don’t worry, it’s not in rank order, just a collection of 50 sites all together.

  10. msmarmitelover

    Congratulations Helen! Your blog has long been one of my favourites but…yes I think the Indy list is very very odd. Is it advertorial? Were they paid to include some of those sites?

  11. Sam Hill

    Regarding the Indy list. The person who designed the page also doesn’t know how to edit properly. Many many typos in the web addresses and why couldn’t they have made them links?

  12. Jessica

    Well done on the Independent feature. Your blog is an excellent read – you deserve it!

  13. Lizzie

    Congratulations! But it’s annoying that the Indy seem unable to link blog websites; it’s not like it’s hard to code. Hopefully people will be resourceful and cut & paste to google.

    Those plates at the Maille pop-up are GORG. I am surprised you didn’t turn into a klepto…

  14. Su-Lin

    Congrats on the inclusion in the Indy list! I’m only just managing to go through them now. And yes to tutti frutti ice cream.

    Was very sad when I popped down to the Maille mustard popup on Saturday though… they wouldn’t sell their delicious cognac mustard. It was only available for tastings. Booohooo.

  15. Craftilicious

    Congrats on the Independent feature – well deserved regocnition as far as I’m concerned – the other sites should be honoured to feature in it with you :-)

    Wish I hadn’t looked at pulled pork sandwiches mid morning – am blinking ravenous now!!!

  16. Made With Pink

    A huge congratulations on making the Independent. All of that food looks amazing, but I’m really wanting a bite of that pulled pork sandwich and those buffalo wings! Mmm!

  17. Made With Pink

    A huge congratulations on making the Independent. All of that food looks amazing, but I’m really wanting a bite of that pulled pork sandwich and those buffalo wings! Mmm!

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