Sunday Leftovers: New Year Review Edition

What? Oh come on. No-one knows what day it is anyway. It’s Sunday really, I promise. Surely you’re too hungover to think about it? Me? Asleep before midnight. I know. Look, it’s been a really busy year. To say I’ve pushed myself would be an understatement but I think I can say now that it was worth it. I mean, I’m fatter and older in mind as well as body and confused as to why I’m not turning grey but hey, I did a LOAD OF STUFF! So…here’s some of it.


Having a laugh with some children in an Ethiopian village

Visiting Ethiopia with World Vision turned out to be the trip of a lifetime; I learnt more about the food, the people that produce it, and how that production keeps them and their families off the streets. A fascinating country and one that certainly blows away any sensory cobwebs. I wrote more about Ethiopian cookery plus some recipes here. 

I learned about Hungarian food by deep frying balls of dough and topping them with cheese and sour cream to make langos (good for a new year diet, FYI) and also by travelling to Tokaj.

Oh yeah and I went to Iceland. I gotta say…the food didn’t set my world on fire and it was cold as hell (WHO KNEW?) Seriously though, go in the summer for geological stuff.


Sign in a Camberwell caff. Where to start?

In the summer I became, as my friend affectionately terms it, a restaurant widow. This basically refers to the fact that we don’t really see our boyfriends since they became restauranteurs. Peckham Bazaar opened in June and none of us could have imagined how successful it would be, right from the off, not to mention what would happen when Fay came for dinner. I don’t work at the restaurant, as people assume but let me tell you, it definitely feels like being part of a family and is 100% all consuming. A life changing experience for sure.

I updated my Peckham and Camberwell food and drink guide, because I like to stay on board with the hyper-local vibe.

Other London restaurants and openings started getting a look in via Sunday Leftovers, but don’t worry because I included recipes, cat pictures and random links to fun stuff too.

Food Writing:

I wrote 2 cookery books, the first being 101 Sandwiches, which I can’t believe is being re-printed already! I am so, so chuffed with the way its been received and a massive thank you to everyone who bought it. My second book, about er, cooking to get yourself laid, is out in February. I wasn’t sure whether to write it, but the more I thought about it, the more it made me angry that all writing on the subject of ‘date food’ is a load of cheesy toss and so I felt duty bound. The finished book is something I’m proud of, and I’ll be really interested to see how it goes as it’s much more mainstream – not so much one for the foodies. Or, more accurately, not one the foodies would necessarily think about buying. Really though, it’s full of recipes that make you look proper slick with minimum effort – and who doesn’t want that? I must also mention the illustrations by Kate Sutton which are brilliantly funny. There’s more book news too but I can’t go into it here because I haven’t told my mum yet, and that isn’t a joke. I’m serious! She’d be upset. HI MUM *waits for text message*

I was chuffed to win a ‘fresh faces in food’ writing award at the Young British Foodie Awards in September. It’s been a long time since my face looked fresh but still. I was beside myself when I found out who the judges were and it made me think ‘hmm, maybe I can do this thing, then’. And with sentences like that, who’s going to argue? Huh?

There was plenty of carb action on my sandwich blog; the most viewed posts were London’s Worst Bacon Sandwich, and The Devastator at Red Dog SaloonI also wrote bits and pieces for various newspapers, some of which you can see on the ‘press’ page and from January I will be writing for The Peckham Peculiar, a new local newspaper which I’m really excited about.


My cooking in 2013 was as influenced by Peckham as ever; favourite recipes were the Afghan zamarud, suya, grilled poussin with pomegranate molasses, Turkish chilli and rose and watermelon salad with labneh.

I made some serious sandwiches, obviously, the frankly bloody ridiculous fool’s gold loaf, an ultimate lobster number, some ‘high risk of cardiac arrest after eating’ French onion soup muffins and a Christmas sandwich that actually tasted nice.

Crazy things happened to eggs, from the hangover bashing Mumbai Disco Eggs, to the ‘my train picnic pisses all over yours’ eggs scrambled in a Thermos flask and eaten with smoked salmon followed by Iberico ham and washed down with a beer and cheese, on a train to Bristol.

So yeah, that’ll do I reckon. Oh! And I started selling my Peckham Jerk Marinade, which you can buy via the link at the top of the blog or in Persepolis.

Ingredients for Peckham Jerk Marinade

Okay I think I’m done now. A very happy new year to you all! Let’s see what 2014 is packing.

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29 thoughts on “Sunday Leftovers: New Year Review Edition

  1. Hi Helen, Happy New Year to you, too!

    Just got a little red book called “Cook your Date Into Bed” which I pre-ordered shortly after our Peckham Foodtrip :) Can’t wait to start reading… Best wishes, Michaela

  2. Congrats on what sounds like a fantastic year. Here is to a brilliant 2014 – I look forward to checking in to see what you and lovely Peckham are up to…

    1. I KNOW, right? Seems like 2 years ago at least. Oh how we feasted on that train! And when we got to Bristol. And for the rest of the weekend. And there was that slab of beer we had for the train on the way back.

  3. No problem at all! I made a sort of bastardised vaguely Keralan/ South Indian prawn curry with coconut rice, and apart from the fact that my kitchen still smells like curry all was well!

  4. Helen – Happy New Year! That’s an insane amount of limes.

    Now, I can’t wait for your second book! As in, literally can’t… I have someone coming over tomorrow night and I’m dithering. Want to do something with prawns, in an ideal world, and also want to make a dessert for two people (as opposed to having a cake or something that would comfortably feed ten and not knowing what to do with the rest of it). If you could offer any advice, vague guidance, links to ideas, I would be so completely and pathetically grateful and it would officially make you a Completely Excellent person.

  5. There is an uncanny resemblance from that view to my cat… The colour, the neck fluff, the ear fluff and the severely baggy tail…

    Now I look again, only the size differs, my cat makes using the Mac completely impossible.

    I didn’t mean to cast aspersions about his IQ, it’s just that my George is just about the loveliest cat, but also the thickest, so thick is he, that he hasn’t after eight years learned how to climb on cupboards and nick stuff.

    1. Ha ha! I hadn’t clocked that it sounded like that actually. BUT NOW I THINK ABOUT IT 😉 That is quite hilarious though that your cat doesn’t even get up on the cupboards. Are you sure he’s actually a cat?

  6. Happy New year…

    Thanks for the fish, keep ’em coming.

    BTW: Is that cat in the picture one of those big dumb Maine Coon cats?

  7. Congrats on a successful year Helen.

    I love the food at Peckham bazaar. Is there a cookbook you’d recommend for that sort of food?

    1. Thank you! The food at P Baz is much more diverse than any cook book out there can cover at the moment, but if you want something on say, Greek food, then Smashing Plates is a great place to start.

  8. The eggs in thermos was defo a highlight of 2013. Can’t wait to see what you come up with in 2014 (something using a rubber hot water bottle maybe?)

    Happy New Year by the way.


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