Rain and lunch in Harringay, London

It is raining on Harringay High Street. I am waiting for my sogan kebab: minced lamb chargrilled with shallots and served with a pomegranate sauce and a delicious thin flatbread which they don’t even mention on the menu, but the flatbread deserves both mention and praise as it is delicious, if I remember correctly from last time.

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Food Adventures in London: Turkish food in Harringay

The scent of cumin fills my nostrils as I open my rucksack to pull out a notebook to write. My bag is full of camera (essential for these expeditions with S & C), presents from Morocco and Singapore and shopping bounty of Turkish foodstuff. Harringay Green Lanes

Harringay, London

I’ve just been to Harringay in London with my friends S & C. We’ve taken to meeting up in London, choosing an area with great food, going for any or all of lunch, dinner and nibbles, exploring the local normally ethnic & normally food shops, always including a pit stop or two for some good espresso (C & I are both fans).

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For the winter blues: Sri Lankan coconut dhal

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Hello! How are you, how’s the world at your end? Here in the UK, we’re cocooned in layers of snow of varying thickness, depending on where you are. When I was coming home tonight, around 6.30 pm, I felt this thick layer of snow under my feet is starting to freeze. I wonder what we’ll wake up to tomorrow. As idyllic as it all looks, us Mediterranean types are not faring to well in these conditions. All I want to do is hibernate until the sun shines back on us again. But though I refuse to believe it, the life goes on. There are jobs to do, people to see, dinners to cook… Yes… Dinners… Here’s what kept me awake and re-energised me this evening. Remember that delicious Sri Lankan dhal I was telling you about earlier? Here’s the recipe. Without the photos for now, until my camera awakes from its winter sleep. (I meant to take photos this evening, but my camera failed me.)

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This dhal is a serious contender for the title of my favourite dhal, so far held by the seductive Bengali Red Dal. It has a rich gutsy flavour of red lentils cooked with onion, garlic, chillies, and cumin and black pepper, imbued with the heady aroma of curry leaves, and with a squeeze of lime to heighten your senses. I normally prefer to eat my dhal on the same day I make it, but this one I find improves with time. That is if you can stay away from it and leave some for tomorrow. I’m proud to day that this time I managed to do just that. Not even I can eat this much dhal at one sitting!

Let not the long list of ingredients intimidate you. This dhal is really very easy to make, and you can leave it to look after itself while you’re doing something else. Like making Sri Lankan coconut rotis, for example. Yes, that’s a good thing to do. (Recipe coming soon.) 

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Sri Lankan coconut dhal

 

SOURCEJasmine’s recipe

PREPARATION TIME: under 5 min

COOKING TIME: about 45 min

CUISINE: Sri Lankan

SERVES: 3 – 4 as a side dish, or 2 as a main

 

INGREDIENTS:

1 cup of red lentils

1/4 red (medium to large) onions, or 2 shallots

2 large cloves of garlic, sliced

3 green chillies, roughly chopped

a handful of fresh curry leaves, shredded

1/3 tsp turmeric

2/3 tsp roughly ground cumin and black pepper mixture

1 scant tsp of fenugreek seeds

1/5 – 1/4 can of coconut milk

Juice of 1/2 lime, or more to taste

3 – 4 dried red chillies

salt to taste

a handful of (preferably fresh) curry leaves

1 tbsp vegetable oil or ghee

1 tbsp tempering spices (mixture of brown/black mustard seeds, cumin seeds and fennel seeds – see Sri Lankan spices for recipe)

1 1/2 tbsp fried onions (or 3 – 4 shallots, shredded and then fried as below)

 

METHOD:

Place the lentils in about 2 – 3 cups of water. Then chop the chillies, onions, garlic, shred the curry leaves and add them to the lentils, together with turmeric, fenugreek and the cumin and black pepper mixture. Boil together until the lentils turn soft.

When the lentils are soft, add the coconut milk and stir through.

Before you’re ready to eat, prepare the tadka or tempering for the dhal. I usually don’t have fried onions at hand, so this is what I do. I heat the oil and then add the chillies and the curry leaves to it. when the curry leaves are starting to turn crisp, I pop in the onions/shallots, and cook them until they’re almost copper brown. Then add a few more curry leaves (if you want, which I invariably do), and the tempering spices. Stir for 10 s or until they release their fragrance. Now pop the contents of the pan into the lentil mixture, reserving perhaps some for the garnish. Stir, put the lid back on, and leave it for a minute or two for the flavours to mingle and make friends.

Don’t forget the lime. I sometimes add it before adding the tadka to the lentils, and sometimes after the tadka. Either way, don’t leave it out. It really does make all the difference.

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More dhals from this blog:

Bengali Red Dhal

Minty dhal (2 versions of  recipe)

 

Also:

More recipes with beans and lentils

More Sri Lankan recipes

 

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We’re at the 8th helping of My Legume Love Affair hosted and organised by the talented Susan of The Well-Seasoned Cook. This is my entry for the event.  

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Delicious Cornwall

I’ve been meaning to tell you about our fantastic trip to Cornwall for ages. I knew I’d like it in Cornwall, but I didn’t quite expect how much I’d love it, how it would woo me. As they say, love comes in through the stomach. Here are a few things we loved in Cornwall.

 

1) Excellent restaurants

Some Cornwall’s restaurants we’ve eaten in deserve a special post. And my special thanks go to the chefs and staff of The Wave in St. Ives, and of the Gurnard’s Head, near Zennor, for their creative and mouthwatering food! In particular, the staff at the Gurnard’s Head deserve special mention because of their friendliness and informativeness.

We simply didn’t have enough days and nights to try everywhere we wanted to try, so we said good-bye to Cornwall with a list of restaurants to try when we come back next. I can’t wait! 

The Wave, St Ives

 

2) The best fish and chips in the world

I can safely say I’ve had the best fish and chips in the world now.

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The Jewell Chippie in Newlyn sells the most amazing, freshly caught, freshly cooked fish and chips, with daily specials that include lemon sole and scallops. We’ve had one (massive) portion of freshly cooked lemon sole that was just out of this world. Firstly, the fish was freshly caught (the chippie is just behind the harbour, and they buy fresh fish every day). Secondly, it was freshly cooked. Thirdly, and importantly, it was really very well cooked. Just right. Moist and tasty. Non-greasy. Also, it was served by very friendly staff, and incredibly cheap. I give it my vote for the best chippie in the world! This really was something special.

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Funnily, we ate our bounty sitting on a wall in a car park opposite the harbour, but boy what a view we had!

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3) The best cream tea I’ve ever had

The whole of Cornwall is famous for its cream tea, with gorgeous Rodda’s Clotted Cream. In The Kitchen, Polperro, I’ve had the best cream tea ever, with beautiful scones and delicious local strawberry jam.

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4) Fantastic ice-creams

What is a summer without ice-cream? I’m delighted to report that we found excellent ice-cream everywhere in Cornwall, but were particularly impressed by Moomaid ice-cream from Zennor. 

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5) Beers, pasties, etc.

Cornish are proud of their food, and rightly so. They have excellent seafood, and some really very good local produce (try the Cornish blueberries when in season!). We had some stunning local beers in Cornwall. The Cornish Blonde (note, this is not the same as the Celtic Blonde) is a blond beer, with summery notes of heather and hay – one of the best beers I’ve ever had.

You simply cannot go to Cornwall without trying the famous Cornish Pasty. The Philps pasties from Hayle are especially good.

Invite for the pasties

Yes, we will definitely return to Cornwall. I miss it already.

In the Vale of the White Horse

The Vale of of the White Horse is located to the south-west of  the dreaming spires of Oxford. It is named after its most prominent feature: the prehistoric monument of the stylised 110 m long figure of a horse cut into the chalk hillside, dating as far back as 1400 BC. This is the White Horse of Uffington. We don’t know who created it, or for what purpose, and, interestingly, it is best seen from the air. For centuries, people in the surrounding area scoured the turf on its surface, that would have otherwise kept it hidden from our eyes. I think it’s remarkable that something like this has been going on for so long. In the past, fairs  and festivals have been held to accompany these events, in what was a joyous occasion for the Vale’s inhabitants and their guests.

We approached the Horse one late Sunday afternoon, passing through the green and golden fields that surround it. It was an afternoon bathed in warm and gentle sunlight, and we were lucky to have the most amazing views over the Vale. I felt incredibly happy, and at peace with the world.

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View of the Vale from the White Horse Hill

 

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Flanks of the Hill

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The Dragon Hill

 

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The Horse is best seen from the sky

 

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Taking a closer look 

 

The photos below are for my dear friend Samantha, who recently celebrated her birthday, and who adores these wooly creatures!

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