Walk with me

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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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Photo update: the cake

The cake

I’ve added some new photos to my old post on a wonderful walnut cake that my mum makes for every family celebration. She normally makes two walnut and two plain sponges; the above is a smaller version. Only ever so slightly though. It still serves a crowd.

Wild food: garlic mustard

Garlic mustard

I have a craving for greens. Coming out of winter as we are, they’ve never felt more welcome: fresh, herby, with a slight mineral and metallic tang. I’m also feeling adventurous, wishing to explore the wild bounty around us. So I’ve started foraging, to satisfy an additional craving, that of new discoveries.

Armed with a couple of books, Hedgrow by John Wrigt from the wonderful River Cottage Handbook series and Food for Free by Richard Mabey, I began to explore my surroundings. I had been planning a foraging trip this weekend, when the forecast of rain (and two hangovers, to be honest) made me alter my plans. A long trip was out of the question, but foraging wasn’t! In preparation for my expedition, I had been reading up on wild plants, and as a result, started simply scanning my surrounds. I discovered a delicious green right on my doorstep, give or take a few 100 m, and in the city: garlic mustard (Alliaria petiolata).

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Burek: stories from Croatia, Turkey, and my English kitchen

I’ve always loved burek. It was my favourite lunch treat at school. I used to have cheese burek with plain, and my best friend with strawberry yoghurt. We’d sit in the parks near our school and look at the sea. Surprised that a kid from Croatia lunches on what is by all accounts a Middle Eastern treat? Don’t be. Burek is firmly part of the eating tradition in the countries of the former Yugoslavia, a legacy of the Ottoman Empire. DSC_6413

DSC_6408   If you are yet to be introduced to this deliciousness, burek is layers of thin thin pastry, filo-like but somewhat thicker, stuffed with a variety of fillings. Cheese, meat, spinach, potatoes – these are just some of the examples. In our parts, there is even a sweet version stuffed with grated apples, probably a playful offspring of the Ottoman burek and the Central European apple strudel. To a Croatian, a burek is any of the afore-mentioned; to a Bosnian, burek is only the one made with meat, all others are simply pies (pite, or pita singular). Here bureks normally come in coils, or layered in trays (tepsije – probably from the Turkish tepsi). In Turkey, burek or börek comes in all shapes (cigars, triangles, coils, envelopes, layered larger pies, etc.), and is both baked and boiled. It is made with the thin yufka dough, or even with puff pastry.

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