Category Archives: food

The kitchen at the heart of hell on earth

Elisabeth Winkler:

The One Spirit Ashram Kitchen is feeding refugees in Calais – beautiful and sad.

You can donate here!a-shared-meal/t5yz3

Originally posted on thatcantberightblog:

At the heart of hell on earth there is a place where the cold and beleaguered go to have their weary bodies and worn-out souls nourished.

Twice a day a queue of hundreds snakes around the One Spirit Ashram Kitchen in the Calais Jungle. In the driving rain they wait in single file for the team of volunteers inside to open up and start serving.

hero serving

You can donate here!a-shared-meal/t5yz3

Despite the desperation in their eyes, the patient masses give a polite smile to those managing the queue at the door with restless glances to check there is still enough left to go around.

But there is never enough. Even this mammoth effort is only feeding a fraction of the camp’s residents.

The sound of the rice pan being scraped sounds like an alarm in the tent as a man holds an empty plate and says: “but I waited for…

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Tahini sauce 

Sauce drips in a stream from a spoon

This image and recipe comes from a new book, Lebanese Home Cooking, by Kamal Mouzawak, the founder of Lebanon’s first farmers’ market.

Lebanese Home Cooking, from Quarto Eats, has all my favourite food words in its title. In the 1980s a friend took me to a Lebanese restaurant in Soho and I was knocked out. Every dish appealed in new, refreshing ways. Tahini, beans, yogurt, lemons, olive oil, garlic. These are now my favourite ingredients. Versatile and health-giving, they always in the kitchen.

(My posts on making home-made yogurt and hummus both of which I eat almost daily).

Writing about the Lebanese market founded in 2004, The New York Times says that Souk El Tayeb (“market of good”): “reconciles Lebanon’s warring factions through their common love of their food.”

Kamal Mouzawak writes: Food is a window – “the best way to look into people’s lives.”

Make food, not war.

Kamal Mouzawak is full of practical wisdom and inspiring encouragement. The recipes are simple. He says souk food is easy and fast – how I like to cook.

Tahini sauce – Tarator 

Garlic 1 clove or more

240g tahini (sesame paste)

Juice of 3 lemons

1 tablespoon of olive oil.

Crush garlic with little salt, add to tahini in the bowl, and add the lemon juice. Tahini will thicken so continue stirring with a fork and add more lemon juice if needed. The mixture will be smooth. Season with salt to taste, blend in olive oil and serve. Good over dark leafy vegetables.

Fava bean stew – foul medamass

I love the addition of quartered lemons to this fava bean stew.

120g small brown beans

1 onion peeled halved


Handful split yellow lentils

1 lemon plus juice of 2 lemons

80 ml olive oil

Ground cumin and salt.

Soak beans overnight. Drain. Add onion halves, garlic and lentils. Add water to cover by 2 fingers. Cook beans for several hours to be mushy. Add quartered lemons 20 minutes before the end. Take off heat and add lemon juice, olive oil, cumin and salt to taste.

Souk food – soul food.

Easy fruit smoothie 

wine glass of creamy looking smoothie Ta da.

Start the day with a health-boosting refreshing fresh fruit drink.

You need an electric hand-blender to do the whizzing. I use the cheapest, least fancy (about £20) – my most valuable and versatile piece of kitchen technology.

Banana is the base – add fruit such as apple/pear/orange/berries.
Apple, orange and pear in the curve of banana's

Use the whole apple/pear: whizz it up, pips, peel and all. Don’t even peel the apple/pear (especially if organic).

Yes, take stones out of mango/peach/plum/apricot. (Blender blade can’t cope).
Yes, peel the orange.

But no need to de-pith orange. Whizz it up with pith, and pips.

Fruit in cut up piecesI learned this time-saving tip at a raw food workshop by Kira G Goldy. Kira is also a healer.

She encouraged me to write creatively: “You have all these voices inside that want to be heard.”

As a journalist, a challenge. But her words rung true. I focused on writing and two things have developed from my new intention.

I give courses to facilitate creative writing (and at the same time teach myself as it turns out).

And I have written a verbatim play based on interviews of people facing eviction in the hyper-regeneration of Brixton, and Lambeth council estates.

Verbatim is like journalism because it is entirely made of people’s quotes, like a documentary. The subject – how profit-driven thinking wrecks human lives – is a subject close to my campaigning heart.

The play is a collaboration with Changing Face Collective and director Lucy Curtis.

Where Will We Live? premieres at Southwark Playhouse on 25 – 28 November 2015.

I will need to keep my strength up. Time to make an easy smoothie!

Smoothie recipe for 1 – 2

Use organic fruit if possible. Why organic?

1 apple (cut-up with pips and peel ) 
1 orange (cut-up with pith and pips) 
1 banana (peeled and sliced)
Half a glass of water/milk (dairy/plant) to thin
A dollop of peanut butter and/or coconut oil and/or yogurt for protein and good fats. Or a handful of cashew nuts soaked overnight in water 
Optional: ground cinnamon/raw ginger
Blend with a hand-blender in a jug, pour and enjoy.

Ta da!

Blackberry jam is easy to make

Toast with home made blackberry jam

If you have never made jam, blackberry jam is a good one to start with. It is quick (fruit is easy to prepare and jam sets quickly), and no specialist equipment is needed.
Blackberries on a Bristol allotment

Blackberries growing in hedgerows are plentiful now. Nice to know some things are in abundance… Obviously, check you are picking the right fruit. I don’t want you to pick the wrong berries.




Juice of a lemon



I used 1 pound of blackberries with 1 pound of sugar and 3/4 pint of water

I used equal amounts of fruit and sugar. If you use more sugar (as most recipes suggest), you will indeed produce more jam. And maybe the jam will last longer because of the preserving quality of the sugar. But it will also be more sickly-sweet.

Personally, I prefer my version. Because I only produced a small amount, it will get scoffed quickly. And it is delicious: slightly tart, and very fruity.

(I will convert to metrics later! This blog is written in a hurry because I mistakenly published it via my WordPress App with images only! Mon dieu quel eejit…Now I am swiftly adding words.).


Take the berries off the stem, give them a quick rinse and weigh them.

Put a small plate in the freezer or a cold place which will help to test if jam is set as I will explain later.

Put the blackberries in a saucepan with the water. Get it bubbling for a good 40 minutes until the water is reduced and fruit is soft.

Add the lemon juice and the sugar. Bubble and boil for ten minutes.

Take the jam off the heat while testing to see if it is set.

Blob of jam cooling on a plate

Test for a set by blobbing a bit of the runny jam on a very cold saucer or plate.

Prod the jam gently with a finger to see if it wrinkles. If it is set, it will wrinkle-up (oh yes, we love wrinkles) and not run in a dribble when you tip the plate.

If it is still dribbly, cook the jam for another five minutes (maybe more water needs to evaporate?) and test again.


This jam set after ten minutes just as the recipes said. It is so easy. Not like making marmalade which is a bit of a palaver.

Here are two jars filled with my home-made jam.

Two pots of home made blackberry jam

Slightly smug rating = 10/10.

Making chicken soup from scratch

Raw high-welfare chicken and cut-up carrots and red onion covered with water in a panThe secret of chicken soup is to use raw chicken.

By all means, use a cooked chicken carcass to make stock but if you want to make healing chicken soup, start from scratch with raw chicken.

I used two legs from Abel and Cole high-welfare chickens.

Add a cut-up onion and carrots. Cover with water. If you use loads of water, it will dilute the soup. But just covering the chicken and veg with water will create the right concentrated amount.

Bring to the boil and simmer for about one and a half hours to two hours until the chicken is tender and falls away from the bone.

The next secret – imparted by my mother – is not to let the precious liquid boil away. So keep a lid on the pan. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Strain to drink the healing soup – this article explains why chicken soup has healing properties.

The beautifully-tender chicken and vegetables will make another meal.

It is simple to make, and will bring strength.

My grandmother’s beetroot soup

Cup of purple coloured soup pictured from above against big pink flowers

Image: Michael Caplan

I ring my mother. She is 92.

“Do you use beef stock to make beetroot soup?” I ask.

“No,” Fay says, “we never used beef stock. This is how we did it,” said my mother. “This is my mother’s recipe.”

Sarah’s beetroot soup

Slice the beetroots.

Cover with water. Simmer for about half an hour until tender. 

Drain the sliced beetroot and keep the beetroot stock. 

(You don’t use the sliced beetroot for the soup. My mum says: use them in a salad with sour cream with sliced onions). 

Beat 2 eggs with the juice of one lemon.

Add carefully- or eggs will curdle – to some of the warmed beetroot stock.  

Once the beaten eggs are incorporated into this small amount, tip it into the main soup.

Reheat carefully – very carefully – so the eggs don’t curdle. 

Add sour cream if desired.  

Thanks, mum.

This purple-looking healing soup, which I make with organic ingredients for extra quality, health and taste, enables nourishment to slip-in unsuspected via its beetroot-sweet, lemony lightness.

My grandmother Sarah died when I was 16. She was warm, earthy and wise, with fierce opinions I did not always agree with. Born in 1899 in London, her parents were migrants from anti-semitic Tsarist Belarus and Lithuania. I think of her so much in my heart.

My mother says the older she gets, the more she thinks of her grandmother, Jesse, (Sarah’s mother).  Jesse died when my mother was ten years old.  My mother says: “I talk to her every day. I call to her by her Yiddish name, Yeshki. She used to read the Yiddish translation of Shakespeare’s plays.”

I am showing my mum this blog on my phone

(I only learned that bit yesterday when reading out this blog to my mum – see pic above).

My mother repeats stories endlessly so we remember them. My mother’s recollection of her grandmother are imprinted on my DNA since childhood so I have absorbed Jess’s “live each day as if it were your last” philosophy.

My mum again:  “Jesse used to say: I am not frightened of death,’ and pointing over to the window, she would say: ‘It’s as if I’m passing to the other side of that net curtain.'” 

So, eat beet soup, and enjoy this precious life!

Rhubarb Kimchi

Elisabeth Winkler:

I never know what to do with rhubarb (don’t like all the sweetness needed to make it palatable) so this is a welcome recipe from Annie Levy’s Kitchen Counter Culture blog.

Rhubarb grows plentifully now in the ‘hungry gap’ when the UK’s productivity of fresh produce is at its lowest.

Since Annie Levy introduced me to kimchi via a jar of plum kimchi sent by post, I make it regularly . This Korean condiment combines two fine attributes: zingy-taste and digestion-soother. Now with rhubarb, a third quality can be added: super-seasonal.

Rhubarb kimchi is the answer!

Originally posted on Kitchen Counter Culture:


La la la la la la la LA LAAAAAAAAAH.  La la la la la la la.  LA.  LA.  LAAAAAAHHHHHHH.

Sing along with me, the Rhubarb Kimchi Song.  As Plum Kimchi heralded autumn, Rhubarb Kimchi will greet the spring. La La lalalalalalahhhh.

I pulled some stalks from a perennial bed I’d made last year.  Everything’s come up again, which is satisfying for a not-great gardener like me.


Removed the poisonous leaves, and sliced them.

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And added some sea salt, some orange zest, and juice of that orange.  And some spring onions.


And massaged the mix with a paste of chilli powder, garlic, ginger, onion seeds (kalonji/ nigella), and a little sugar.

IMG_5618 (1)

And smushed it down in a jar.  (The jar doesn’t need to be covered with a lid actually.  And I’ll keep it on a plate, because in the next few days the fluid is going to rise and fall.)


Rhubarb Kimchi Recipe

Mix together:
12 oz/…

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