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Inside the A&C Deli, Brixton

Save Our Shops

Inside the A&C Deli, BrixtonThey say a workman is only as good as his tools and while I think natural talent and practise play a part too, there’s a lot of truth in that statement. And for people who cook, their tools are the ingredients they use. Great food doesn’t always need specialist equipment but it does need something to create it with, preferably better quality ingredients.

We’ve all tried to cook a meal and been thwarted by our ingredients: the bacon that spewed out white water and refused to crisp at all, the tomatoes that were woolly and flavourless, the pulses that simply wouldn’t soften. Often it’s less about the price of the products and more about where they come from. Those tomatoes might have been Finest or Taste the Difference and still been nothing more than red water while the bag of cheap chickpeas from the corner shop might have been been more velvety than the branded ones.

Learning how and where to shop for your food is as important a part of learning to cook as how to prepare the ingredients once you get them home, but is an element that rarely gets talked about beyond a certain amount of showing off these days. I had a Ladybird book as a child that probably seems incredibly quaint now with a mummy and housewife popping to her greengrocer, butcher, baker and probably candlestick maker. But it acknowledged the link between where the food is farmed and where it is cooked. Good shops matter. Read more

Watermelon pickles

Watermelon Rind Pickles

Watermelon pickles

I bet you didn’t know you could pickle the green rinds from the watermelon until now unless you happen to be from the Southern states of the USA and living in Brixton currently….

I discovered this because I’ve been buying so much watermelon recently. The stall under the on the corner of Pope’s Road and Atlantic Road by the Village is selling massive hunks of it for a mere pound and I can’t stop myself. (Nor can I resist the bargain cherries and flat peaches.) I felt wasteful simply tossing the rind in the bin as it doesn’t compost. So I was delighted to discover you can pickle it and end up with something as crunchy as cucumber but a little bit different for once.

Originally published at Brixton Blog….

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Kaff Bar, Brixton

 po'boy

Brixton is considered the Deep South of London by those who don’t cope well without a Tube line, but little do they know that there’s a real taste of the South in SW9. There’s a new Louisiana chef in town and he resides daily at Kaff serving up Cajun and Creole inspired food with a taste of the bayou.

Richard Myers found his niche on Atlantic Road a few months ago and the already tasty food at the bar has gone from strength to strength since. Arriving in Brixton almost by accident, he fell in love with the market and the attitude to food here finding it more like New Orleans than anywhere else he’d been outside of that famed city.

Originally published in the Brixton Bugle… Read more

Homemade Horchata

horchata

So many countries with hotter climes than us make fantastic non alcoholic drinks like ginger beer or mango lassi. My favourite though is the Mexican classic horchata. Made with almond and rice milk and spiced with cinnamon and vanilla, this is better than a cold shower or an ice lolly. I first had it at Casa Morita but it seems to have disappeared from the menu, so here’s a homemade version! (This differs from the Spanish version made from chufa or tiger nut in the same way South and Central American Spanish varies from that spoken in Europe.)

Originally published on Brixton Blog… Read more

Guava Banana Brixton Trifle

close up trifle

Sometimes only a trifle will do. Few other dishes say celebration the same way that a dish of trifle with all the family does. Its layers of cream, custard and fruit please everyone so there’s no better way to get people to try something new by introducing different ingredients to a classic dessert.

I recently bought a hand of gorgeous finger bananas in Brixton Village and couldn’t get over how sweet and moreish they were. Being smaller than usual, they ripened quicker making them perfect for roasting to bring out their flavour. Basting them in a coating of guava jelly made them naturally caramelised.

Layered up with spiced bun soaked in rum, dulche de leche cream and custard, the whole thing is the perfect Brixton trifle. Serve it at a Sunday lunch or a barbecue this summer. You won’t miss the jelly at all…

Originally published in the Brixton Bugle…. Read more