Perfect Monday

While running my eyes around Cat’s and George’s house it felt like my perfect home- a big old wooden table, a bright kitchen overlooking a rustic garden with herbs and tall trees behind it. Little details everywhere made me feel so happy inside knowing that there are people who appreciate similar things in life.

That sunny and happy Monday morning we sat and shared Cat’s home-made bread, her partner George’s scrambled eggs and a bowlful of stories..with apple butter on top. It was one of those conversations that sinks in and leaves you  feeling warm and nourished long after it’s over.

Cat has travelled and lived in many places, so much so that there is no place she is particularly attached to. She shared a home-baked bread recipe, that makes you feel quite homey.

George is also  well-travelled, including some spontaneous trips such as one day going to Paris with his suitcases and no particular plan. His roots are in Minessota, where amongst other things he used to be an eggman (I didn’t dare asking). He shared a scrambled eggs recipe.

Cat’s Bread Recipe

This is a simple recipe for a home-baked bread. Mix it in the evening, bake it and eat it next morning. Easy to make and has few ingredients. If anyone feels intimidated to make their own bread this perhaps could inspire them to take that step.

Ingredients (makes two loaves)

  1. 6 cups of flour (half white, half wholemeal). You can use any flour you’ve got at home.
  2. 1/3 cup of mixed seeds
  3. 1 tsp yeast
  4. 1 tsp salt
  5. 3 1/4  cups water

Method

  1. Mix all the ingredients and leave it on the counter covered overnight, or for 8 hours.
  2. Grease the tins and put the dough in. Let it rise for about 1.5 hours. Then bake for about 40 minutes at 235C degrees if you’d like brown crust.

 

 

George’s Scrambled Eggs

You are free to improvise with ingredients, but some herbs and spices is a great addition!

Ingredients

  1. 1 finely diced onion
  2. red pepper
  3. purple sprouts
  4. fresh herbs: parsley, chives
  5. salt and pepper
  6. 1-2 slices of bacon
  7. eggs
  8. 1/2 cup of milk

Method

  1. Fry the onion. Then add all the other ingredients, except for eggs. Fry them till browned.
  2. Beat the eggs in a bowl with milk. Then add them to the pan with all the other ingredients.

Happy belated 50th George!!!

Something foraged, something grown

Jo has a very special garden (special to me), in that there are lots of things you can eat from it which as far as I’m concerned is the best thing  a garden can have. It’s also a very nice garden to hang out, it has some cosy corners and chairs.

I love Jo’s cooking philosophy (first and foremost I love that she has one); she tries to cook something everyday that is either grown or foraged by her. When I was invited over I thought I would be having a bowl of nettle soup but Jo turned it into a feast with friends and lots of food. What a great and inspiring idea! Too good to be ignored.

At the outset of this project I said there would be events as a follow-up of blog-posting where people will gather, share food and just have a good relaxing time together. It seems my words are taking very visible and physical shape. I intend to carry on with the feasting by finding interesting and forgotten spaces in Adamsdown and Splott for us to have pop-up dinners.

(Vaida)

 

***
This last year I made a small challenge for myself – to eat something from the garden or foraged everyday. Somedays its just a few chives, or something out of the freezer, my aim is to grow all the greens I need to eat.
Nettle soup came to a whole new level when I discovered it all comes together on a different level with a parsnip or two.
This year I discovered our allotment is even bigger than we thought, so we went about clearing around the blackcurrant bushes and lots of nettles sprung up. I liked to pick them at the allotment as I can be sure there have been no chemical sprays.
I’ve lived in Adamsdown for 10 years, walking distance to the city but still have room for a garden of herbs, strawberries and little fruit trees I planted myself. I’ve been giving attention to having more of a sense of belonging here in Cardiff and having NINE friends around the house for soup, salad and some wonderful baked apples that Lara made was really special. I’d love Adamsdown to get a bit greener, I would like to give planters with flowers to the neighbours on my street, but I feel a bit shy, that might be my next challenge.

Parsnip and Nettle soup for 9

Ingredients
Several sprigs of thyme
Veggie stock. I use a big teaspoon of swiss vegetable bouillon and enough water to cover the veg.
2-3 leeks
1 onion
4 parsnips
2 potatoes
about 100g of nettles (wear a glove and pick only the top few leaves, it can all get a bit stringy if the nettles are too old)
pinch of salt and pepper
3-4 tbsp of cream (optional)
Method

1.Heat a couple of tablespoons of olive oil in a pan. Add and soften a chopped leek and onion

2. Add 4 chopped parsnips, 2 potatoes. Bring to the boil and simmer.

3. When all the veg has cooked add about a third to half a carrier bag of nettles.
4. Two minutes later whizz with a whizzer.
5. Add a pinch of salt and pepper
6. Once in the bowl add a little  cream if you like.
(Jo)

Jo’s foraged nettle soup

Asha’s quick and tasty lunch

‘A typical lunch for me is a doorstop piece of a granary toast; then I get a tin of plain sardines drained and mash them up in a bowl along with lemon juice, salt, and pepper. Spread that on to the toast, then I pile up all my favourite things on top for lots of flavour and nutrients. Usually a rocket, chopped up small beetroot, a spring onion, a radish, a cucumber and tomatoes, topped off with capers, coriander and a drizzle of hot garlic sauce and a sprinkle of sesame seeds. It’s a yummy cheap quick and a  nutritious meal.’

If you don’t have all of the ingredients for Asha’s lunch, I say, do it anyway. After days of putting it off  I decided I would give it a go with what I can find in my kitchen.  Instead of a granary toast I used a slice of a sourdough bread, skipped the hot garlic sauce as I’m not the one for spices,  nor did I have any beetroots. And yet it turned out to be a beautiful mouth-watering snack for lunch.  This recipe is totally open for creativity and improvisation, the basis of it is a slice or two of bread, and some sardines, the toppings can vary.

Ingredients

  1. A slice or two of bread
  2. 2-3 sardines  from a tin
  3. 1 tbsp lemon juice
  4. 1 tomato, chopped
  5. 1/4 of cucumber, chopped
  6. 1-2 radishes, chopped
  7.  1 small beetroot, chopped
  8. fresh herbs (can be coriander, parsley or dill), chopped
  9. some salad leaves
  10. 1 tbsp sesame seeds
  11. 1-2 Tbsp of capers sprinkled on top

Method

Mash sardines and mix in some lemon juice, salt and pepper. Spread it on bread and top it with different vegetables, salad leaves, herbs, and seeds. You can add a sauce if you have one. Enjoy!!!

 

Yam, sweet potato and plantain stew

If you live in Adamsdown then you’ve heard of Clifton street. It’s the heart of the Adamsdown universe, where people shop, get their hair cut and tattoos inked, meet a neighbour for coffee, a nata and co, hire fancy dress, taste Brasilian street food, and much much more. It is one of the most diverse streets in Cardiff. If you’ve been there, you’ve probably passed by or have had your clothes altered at Sierra Tailors maybe even by Alie. He alters and repairs the clothes and also creates his own designs from recycled materials for his fashion design course.

The recipe Alie shared is typical for West African cuisine, and includes different root vegetables (big, long and sometimes hairy). Getting the products for this recipe was a journey of exploration. I’ve finally confirmed my suspicions that that big green banana is not a banana but a plantain. It is eaten only cooked- boiled or fried – and is usually used in savoury dishes such as stews.
This recipe has had some adjustments that I made. Usually it has crayfish and some smoked fish on top of that both of which I didn’t include. On reflection, having some fish is a good idea to balance out the sweet flavours of a plantain and a sweet potato. I also ommited some hot spices that Alie recommended which would again have complemented the sweet flavours. You can follow the recipe bellow or you can take it as a suggestion and work out the best flavour combinations for you.

(From top to bottom: yam, sweet potatoes, plantains)

Ingredients (serves 3-4)

1. 1 onion, diced
2. 2-3 plantains, cubed
3. 1-2 sweet potatoe, cubed
4. 1 yam, cubed
5. 3 tbsp tomato puree
6. 1-2 cubes (Maggi) or vegetable broth
7. Chopped parsley

Method

1. Add the onion and fry it in oil.
2. Add plantain, sweet potatoe, yam, tomato puree and stock cubes with water to cover it all. Boil for about 25 minutes.
3. Sprinkle parsley on top and enjoy!!!

The end result is a stew that’s quite sweet!

Mark’s breakfast for the hungry

Mark, the baker, once used to live in Adamsdown  and work at a workers co-operative on Clifton street called ‘Hungry Planet’. Some Adamsdown residents still recall those days with a bit of nostalgia. ‘Hungry Planet’ was a healthfood store, a cafe and a bakery with its core values being positive social change, ethical and sustainable food.

Sadly,’Hungry Planet’ had to close its doors a few years ago. After the closure Mark still continued baking bread and  grew it into something new, something that provides Cardiff with healthy and tasty sourdough bread. ‘Riverside Sourdough’, an artisan sourdough bread bakery was born and has been running ever since.

Mark shared his daily breakfast recipe which is a selection his favourite ingredients thrown together to create a really nourishing and satisfying breakfast. Perfect if you’re hungry.

Ingredients

6-7  leaves of steamed kale or chard, or other greens

a few slices of feta cheese, cubed

5-6 olives

a handful of sauerkraut, or other fermented vegetables

a slice or two of sourdough (Mark usually has a gluten-free or spelt bread)

1-2 tinned sardines or boiled egged, chopped, if not using sardines

1-2 tbsp of   pumpkin, sunflower, sesame seeds mixture

tamari sauce

1 tbsp lemon juice

2 tbsp olive oil

Method

1.Prepare the seed mixture. Toast the seeds in the pan on a low heat for about 6 minutes. Leave to cool. Add tamari or soya sauce.

2.Assemble everything in one plate and enjoy!

This is my take on Mark’s super breakfast

 

Jannet’s fried bread and jam

This is the recipe Jannet remembers from her childhood. She as a child would sit round the table with other kids eagerly waiting while their dad was making them fried bread and jam, a recipe he learned while away in the army.

It’s very simple, very delicious and great for breakfasts. In order to enhance the flavour, I recommend sprinkling a bit of nutmeg on top of bread. Nutmeg seems to have been forgotten now, but it is still remembered amongst older generation and for a good reason. It adds this inexplicable taste that is somewhere between salty and sour. It works great with sweet stuff such as bread with jam.

Ingredients (serves 1)

1. Two slices of bread
2. 1 tbsp jam (I used strawberry jam)
3. 3 tbsp flour
4. 1 1/2 tbsp milk
5. a pinch of salt
6. a pinch of nutmeg

Method

1. Spread jam on bread.
2. Mix flour with milk and salt. Add more milk if needed.
3. Roll or spread the batter on bread and fry it in a bit of oil or butter until brown.
4. When done, sprinkle a bit of nutmeg, it adds a lovely extra taste.
5. Enjoy!

And here is another one called eggy bread. Also very delicious and simple to make.

Ingredients (serves 1)

1. Two slices of bread
2. 1 tbsp of jam
3. 1 Egg
4. A pinch of salt
5. A pinch of nutmeg

Method

1. Spread jam on bread.
2. Mix egg in a bowl. Add a bit of salt.
3. Roll bread in egg mixture and fry it in the pan in oil or butter until brown.
4. Sprinkle a bit of nutmeg. Enjoy!

Zara’s lamb and herb stew

Zara is an Iranian woman whom I’ve met in Oasis- a place in Splott buzzing with workshops, food events and other creative activities. I asked her if she could share a recipe that is special in some way, or has some story. She said she knew just the one. ‘Ghormeh sabzi’, she told me with a smile on her face. It is a herb stew, ‘ghormeh’ from Iranian means ‘a stew’ and sabzi ‘greens’. Parsley, coriander and fenugreek are slowly cooked making this dish so flavoursome.

Fenugreek leaves are one of the key ingredients in Ghormerh sabzi. Suprisingly fenugreek is used in making a fake maple syrup as it has a very similar aroma. When it’s cooked and combined with other flavours though it adds nice and subtle bitterness and sweetness to the dish. If it’s difficult to come by fresh fenugreek leaves, you can use dried fenugreek seeds, but toast it in the pan beforehand to reduce the bitterness.

Traditionally it is also cooked using limoo amani or dried limes which are sun-dried limes. In Persian cuisine they are often used in flavoring stews and soups.

It is a very special recipe in that it’s very very tasty. It is one of the best stews I’ve ever had. I must admit that the great quality lamb from Cardiff central market played a great part in this too.

Ingredients (serves 2)

1. A bunch of parsley

2. A bunch of corriander

3. 1/2 cup fresh fenugreek, or 2 tbsp dried fenugreek

4. 1 onion, diced

5. 400g stewing lamb, diced

6. 1 tsp tumeric

7. 1 can of kidney beans (or 250g if soaking and boiling)

8. 3 dried limes (limoo amani) or 3 tbsp of lime juice (I replaced it with lemon juice)

9. A pinch of salt and pepper

10. 1 cup of rice

Method

1. Finely chop parsley, coriander and fenugreek (if using fresh) and fry in a bit of oil. Put it is aside for now.
2. Fry deiced onion until golden. Then add lamb, tumeric, salt and pepper and fry until it has browned a bit.
3. Add all the other ingredients- herbs, beans, lemon, fenugreek (if using dry). Add water so that it covers the stew and let it cook for about 1 1/2hours.
4. In the meanwhile cook rice.
5. Assemble everything in one plate and enjoy!

Nuno’s Milho Frito

I’ve met Nuno in a newly opened Portuguese community resource centre on Clifton street where he works. He shared with me one of the classics of Portuguese cuisine – Milho Frito, which is a side-dish usually eaten with tuna steak soup. Milho frito is made of polenta, which is a staple food in Portugal. It’s loved because it’s cheap and goes a long way. Milho Frito can also be eaten as a side-dish with eggs or beans. If Nuno was making it he would make a big batch to serve a crowd. I’ve adapted the recipe below to feed only two. It makes it easier to cook and to avoid the dreaded lumps.

Ingredients

1. 1/2 cup polenta
2. 2 1/2 cups water
3. 1 cube of stock
4. 1 small onion, diced
5. one clove of minced garlic
6. 6-7 leaves of kale leaves, minced
7. a pinch of salt

Method

1. Fry onion and garlic in a pan with a bit of oil until brown.
2. Add water and a stock cube. Heat it up until boiling.
3. When water is boiling add polenta through the sieve in order to avoid lumps and keep stirring. This is the decisive moment when cooking polenta, and stirring it will help prevent the lumps. Another way to avoid lumps is to put polenta in a bit of water and leave it for a few minutes before putting it into a pot. This can help reduce the lumps significantly.
4. Add the minced kale to the pot, and mix it. Keep cooking until water is absorbed, for about 15 minutes.
5. When cooked put it in a tray and let it cool. When completely cold, cut it in squares and fry in a bit of oil.
6. Enjoy!

In light of Angharad

People’s stories often intertwine in the most unexpected ways, and so it was with the story of Angharad, a fair Welsh woman walking in the footsteps of photographer Tom Mathias.
Mathias was from West Wales, and with his camera he documented much of the daily life in Cilgerran where he lived. In 2015, Angharard organised an event in Cilgerran called ‘In light of Tom Mathias’, breathing life back into those moments captured in Mathias’s camera almost a century before.

And now Angharad has become part of my photographic story, as I search through the daily life of Adamsdown, looking for people and their recipes. It was Angharad who introduced me to some of Adamsdown’s older residents, people who she meets with friendliness and cheer – as she does with everyone, making everyone feel at home even those from far away lands. These recipes she’s shared with me were taught to her by her forefathers.

Glamorgan sausages. You can fry them in the pan or cook in the oven for a slightly healthier option. It will also be more evenly cooked and less burnt.

Ingredients

1. 25g butter
2. 2 leeks, sliced in circles
3. 175g breadcrumbs
4. 2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
5. 150g grated Caerphilly cheese
6. 2 free range eggs.
7. 100ml milk
8. 1 tsp mustard
9. a pinch of salt and black pepper.

Method

1. Melt butter, add the leeks and fry them until golden.
2. Then add them to a big bowl together with 125g of breadcrumbs, parsley, cheese, milk and mustard. Mix it all.
3. In a separate plate break the eggs. Put the remaining breadcrumbs onto a separate plate. Shape the main mixture into sausages, role them on eggs and the remaining breadcrumbs. Put the pan on heat and let the oil start to sizzle. Then put the sausages and fry them for 3-5 minutes.
4. Enjoy!!

Sweetcorn fritters. This recipe requires some extra spices, but the rest of the ingredients are just potatoes, sweetcorn, eggs and onions.

1. 4 medium potatoes
2. 1 garlic clove, minced
3. 1 onion
4. 200 g sweetcorn
5. 2 eggs
6. 1 tsp paprika
7. 1 tsp ground corriander
8. 1/2 tsp tumeric
9. 1/2 tsp garam masala

Method

1. Boil potatoes. Then mash them in a bowl.
2. Slice the onion, fry it in the pan with garlic and add it to potatoes.
3. Mix the eggs and add it to potatoes.
4. Add all the remaining ingredients and mix them all.
5. Put the pan on heat, add oil and let it heat up. Make pancakes out of the mixture and add them to the sizzling oil. Fry for about 3-5 minutes on each size.
6. Enjoy!!

Christine’s comforting ‘frogspawn’

With this recipe I felt like I have unearthed a treasure. It was passed on to me by Christine, an elderly lady that used to do lots of cooking even for 30 or so years ago. She would have three soups simmering at a time to feed her hungry family.

I later found out that tapioca, which is a pure starch extracted from a Cassava root, was much more popular in the past. You could buy it in every corner shop, according to Christine. Tapioca pudding or so-called ‘frogspawn’ used to be a British school lunch classic. It wasn’t particularly loved, but it is still vividly remembered amongst older generations. Despite the name it has nothing to do with frogs or toads, or other creatures. Just a lovely (in my opinion) comforting thing with little translucent perls that stare at you from your a plate like an army of frogspawns in the pond. They are soft and chewy and taste a lot like a rice pudding, just the texture is more bubbly.

Tapioca pudding is very simple to make and has very few ingredients.

Ingredients

1/2 cup of tapioca
1 1/2 cup of water
1 1/2 cup of milk (I used almond milk)
a pinch of salt
1 tbsp of sugar
a pinch of grated nutmeg

Method

1. Mix tapioca with water, milk, salt and sugar in a pot. Let it simmer for 30 minutes (check to see if tapioca perls are soft)
2. When it’s cooked grate a bit of nutmeg on top.
3. Enjoy!!!