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I felt so fortunate to have the opportunity to eat with my daughter at Mazi Mas in London– to taste delicious Ethiopian home-cooking and to support a project that is all about extending lovingness and help to newcomers in our communities.  You can taste the love in that food.  If there’s a way possible, let thyself experience a Mazi Mas meal.

Different evenings, different cooks, different cuisines. Last Friday Azeb cooked Ethiopian (have a look at her recipes in this Guardian piece), a cuisine I love and eat way too rarely. First though we had Cassava Chips with a spicy mayo (the starters menu has a fun global theme) which were very tasty indeed!

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Next we shared two mains– Dinich Wot, “a berbere lamb and potato stew,” and Aterkik Wot, “berbere red lentils.” Both arrived exquisitely presented with a roll of Injera, a delicious fermented pancake-type bread made with the grain Teff.

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Dishes came with a subtly tangy Ethiopian cottage cheese, a green bean and carrot melange, and a side called “Azifa.”  After we ate, I approached the cooks to enquire about the amazingly bright and flavoursome green pea dish.  This is how fabulous a cook Azeb is, that somehow I believed brown lentils to be fresh green peas. She generously shared her Azifa secrets: brown lentils, turmeric, onion, spring onion, garlic, lemon, chili and that international trick of all great cooks: Dijon Mustard.  In every bite of both the plates, you could taste the freshness of ingredients. This was truly the best Ethiopian food I’ve ever had, not just home-cooking but home-cooking by a truly talented cook. For my daughter’s first taste of this cuisine, Mazi Mas has raised the bar really high.

And how could we refuse pudding, a Passion Fruit Mousse which required humming an ecstatic “mmmm” with each spoonful?

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“Mazi Mas is a roaming restaurant that serves global home cooking in the heart of London.

We cook the kind of food we love to eat: simple, full of flavour, and rooted in rich cultural traditions. We source our produce from farms around London, and pride ourselves on using local, seasonal and sustainable ingredients- not because it’s fashionable, but because it’s how our mothers taught us to cook.

Mazi Mas is a social enterprise dedicated to supporting women from migrant and refugee communities. We provide opportunities for women who aspire to careers in the food industry to gain paid work experience, develop their skills, tell theirs stories and connect with the wider public.”

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Won’t it be great if the Mazi Mas phenomenon spreads in our British communities? What a boon for eaters as well as for the women who gain professional experience and opportunities.  I just read about the International Peace Cafe in Bristol.  That’s now on my wish-list too, if I can base anything on enticing recipes likes these!

 

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