Archives for posts with tag: vegan

IMG_20160522_183615.jpgMy son and husband write a film blog for fun, and sometimes my daughter and I join them watching the classics. Recently we all were swept away by Satyajit Ray’s trilogy, “The World of Apu.”  They are soon to post a joint review on their blog, and I felt called to join in.  This is what I wrote: not quite a proper film review, not quite a proper food blog.  Something in between, with a culinary record of how I wanted to celebrate the beauty of this stunning work.

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“Pather Panchali” is a transfixing film with a plot that unfolds around carefully revealed characters and personalities, and big themes like love, loss, kindness and pettiness , meanness and generosity, being young and growing old. The Ravi Shankar soundtrack gives constant goosebumps; the cinematography is both sweeping -exploring landscapes, monsoons, the rural industry of electricity and railroads – and intimate: an old woman’s skin, domestic architecture, facial expressions of joy, anxiety, and grief.  The acting never feels like acting, the plotlines never scripted, the observations never didactic.  It feels to me the most perfect film ever, not least for how I wept towards the end in a state of total lack of separation from the fact of watching a film: I was there, I was “her” in this scene, feeling a mother’s despair at the loss of a child, in this case Djurga, whom the film viewer has watched grow and come to love.

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Because the film observes life so carefully and directly, food culture of course becomes central, and I enjoyed this aspect very much.   Read the rest of this entry »

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Pouring through the marvellous Groundnut Cookbook, I found a scratch to my long-time Horchata itch.   Here they’d offered a Nigerian recipe for a Tiger Nut Milk called Kunnu which is similarly delicious, filling and refreshing..

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I’m feeling happy for the emergence on the food scene of Olia Hercules. I saw this film a while back and felt really thrilled to be learning from someone so deeply rooted in her own food traditions (and she’s deliberate on that plural) yet gifted with such a light and beautiful cook’s touch. That Ukrainian Green Borsht of hers is of course a much more vivacious cousin to my prosaic Schav.

Today in the Guardian is an excerpt from her new book Mamushka. I want it! Want want want! Because I know I’m going to be bowled over with inspiration, just as I was simply from reading about the way she uses fermented herbs in her lovely and simple soup.  Make sure to check out the link.

Her version uses dill, parsley, sorrel, celery, and spring onions. Read the rest of this entry »

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Well, the photos were coming out pretty gruesome, even for someone like me with a penchant for revolting retro food photography.

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I realised part of the problem was that I was trying to present this Armenian Bean and Walnut Pate as something in the family of hummus (bean spreads), and the colour, maybe a bit like pet food, just couldn’t present well.  Even the jewels of pomegranate didn’t help– they rather annoyed me, though they were a gift from a friend and quite coincidentally on hand.

But the moment I decided to spread the spread on a crisp cracker, and put it on a plate, which then required a garnish– that was the moment those little cornichons in the back of the fridge came to mind.  These little pickles awakened an instant association with pates of liver and pork or chicken, much relished foods that are not so much on our meat-reduced menu these days. Read the rest of this entry »

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I’m a Black Eyed Peas-at-New Years gal, and this year I searched around and could only find a tin. So a tin of peas it is, and a most wonderful salad that that feels lemony and green and bright.  I know that these peas can take a LOT of flavour, and years of preparing them THIS way pushed me towards the fermented flavours and the bitter of the lemon zest.  This is the salad I just made– I’m sure your variations will be delicious too.

Make sure to read this great piece by Michael Twitty musing historically on black eyed peas and greens…

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Beans are magical talisman and objects of beauty and represent a midpoint between past and future.  They are jewels of life.  Sprouting them in the long dark days of winter is a kind of ritual of hope.

I was excited to learn that in Egypt people sprout dried favas (broad beans) before cooking them, as a way to boost nutrition. Read the rest of this entry »

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A Split Pea Stew becomes a Split Pea Soup With Ethiopian Spices… Read the rest of this entry »

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Honouring the death of a difficult woman by remembering the soup she often made.

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Under cloud and periodic rain,  I am trying to imagine ancient biblical people in a desert in huts of willow and palm, feasting with strangers on sweet harvest fruits.  Sukkot is a wonderful Jewish festival, a kind of thanksgiving and harvest festival for which people build outdoor structures from symbolic natural materials; there’s always great creativity with resources and lots of artistry, beauty and folly.  After all the emotional and spiritual heaviness of the preceding High Holidays, Sukkot represents the “Days of Our Rejoicing,” a time to be grateful for somewhere to sit down, beneath a starry sky, with family, friends and to eat, drink, relax….

Today is the last day of Sukkot this year but I didn’t want it to go by without a notice…

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So I was 20 and the year was 1984, and I ate one of the most delicious things in my life.

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