Upturned swappa crates, bone handled knives, flaky mushroom & mozzarella galettes, strong coffee and a fire-engine red hippo. Little and Friday is a breath of fresh air in the form of a cafe for Auckland’s sleepy Belmont neighbourhood.
I ended up here with Mon when we were on an op-shopping mission – it turns out it’s a mere eight houses away from where I grew up on Eversleigh Road. I would have never expected to find such a cool place nearby, but times/me, they are a changing. If you can, get your hands on the Little & Friday cookbook - it’s sumptuous and inspiring.
“Even though I was on a budget, I could afford to go to the fresh food market and get baguette and cheese.
That kind of food is not really accessible to you in London. I really love that in Paris,
there is no division [in food] by social class.”
A week-ish ago three glorious days in Paris. And certainly the theme of this trip was food, food, food. From watching Thom and his Dad tackle a plateau de fruits de mer, to another trip to Le Refuges des Fondus, and market trawling – we ate well and often. Every neighbourhood has its own little market, and there’s no stigma in buying just one or two pieces of fruit, or a bouchon de sancerre to snack on (it’s a tiny cheese named for a wine cork). Makes me hungry just thinking of it.
I adore this tasty looking alphabet by Vidhya Nagarajan, especially her unusual and clever culinary choices. N for naan? Perfect! (By the way, I think Thom and I found the perfect East London curry last night – pillowy naans and onion bhajis as big as your fist. A feast for £18.60). M for Maldon almost glimmers, but my favourite of all the letters is the sweet little quail egg. See more of Vidhya’s work here.
Every winter my body seems to go crazy – trying to hoard ALL of the sugary carbs. So this year I have made a concerted effort to eat more vegetables. This chickpeas, spinach, cauliflower, and couscous dish was just the ticket (and has no animal products too). The original recipe called for raisins, which I detest, so I threw in a handful of dried cranberries instead. Yum.
A handful of almonds, preferably sliced 2 cups of cooked cauliflower florets A can of chickpeas 1 cup of spinach 4 cloves of garlic A handful of dried cranberries 1 small onion, diced 2 spring onions, diced 3 tablespoons of garam masala Olive oil 3 cups of couscous
1. In a large skillet sauté onion in a glug of olive oil over medium-low heat until tender. Add garlic, sauté until fragrant. Add more olive oil and mix in garam masala. Cook for 2-3 minutes.
2. Add cranberries, cauliflower, chickpeas, and spinach. Cook on a low heat stirring often until heated through and spinach wilts, and the cranberries are plump. Season well with salt and pepper.
3. Prepare couscous as you normally would. Fluff up cooked couscous and mix into the chickpeas mixture along with the spring onion and almonds. Serve and enjoy! It’s just as good the next day, when the flavours have time to really soak into the couscous.
I scored these two very shiny and pretty cookbooks for a fiver at Oxfam Dalston:
Heston’s Fantastical Feasts by Heston Blumenthal, and Creole by Babette de Rozières. I bought the Blumenthal book mostly because it has instructions on how to make lickable wallpaper, a la Willy Wonka. But I am more excited about the Creole book, described as a “colourful and sumptuous celebration of West Indian Creole cooking”.
Just a bit of a preview before adding the to the towering pile of books next to my bed – aren’t the pictures luscious? Can’t wait to make some of the sweet dishes from the Creole book, like coconut flans with caramel, and try some traditional Guadeloupean ti’punch – a white rum and lime mix.
I’ve been hearing for years that Anthony Bourdain is a bit of a badass, and then a copy of Kitchen Confidential showed up in my Christmas stocking. Funnily enough the parts I’m enjoying thus far, are those moments from a softer time:
My brother and I were reasonably happy here. The beaches were warm, there were lizards to hunt down and exterminate with readily available pétards, firecrackers, which one could buy legally (!) over-the-counter. There was a forest within walking distance where an actual hermit lived, and my brother and I spent hours there, spying on him from the underbrush. By now I could read comic books in French and, of course, I was eating – really eating. Murky brown soupe de poisson, tomato salad, moules marinières, poulet basquaise (we were only a few miles from the Basque country). We made day trips to Cap Ferret, a wild, deserted and breathtakingly magnificent Atlantic beach with big rolling waves, taking along baguettes and saucissons and wheels of cheese, wine and Evian (bottled water was at that time unheard of back home).
A few miles west was Lac Cazeaux, a fresh-water lake where my brother and I could rent pédalo watercraft. We ate gaufres, delicious hot waffles, covered in whipped cream and powdered sugar. The two hot songs of that summer on the Cazeaux jukebox were Whiter Shade Of Pale by Procol Harum and These Boots Were Made For Walkin’ by Nancy Sinatra. The French played those two songs over and over again, the music punctuated by the sonic booms from French air force jets that would swoop over the lake on their way to a nearby bombing range.
There’s something about food & music isn’t there? The two seem inexplicably linked. Laura Vincent of Hungry & Frozen always lovingly lists her current sounds, and Turntable Kitchen matches recipes with records. How does Tame Impala with creamy couscous sound? I think they’ll even post you out a pack of ingredients with a song to match.
Likewise, last night’s Mexican feast at Thor and Liv’s place probably would have had an entirely different atmosphere if we weren’t stuffing our faces to the sweet tunes of Mariachi El Bronx. (By the way, thinly sliced green apple, dressed with fresh lime and Swedish black salt is incredible. Think of that if you listen to the Mariachi song.)
What do you like to listen to when you’re eating, cooking, or dreaming of food?