North London Kitchen

Cooking, eating, and designing a kitchen in North London

Category: Local food (page 1 of 2)

Sambal Shiok at Blend

I’ve written about Blend before, one of my favourite coffee shops with its Antipodean style coffee, Danish furniture and great brunches.

At dinner time at the moment the flavour changes a lot: laksa outfit Sambal Shiok have taken a residency.

I ate there in November (I said I had a backlog, right?).  The menu says “Ask for your laksa to be regular spicy, otherwise it will be served SUPER SPICY by default.”  I loved this.

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It was nicely challenging and I wouldn’t have traded down to regular spicy, though I recommend making sure you have a full pitcher of water and a couple of tissues on hand (yes, I had another winter sniffle at the time – spicy food is a good but somewhat violent remedy).

I just stopped in for the laksa, but there are coconut rice plates, some tasty looking snacks and a few kids’ options too – which judging from the noise coming from the back of the room were being heartily enjoyed.  I had the veg laksa which came in a vegetarian broth.

Reading over the menu as I write this post, I see that they deliver via Deliveroo.  They also do collection.  And their website advises that if you arrive early (before 6:30) you will get 25% off in January.  Booking advised – especially as Jay Rayner recently gave it the thumbs up.

Sambal Shiok
Blend Cafe, 587 Green Lanes, Harringay N8 0RG
www.sambalshiok.co.uk
@sambalshiok

New Year, new pizza

How are those New Year’s resolutions going, folks?

My blog hosting just renewed, reminding me that one of my resolutions is to get back on the blogging wagon.  I’ve been eating a lot, and taking a lot of pictures, but just wasn’t quite getting around to the blogging part.  I blamed it on technical difficulties for a while, but I have a new computer now.  For a while there my time was also taken up with marathon training.  I ran my first marathon at the start of November.  If you’ve never run one before, you have NO IDEA how much it takes over your life.

So of course I’m in my first week of training for the next marathon now.  THE marathon.  Somehow I managed to land a place in the London Marathon.  It’s like finding the golden ticket.  Then illness struck and derailed my first week of training, but I got it together in time for my first long run today.  I’m feeling so much less fit than I was two weeks ago, but I know it will come back.

The plus side of illness of course, is one of my favourite hobbies, comfort eating. Remember when I wrote about LOVENpresents?  At the time they were based at Tottenham Hale, in the outdoor bar at arts venue Styx.  I also wrote about the time they started delivering to the Lord Palmerston.  Well, it gets better: at the end of 2016, they opened their own restaurant!

LOVENpresents is located in a building on Norman Road N15, close to Seven Sisters station.  I went there on New Year’s Eve with my friend Caroline (who now has my cold. Sorry Caroline). It’s a warehouse type building, and you have to press a buzzer to be let in – it was quite dark outside and it took us a while to find it!

20161231_193720 Inside the place was buzzing. There is a bar at one end serving up a good range of cocktails.  A rather glamorous looking pizza oven sits to the right of the room. 20161231_193716

The textiles were all made by a local company. I want those cushions!

20161231_194814 And then the pizzas. Oh, the pizzas. They have expanded their range from the pizzas they previously served, so there’s a great amount to choose from. Caroline had my favourite Zola: 20161231_195324

Radicchio, Gorgonzola, pistachios.  Such a good combination. I decided to branch out with one of the new pizzas and chose Burrata.

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A whole ball of oozy burrata on top of a pizza with tomato, cherry tomato, and rocket. And for only a tenner.

Prices seem to have risen a little with their overheads, but I don’t think I’ve had better pizza than this in London, and now you can eat it inside, from a real plate, with a knife and fork (if you’re weird like me; if you prefer to eat with your hands they do slice the pizzas).

Deliveries will re-start in the next week or so.  This could be very very dangerous. In a completely delicious way.

LOVENpresents
2 Norman Road
Tottenham
London
N15 4ND
www.lovenpresents.com
@lovenpresents

North London Vegan

I’ve been back in training as I continue to recover from shin splints.  They weren’t getting any worse the more I ran, so I took the plunge and committed to a couple of half marathons (and 10k and 14k trail races) over the next couple of months.

Determined not to get injured again and inspired by reading ultra champion Scott Jurek’s book Eat and Run, I thought I might try going vegan for a while.  Jurek found that on a vegan diet full of vegetables and whole foods, his recovery times were faster, he was injured less and his race times (and records) speak for themselves.

The timing works because I’ve been trying to cut down the fish I consume to just what I receive from Soleshare (more on them another time!), and they’re taking August off.

It turns out it’s very easy to eat vegan in North London, with a few small slip ups.   I didn’t realise some fries I had ordered would come smothered in mayonnaise, for example.  But I’m not worrying too much about the small stuff.

Here’s some of the food I have been tucking into:

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Nasu dengaku with chard, sesame carrot salad (grated carrot with grated ginger, a splash of sesame oil, a slug of rice wine vinegar and a sprinkling of black sesame seeds) and brown sushi rice.  Veg all from Crop Drop.

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Lunch al desko (my new job is BUSY): smoked tofu, more of the carrot salad, and a lovely salad I made with cucumber “noodles”, edamame and peanut sauce.

Five runners came over after Finsbury Parkrun one day and I served up an almost entirely vegan meal. 

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The most amazing heritage tomatoes from Crop Drop became…

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Butter beans with fennel, lemon and tomato, from Anna Jones’ book A Modern Way to Cook. I am in love with this book. Everyone raved about the other recipe I made from the book: kale, sumac and crispy brown rice salad. The crispy rice is made by cooking it three times – boiling it, dry frying it to dry it out further, then frying in coconut oil to make very crispy rice. It’s a fantastic textural element.

I have now purchased her earlier book A Modern Way to Eat. In fact tonight’s dinner of sweet potato and cannelini bean quesadillas (no queso!) was from that book.

Eating out and about has been easy too. I had a fantastic lunch from Spice Box, who serve up fantastic vegan Indian food (without dairy, if you choose). Also from Kerb Kings Cross I tried a delicious vegan burrito from Club Mexicana. One day I lunched with a friend at Google’s Pancras Square office (where I felt too self conscious to take photos!). There were plenty of options including a chickpea tagine and various salads.

Tottenham Green Market has great vegan food too:

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My favourites The Green Bean. Next time I go I must remember to take a container so I can take home some salad without the waste of packaging.

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Newcomers Vurger, serving up three different vegetarian and vegan burgers. This was amazing after a 2 1/2 hour run.

Finally, I dragged some friends out after a run for vegan pizza from Fed in Dalston:

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That’s some sort of cashew concoction in place of cheese. Everyone liked it.

Cheese though. I’m off to Paris later this week. As good as I’m feeling, will I be able to restrain myself? We shall see….

Brunch at Moka, Wightman Road

Wightman Road forms the left leg of the Harringay “Ladder”, with Green Lanes on the right.  Finsbury Park lies to the South, Turnpike Lane to the North, with cross streets forming the rungs of the Ladder.  West of Wightman Road are the railway lines that bisect the borough: the poshest parts (Crouch End, Muswell Hill) are on the far side of the tracks, but the Ladder is the most affluent part of the East side of Haringey.

Currently, Wightman Road is closed to traffic due to a railway bridge replacement, causing havoc with the commuter rat race though local residents are all welcoming it.  With the loss of vehicular access locals were worried Moka could be experiencing a downturn in trade.  Having heard good things about it I suggested it as a place to meet my friend G, who had an appointment nearby, for brunch.

Walking in it was nice to see the place pleasantly buzzy.

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G had a soy flat white but I’d already had two coffees so I opted for an apple juice mojito (non-alcoholic). After perusing the very tempting menu, G chose the Baked Eggs and I the Mauritian Omelette. A shelf next to us had travel & coffee table books on New Zealand and Mauritius – it was nice to see this reflected in the menu too.

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The bill came to about £22 for both of us. Definitely one for the “to go back to” list.

Moka, 5 Wightman Road 5 Wightman Rd N4 1RQ

Tottenham gets a prosecco bar

Prosecco has been the common thread running through my weekend.  On Friday my friend J came for supper and we drank a bottle of fizz that I found in the fridge.  On Saturday P and I checked out Trufflesecco, a new truffle and prosecco bar near Mornington Crescent.  I had noticed it when I was on lunch from a work training course nearby a couple of weeks ago.

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P ate risotto and I had fresh tagliatelle.  The risotto, we were warned, would take 20 minutes to make.  Good! we said – that’s how long risotto should take.  Any shorter and you know they’re reheating some made earlier, which is a crime against risotto.  Both dishes came topped with a generous amount of shaved black truffle.  Other menu options included burrata with truffle, cheese and meat boards, and bread.  There was plenty of prosecco to choose from including two by the glass. They were out of Bellini mix but for dessert we had Bellini popsicles.

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Yesterday I had to pick up some things at Ikea, and while on the Ikea bus, gazing out the window I saw a sign: SOFT LAUNCH. Out of the corner of my eye I also glimped the word “prosecco”. Could this be true? What kind of place sells prosecco and has a soft launch on Tottenham High Road?

I think I might have a radar for these things. Today, nursing a slight hangover and hungry for a very late lunch I headed out to investigate further. N17! opened three days ago in a former pet shop on Tottenham High Road. Owner Tapiwa is originally from Zimbabwe but moved here at the age of 10 and went to school in Tottenham. He decided to open up on the high street because he wanted to bring more variety to the area – more choice for people. He also mentioned there are plenty of places for men to drink in the area but not so many for women. It’s a stylish place but in a way that you feel right at home there. There was a bit of a Cuban vibe going on and it was great looking out the window at the hustle and bustle of the high street.  I loved all of the pictures and mirrors on the walls.

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The bar specialises in prosecco, as mentioned, but also in toasties. This is an inspired move. You can do so much with a toastie. The place is still in the soft launch stage but it’s clear that Tapiwa has done a lot of recipe testing and he’s serious about his toasties. He’s already upgraded his equipment because he wasn’t happy with the results he was getting from his first toastie grills.  He has plans for a suggestion box so you can request your favourite combo (can’t go wrong with a Marmite cheese toastie I say).

Tapiwa said he was about to make himself an “Oi Gordinho” toastie, so I asked him to make me one too. The Oi Gordinho contains ricotta, praline, cinnamon and banana. Amazing. Feeling thirsty on the first hot day this summer, I couldn’t ignore the slushy machines churning away to the side of the bar and ordered myself a naughty ginger beer and dark rum slushy. Yum!  Because of the soft launch the bill came to a wallet-friendly £9.

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I’ll be back, and next time I’ll bring friends – who’s with me?

 

Trufflesecco, 11 Camden High St  NW1 7JE
http://www.trufflesecco.com/

N17!, 560 High Road N17 9TA
https://www.instagram.com/n17_local/

Tottenham loves…. The Eel

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Amidst all of the kitchen completion excitement last week something else happened… my article on my favourite foodie places/enterprises/projects in Tottenham was published in the Jellied Eel.

I started this blog as a way to shout about, cheer and celebrate all of the great foodie things that are happening in North London (and particularly my manor) so this was a great chance to declare my love to a wider audience.  Some of my recommendations are here already but others have not yet graced these pages – so do grab a copy if you can!

Pick one up at an Eel stockist near you or, even better, subscribe and never miss an issue (pssst – you can also download it from the site but please give them a donation because they are a charity and they are lovely).

The North London Kitchen

The kitchen fitters finished in the first week of May and since then I’ve busied myself laying flooring, skimming where the wall cabinets had been removed, and painting the walls and ceiling.  On Wednesday afternoon my custom made pantry doors arrived, and though they would have been easy enough to hang myself I had running group on Wednesday evening, a comedy show on Thursday evening and on Friday my friends were due to come over for a combined birthday/housewarming party.

It was then that I declared my kitchen finished enough.  Finished enough to cook in, host guests and enjoy.  The doors still need putting up along with some shelves and a picture ledge, but it is finished enough.  Suffering from DIY fatigue, I texted my handyman.  Sometimes it’s ok to pay someone else to do work you don’t have the time or inclination for.  He’ll come over when he has time but for now, this is where we’re at.

First let’s take a look back at Before:

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My old kitchen was built in 1970 when my flat was built.  About seven years ago the old boiler was removed and a combi boiler installed, leaving that lovely blue panel covering an empty space under the new boiler. A DIY dunce had tiled the floor – I guess whoever it was ran out of tiles so opted for the mosaic effect you see there.  A slightly uneven subfloor led to cracks in many of the tiles.  Though the cabinets all had integrated handles the owner before me stuck wallpaper up on them and brass curly handles for some sort of 70s Victoriana mashup.

The first thing I did was to have the washing machine moved to one of the hall cupboards, where once a hot water cylinder had stood.  I had this done when I had my bathroom replaced last year.  Then I ripped down the net curtains and put a blackout blind up.  For privacy (my kitchen is at ground floor level), I coated the window with mirror film.  I can highly recommend this stuff.  They cut it to exactly the size you need.  It’s cheap and really easy to install yourself following the video they have on the site.  After I recommended it a colleague bought some too, only he had it fitted – if you are in the London area it seems their quotes for fitting are very reasonable (not a paid link, I was just very happy with it and it stopped a nosy neighbour in his tracks).  I gave the brass handles away on Streetbank and ripped the wallpaper off the cupboards.

Enough of that. Let’s cut to After:

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Normally the yucca lives in the living room and there would be a kitchen table there, but I swapped them to serve food on for my party.  Well, actually the table hasn’t made it back into the kitchen since before the kitchen fitters came.  Like I said, soon there will be shelves and a picture ledge, but for now I have a usable kitchen and I couldn’t be happier.

As for my party, being short on time (see above) I outsourced the catering to locals The GreenBean.  They have a regular stall at Tottenham Green Market selling vegetarian and vegan salads and savouries and always seem to have the longest queues!  Here are the salads they made me:

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My friends loved them and everyone had a great time!

I’ll post again once the finishing touches are done (and the pantry deserves a post of its own), but for now I’m going to go and enjoy my new kitchen.

Teochew Kitchen at Craving Coffee and adulting

When I say not having a kitchen has forced me to eat out a lot, I don’t really mean it.  I have a fridge and a microwave and I ate a ready meal the other day.  It was better than I thought it would be.  Really the no kitchen thing has been a good excuse to get out and about and do things.

On Saturday I went to Parkrun and afterwards ate breakfast (porridge and a kale smoothie, good solid hipster food) at the Finsbury Park Cafe.

A photo posted by Sarah (@nlondonkitchen) on

I was there on my own but I bumped into someone I knew from running, Anna, and a couple of her friends, and I had a lovely time. On Sunday I went to Tottenham Green Market for lunch. I took my roti canai across to the communal table where a couple of young families were sitting and asked if they minded me sitting down. They welcomed me to the table and offered me a glass of Chardonnay.

Despite these moments of calm it has been a hectic week. A couple of days ago I passed a mother at the end of her tether. “BE QUIET!” she shouted at her little girl who was in full on meltdown mode. “I don’t want to be seven, I want to be two again” wailed the girl. In that moment I knew exactly what she meant. I honestly thought when I started this blog it would be a way to project some sort of glamorous, competent persona when really it has become a forum to share the love I have for local food but also to be honest about my worries and insecurities. Yet, this week has seen salary negotiations, booking a solo holiday, instructing workmen, and making decisions.  I’m beginning to feel a little bit like a competent adult.

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This brings me back to dining alone. This evening was the first night of Teochew Kitchen’s monthlong residency at Craving Coffee. I hadn’t managed to persuade any of my friends to go with me but by the time I headed there I was looking forward to some time alone, in a room full of people – if that makes sense! I found a table, drank dry cider and read Scott Jurek’s book Eat and Run.

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Appropriate to the reading material, everything I ate tonight was vegan:

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Smashed cucumbers. I haven’t eaten this dish in years but I remember it being spicier than cucumber had any right to be. So I was suspicious of the 1 chilli rating on the menu. Fortunately this turned out to be Singaporean mild, not English mild – so that by the end of a portion of this, the heat level has built to the point where your sinuses feel pretty clear and you’re glad of a cold drink next to you.

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Chilli ginger soy choi sum. Try saying that five times quickly. I was craving vegetables and this tasted clean, green and delicious.

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BBC – broad bean, bean curd and Chinese chutney with steamed jasmine rice. I think this was actually edamame. Yum. Also, the rice made me want to never be lazy about my rice preparation habits again.

I was also given a complimentary little pot of Szechuan roast almonds – delicious. All in all it was proper feel good food.

Teochew Kitchen will be at Craving Coffee all May on Thursday and Friday evenings. I’m already trying to mentally plan when I might have time to go back.

Craving Coffee
Unit 3, Gaunson House, Markfield Road, N15 4QQ
http://www.cravingcoffee.co.uk/
@CravingCoffeeUK

Wednesday dinner – pizza at Styx

Today I got home and my kitchen didn’t look much different from yesterday.  The workmen were still here muttering away so I left them to it while writing up Rose and Mary.  It turned out most of what they had done was background work – tidying up the pipe work to make the cabinets fit better.

Busy writing, I didn’t take much notice when they left.  But then when I got ready to dash out myself – to a Streetbank exchange on my way to running group – I took a peek in my kitchen first and suddenly the units were all fitted to the wall and half of the worktop was there.  To see that definitely helped me to relax.

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After running today I dragged a couple of the girls out to somewhere I’ve been meaning to go for a long time: Styx Bar.  Located near Tottenham Hale station, Styx is a mostly outdoor space that looks like it’s been cobbled together from pallets.  It had a similar feel to the Pallet Pavilion that used to be in my hometown, Christchurch.

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Anyway, on to the food – pizza pushers @lovenpresents are there with their wood fired oven.  It definitely isn’t gluten free – though they do have some gluten free options on the menu.  My pizza, the Zola, had gorgonzola, radicchio and pistachios on it.  What a combination!  I think gorgonzola may be the ultimate comfort food.  Good food, good conversation and beer from local brewers Beavertown – and all after a run.

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I came home feeling relaxed for the first time this week.  Maybe I started carb loading a little early for my race, but it was worth it for how I’m feeling now.  I’m determined to get back to Styx soon!  

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Styx 

5 Ashley Road, N17 9LJ

http://www.styx.space/

@StyxBar

Candy beetroot with lentils and yuzu

I have started getting a weekly bag of local(ish) vegetables from a local social enterprise called Crop Drop. I plan to write more about it later as it deserves a post of its own, but basically once a week I pick up a bag full of vegetables from my “drop point” being a local shop.

It’s a great way to make sure I am eating as seasonally and locally as possible, and stops me getting stuck in a culinary rut. The other tool I use is the website Eat Your Books. You can use the website as a database of all of the cookbooks you own and recipe websites and magazines you use. If I have a vegetable and an idea doesn’t immediately spring to mind (or if I know I have a recipe for it but don’t know which book it’s in!) I can plug the ingredient into Eat Your Books and out spits every recipe I own featuring that ingredient. It’s not perfect – I’m still waiting for one of my favourite recipe books to be indexed by the site – but it has been useful enough for me to pay the subscription. If anyone has a cheaper idea feel free to comment!

Anyway, in my Crop Drop bag a couple of weeks ago I received some chioggia beetroot, otherwise known as candy beetroot. I plugged it into Eat Your Books and out came an Ottolenghi recipe that looked very appealing – candy beetroot with lentils and yuzu from the book Plenty More
.

I got to bust out my mandoline to slice the beetroot:
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Candy beetroot with lentils and yuzu
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Print
1603 calories
226 g
0 g
50 g
73 g
7 g
1225 g
866 g
67 g
0 g
41 g
Nutrition Facts
Serving Size
1225g
Amount Per Serving
Calories 1603
Calories from Fat 439
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 50g
76%
Saturated Fat 7g
35%
Trans Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 7g
Monounsaturated Fat 34g
Cholesterol 0mg
0%
Sodium 866mg
36%
Total Carbohydrates 226g
75%
Dietary Fiber 92g
369%
Sugars 67g
Protein 73g
Vitamin A
82%
Vitamin C
145%
Calcium
35%
Iron
136%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your Daily Values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
Ingredients
  1. 750g candy (or other) beetroot
  2. 225g Puy lentils
  3. 1-2 tbsp yuzu juice, to taste
  4. 50ml olive oil, plus extra to finish
  5. Salt and black pepper
  6. 1 small red onion, thinly sliced
  7. 2 tsp maple syrup
  8. 1½ tbsp lemon juice
  9. 40g watercress
  10. 40g baby chard leaves
  11. 1 tsp yuzu powder (optional)
Instructions
  1. Put the beetroots in a large saucepan and cover with plenty of water. Bring to a boil, turn down the heat and cook on a gentle simmer for about an hour, adding boiling water as needed. To check that they are cooked, stick a knife into the largest beet: it should go in smoothly. Lift the beetroots from the water and leave to cool (they'll keep in the fridge for a day or two). Peel and halve the beetroots, and cut into wedges 1cm thick at the base.
  2. Put the lentils in a small saucepan and cover with plenty of water. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer for 15-20 minutes, until al dente. Drain, transfer to a bowl and, while they're still hot, stir in a tablespoon each of yuzu juice and olive oil. Season and set aside to cool (the lentils can now also be kept in the fridge for a couple of days).
  3. To put the salad together, mix the remaining yuzu juice and oil into the lentils, then add the beetroot, onion, maple syrup and lemon juice. Toss gently and taste for seasoning. Transfer to a shallow bowl and dot with watercress and chard. Finish with a sprinkle of powdered yuzu, if you have it, and a drizzle of oil.
Notes
  1. Ottolenghi suggests using lime juice instead of yuzu if you can't get hold of it, but I thought it smelled more like grapefruit. I got my yuzu juice from www.souschef.co.uk and have since seen it in a good Japanese store but it is expensive so it's not available everywhere.
  2. I couldn't find baby chard leaves so I bought some mixed baby leaves instead.
Adapted from Plenty More
beta
calories
1603
fat
50g
protein
73g
carbs
226g
more
Adapted from Plenty More
North London Kitchen http://northlondonkitchen.com/
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