North London Kitchen

Cooking, eating, and designing a kitchen in North London

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Courgette ‘papardelle’ with asparagus, avocado salad & rocket

A few months ago I started getting a weekly bag of vegetables from Crop Drop.  I have mentioned it before here but not for a while.  The way it works is you choose a small or large bag, potatoes or no potatoes, and pick it up once a week from a drop point somewhere in Haringey.  All of the vegetables are organically grown though their smaller suppliers aren’t certified (it’s an expensive process).  Picking up from a local business is great because I can get some other local shopping done while I’m at it.  It’s a win win for the environment and the local economy.

This week’s bag contained, among other things, asparagus and courgettes.  Asparagus season in the UK starts in May and lasts about six weeks.  It’s really the only time to eat asparagus – Peruvian asparagus doesn’t taste the same and then there’s the whole food miles argument (how does Peru have such a long asparagus season anyway?).

Turning to Eat Your Books I found a recipe from a book I hadn’t used yet, Lorraine Pascale’s Fast, Fresh and Easy food: Courgette “papardelle” with asparagus, avocado salad and rocket.  The book was published in 2012 but it’s new to me – a neighbour was destashing a few months ago and I came home laden with cookbooks (that remained packed in a box until it was time to move in to my new kitchen).  I followed the recipe exactly except for using my new spiraliser to prepare the courgette.  The great thing about the book though is that the recipes don’t require any fancy kitchen equipment.


Courgette 'papardelle' with asparagus, avocado salad & rocket
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1598 calories
155 g
17 g
95 g
57 g
17 g
1667 g
646 g
37 g
0 g
72 g
Nutrition Facts
Serving Size
Amount Per Serving
Calories 1598
Calories from Fat 820
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 95g
Saturated Fat 17g
Trans Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 11g
Monounsaturated Fat 61g
Cholesterol 17mg
Sodium 646mg
Total Carbohydrates 155g
Dietary Fiber 48g
Sugars 37g
Protein 57g
Vitamin A
Vitamin C
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your Daily Values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
  1. 400g tin of cannellini beans
  2. 250g bunch of asparagus
  3. 3 courgettes
  4. 1 perfectly ripe avocado
  5. Olive oil
  6. 1 bag of wild rocket
  7. Small handful of fresh mint
  8. Small handful of fresh basil
  9. Handful of toasted pine nuts (about 25g) (they come ready-toasted from the supermarkets)
  10. 25g Parmesan cheese
  1. 1 small red chilli or a pinch of dried chilli flakes (optional)
  2. 1 lemon
  3. 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  4. Couple of squidges of honey
  5. Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  1. 1. Put the kettle on to boil.
  2. 2. Meanwhile, make the dressing. Deseed and finely chop the chilli (if using) and add to a mug or small bowl, or simply add the dried chilli flakes. Finely grate the lemon zest in and squeeze in the juice. Add the oil and honey and season with salt and pepper. Whisk together with a fork. Next, drain and rinse the cannellini beans, toss them through the dressing and set aside.
  3. 3. Pour the now-boiled water and a big pinch of salt into a medium pan and put on a high heat to bring the water back up to the boil. Trim the ends of the asparagus where they look dried out and add to the water to cook for 4 minutes.
  4. 4. Using a peeler, take a strip of the length of a courgette to look like ‘pappardelle’. Keep going going in the same place until you have peeled away half of the courgette, then flip it over and do the same with the other side. You now don’t need the bit that is left when you’ve peeled away all you can, but you could save it for a soup or stir-fry. Repeat with the remaining courgettes.
  5. 5. Once the asparagus is just tender, remove it from the water with a slotted spoon and rinse under cold running water for a minute or so until cool. Then set aside. Now add the courgette ‘pappardelle’ to the boiling water and cook for about 3 minutes.
  6. 6. Meanwhile, quarter, de-stone and peel the avocado. Cut it lengthways into 1cm-thick slices, drizzle with oil (so they don’t go brown) and set aside.
  7. 7. Once the courgettes are just tender, drain them in a colander and rinse under running water until cool. Drain well and toss a drizzle of oil through them to stop them sticking together.
  8. 8. Now to assemble. Tip the rocket onto a large serving platter. Scatter the courgette and asparagus over. Rip the leaves from the mint and basil stalks and sprinkle over the pine nuts. Give everything a little toss about with your hands and arrange the avocado on top. Spoon the cannellini beans and dressing over and then shave the Parmesan on top using the peeler and serve.
  1. Like I said, I spiralised the courgette instead of peeling it into strips - but I love Lorraine's instructions for peeling the courgette. She makes everything sound very easy!
  2. I took this for lunch two days in a row. If I get more asparagus I'll definitely make it again. I'm keen to try other recipes from the book too.
Adapted from Fast, Fresh and Easy Food
Adapted from Fast, Fresh and Easy Food
North London Kitchen

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.


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.


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.



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.


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


Trufflesecco, 11 Camden High St  NW1 7JE

N17!, 560 High Road N17 9TA

Tottenham loves…. The Eel


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:


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:


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:


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.

Hanoi Pho, Green Lanes

Green Lanes is famous for its Turkish restaurants.  They come and go a bit, with new ones opening all the time alongside old favourites Gökyüzü , Antipliler and Selale.  Turkish food is great but locals were hanging out for a bit of variety on the Lanes.

Back in 2014 rumours started that a Vietnamese was coming to an empty premises near the grand old Salisbury pub.  These remained rumours for some time, with stories of problems with the extractor, or was it the council?

Finally late last year Hanoi Pho opened its doors.  It’s been near the top of my list to visit ever since.  My kitchen has been fitted but was swiftly buried under a mound of DIY stuff – I still needed to lay the floor, plaster, paint, and put shelves and doors up.  I’m part way through this and think I will save it up for a “big reveal” once everything is finished.  At any rate, I haven’t moved in yet and I’m still eating out a lot (with a couple of pots of pasta and some microwave meals thrown in there).  

I have Pilates class nearby so after class the other day I had the perfect opportunity.  

The tiny restaurant manages to fit in several tables and some bar seating facing the street outside. There is a TARDIS effect with more space inside than it appears from the outside. I think next time I’ll sit facing the street – it’s never quiet on Green Lanes.


The menu is not extensive as it is a small restaurant, but offers summer rolls, spring rolls and salads to start, followed by various noodle and rice dishes as well as larger salads as mains. I was also very tempted by the salt and pepper squid but mindful of my budget as well as my healthy diet I passed on this occasion. I also passed on a plate of morning glory (my favourite vegetable) for £6.50 – I’ll wait until I have company to share it with. Mains are around the £8 mark and my prawn summer rolls were £4.50.


For a main I ate rice noodles with vegetables and tofu.


I was tempted to try the Pho but I felt like the dry noodles this time. I really enjoyed my meal though so I’m sure I’ll work my way through the menu gradually! I drank tap water as they were out of the coconut water I wanted (having tried and disliked fresh coconut water a few years ago I have recently rediscovered it and realised I like it now – perfect for after exercise!).

My bill came to around £12, though it could easily have climbed much higher with the addition of drinks and sides – especially when everything is so tempting. Definitely a restaurant to go back to, and nice not to have to hop on a bus down the Kingsland Road.

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.


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.


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


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.


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


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

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.


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.


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.


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!  



5 Ashley Road, N17 9LJ


A healthy dinner from Rose & Mary

I think I mentioned, as well as having a kitchen fitted this week, I am running a half marathon in the weekend.  This caused a slight panic towards the end of last week (as opposed to the “what if it all goes horribly wrong?” panic).  Without a kitchen, what was I going to eat this week?  The idea being I should keep up my usual healthy diet then lighten up on the fibre and add a few more carbs in the couple of days before the race.

I voiced my worries on Twitter, and then @roseandmary followed me.  It was like a sign.  For Rose and Mary are a local outfit selling healthy takeaways – specifically, gluten free and sugar free food, with a bit of a gourmet bent.

They offered me a meal and I gladly accepted*.  I don’t usually eat gluten free but there are plenty of people who can’t eat gluten, and to be honest if you didn’t tell me it was gluten free I wouldn’t have noticed – things like quinoa and lentils are a regular part of my diet anyway.  And the pictures on their website all looked gorgeous!

I got a little bit greedy and ordered aubergine and miso cream, and kale with crab and avocado.  I’m at the outer edge of their delivery area and I know how bad traffic can be – my food took about 40 minutes to arrive which is about what I expected, and the soup was still warm.  It gave me time to get home from a friend’s place where I had placed the order on my phone.  You can order via their iPhone app, on their website, by phone or by going into the shop.  I have an Android phone but their website is so well optimised for mobile it felt like using an app to order anyway.

The next thing to impress me was the packaging – often a source of guilt when I order a takeaway, my food was packaged in cardboard boxes (with no bag or extra packaging), containing plastic tubs which could be recycled or better, re-used.



First up, the cream (soup):


Basically, this was liquidised nasu dengaku. One of my favourite Japanese dishes turned into soup. Attractive it ain’t, but I was always going to like this anyway. Possibly I didn’t need both it AND the next course…


The crab, avocado and kale.  Three of my favourite things, on one plate.  I was a bit worried about plating this up, as it’s styled so beautifully on the website, but I think I did ok! I was also impressed by the serving size – and at £8.90 (including delivery) the very reasonable pricing. Of course, it was delicious. It’s hard to go wrong with those ingredients.

I resolved to eat from Rose and Mary again this week. I have so far failed on that count, but I’ll blame circumstances. I’ll definitely order from them again soon.

They also gave me a code I can share with you if you’d like to make an order: enter SARAH16 and you’ll get £10 off your first order. Take a look at their menu – what would you eat tonight? It’s changing all the time too, with an emphasis on seasonality and sourcing.

Check them out: they deliver to Highgate, Muswell Hill, Crouch End and Stroud Green/Finsbury Park (and South Tottenham as it happens – if you’re in the general vicinity of any of these areas plug your postcode in to the app or website to see if they deliver to you)

Rose and Mary, 177c Priory Road, London


*disclosure: I said if I didn’t love it, I wouldn’t write about it.


Tuesday dinner

Progress was quite speedy in my kitchen today.  I worked from home so I was on hand if the fitters needed me, though I decamped to the Banc Brasserie and later Tri Prana after they shut off my electricity and water.  They both have nice tea and coffee, free wifi, friendly service and flushing toilets!

There was one mistake (at least I hope it was only one) in my kitchen order so after my evening running group I went to Ikea to rectify this.

Hence this dinner, at 9:30pm:

I promise my next post will feature healthier food (I know this because I’m going to rewind a few days and tell you about my Saturday dinner!).

Stay tuned… what will I eat next?  What will go wrong next?  All in the next thrilling installment of North London Kitchen.

Kitchen carnage

I apologise; it’s been a long time since my last post.  I’ve been overseas again, this time running a half marathon in Budapest.  It was wonderful, but Budapest is not in North London so falls outside the scope of this blog!

On top of this, I’ve had a job interview (successful) and have been busy getting some kitchen DIY done.  I had thought I would write more about this aspect of my kitchen, but it’s been taking up all my energy just to do it, let alone write about it.

Nevertheless, the kitchen fitters arrive tomorrow.  I’ve been at home this Bank Holiday Monday, waiting for deliveries from Ikea and Appliances Online.  Everything is here now (I hope; I haven’t counted all 150 Ikea packages).  It’s time for a little show and tell.


This is the current state of my kitchen.  I’ve spent a couple of months on and off (but mostly the past week) bashing tiles off the floor with a chisel and mallet.  The floor had ceramic tiles on top of vinyl tiles.  The ceramic tiles were in pretty bad shape as they appeared to have been a bodged DIY job to begin with.  The vinyl tiles underneath made them easier to lift – no tile adhesive or grout stuck everywhere – but harder at the same time, as age had made them brittle and messy.  The internet to the rescue – I learned that vinyl tiles are easy to lift using a heat gun to make them more pliable.  I had a heat gun on hand from stripping the door frame and skirting boards.  It made things easier.  Still, my mallet arm is aching and my glutes and calves are screaming out from all of the crouching down.  Another tip I learned from the internet: talcum powder brushed over a sticky floor will de-stickify it!  I did not learn this one in time to stop myself tracking black sticky stuff all over the white floors in my hallway, but white spirit made short work of that.

Anyway, I have another half marathon this coming weekend so have just under a week to recover from my travails!

This also raises the question of how I’m going to look after myself with no kitchen.  I’m currently camped out in my living room imagining how it would be like to live in a studio.


That’s my Lakeland heated airer between the fridge and the media unit.  If you don’t have one, get one.  They’re throwing in the cover free of charge at the moment.  That’s not an affiliate link; buy one then buy me a drink out of sheer gratitude if you ever bump into me.  This thing is life-changing.

There’s a microwave, my new filter kettle and tea and coffee stuff.  Cutlery is in the tray on top of the microwave and crockery is in the drawer below.  The fridge is stocked with cheese and a couple of ready meals, but I’m going to eat out or get takeaways as much as possible over the coming week or so.  I had a very good lunch at Sushi Heads today when I realised I had an hour between the Ikea delivery and the Appliances Online delivery.  That’s a place I keep meaning to write about but I go there so hungry I forget to take photos of the food.


The other side of my living room.  The console table folds out and is usually my kitchen table.  I’ve done some pretty impressive kitchen Tetris with everything else.  There’s a coffee table under there somewhere too.  I have a dish drainer set up in the bathroom.

It all feels very grown up, this kitchen business!  Stay tuned and I’ll let you know how I get on with having a kitchen fitted while preparing for a half marathon….


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