Category Archives: community

Bump and grind

I thought I’d get my naughty sausage reference out of the way in the title.

Bump refers to the clamour that occurred when 20 or so guests crammed into my kitchen, each trying to get the food first.  I served loose sausage with hummus as one of the dishes at a ridiculous party I threw called ‘Smoke Gets In Your Eyes’, but more of that in a future post.

As for the grinding there were many giggles and sniggers and groans to be had when I was joined by couple of friends to make sausage for May’s Charcutepalooza challenge.

Loaded up with mutton from Brixton Market I headed home to start. We followed Mrs. Wheelbarrows recipe for Lamb Murguez

Lamb Murguez

I love the smell in the kitchen after toasting and grinding spices. Coriander and Cumin, Fennel and Peppercorns. The smell of smoked Paprika is enough to get me salivating.

The meat marinated for a few hours in it’s seasoning before it went into the freezer to cool down before grinding.

My phone was stolen last week, so now I am without my beloved Instagram photo retro-fier. These photo’s are thanks to Andy, who took plenty of sausage home to feed to his 15 month old daughter.

Ready to go

I invested in a Trespade meat grinder and I’m really happy with the quality of it. I was a little nervous about shelling out money for a gadget I might not use more than once or twice, but I love using it and am sure it will pay for itself soon enough.

Here it comes!


The following dish is from The Moro Cookbook, and can easily be made with Lamb mince that you have bought, but the spicy aromatic Murguez really makes it special.

Home-cooked chickpeas taste lovely and are worth the extra time, but using canned chickpeas is fine too. To be honest, you could just buy hummus. My favourite brand is Yarden – I think it is even better than home-made – I have no idea how they get it so smooth!

Lamb Murguez with Hummus

Serve with Flatbread or Pitta

Hummus with ground lamb and pinenuts

serves 4 as a hearty starter

The hummus can be made the day before.


450g cooked or canned chickpeas, with the cooking liquid reserved

6tablespoons olive oil

1 small red onion diced

1 lemon, juiced

3 garlic cloves crushed to a paste with salt

3-4 tablespooons tahini paste

200 g minced lamb

2 tablespoons pinenuts, lightly toasted

1 medium bunch of parsley

paprika, salt and black pepper to season


To make the hummus

Blend the chickpeas, adding some of the cooking liquid to help blend them into a smooth paste.

Next add the lemon juice, garlic, tahini and half of the olive oil. Taste as you go and adjust flavourings to your preference. Add salt and pepper to season.

For the lamb

Heat half of the olive oil in a frying pan and fry the onion over a medium heat until it is nicely caramelised – about 10-15 minutes.

Turn up the heat, then add the lamb mince, breaking it up with a fork or spoon and fry it until is nicely browned and crispy.

To assemble the dish spread the hummus on a plate or dish, then sprinkle the lamb, pinenuts, parsely and paprika on top of it.

Serve with some nice warm Flatbread.


Franco Manca

My brother and I have both inherited Nana’s maniacal giggle that winds down with  a sigh and ends in a slight moment of awkward silence as we wipe the tears away from our eyes.

It is a useful trait and one that we employ to break the tension whilst discussing the Dreadful Condition of Things, which is often.

A few weeks ago we had a good chuckle over the fact that he was going out ‘for dinner’ with friends later that evening. He had staked out the menu online and already decided his order: one samoosa at R8 (that’s about 70p). He had also planned ahead; staving off hunger by eating a big bowl of spaghetti garnished with olive oil before he went out.

Oh how we laughed and laughed as we remembered the countless many times we’ve dined out on The Margarita Pizza, The Baked Potato with Cheese, The Soup, or even the Just a Plate of Chips Please.

At least he has an excuse – he is a student. I, on the other hand, am at a total loss as to how I can even begin to explain why my life has ended up in its current parlous state so I’m not even going to try.

Usually when I’m asked out by friends the invitation is delivered with a slight hesitance or awkwardness, or is post scripted with the tag-line ‘it’s really cheap!’.  Such an invitation was extended to me recently for mid-week birthday celebrations at Franco Manca; purveyor of the finest Sourdough pizza this side of Napoli.

I arrived in a huff. A quick straw poll amongst those who know me will more than likely confirm that this is usually how I arrive at any place I’m going to. But on this particular day I was in a huff and a puff of Wolfie proportions… ready to blow some pig’s house down.

Earlier that morning that I had lost a large commission, the second that week. Now here I was, obliged to spend money I didn’t have and try to look cheerful about it.

To be honest, I didn’t even look at the menu. My eyes rested on the first item on the list, which at £4.50 was the cheapest – a Pizza base with tomato, garlic and oregano.

The waitress double-checked my order: ‘You do know this one doesn’t come with cheese right?’ I nodded, trying to check the extreme resentment welling up inside me over my state of extreme poverty, and summoning up the will to be cheerful for my friend’s birthday celebrations. I’m not sure I succeeded, but I did try.

It was hard.

Then the food arrived.

After scanning the other pizza’s on the table, adorned as they were with maroon ribbons of aged ham, oozing Mozarrella balls and glistening black olives, I looked down forlornly at my naked tomato pizza.

I tried to jazz it up with a grind of black pepper and a swoosh of olive oil.

Then I tore off a piece of it, closed my eyes and took a bite.

I didn’t need any fancy toppings.

A thin Frisbee of Sourdough with a simple tomato sauce sloshed onto it lifted me up and for just a moment, it carried me far far away from all the worries, insecurities, jealousy and tension.

And that is what good food should do.

I’m not even going to say anything more about it. You should just GO. Even if it’s your last five quid (I’m poor, but I’m not cheap – 50p for the tip)!

Franco Manca

4 Market Row

Electric Lane



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I have to be honest with you, I’ve been feeling rather fed-up with life, the universe and everything of late. But my spirits have been buoyed significantly by several cooking adventures, one of which I’ve managed to document. It was probably also the most extravagant.

My friend Phil hosted a Shrove Tuesday feast for around 25 friends. I was in charge of producing the savoury menu: Blini with six different savoury toppings. My favourite was the Chorizo with Rhubarb and a fine sliver of Pickled Walnut on top. Continue reading

Peculiar Pelicular

Last Saturday 19 February I hosted a film and food festival in my house. If I was hip, organised and well connected it would have been just like one of those pop up underground restaurants. Well, in fact it was exactly like that, except I didn’t profit from the event, not monetarily anyway. I invited a few friends ’round and they also contributed to the food and drink. Continue reading