The Different Market

I’m really excited to tell you about a wonderful day that I spent at The Different Market on Saturday 23rd June 2018. This inclusive event was located in Blackfriars’ Hall, which is part of The Halls; an atmospheric former friary on St Andrews Street, Norwich.

Local market stalls included crafts, fashion, handmade skincare, jewellery, greeting cards, henna, houseplants, spices, condiments and scarves.

I even got a lovely personalised keyring written in Arabic, made right before my eyes, by the super friendly and talented Chacha Jewels (find her on instagram at @chachajewelsuk).

The cultures and nationalities reflected among the vendors included British, Zimbabwean, Polish, Bangladeshi, Arabic and Indian and the customers were just as diverse! There was a wonderfully friendly feeling about the day; with lots of smiles and laughter. Kids ran around, whilst the adults shopped for bargains and chatted over the wide variety of refreshments.

Tasty treats available to purchase included; fresh mint tea, baklava, sweets, brownies, mocktails, chocolate fountain, teas, coffees and a perfectly pink rose syrup infused milk.

I enjoyed a refreshing lime and mint cooler, with a deliciously sticky piece of baklava from Sahara café. Full of nuts and honey and fragrant orange blossom water; a mouth-watering little energy boost to keep me going as I navigated the different stalls, which included:

 

Aga & Kat, Polish Folk Art. Instagram @agaandkat

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Leslie Terrance. Instagram @leslieterranceshop

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Knot to Forget. Instagram @knottoforget

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Plus, check out my previous delicious post about @thebrowniebaker_

One of the elements that really stood out to me was the community spirit. Stallholders made the time to pause and chat about their products, whilst also admiring the work of other craftspeople.

The NHS Wellbeing Norfolk and Waveney Service was in attendance, providing advice and signposting for mental health and wellbeing support.

I stopped and got some decorative henna; the essential oil in the paste, creating a soothing ambiance as I chatted with Meanha, the event organiser and inspirational local charity ambassador and social inclusion advocate.

 

Elegance of Henna. Instagram @eleganceofhenna

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Meanha gave me an insight into the team of local women behind this event; Project Sadaqah Norwich. This social movement takes the Islamic concept of ‘Sadaqah’, which means ‘voluntary charity’ and applies it on a local level; creating the change and positivity that they wish to see in the world and encouraging the wider community to share and celebrate this.

The day ran extremely smoothly, which was down to the polished and professional hosting provided by Meanha’s volunteer team, who clearly put a lot of effort and care into creating a forum that could celebrate local diversity and raise a charitable donation in aid of an environmentally sustainable and therapeutic orphanage in Tanzania.

Thank you for my goodie bag, ladies. I’m looking forward to your next event!

 

To find out more, please follow @projectsadaqah_norwich on Instagram.

 

Sahara Cafe and Patisserie, 67-69 Magdalen Street Norwich NR3 1AA                            Follow them on Facebook or Instagram @SaharaNorwich 

 

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The Best of Brownies

Sometimes, even the most diligent blogger succumbs to temptation!

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So, these sticky remnants were the Chocolate Caramel Brownie, made by The Brownie Baker, Norwich. A soft pillow of fragrant chocolate with a sweet swirl of creamy caramel running through it. Intensely flavourful, but also effortlessly light; making it the best brownie that I have had in recent memory… and I don’t make that claim lightly.

Brownie’s are serious business! Everyone has their own criteria for what makes a good one. For some, it’s a crispy top and a gooey middle. For others it’s a dense texture, with a flavour so deep that it hints at bitter coffee notes.

Equally, there are those of us whose favourite bit is the moist, middle portion; and those who squabble over the crunchiest, crumbliest piece from the corner.

The Brownie Baker manages to bring the best elements of the brownie together to make a soft, rich, luxurious treat that is a true delight to eat. So good, I’m already excited for my next one. With a wide range, including a berry and white chocolate blondie and a jaffa cake studded chocolate orange brownie, I know that I will not be disappointed, by taste or creativity.

I promise, next time, I will pause before that perfect first bite, to take a picture to share with you!

 

For more information about The Brownie Baker, follow them on Instagram @thebrowniebaker_ 

Food and Mood – Mental Health

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Disclaimer: I’m not a Mental Health Professional; all of the following thoughts are from my own experience and interpretation. They won’t fit everyone and they aren’t based on research evidence. If you’re worried about your wellbeing, please speak to your GP or other healthcare provider. If you’re in crisis and you feel unsafe, call 999 or the emergency services number in the country you reside in.

 

This post is intended to be a little different from the norm.

 

Like 1 in 4 other people in the UK, I have experienced a mental health issue and right now, I feel like my wellbeing isn’t where I’d like it to be. Some days it’s a real struggle. The national charity Mind (https://www.mind.org.uk) describes ‘five ways to wellbeing’.

 

Connect…

Be active…

Take notice…

Learn…

Give…

 

For me, the overarching sentiment behind this idea, is the importance of making time for yourself and nurturing your wellbeing, happiness and mental health. Life is not always easy and all of us face challenges to different extents; everyone deserves time, help and support to survive and thrive.

 

So, as this is a food blog; here is my culinary spin on the five ways to wellbeing:

 

  • Connect over food. Whether that’s getting out of the house and meeting up with a friend or colleague, baking at home and inviting people to visit you, or sharing ideas and thoughts on an online forum. If food makes you smile, share the joy.

 

 

  • Take notice of the little things; make time for meals and for enjoyment. Whether that’s the smell of sizzling onions, the taste of a perfectly sweet strawberry, or the crunch of a golden fried samosa between your teeth. I know it might sound strange, but sometimes I even enjoy the sensation of warm water and bubbles as I do the washing up!

 

  • Learn a new recipe. It may not be the right time to tackle that 5ft croquembouche with the sugarwork swans, but it’s good to try something different. Maybe pick a simple dish you’ve never tried before, or dream up a new spin on a classic. Seeking inspiration from other cultures can be really rewarding so check out your local markets and independent groceries.

 

  • Give your time to a local charity café, soup kitchen or foodbank, offer to cook a simple meal for a busy friend in need of a break, or just show a little love to your nearest and dearest, with a tasty treat or two. Sometimes a simple cup of tea speaks volumes.

 

Although it’s not something I’ve experienced personally, if anyone out there reading this is struggling with their relationship with food and eating, or feeling that this part of life is causing them more distress than comfort; please know that you are not alone and you deserve help and support: https://www.beateatingdisorders.org.uk

 

Local Norfolk and Suffolk people; the Wellbeing Service can help you start to think about ways to improve your wellbeing and manage stress, low mood or anxiety. You can talk to your GP about your options, or even make your own referral into the service: https://www.wellbeingnands.co.uk

 

Dal-icious

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Dal is a lentil-based dish that can thrill the most jaded of tastebuds. Today I was in search of a lunch that could comfort and nourish and I found it at Indian Feast, which is Stall 23 on Norwich Market.

 

Their tarka dal is so fresh and light in taste and texture; it’s a steaming puddle of subtle spice that sits proudly atop a cloud of soft, perfectly cooked rice.

 

I enjoyed mine with a smattering of fresh coriander and diced onion scattered over the top, which provides yet another layer of texture and flavour. Think nuggets of juicy, pungent red onion popping across your tastebuds as velvety lentils release ginger and garlic scents on your palate.

 

If that’s not enough; there is an additional option of jeera rice; a fluffy white rice with cumin seeds that lend their earthy, spicy aroma to this delightful dish.

 

As far as I’m concerned, double carbs were made for those moments when you feel a little fragile and you need some substance from your lunch. And, I’m not talking simple stodge here; but something much more complex and nutritious.

 

The tarka dal with jeera rice from Indian Feast is truly a hug in a box. A cozy and delicious (or, dal-icious) meal that injects sunshine straight into your veins.

 

I’m not one to tempt fate, but I’m kinda looking forward to a rainy day, just so that I can order tarka dal and listen to the rain bounce off the Market roof as I eat and watch a bustling sea of umbrellas slowly submerge the high street in colour.

 

Visit Indian Feast on Norwich Market, Stall 23.

One Scoop or Two, or Three, or Four…

Gelato, for me, is the ultimate Summer comfort food. Is there anything quite like a silky, soft scoop in a crisp cone to delight the senses?

 

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Pictured above is a lusciously creamy dollop of the Almond & Orange currently on offer, alongside a rainbow of other flavours, at Cafe Gelato on Opie Street. A mouth-wateringly generous portion, perfectly smooth and just on the seductively icy brink of oozing, served by friendly owners who cheerfully humoured my rather rudimentary attempt at ordering in Italian.

 

Reader; it was heaven in a gloriously crunchy waffle cone. Subtle but full of flavour, with a rich creamy background. Sweet, nutty almond rippled with fragrant orange; a real taste of sunshine.

 

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Check them out; they are a real gem on the Norwich highstreet and I can’t wait to go back and try more, preferably with a friend, in order to maximise flavour sampling; they’d have to be the type of chum who would be happy to swap a lick or two though!

 

The interior is simple and chic and I can’t think of a better place to enjoy a sweet treat as the world buzzes outside.

 

Bellissimo!

 

For more information about Cafe Gelato, follow them on Instagram @cafegelatonorwich or pop in and visit them at 6 Opie Street, Norwich NR1 3DN (Monday closed).

Brunch Club

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I’m not going to lie; on a lazy Sunday, the concept of breakfast turns quickly to brunch in my household. The dish above is the perfect bait to lure me out from beneath my duvet.

 

This sumptuous breakfast confection is a tweaked version of Jamie Oliver’s ‘Baked Eggs in Popped Beans’ from his book ‘Everyday Super Foods’.

 

Cannellini beans are cooked briskly in a juicy stew of fresh tomatoes, scented with fennel seeds and seasoned with a generous splash of balsamic vinegar, followed swiftly by a little salt and lots of pepper.

 

We like to add diced red pepper to ours before cracking an egg or two into this bubbling brew of deliciousness.

 

Basil makes a good garnish, but don’t feel like you have to stop there. A piquant hot sauce is a firm favourite addition of mine.

 

Consider a tortilla, hunk of bread or slice of baguette for sopping. Jamie recommends a smear of ricotta, but I have to say; I really like my dunking device slathered with fridge-cold, salted butter that melts into the saucy slick at the bottom of the bowl.

 

Mmmmmmmmmmm!!

 

The combination of creamy beans and slightly tart tomatoes, infused with earthy, fragrant fennel seeds and sweet balsamic is a true joy. For me, the addition of an egg takes it to sublime levels. But then, what brunch offering is not improved by forking your way into a golden yolk?

 

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For the vegan choice, a perfectly ripe avocado is a good alternative to the egg. In a mid-morning mood of lavish generosity to myself; I’ll often take both if the opportunity arises.

 

This has to be a perfectly healthy yet lusciously hearty way to start any day.

 

Followed by a kiss for the Chef, of course!

 

 

Take a look at the original recipe here: https://www.jamieoliver.com/recipes/eggs-recipes/baked-eggs-in-popped-beans/

Thrift and Falafel

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Don’t you just love lazy days that involve aimless wandering and the unearthing of unexpected treasures? Today was definitely one of those for me!

 

A perfect end to my long Easter weekend was spent mooching around the numerous and bountiful charity shops of Anglia Square and gazing into the enticing windows of Magdalen Street’s diverse medley of eateries.

 

It felt like a day to try something new and so I stopped in at Ruth’s Kitchen, which is a friendly little café serving authentic, fresh and tasty Jerusalem street food.

 

If you’re a falafel fan, you won’t be disappointed! Ruth’s falafel are daintily formed little spheres of subtly seasoned chickpea paste. Once fried they become a crispy nugget with a smooth, almost creamy centre. Dunk one of these bad boys into a nutty-tasting puddle of hummus and expect to reach for another within seconds; they are incredibly moreish! I also tried the grilled chicken shawarma, which was tender and succulent.

 

Team this up with fresh salad, drizzled with a smattering of delightfully green Tahini sauce, and flatbread; you have a scrummy little lunch. I washed my food down with a generous mug of fresh mint tea with lemon, which was very refreshing.

 

Perhaps one of the most enjoyable features of Ruth’s Kitchen is the passion and enthusiasm that goes into the service. If you need a rundown of what the menu contains and how best to navigate your way around dishes that are potentially unfamiliar territory, the staff were happy to explain and offer suggestions.

 

We were welcomed like family and left feeling full and ready for more rummaging.

 

I found a couple of nearly-new paperbacks which I’d been meaning to read for ages, for £1 each in the Anglia Square branch of Sense. Visit if you enjoy a bit of thrifty bargain-hunting as they have lots of stock to peruse; books, clothing and bric-a-brac!

 

For more information about Ruth’s Kitchen, follow them on Twitter @RuthsNorwich or pop in and visit them at 39 Magdalen Street Norwich NR3 1LQ.

 

Visit Sense Charity Shop at 2A Sovereign Way, Norwich NR3 1ER.