Monday, October 24, 2011

Hot Stuff

I am pleased to say that last week the second of my foodie interviews for the hyper-local South Lambeth blog, Tradescant Road, was published. (I am mostly pleased that I managed to submit it, because it took me ages to get around to this one as a direct result of being a human incubator for the dreaded lurgy for the past three weeks.)

Anyway, this time, I interviewed Raj Dawood, the owner/manager of the area's premier BYO Indian restaurant and takeaway: Hot Stuff. He was brilliant fun and was a thoroughly nice bloke, even showing me around the kitchens and letting me take photos of chefs playing with fire.

If you've ever been to Hot Stuff, you'll know why it's a local institution and why the tiny original restaurant was always packed to the rafters, and so they've opened a second, thank goodness. You can read the interview in full here.

P.S. Hot Stuff food is an excellent cure for the common cold, it would also seem.

Friday, October 7, 2011

The Other End of the Northern Line

What a spectacular autumn this is turning out to be. On Monday I had a bonus day, a special, gold starred kind of day when the rest of the world was at work, and I was off and the Mister was off, and it was 27 degrees. In October. We woke up and blinked our way outside into the sunshine, scarcely believing our luck.

All summer long the Mister had wanted to get up to his old stomping grounds in the frozen north (a.k.a Finchley). Hampstead Heath was also high on the list, but the weather hadn't played ball at all and we had been enjoying the new neighbourhood too much. Finally on Monday, we took the plunge - and the tube ride didn't seem so far as it had seemed in high summer (hah!) when the Northern Line was a seething, sweaty mass of tourists and commuters jostling for elbow space. We called my mum and she came up all the way from Orpo to meet us, and glad for the escape she was too.

It was so worth it. Yummy mummies, pedigree dogs, Japanese tourists, perroflautas*, the elderly, the young, partially clothed lovers, swimmers, the very wealthy and the unwaged alike had all descended on the Heath's verdant curves and sparkling (ok, some were a bit scuzzy) ponds. Empty cava bottles strewn along Spaniards Road signalled the excesses of the previous balmy weekend. Clearly a higher class of drunkard frequents leafy NW3 than in SW8.

We stopped and had a drink and a fish finger sandwich at The Spaniards Inn, one of London's oldest pubs and apparently the birthplace of Dick Turpin. John Keats is said to have penned 'Ode to a Nightingale' in the beer garden. We just had a Pimm's.

The leaves were just beginning to turn and the colour of the sky made me stop and promise to myself that I would go outside more. I was reminded of reading Thoreau's Walden, which made me acutely aware of the power of nature over us poor pallid city-folk.

"Let us first be as simple and well as Nature ourselves, dispel the clouds which hang over our brows, and take up a little life into our pores." - Henry David Thoreau, Walden (1854)

And as much as I am in favour of more recognition for South London's charms (perhaps not full-on transpontine independence, but a hat tip to the lofty ideals that Free South London's supporters champion), North London's not so bad, is it really.

(Now can someone who lives in NW3 please write an equally nice post about South London?)

*NB Thanks to Lo-Sal for the amazing word perroflauta, which roughly translates as 'Spanish crusty with a dog on a string and an undercut and/or dreads.'