Monday, October 29, 2012

Hearty Home-cooked Veg Brunch in Hackney

Our host with the most, Richard Walker, beside the amazing spread of hearty food.
Brunch between my friend Richard, Tom and myself is nothing unusual. Except that it's usually for some Indian breakfast in Mysore, where we three met two years ago, studying yoga. Last Monday, Richard invited us over to his for a proper home-cooked brunch at his home in Hackney. And while the recipes, the ingredients, the attention and love with which the meal was made were all very different from having a dosa at Sri Durga Bhavan, one of the favorite "stand-up" (traditionally called so because there are no seats) breakfast spots, brunch took on the unique Mysore flavor, there was a lot of yoga talk and the eating/conversing ambled on through the afternoon.

Fresh from the oven:
Sourdough bread, chelsea buns with currants,
pastry with coconut. All delish!
Richard, creative and diligent (he patiently taught me to crochet) I knew, would take hosting brunch seriously. I didn't understand, however, the treat I was in for, until I walked through the door of Rich and Ed's flat, which felt like such a sanctuary from the gray autumn day. It was warm, smelling of fresh baked bread and pastries. The air was spiced with the chili and garlic, with which Rich had cooked the freshly cut kale, some from his own garden allotment, which you can see from his window.

On the menu: fresh baked sourdough, chelsea buns with black currants, coconut pastry, mashed-up butter beans swimming in olive oil and topped with toasted sunflower seeds and sesame seeds, kale in garlic and chili (I love anyone who will feed me kale in the morning!)

There were two bottles of preserved jelly: crab apple and rose-hip, also made and bottled by Richard. He also laid out some butter and cheese, probably the only food product he didn't make with his own two hands.

One of the best things about being in England/
Europe this summer is the kale.
And by looking at this picture,
maybe you can understand why.

Between Richard and Tom, who is a chef himself, I really enjoyed hearing food tips, though, admittedly, some were over my head. About the only really thing that properly registered was that Grapeseed oil was good for frying...

Like many of the food experiences I've been having lately, the brunch reminded me of a way of living/eating that I want to explore some more. Nothing beats fresh made food and greens grown next door.

Since our last meeting, Rich has made some amazing inspiring changes in his life. Quitting work that he was unhappy with, he's now switching gears towards his new passion, urban gardening.

He is also learning to live more simply, spending less, growing more of his own produce, producing as much of his own food, making his own clothes.

I've decided that I want to be like Richard when I grow up--whenever that might be! (Soon, I hope!) Grow my food, make my preserves. I'm not sure about making my own clothes, I might look a bit like a ragamuffin.


My round 1. I don't know how many I had in the end,
I lost count after the third cup of tea...
Richard giving Tom and I the tour of his urban garden.

I heart Kale!

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