Traditional Lamb Tagine – Ealing Blues Festival, Walpole Park Ealing

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A couple of weekends back, I dragged the Boom to the inaugural Ealing Blues Festival in exchange for weeding his driveway. Why on earth did I agree to this deal, I’m not sure. It’s not as if he did not enjoy the outing *grumble*.

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Summer is festy season and everywhere you go, you will see promotions for festivals big and small all around the city, in local councils and around the country. Back in the day when Junk was a spring chicken and the Boom was just boom, we were big festy fans and we try to go for at least one festival yearly. Nowadays, we shudder at the thought of trekking through mud, long toilet queues and going for days without a hot shower. A day fest is all we can take which makes the summer festival held in Ealing a perfect option.

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Apart from the blues festival, the Ealing Summer Festival collection also include a comedy festival, a jazz festival, open air cinema and many other similar events. We tried the jazz and comedy a couple of years back and hope we will enjoy the blues one as much.

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For Boom, his main focus when at a festival is the location of the beer tent and the “facilities” i.e., toilet. As for Junk, her food radar will be on high alert once pass the festy gates. Junk was pretty happy with what she saw on offer.

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After settling down in front of the quieter and more tranquil second stage, with beers and cider in hand of course, my stomach started to rumble. So off I went to checkout the food offerings proper.

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Decided to get some tagine from Exotic Tagine and some snacks from the Thai store. The Traditional Lamb Tagine cost £7 while the snacks were £1 each or 3 for £2.50. I got 2 veg spring rolls and a chicken samosa to share with the Boom.

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The lamb tagine was pretty good. Generous portion of lamb tagine on fluffy couscous with sides of mixed veg tagine, a puy lentil stew and some fresh salad. The bright red sauce on the edge of the plate as expected tasted like the typical salty sambal olek but with the addition of preserved lemon. My only complaint is at £7, I think its a tad steep especially when you are allowed to bring your own food into the festival ground.

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Apart from food, there are also a few stalls selling stuff to satisfy those who can’t help but shop. Both of us were pretty impressed with the variety of herbs on sale at this stall near the second stage. Was tempted to buy some as the herb pots were a couple of quid each but couldn’t be arsed carrying them on the bus for home.

Ealing Blues Festival
Walpole Park
Ealing West London

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Chicken Lasagne – Theo’s Cafe, Sackler’s Studio Southwark

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Found this small cafe inside Sackler Studio while wandering around the office area. Sackler’s Studio is part of Shakespeare’s Globe Theater and the cafe can be accessed via Bear Gardens along Park Street.

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Theo’s Cafe serves breakfast and lunch as well as toasted sandwiches, snacks and cakes for your tea break. Today’s lunch choice included roast pollack, cottage pie, chicken lasagne and a chicken and mushroom pie. There is also a daily soup and a choice of salads. All mains comes with a choice of salads and starts from $5. I went with the chicken lasagne with the couscous, roast squash and feta salad as well as the coleslaw. The lasagne was £6.50 and I threw in a can of Coke, total was £8.

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Though I love pasta, I’m have never really been a lasagne fan. Not too sure why, perhaps most places serves a square of it which can look insubstantial for greedy Junk. But looks always deceived and I was stuffed to the brim after lunch today.

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First up the salads. The coleslaw was made with a combination of purple and regular cabbage with some sliced green beans throughout. The purple cabbage gave the salad a nice lilac shade which was visually pleasing but otherwise, it tastes like a normal coleslaw. The couscous, roasted squash and feta salad was something else. The combination of the sweet squash and the salty feta was a treat, would have been better if the squash and feta cubes were cut a tad smaller. As for the lasagne, it was pretty darn tasty! The tomato sauce was not too strong with the bechamel and cheese sauce taking center stage. The generous portions of spinach layered throughout helped to cut down the richness and using minced chicken made much more sense than beef in this case.

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I’ll definitely be back to try other lunch specials at Theo’s Cafe.

Theo’s Cafe
Sackler Studio
Bear Gardens off Park Street
Southwark
London SE1 9DT

Lamb and Mixed Veg Tagine – Morrocan Food, Old Truman Brewery

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It’s raining cats and dogs today in Londonium so forgive me for not venturing far on my lunch forage. There were still quite a few food stalls at the F block area at Old Truman Brewery which I have yet to try and it is literally round the corner from me.

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Today, there was a Sri Lankan, a Mexican, a Singaporean, a Chinese, the Tibet Kitchen which I tried, a Morrocan and a bread stall. The Morrocan stall was just next to the entrance and the lady running it offered me a taste of the lamb kofta which was pretty yummy so thought why not?

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Of the many tagines available, I remember there was a chicken, lamb, spinach and chickpea, mixed veg, meatball and lamb kofta. All can be served with either rice or couscous. Regular serving for £5 and go large for £6. I went with the large lamb tagine with rice and as I was busy taking pictures, the nice lady prompted me to select another dish. Why didn’t I thought about that? I picked the mix veg as I had lamb meatballs just a couple of days ago for dinner and was hoping it will be the healthier option.

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There is a range of condiments like pickled chilies, jalapeno, coriander, pickled silver skin onions, fresh tomatoes which you can add to your box. The box I got was already full to the brim so I just got a couple of pickled chilies. Though it might look spicy, Morrocan food is usually rather mild from my point of view and this is no exception. The lamb pieces were tender and the profusion of curry leaves was a nice touch. I actually preferred the mix veg tagine to the lamb perhaps because I have an okra addiction, just simply love the slimy texture and the way it soaks up the flavour of whatever sauce it is cooked in. The other veg were also pretty cook if not a tad over done.

In all, good feed for £6 but not exactly titillating taste wise.

Morrocan Food
Old Truman Brewery F Block
91 Brick Lane
London E1 6QL