Tag Archives: Scallops

Street Food Revolution

10 Jul

Back in October of last year, a few of us had congregated in the car park of Brent Cross shopping centre. It seemed like a good idea at the time: thousands of weekend shoppers would result in a bustling street food market for all if only a fraction of them filtered out to the well-worn tarmac. Unfortunately the psychology of the mall shopper is not such that it would follow on for them to break out of indoor mode and chain restaurants to get wet outside. It bombed. But like all disastrous events it gave all the traders a good opportunity to catch up with each other and eat loads of each others food.

Richard Johnson, creator of the British Street Food Awards, was damned if he was going to let the ship sink so he appropriated an A-board and tried his hand at sign-writing. Seeing him struggling with the look and feel I waded in with my bright chalk pens – which I usually do this with:

…and offered to help. I can’t say that this soon got the car park party hopping and the mall-rats darting out looking for outdoor deliciousness, but it did prompt Johnson to ask me if I’d like to do something similar for his upcoming book on British street food. I was delighted to be asked – and then when I found out that Jake Tilson would be designing it I was all over it like gravy.

My handwriting would be turned into the title font for the book and I was asked to supply various versions of different titles, as well as different versions of the alphabet. Over and over I wrote it all…

…and then posted on to Jake for him to weave his magic on Photoshop. The end result is throughout the book, as well as being on the front cover:

And that’s all lovely. But the real thrill of the book is the stories that it unearths of the personalities behind many of Britain’s favourite ‘mobilers’. Johnson probes into everyone’s history to work out what made them list towards this world of uncertainty and itinerancy. When he interviewed me for the section on Choc Star I mused on how this industry attracts gamblers and free-wheelers – because you can never be sure whether you’re going to smash it or bomb it. This in turn creates a feisty, gung-ho lot – and certainly the inspiration for us having started eat.st.

If you’re curious about the street trading life – or a fan of the food you’ve had on them there pavements, head to Amazon to buy it and get deep into those recipes – from Healthy Yummies’ unbelievable pan-seared scallops to my never before released ultra fudge brownie recipe. Other eat.st traders featured in it include , The Meatwagon, Banh Mi 11, Ca Phe VN, Churros Bros, Creperie Nicholas, and Lulabelle’s.

Great pics, great stories, amazing recipes and all poured into a highly mobile size. We love it and are proud to be included.

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Ode to a scallop

2 Nov

This is Nichola. She’s a bit of a dude. I first met her last year at Camp Bestival when we were running out of milk at the choc-mobile and her and her partner came to my rescue in a most chivalrous way. I immediately recognised them as the kind we wanted to be have in the first flush of eat.st members: community minded, hard-working, generous-spirited and fun.

Fast forward to now and it’s damn good to have Healthy Yummies on board. But what’s really got me hopping with delight is la comida!

How can you argue with that? It’s a veritable symphony of eye-rolling deliciousness, straight up.

Of course, to watch it being made in front of you always adds a little pique to the moment. The soulful smell of sauteeing bacon, a fug of sweet steam thrown out by the samphire….and suddenly there it is, in your hand, Oliver Twist style.

I can barely stand how good it tastes. It shadows me in my dreams. The celeriac mash – smooth, earthy, buttered, cradling the plump little fleshy, seared puck. The rest runs over it and around it – slinking through the softness with a zesty stealth. It’s all over in moments and there’s juice down my chin and I’m already asking for another.

If you haven’t already you need to track this woman down.

(Perhaps this Saturday at Towpath 3??)