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Exploring Community

Exploring Community – a facilitated open discussion looking at how communities are changing and encouraging the development of ground up solutions to common problems.

I started Exploring Community because I wanted:

  • to find out what really concerns local people
  • to ensure that different community groups got together – speed dating style
  • to erode some of the artificial / assumed boundaries between groups to ensure more cohesive working between them …

That’s a lot to achieve!   But then, I’m not easily scared.

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I was inspired by the art work London is Changing –  a design and research project by Rebecca Ross (with help from Duarte Carrilho da Graça) at Central Saint Martins.

Exploring Community: Outcomes

There will be a series of follow-up events, taking the themes further, opening up yet more discussion, more solutions and co-working opportunities and led and agreed by the group.

These will be kick-started by open invitations to various local groups with the aim of encouraging mutual working and understanding.

I won’t talk about the issues that we discussed – we are all bound by confidentiality.   That’s the only way to achieve open discussion and sharing of the issues affecting the community.   I can share some common themes however:

  • Insulation between different groups is harming communities further at a time of already damaging rapid change
  • Gentrification and the lack of affordable housing
  • Mental health and wellbeing as people become displaced by profit driven development
  • The creative life of the city is being eroded as people get pushed out to its fringes
  • Communities are becoming ‘museum exhibits’, fetishised rather than humane

Keep an eye out for the next event – it will be at a different venue next time, part of the spirit of keeping people talking, thinking afresh and working together.

Here’s a recent piece from ViceThe Regeneration Game – which looks at some of the issues …

 

Tell Michele A Secret

Tell Michele A secret

Michele Moran is an incredibly talented singer, actor and performer.   She will be giving a show at the 2016 Telegraph Hill Festival.   What’s exciting about Michele’s show is the way she is crowdsourcing the content for it.

Tell Michele A Secreta new show is about you, me, and the secrets we keep. 

Tell Michele A SecretMichele’s show looks at how do secrets bring us together: do they trap us, frighten us, give us power, give us sleepless nights?   Or can secrets, when you set them free, set you free too?  

Send Michele your secrets. 

In each show, Michele will share some of her secrets, tease some from the audience and share some of yours.   She might act them, dance them, sing them, or tell them like a story.   After all, secrets are bigger than words.

It’s all anonymous, she’ll never use your name or anything that will identify you in the show. 

Twitter: @TellMichele

Mobile: 07487635590

Post: Tell Michele C/o  222 Regents street, London,W1B 5T

FIND OUT MORE: tellmicheleasecret.com

Crazy times: But Fun

What have I been up to?   Marketing a national theatre tour; organising a two week long Spring time arts Festival; working on several PR initiatives for a variety of clients (some large, some small).   A lot going on. Here’s a flavour … in pictures: Telegraph Hill Festival Then there’s this: Talawa Theatre Company A remarkable production of Arthur Miller’s All My Sons – for more see: Talawa Theatre Company http://allmysonstour.co.uk And there’s more – THAT album.   Will it?   Won’t it?   When can we exect it?  Till then, an experiment:

But enough.   There’s a lot to be getting on with.   Bisous x

Kadi - A curry made with yoghurt, vegetables and Pakoras

Punjabi Kadi and Pakoras

The Punjab is a hugely fertile part of India.   Outside the big cities of North West India, Punjabi families are typically engaged in landowning or farming.   This connection to the land influences what people eat, when and how.  

Punjabi food tends to be seasonal.   The style of cooking and depth of flavour varying according to the season.   Families which are part of the Indian disapora (like mine) have adapted food styles according to the climate they find themselves in and local produce.   This dish however transcends geography.

Kadi (pronounced Kard-Hi) is, well, a curry.   At it’s heart is yoghurt.   Now how can you cook yoghurt and prevent it from curdling?   That’s what I’m about to share with you.

Kadi - A curry made with yoghurt, vegetables and Pakoras

Kadi – A curry made with yoghurt, vegetables and Pakoras

Ingredients (to serve 4)

  • A 500 g pot of Yoghurt (NOT Greek style set yoghurt)
  • 3 tbsp Gram flour (don’t substitute other flours)
  • Half a litre of water
  • 1 medium Onion
  • 4 cloves Garlic
  • A 1inch piece of fresh Ginger
  • Half a tsp of Salt
  • 3 tbsps Mustard Oil (avoid Olive Oil, it kills spices)
  • You can also add any additional vegetables you like, potatoes and red capsicum work well, as does cauliflower.   If you prefer, add a dressing of fried salted Okra at the very end.

Spices

  • 1 tsp Mustard seeds
  • Half a tsp Fenugreek seed
  • 2 tsps of Nigella
  • 1 tbsp of Coriander seed
  • 1 tsp of Cumin seed
  • 2 fresh Green Chillies
  • 8 – 10 curry leaves
  • a pinch of Ajwain
  • a handful of fresh Coriander
  • 1 tsp of Turmeric

Method

This recipe will only address making the Kadi – Pakoras are a whole other ball game which I’ll explain another time.

In a blender, paste together the onion, ginger and garlic.

Toast the coriander and cumin seeds in a pan, turning often.   As soon as your first coriander seed pops, whip the seeds out of the pan and into a mortar, using the pestle to grind down the toasted seeds into a fine powder (add a little salt to aid the grinding) – toasting these seed spices releases oils and adds a depth of flavour.   Set aside.

In the oil and on a high heat, add the rest of your seed spices (Mustard, Fenugreek, Curry Leaves and Nigella).   As the mustard seed starts to pop, whack in the onion, ginger and garlic paste, turn the heat down, mix and cover stirring occasionally to avoid burning.   After around 4 minutes, add the ground cumin and coriander.   You can also add any vegetables you choose at this stage.   If I’m using a red capsicum and potatoes I tend to add them at this stage and coat them in the spices.   You can par boil your potatoes before you add them, or as I do, add them raw but make sure they are cut small enough to cook reasonably quickly.

In a bowl, vigorously mix the yoghurt, gram flour and water with a balloon whisk.   Gram flour binds the two other constituents.   Once mixed, add this to the pan.   Make sure you stir the pan often as in the early stages the gram flour will sink to the bottom.   If you don’t keep stirring there is a danger that the dish might separate.   Yuk.

Now, add chopped green coriander stalks, the chillies sliced open lengthways, the turmeric, a pinch of Ajwain seed and any remaining salt.   Reserve the coriander leaves as a flavoursome garnish (with additional chopped green chilli and salt if you like).

Keep stirring.

As the mixture starts to bubble – keep stirring.   Cover the pan, set on a low heat.   Keep returning to the pot and stirring to ensure there is no separation.   Do this repeatedly.

I cannot stress this enough – keep stirring.

After about 20 minutes – and if you have been stirring assiduously – you should find that the Kadi coats the back of your wooden spoon readily.   Check that any additional vegetables you may have added are cooked through.   Taste for seasoning – if you’ve followed my suggestions it should be fine.

You can serve this dish in bowls with rice.

Garnish with fresh coriander leaves (add chopped green chilli and salt to taste at this stage).

Eat and enjoy!

Cauliflower Cheese (with Pasta)

The weather is cold.   You’ve had it with fatty, rich Christmas fare.   Let this simple Cauliflower Cheese with Pasta come to your rescue.   This dish feeds two people very well indeed as a main dish or can be served as an accompaniment to a main meal (roast beef with all the trimmings, say).

Ingredients

  • One medium to large Cauliflower
  • A couple of handfuls of Penne Pasta
  • 2 – 3 rashers of good bacon (trimmed of fat)
  • Grated strong cheddar and parmesan – not too much of either
  • Mustard powder – a good tbsp
  • Paprika
  • Red Chilli powder – a pinch
  • 2 tbsps Olive oil
  • I tbsp of plain flour
  • 1/2 pint of milk

Method

  • Steam a quartered Cauliflower for around 25 mins (I prefer this to boiling the nutrition away)
  • Boil pasta for around 8 minutes – drain and set aside
  • Take the olive oil, add flour, mustard powder and mix into a paste over a low heat.   As soon as the flour appears to turn colour add a dash of milk – mix furiously to prevent lumps – keep adding dashes of milk till you have a creamy looking base for your bechamel sauce
  • Add a small handful of grated cheddar cheese
  • Stir well till all the cheese has melted, turn off the heat and set aside
  • Cut the bacon into small pieces and cook in a little olive oil – add to the bechamel
  • Now, take your steamed Cauliflower and lay into a flat pie dish, mix in the pasta and pour over the bechamel, grate on a little more cheddar for colour, dust some paprika over along with a little red chilli powder and slam into the oven at gas 6 (180 C) for around 20 minutes …

It’s a stand alone meal with a touch of smokiness from the bacon, the tang of mustard, the savoury bite of cheese and though it all the green freshness of the Cauliflower …

If you want to make this dish richer add more cheese and cream.   If you’re a vegetarian leave out the bacon and use smoked paprika instead of ordinary paprika to round out the flavours.

The Beginning Of The End Of Patriarchy

sanjitchudha:

A brilliant read – a must read in fact.

Originally posted on kirstymackirsty:

FeminaziAuthors: Kirsty Mac, Kara Beavis

Historically, feminism has had a numbers problem. The establishment has always figured as an omniscient force, with the number of misogynists outnumbering feminists.

Revolutions have a punk aesthetic. And punk, by its very nature, is about targeting the establishment by the marginalised even when the numbers are small.

Social media has changed the numbers game for women. It’s a decentralising and democratising tool used for connectivity, information exchange, passing a comment on current affairs, and, in the last week, passing a live wire of electricity around the world. Feminists are multiplying, and with every win, growing in confidence and power.

There have been surprising new developments each day since Julien Blanc’s Australian departure. With an already thriving feminist network in Melbourne, it took one woman, Jennifer Li, to ignite a fire by initiating a petition to Como Melbourne and creating the hashtag #takedownjulienblanc.

A petition to stop Blanc…

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