There is little bit of magic in the moment when you see a photo of your corner shop or local dry cleaners’ published on the web.Â No, really! I suppose in a small way it is like those rare times when you see your local neighbourhood in the background of a mainstream movie.Â At least it is rare if you live in Hackney – I’m sure those living in Notting Hill are used to their streets being used as a film set.Â I can pretty much guarantee* the streets documented in www.londonshopfronts.com haven’t been used as mainstream film sets, but they are no less fascinating for it.
Now that I’ve got my camera back (from being temporarily lost to a friend of a friend’s car… oops!) I can post this photo of Alex’s stunning audio installation in Hackney’s St Augustine’s Tower. This is what you found after walking up the very tiny spiral staircase, accompanied by the sound of a D minor chord which seemed to chase up the staircase beside you and then disappear off, only to return again a little while later. There were speakers installed in the ceiling of the staircase, and in some of the side chambers along the way. The source of the sound was revealed at the very top, alongside the bell (which rang just as I got to the top – wow! that is LOUD), by a customised record player which was not playing a record but consisted of 72 copper plates which were each connected to a speaker somewhere in the tower, and each speaker played the chord as the revolving copper brush made contact with it. All this was hooked up to a synthesiser, with the D minor chord held down by tape. This art installation was not only perfectly suited to the site, but the sculptural/audio creating element was so carefully constructed and considered. What makes Alex Baker’s audio installation and sculpture work stand out, is that he gives the elements which create the sound as much attention as the audio itself, so the work is aesthetically pleasing to both the eye and the ear.
Watch/listen to a video clip of the artwork (mpeg – 40 seconds)
More photos of A Recurring Sequence of Events on my Flickr stream
More about Alex Baker’s art on his website
This recipe is a variation of Rasa’s beetroot curry and it accompanied the huge beetroot we got in our Growing Communities veg box this week. Its something different to do with your beetroot and an unusual vegetable for currying. I’ve made it twice now – it is really delicious, but don’t try cutting any corners with the process; do push the pureed spring onion tops and pistachios through a sieve, and do cut the beetroot into matchsticks; I skipped this the first time round and the texture just wasn’t quite right.
- 500g Beetroot
- 50g shelled pistaschios
- 1 tsp yellow mustard seeds
- 6 cardamom pods
- 1tsp fennel seeds
- 3 fresh chillies
- 1 tbsp grated ginger
- 2 bunches spring onions
- 100g fresh coconut, grated
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 200ml plain yoghurt
Boil the beetroots until tender and peel them under cold running water, then chop them into thick matchsticks. Toast the pistachios in the oven or on the hob. Crack the cardamom seeds and remove the seeds, discarding the pods. Slice the white ends of the spring onions and chop them finely. Drop the green ends into a pan of boiling water for a few seconds then plunge them into cold water. Chop them carsely and put them into a food processor with the pistachios, cardamom seeds and 2 tablespoons of the olive oil and blend, adding a little cold water in a slow stream until you get a thick butsmooth puree. Pass this through a sieve, fine enough to take out any coarse pieces of scallian – into a small pan. Hlave the chillies lengthways, and chop them into slices. Heat another tablespoon of olive oil in a shallow pan and cook the sping onion white bits, the chillies, ginger, mustard and fennel seeds over a medium heat, stirring for 5 minutes, then add the beetroot and coconut and the pistachio and green onions paste, and cook for 5 more minutes. Season with salt and stir in the yoghurt just before you serve.
Rasa is a vegetarian South Indian restaurant on Stoke Newington Church street, Hackney, London N16
Hackney Council is calling on Nike to compensate the young people of Hackney for their misappropriation of the Council’s logo for use on a World Cup range of sportswear.
Hackney Council News May 2006 – Hackney Logo Used By Nike
Website for the community occupation of 34 broadway market has more on Tony’s cafe’s plight. This campaign, part of a worldwide campaign to resist gentrification, has even found its way onto a Korean news site
Okay so there is no hard and fast recipe to this, you just learn to use what you have got and vary it according to mood. My favourite variation follows, its great for colour to brighten up a dark wintery day and tastes delicious and very moreish.
1/2 red cabbage
1 small celeriac
handful (total) of seeds/nuts eg sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, cashew nuts
fresh parsley (if you have some)
salt and pepper
Finely slice the red cabbage (i don’t recommend using a food processor as it shreds the cabbage too fine) and peel and then julienne/grate the carrots and celeriac (food processor comes in handy here!). Mix all together in a large bowl.
Make up a dressing to your taste, lemon juice is particularly good here but otherwise its variable. I do 1/3 lemon juice to 2/3 oil (total half filling a small jar), a 1/2 tsp each of honey and mustard and then season it.
Toast the seeds/nuts in a small frying pan until they are lightly browned and make popping sounds. Do watch these as the cook, if you try and do something else you risk forgetting and letting them burn – believe me as one who has tried!
Now just throw it all together – toss the dressing in, stir in some roughly chopped parsley and sprinkle with the toasted seeds.
This salad can last a couple days – i find its really nice to take for lunch alongside a sandwich. I would say if you don’t polish it off in your first sitting then enjoy it in the next day or so while its still fresh and crisp.
My first visit to my brother’s new home in Hertfordshire coincided with the massive fuel tanker explosions near Hemel Hempstead. We were relatively far away in Harpenden but still most of the household* got woken up but the loud ‘thud’ and rattling windows. Saw something like this out the window… (*excluding me! I slept right through it)
More views of the smoke cloud from across the country