Thanks…

…for visiting Jen Eats the Streets!

I spent 6 months (June-November 2012) filming interviews, photographing and celebrating street food and the people behind the counter. I tasted some of the BEST food in London and met people that have talent, balls and passion – food entrepreneurs.

I hope you enjoy this film ‘archive’, which shows a snapshot of a very bustling time for street food in London! Now no longer a scene, street food is an established, revved up vehicle for feeding the masses. All the traders that feature are still out there, so go see about them…

If you would like to get in touch, please drop me a line on the Contact page or my Twitter account!

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Jen Eats…John Salt on Upper Street (The BEST roast dinner in London)

No film for yous, but I did have a roast revelation today, which I have to share…

I’ve been looking forward to trying Ben Spalding’s food for a while, I spied him at Broadway Market over the summer and stupidly didn’t take the plunge – however, it was hard to get a seat at his stall! Sitting, street food? Huh? I know! Methinks this man likes to do things differently. How’s this for different – chicken on a brick – that’s what you’ll find at John Salt.

What I found this sunny Sunday was the BEST roast dinner I have ever eaten in London. The last few roasts I’ve begrudgingly gulped down in local pubs etc have been so insipid, so blah, I thought all hope was lost. When I saw Ben was doing a one option roast dinner I emailed reservations@john-salt.com and kept my fingers crossed…

…lets just say all hope has been restored – roast potatoes can be done in a pub without resulting in a flavourless, flabby, grey stone on a cold plate. Everything on my plate was done how a roast dinner should be done (but on a another level!) – crisp, rich, succulent and sweet in a savoury way. A shard of chicken skin was wedged smack in the middle and obviously t’was the first thing I nibbled on. The chicken was juicy  and portion size, very generous. A massive jug of gravy on the table (big tick there!) slicked my tatties and veggies beautifully. I would’ve happily stuck my face in the jug and downed every drop.

For pud was a naughty but a goody – sticky toffee sponge with milk sorbet – unctuous and warming, I was in heaven and kept thinking of so many people that would just love this meal. My Dad would give his right foot for this pud let me tell you!

Ben has only 6 months residency at the Upper Street bar and restaurant – remember Keston Lodge, well tis no more – John Salt is in town and hopefully here to stay. What’s on offer is not just a perfect roast but innovative, taster style menus throughout the week, which will include dishes like chicken on a brickEmail, call, run there and get a table – it doesn’t matter what you have to do! Take me with you! Oh and lingon-berry sauce kicks cranberry’s ass.

 

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Jen Meets…Kitchenette – London’s first kitchen incubator!

I had the total pleasure of meeting Cynthia Shanmugalingam this week – we chatted about Kitchenette, London’s first kitchen incubator. Read more about ‘How it works’ here. Or better yet, watch our meeting – Cynthia talks us through the application process step by step and hints at what they are looking for in the final 12!

Inspired by La Cocina, which is based in San Francisco’s Mission District, which is an ethnically diverse and economically vulnerable neighborhood that thrives in part due to the many small informal businesses that serve the community. As is the case in many cities, food lies at the heart of this community, and you don’t have to look far to find hidden entrepreneurs in the kitchens of many homes.

Cynthia and co-founder Sam Aldenton thought that this kind of opportunity would be welcomed by Londoners with open arms, an ethically diverse city, full of entrepreneurial spirit! Well, that’s what they are hoping for – just earlier today Kitchenette Tweeted “Really excited by all the mouth watering applications!” – there is appetite out there, so keep applying Londoners! Let’s get more original and innovative food businesses out on the streets, spoil us, oh go on, please!

The deadline for applications are Monday 29th October, only a few days to go! http://www.wearekitchenette.com/apply/

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My summer with street food…

Blogging can be all consuming, well, it has been for me. Yes *hands up*, I have been rather lax over the last month, but I felt like I needed some time to digest everything that’s happened over the summer. Filming and editing – and being an amateur with a full time job to boot – is time consuming and can be very frustrating, but I have honestly enjoyed shooting and producing each and every film. For me, it’s looking passed all the fiddly editing and quashing the bum clenching annoyance that I didn’t get perfect sound or decent light. It really is about the person and their story and if I have achieved that, I will unclench and be chuffed with the result. Just to be clear, this isn’t my resignation from film blogging! I’m just feeling a little reminiscent.

My first film with Wholefood Heaven wasn’t too shabby for a first, even if I say so myself. I was so nervous when I arrived, but Charlotte and David were so much fun and really humoured my inexperience. The sound was terrible, but that’s an iPhone for ya! And they were wonderful, and that’s street food traders for ya.

Sho Foo Doh, The Caribbean Chef and Green Goat Food were all captured on my iPhone as well, and again not too shabby but the sound issue was getting me down! So I upgraded to the Panasonic SD90 and purchased a reporters mic and hit the streets with a little more clout. Dosa Deli, Toma Mexicano, All Scone, Yum Bun, You Doughnut, Mussel Men, Speck Mobile and Sorbitium Ices were all shot with my Panasonic and reporters mic and it’s worked out better than ok, they have been excellent tools and until I can afford fancier equipment… When I compare myself to the cool, profesh crews that shoot at street food markets and events, I do feel like such a lame-o amateur. But hey, what can you do? Keep on blogging.

To all you traders, thanks for sharing your time, stories and delicious food with me. Bhudda Bowls, okonomiyaki, jerk chicken, mackerel’n’chorizo burgers, dosas, tacos, scones, *deep breath*… yum buns, doughnut bites, mussels, schnitzel, ice cream…Woah, looking over this list of goodies, no wonder I put on half a stone…it was worth it. Definitely worth it, because I consider you people to be the most talented and hardworking bunch – you’re all pretty lovely too.

So, what’s next? Obviously street food will stay close to my heart, but I feel maybe a little change in format and content. Not sure exactly what this change is yet – and I would love your suggestions, what would you like to see going forward? Something I am pretty pumped about is a film with Cynthia of Kitchenette – we are meeting this week to chat about this exciting food business incubator, read more on how to apply here – I am talking to you future street food traders!

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JenEats…British Street Food Award Finalists, Sorbitium Ices!

I’ve had a mini break from the ol’ blog (slapped wrists!), but I am back with a dribbling cone full of Sorbitium Ices!

A few weeks back I took a walk, a train and a little wait at a Texaco (it was like an ice cream drop off – well, I needed to be picked up…) and visited Sorbitium’s kitchen in West London to interview the lovely Zan. We made plum sherbet together, we created sugary life, it was pretty special – I genuinely mean this. We also talked about the British Street Food Awards as Sorbitium are one of the fabulous finalists! Hooray! Check out my interview with one half of the creamy team here:

Zan and her man, Pedro, make ice cream together and sell the most inspired and innovative flavour combo’s from their retro van. I discovered Sorbitium at Eat St on one of THE hottest days of 2012 with my creative consultant, Harriet. We had the peach and leaf and lemon curd w/ spiced biscuit. Five minutes later we were paddling in the fountains with ice cream all over our chops. I have fond memories of that day and the ice cream was an integral part! They really make each scoop special, check out their seasonal combo’s here.

Back to the kitchen…Rummaging through the incredible ingredients cupboard, the one item I have to report was the most delicious and aesthetically pleasing shimmery green pistachio oil I have even seen, smelled and tasted – practically gold dust as it’s imported and we all know what that means! Sorbitium are serious about the products they invest in and put an almost unhealthy amount of work into the production. You can find them working through the night during busy periods to reach demand for the next days trading. I am repeatedly impressed by the sheer hard graft street food traders put in, the entrepreneurial spirit has to be present as well as the passion for amazing food, and these two have it down to a tee…a tea-leaf flavoured sorbet maybe…? No. I’ll leave the flavour combo’s to the experts.

I am so happy Zan and Pedro are finalists of the BSFA’s, they totally deserve the recognition and I can’t wait to see what Autumnal and Winter treats they have in store! …I recall a brief chat about a waffle iron – yep I said it, it’s out there! Waffles and ice cream all round!

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JenEats…Speck Mobile at Maltby Street Market

I have always wanted to go to Austria, twirl about the mountains with Maria and imaginary Von Trapp family singers and eat schnitzel with noodles. But I don’t need to go to Austria, Austria has come to London! Speck Mobile‘s dream team Franz (chef) and Marco (food importer) have a mutual love for traditional Austrian based products as well as old Austrian recipes handed down over generations (the strudel is Franz’s Grandma’s recipe!). Check out Franz on film – sadly Marco was busy importing that day…

Speck was a delicious discovery, having never tried the ham from Tyrol before, I was intrigued. Rich and salty was the finely diced smoked bacon, perfectly cushioned by a moist dumpling casing, sliding around in the most wonderfully seasoned sauerkraut. Most tasty was the liquor that is poured over the dumplings, that stuff could cure the common cold, FOREVER. This is their signature dish, so make sure to try some when you visit, try not to let the schnitzel blind you with its golden crumb…


…Alas, I have NO willpower, I went and ate some schnitzel too! Served with a cooling potato and cucumber salad, a dollop of loganberry relish on the side, it is something to savour. Every mouthful is like a comforting yet zingy sensation, I don’t know if that works for you, but it sure worked for me!

Sooo. Erm. Yeah. I also tried the cheese dumpling <uttered quickly> and-took-some-strudel-home. I could not restrain myself. Both were just drool inducing – I’m sorry if that’s a gross mental image for you, but deal with it! Or better yet,  go visit the chaps and take a bib with you. You’ll usually find their black van at Eat St on Fridays this August and Maltby Street Market on Saturdays, but as always, follow them on Twitter to keep up with their whereabouts: https://twitter.com/Speckmobile.

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JenEats…Mussel Men, British Street Food Award finalists!

The British Street Food Awards are coming up – 14th to 16th September to be exact – methinks it’s going to be BIG. Richard Johnson and his team of food bloggers, professionals and overall enthusiasts have short-listed a group of finalists (all to be revealed by Richard shortly! sign up to the newsletter to find out…) who will compete for titles such as “Best Snack” and “Best of the Best”. I recently had the pleasure meeting the lovely Morven from Mussel Men, ONE of the finalists! Check it out…

As you can see, Mussel Men are pretty quirky but also completely serious about British seafood’n’street food and know how to keep it real. Most of the crew are life long friends from back home (North West Scotland, near Oban) and you can really feel that when you meet them. I was also lucky enough to step in to their bunting-strewn van to check out the prep of the mussels - beautifully fresh and plump once steamed, I have never tasted mussels so sweet and salty. And when I say plump, I mean it, they’re like gorgeous mermaid bosoms. Yes, I said it, mermaid bosoms.

Mussel Men

 

And if you fancy a fight for your food, you’ve got one on your hands here – literally. The MM pride themselves on their muscular thumbs and will challenge you to a thumb war, sailor hats and yellow waterproofs to boot. That’s the kind of food theatre I like to see!

 

Usually I’d be wary of bunting and sailor hats, is it just style and no substance? NO. A resounding no, and that’s why the Mussel Men are loved by many a punter, as their substance is so damn fresh and tasty, it all comes together as one lovely package. In their own words “We endevour to make the experience of buying seafood more fun and accessible” and isn’t that a fundamental part of the street food experience?

You can find the Mussel Men van at Eat St and the Real Food Festival on the Southbank, but best to follow them on Twitter to keep up with their flexible thumbs.

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