The Melting Pot Food & Culture Festival at the New Art Exchange in Hyson Green is always a great place to go to if you want to try some local food from the community. I went last year and it was so good that I came back again this year for more! (read more about last years event here)
We gravitated towards the stall set up by the Global Sistaz United, we ate from them last year and we were there as soon as they started to put their food out! 🙂
The local ladies had all their home made food lined up on the Table in the main room and for just £5 you could get a bit of ‘everything’. Now as pot luck goes this really is one, as to be honest I didn’t know what was in most of those pots and whether it would all go well together on my plate. Heh Did I care though? Of course not, bring it on I wanted to try it all!
They had a sheet of descriptions to tell us what was in the pots, which helped a little,
At this end of the table was: Two pots of Wot which was an “Ethiopian/Eritrean red lentil stew, prepared with onions and a special mix of spices called Berbere.”
Two pots of Zighini, a Lamb Stew made Using berbere cooked until soft and until the “meat falls off the bones”
Pots of Jollof Rice “prepared from a tomato base sauce made up of blended tomatoes, onions, sweet bell peppers and scotch bonnet peppers, and seasoned with vegetable stock cubes” and a pot of Vegetable Biryani, a mixed vegetable rice dish.
At the other end of the table was even more food including;
Bradj which was a Sweet made from Algerian semolina with Dates (more of a cake than a sweet). Akara which was a Nigerian bean fritter made with ground dehulled brown / black-eyed beans. There were two more cakes, a Malawian cake made from Maize meal, and a Banana Cake.
There was also more savoury food including Chicken, Fried and served with bell peppers and spices, some Peppered fish which was Hake that had been seasoned and fried with peppered spice, and sheets of Injura – a sourdough-risen flatbread, the national dish of Ethiopia, Somalia, Dijibouti, and Eritrea.
I think we tried and ate everything, and all mixed up together on that plate it did make for quite the experience. There were so many different flavours, some were familiar some not so familiar but all good. Every mouthful was almost a game of ‘sweet or savoury’, with the fun of working out which bits were which, and where they came from, and mostly which things we would try and find out a recipe for so that we could cook it at home (or at least try to).
The two dishes that I was most keen to check out gain was the Zighini Lamb Stew, and the Wot Lentil Stew. Now maybe because both were flavoured with Berbere which is a spice mix that I do really quite like.
I was quite taken too with that Bradj which was a kind of little cake, Algerian in origin, it reminded me of Fig Roll even though really it was nothing of the sort. I am going to look out from some though in the local ethnic stores around the area.
I pretty much like it all, to be honest I would have liked some things a lot better if they were part of a normal meal with things that were supposed to match 🙂
Would that have been as much fun? Nope 🙂
If you feel like you might have missed out on trying the food from The Global Sistaz United and you can’t wait until next years Melting Pot Festival? Well you may be interested in this flyer that I picked up that talks about “A Night with the Sistaz” in June which include a “3 course meal of global cuisine”, something to think about 🙂
The New Art Exchange is Located at 39 – 41 Gregory Boulevard just across the street from the tram stop at The Forest. It is also within the 5 minute walking radius from the Noel Street stop and the Hyson Green Market stops
They have a great selection of local and interesting ethnic foods on sale in the cafe even when there are no events. I have been in a lot as the food is great.
Check out some of those times when I blogged about it here: