Masala Wala Cafe

So we were meant to go here last week but the place was closed as the owner was getting married (congratulations if you’re reading this!). Mother and daughter team Nabeela and Saima have been running this little gem for 3 years in South East London, Brockley.

It’s a minutes walk from the station and offers some wonderful and fresh home cooking, these dishes will show you the authentic roots from which some of ye old familiar ruby murrays hail from.

Honestly this may be the best lassi I’ve ever had. I’ve never been their biggest fan as I usually end up sounding like Goldilocks – “this one’s too sweet…” “this one’s not sweet enough…” – but ladies and gents this one is “juuuuust right”. The difference? Not too sweet but with a good flavour of mango coming through, complimented by rose and pistachio. It’s genius.

Dishes are available from a small menu which is on rotation – so unfortunately we’ve missed out this time on the keema curry and the keer (rice pudding) which is my fave.

I think someone may have been looking forward to that keema.

We were both starving so opted to go all out and get a curry each with rice and homemade rotis to share with gajar ka achaar – homemade lemon and carrot pickle and raita to join the party.

Honestly you could share a curry with rice or roti easily. Well. Unless you’re with me in which case I’ll be subjecting you to what I like to call “roti tax” or “you weren’t looking and I struck!”

The murgh masala consisted of slow cooked chicken falling off the bone and butternut squash. I know some people have a problem with chicken on the bone but I honestly don’t understand why when it’s miles better than boneless. Don’t be afraid of it.

I’m a keen cook but have yet to marry any meat curries with anything but potatoes (apart from peas in keema) so the butternut squash intrigued me. As a tomato based dish I found this a little sweet for my tastes but still well spiced.

Aloo gosht is a fave of mine – one I’ve yet to master but mum will make when asked… by my brother… her favourite. The lamb was beautiful and tender but my only teeny tiny sadness was that I found the potatoes to be a little firm. Now honestly that’s just my personal preference and I’m sure there are people out there who’ll say the potatoes should be firm, and when they’re not they break away into the curry and they’re right. But a girl’s entitled to her potato preferences.

Now like I said this is a menu on rotation so keer was off the table but we did have gajar halwa and Tony’s usual pistachio kulfi (honestly if it’s on the menu, he’s having it) ended with a chai and ginger and mint tea.

Now. I’m going to tell you a secret. You must promise not to disown me but I’m not a big fan of chai. I always find it too milky. So the mint and ginger was just perfect for me.

All in all a lovely meal – homemade and from the heart.

4 out of 5 noms.

http://masalawalacafe.co.uk/#menu

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On The Run II

So I got the chance to see the OTRII Tour in Stratford – I still can’t believe that Stratford is what it is now when I go there for any kind of event when it was a completely different place only a matter of years ago. I got a message from a friend asking if I wanted the ticket and as much as I am trying to stick to a budget – IT’S BEYONCE. And when the universe lines up a shot like this you have to take it!

What can I say – it was amazing. I’d seen Jay Z a few years back in Hyde Park which was great and I was so glad to hear some of his absolute BANGERS – including the biggest self-help-self-hype track Public Service Announcement, but deep down I’m a Queen Bee (I like to stay at hive all day and never leave and I have a sting to me but I rarely use it) and my heart was in it for Queen Bey. And she was of course amazing. And all I could think was…

So here are some words – by the Carters – to live by… The 10 Carter Commandments

1. Giving you respect, I expect the same thing

Murder to Excellence

2. I’ma keep running ’cause a winner don’t quit on themselves

Freedom

3. I dream it, I work hard, I grind ’til I own it

Formation

4. Disrespect us? No, they won’t

Run The World (Girls)

 

5. Just give my fat ass a big kiss boy / Tonight I’m fucking up all your shit boy

Don’t Hurt Yourself

Which I love so much more because post #HomewreckerPenguin this meme made me cry.

6. Yeah, you hurt me, but I learned a lot along the way / After all the rain, you’ll see the sun come out again

Me, Myself and I

7. Only way to go is up, skin thick, too tough

Love drought

 

8. I had my ups and downs, but I always find the inner strength to pull myself up. I was served lemons, but I made lemonade

Hattie White  on Freedom – who is Jay Z’s grandmother and this is the cutest and the REALEST.

9. Not bad, huh? For some immigrants
Build your fences, we diggin tunnels
Can’t you see we gettin money up under you?

Otis

10. Only God can judge me, so I’m gone
Either love me, or leave me alone

Public Service Announcement

 

This post was inspired by the lovely @Char_x0 – https://memoirsmusings.com/2018/06/17/musings-50-x-beyonce-and-jay-z-lyrics-from-the-everything-is-love-album-for-your-instagram-captions/

COAT @ Battersea Arts Centre

Originally a spoken word artist, Yomi Sode puts on a one man show capturing beautifully the

struggle that is faced by many – trying to navigate two worlds but feeling you can never quite get your footing in either.

COAT began as a poem – Confessions of a Teenager – in the Japanese form zuihitsu – which is a journal style which captures and documents life. Yomi uses this style in the piece to bring together the fragments of his story together splicing the intimate conversation between his mother and his memories of growing up.

You walk into the theatre space and you’re immediately hit by a familiar and disarming smell. Something’s cooking. It’s vague. It’s the lingering sizzle and some kind of spice that could be the beginning of a new dish or the completion of another. But it makes you feel like you’ve been there before. I can’t lie it was a little unsettling. It was like walking into a stranger’s home, unannounced as they are having dinner. You didn’t know it and you didn’t go to bag yourself a seat at the table but you’re here now. You’re here and you’re listening in on a conversation between a mother and son about his grandmother’s passing as he makes her dinner.

I’ll admit I wondered about the idea of food being part of a play – how would it work? The Q&A after revealed the team had made countless pots of stew in the lead up to their shows.

One thing that really resonated for me was the use of Yoruba without the jarring breakdown and translation of each and every uttered syllable, now it’s not to do a disservice to anyone else who has attempted to translate use of languages other than English as part of a performance but an acknowledgement to the bold move to use words without immediately following it up with or slipping in a direct translation and you know a direct translation isn’t always possible either. This shouldn’t be thought of a bold even though that’s how I’ve chose to describe it, theatre is about more than the words and language used and if you can’t use context, body language, movement and tone to infer the meaning of a particular word or phrase then treat this as a learning opportunity.

The Q&A sent one of the most important messages out to the audience who stayed on for it – apart from one young woman who had to leave early as she left explaining to the room “I too have an African mother at home!” which let’s be honest have all felt at some point – and that was:

“I felt like I couldn’t apply for things but then I realised the only person who was stopping me was myself.”

This piece like so many pieces by the BAME community welcome those who may not feel like they belong in performance spaces – on stage, off stage or behind the scenes. Yomi explains in the Q&A “If you can feel something you can enjoy theatre. Some places will not want people who are different there, people laughing, expressing themselves even if it’s someone going “mmm” in agreement to something I’ve said on stage – to that I say “Fuck a etiquette”

https://www.bac.org.uk/content/44468/whats_on/whats_on/shows/coat

Weighing in on my weight

So I have recently joined Slimming World. This is the second time round for me and this time it’s working. 6 weeks in and I’m just over a stone down.

What tempted me back? I could tell you it was my uncle’s upcoming wedding (where the thought of people trying to take any kind of photo of me makes me want to die inside) or it could be my goddaughter’s christening (I’ll make allowances for her because she’s so cute that no one will look at me in a photo with her, seriously her little smile makes my heart implode a little bit) but honestly I’ve just been feeling like crap.

My self esteem has been at an all time low forever. But just when I thought it couldn’t sink any lower it did (I bet it’s well proud of itself) and it found new depths of self deprecation, self loathing and general horribleness.

I didn’t like the way I looked but the weird thing is, now I’ve started to lose weight I still feel the same. I hate my body. I just want to be slimmer faster. It’s not happening soon enough. I heard a rumour about someone I used to know getting a gastric band – I was so jealous, but honestly not jealous enough to get it done as I’m terrified of having surgery of any kind and trust me if I wasn’t I’d have a new nose, gastric band, tummy tuck and that thing where they take the fat out of one place and put it in my bum.

I noticed the way in which people spoke to me, looked at me, treated me. Even my own boyfriend was looking at me differently. Comments were made about my weight by his family and trust me when I tell you that stuff stays with you – also a handy hint do not cry and drink at the same time, it’s exhausting and you will get a kind of drunk that is truly astonishing. I think the one that hit home the most was about having to look after me when I’m old and all I could think of was a sad old elephant that no one cared for anymore, whose circus days were numbered and the days left were just a burden.

I used to love myself with such vigour my friends used to laugh at me getting ready for a night out and pep talking to myself in the mirror (“Damn girl, you look sexy, look at them boobies, wow!” and now I look in the mirror and I get this horrible sinking feeling.

confidence-is-beauty.jpg

Yes this is true. Confidence is beauty. It’s not a dress size. It’s not a hair style. It’s nothing but feeling good about myself.

I just wish I knew how to build mine up again. I want to go back to that happier time when I didn’t hate the way I look so much. I remember when I was a size 12 and I had a barrage of people telling me I wasn’t good enough, that I needed to lose weight. Every time I got upset food and alcohol were my best friends.

You know there’s a fleeting moment when you get wine drunk, you can feel like an amazing person. Sometimes it’s 5 minutes, sometimes it’s a whole hour. But eventually you slip out of it and sober up or get smashed. It’s not the answer, I know but god I love being wine drunk. That exactly level of inebriation is the closest I now get to feeling good about myself. It’s that lame?!

Friends and comrades, your compliments are so sweet and encouraging but when my thoughts are so dark these are just twinkles of light. It needs to come from inside of me.

Self reflection.

There’s been a lot going on and my mind has been all over the place.

I’ve decided I need to make some changes and as painful as that can be it needs to be done. However recently someone asked me to do a little task.

It was to complete the following:

  • I had to / have to…
  • I can’t…
  • I’m afraid to…
  • I need…

Once you’re done look at them again and replace the following

  • I had to / have to…
  • I choose to…

  • I can’t…
  • I won’t

  • I’m afraid to…
  • I’d like to…

  • I need…
  • I want…

It was an interesting take on looking at what I felt about things happening at the moment.

Did you have a go at it? Was it enlightening in any way?

New rules

Week 9 in the 2018 house.

Okay so 2 months in and I’ve already made my first life rule. You know the rules I mean…

Ted Mosby’s mother with “Nothing good ever happens after 2pm”

Dua Lipa’s “Don’t pick up the phone, you know he’s only calling cause he’s drunk and alone…”

Thumper with his “If you can’t say anything nice… don’t say nothing at all” which by the by I whole heartedly agree with as it’s a double negative and in the humble words of Dizzee Rascal bring some beef, you’ll lose some teeth…”

My rules are

Don’t get get mad, get better.

For every person you have cheering you on you’re bound to a have a couple somewhere else willing you to fail. And to be honest let them because it’s their problem and not yours. But as humble as everyone tell you to be I am have one way of thinking about this.

If someone’s being horrid they are the social equivalent of a two year old throwing themselves on the floor and throwing a temper tantrum (though I’m not kidding you when I’ve seen grown people do this). You can ignore them, or if you’re like me incapable of ignorance (ha!) then you can do as they say in the parenting books. Get down to their level and tell them to stop. Be firm. You can do it. I believe in you.

 

Once in a while do something that scares you a little. 

Now I’m not talking about doing something that terrifies you – though I must say I’m sat in the 9th floor of a hotel and standing too close to these huge windows does make my feet all tingly and I’m coping alright – I’m talking about those little things you feel like you can’t do.

Talking to your that person who makes your heart a little bit gooey, taking that class you’ve always wanted to but thought you might be a bit rubbish, go to that cat cafe even if no one will go with you.

Now I gotta admit how hiiiiinspirational that last bit is – that kind of thing makes me cringe BUT I have to say it’s quite therapeutic to do those things.

Things to remember – start small.

Say hello to that cutie pie, don’t ask them to marry you.

Take a class that is actually for beginners because no one can run before they can walk.

Go to the cat cafe – because you won’t be alone… you’ve got the cats. OBVS.

 

Be firm. But kind. 

When someone does you wrong. Be firm but be kind. They might be having a bad day. There might be something bugging them. They may just be a terrible person which is unlikely because not many people are actually terrble but if they are then that in itself is sad. BUT BUT BUT. DO NOT UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES TAKE ANY REPEATED CRAP FROM ANYONE. Do you hear me?

And if you have to fight fire with fire so be it. I can be petty. I’ve learn a lot from my cat about this. If you touch her tail – which by the way learn the hard way she doesn’t like – she’ll look at me like ‘Saalene please we have spoken about this don’t do that again’ and if like a nincompoop I do it again she tells me off. With her claws. I’m not saying do exactly that but don’t take any crap from people. I have since been very weary of touching her tail.