Hello! This is a place for members of the choir to blog about what we're up to, what's going on in our neighbourhood and pretty much anything else besides!

If you would like to write a guest post for us, please email the Blog Editor tara@tottenhamcommunitychoir.com or tweet us @tottenhamchoir

Saturday, 16 June 2012

Food, glorious food!

Next Sunday 24th June sees the start of a new weekly local market in Haringey.  We were lucky enough to get a moment with organiser Jessica for a quick chat about what the market will be and how she is bringing a touch of Suriname to North London...

You’re from Suriname originally; it’s a country I know very little about so can you tell me a bit about it?

I just returned from holiday in Suriname so I’m even more excited than ever about it. Suriname is a virtually unknown country in South America, between French and British Guyana. Believe it or not, we were once a British colony! Suriname has a beautiful interior, beautiful nature and Surinamese people are very warm and kind and they’re suckers for food!

The original inhabitants were natives, then came the slaves, and after that the immigrants from China, India and Java. Later on the Jews, Lebanese, Turks, Brazilians and Africans came to Suriname, so Surinamese people are very mixed.

We’ve got all these different cultures and religions living side by side and we have got, in my humble opinion, the best food ever!

People are slowly but surely discovering Suriname, especially Americans because there are quite a lot of Surinamese people living in the States. In Holland we are well known, and the Dutch are also very fond of our food.

How has it influenced your cooking?

I come from a very mixed background. My father’s family is part Jewish, Dutch and English and it all started when a Dutch plantation owner had children with his slave and gave these kids his name.

My mother’s family is from India. This interesting mix of cultures and the fact that I was born in Suriname, and lived in Amsterdam for a while too, has very much influenced my cooking. I make a Surinamese roti one day and a Javanese Surinamese bami (noodles) the next. 

Most of the time I cook Surinamese dishes at home, but I also make English pies or spaghetti. Never a dull moment in my kitchen!

What is your favourite thing about living in Haringey?

Haringey is very diverse. I love the fact that there are so many cultures in one place, a bit like Suriname. I also love the fact that I can buy loads of ingredients for my exotic Surinamese dishes right here in Haringey.

What inspired you to organise a local market on Green Lanes?

The market will be off Green Lanes at North Harringay Primary School, Falkland Road Hornsey, N8 0NU.

However much I love Green Lanes, I had the feeling that something was missing. I love going to markets, buying local produce and food, and I wondered why there wasn’t a market here. I know that Harringay-ites love food, I saw that at the Food Festival last year, so that couldn’t be the reason why there wasn’t a market.

I wanted to organise a market for locals, where they could meet each other once every week, have a chat, a coffee and delicious food. A place for them to shop, eat local and buy local. Harringay Market supports local traders, businesses and local farmers.

How long has it taken for the market to go from an idea to a reality?  How did you go about making it happen? 

I first pitched the idea to Hugh Flouch from local community website Harringay Online. That was at the beginning of March. After that it all went so fast! I must honestly say that Harringay Online has been a big help. It made me able to ask locals for their opinion, to see whether they were interested in attending the market, what they thought of the name ‘Harringay Market’ etc.

After that we were on FaceBook, Twitter and we launched a website, and that has helped too.
I’m oversubscribed at the moment, everyone seems to want a stall. It still surprises me when I see that my inbox is full of emails from people who’d like a stall, most of them heard about Harringay Market through word of mouth.

It’s been hard work, I’m even waking up in the middle of the night with new ideas for the market. I eat, sleep and dream Harringay Market, but in the end I believe it’s all worth it and I look forward to realise the market after months of dreaming about it.

Going back to cooking, what’s your favourite dish to make?  Can you give me a Surinamese recipe to try at home?

That’s a difficult question, I can’t make up my mind.  I love soto ayam, that’s Indonesian for chicken soup. It’s a well known dish in Suriname, we call it saoto.  I make saoto quite a lot, it never gets boring. I’ve written the recipe on my blog www.foxycooks.co.uk. The link is http://www.foxycooks.co.uk/2012/01/12/soto-ayam-chicken-soup/
I love to have it with a few spoons of rice, a boiled egg and loads of hot sambal!

Thanks for talking to us Jessica, I'm sure Harringay Market is going to be a great addition to our community - see you there!

Harringay Market takes place every Sunday 11am - 3pm at North Harringay Primary School.  See the website  http://harringaymarket.co.uk/ for details of traders and latest news.

Sunday, 6 May 2012

Free cakes for kids in Haringey

Our friend Christine Hatt is giving kids in Haringey their just desserts....

Tottenham Community Choir members are no strangers to the pleasure of eating home-made cake, as the lengthy queues for refreshments during rehearsal breaks show. A not-for-profit community group just launched in Haringey seeks to bring that pleasure to needy children across the borough by providing personalized, home-baked birthday or other celebration cakes. The group is a branch of Free Cakes for Kids UK, a network whose origins lie in the United States, where a Georgia foster carer launched the equivalent American organization in 2007. The first UK group was established in Oxford in 2008, and the service is now provided in over 40 areas here, where more than 400 cakes have been baked.

The idea behind Free Cakes for Kids is simple. There are many children who would love to have a birthday cake made especially for them, but whose family circumstances make this difficult. Many Tottenham children, for example, live in temporary accommodation where there is no access to proper cooking facilities. Some children are young carers trying to juggle caring responsibilities with schoolwork and do not have the time to make cakes for themselves or their siblings. Some families simply cannot afford to make a special cake, or are caught up in a crisis (for example bereavement or redundancy) that leaves them with neither the inclination nor the energy to bake. In such difficult situations, the small gesture of providing a tailor-made cake can make a huge difference to a child, giving pleasure on their birthday and happy memories for the future.

Each Free Cakes for Kids group has a co-ordinator whose role is to recruit bakers and bring in referrals for suitable children and families, for example from food banks and refugee organizations. As the Haringey co-ordinator (and former TCC member), I would be delighted to hear from anyone interested in baking for the group or supporting it in any other way, for example by delivering cakes or helping with fundraising. Competent home bakers are welcome – there is no need to be a professional cook. However, all Free Cakes for Kids bakers are required to sign the organization’s hygiene and confidentiality policies, and must also be willing to buy their own ingredients and equipment. Once they have signed up, bakers are always free to turn down a referral if they do not feel able to make the type of cake requested, or if they simply do not have the time.    

Please contact me with comments, queries or offers of help via haringeyfreecakesforkids@yahoo.co.uk

If you would like to know more about the Free Cakes for Kids UK network in general, you can access the organisation’s website at www.freecakesforkids.org.uk

Friday, 4 May 2012

We're on You Tube!

We've now got a You Tube channel!

Three videos from this week's rehearsal are now uploaded for your viewing pleasure!

Beautiful Day I'll Be There Medley http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v9QBt3qCDaQ&feature=plcp

Wednesday, 2 May 2012

Dates for your diaries...

Lots of great events coming up, including....

This Bank Holiday Monday 7th May we are pleased to be performing at All Together Now, a free sport and music festival in Bruce Castle Park organised by Tottenham Hotspur Tennis Club.  There will loads of fun sporting activities for everyone and music from local acts. We're singing at 2pm! 

On Sunday 3rd June we are holding a Big Lunch with food from all different parts of our community and music from the choir and other musicians from the community. The Big Lunch will be from 1 - 4pm at Downhills School.

We have some more exciting events lined up over the summer but we can't say too much yet!  More info asap!

Saturday 22nd September sees the choir performing at the newly refurbished Shell Theatre in Lordship Rec, as part of the 2012 Festival.  We are really proud to have been asked to take part in the festival.

Our Winter Concert will be held on Sunday 11th November, once again at the fabulous Gladesmore School. Keep your eyes peeled for more info and details of tickets!