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.
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.