Food for thought

If you really want to make a friend, go to someone’s house and eat with him – the people who give you their food give you their heart.

Cesar Chavez

On this page and in the drop down menu you will find links to my reflections and musings on the relationship between good food and friendship in the places where I live and travel. You can also learn more about the ideas behind ese ne tekrema and what the name means here


Food, friendship and the kindness of strangers – During the lockdown more of my friends and family have talked about the importance of food and cooking than ever before. People have shared recipes from around world, sent me photos of cakes and breads and delicious vegetable stews, taught their children how to prepare simple dishes and expressed childlike delight at the pleasure of trying out ingredients buried at the back of their cupboards for years.

Cabs, kofte and Kurdish cuisine – One of the best parts of journeying – of which I do a lot – is the unexpected, fascinating and often inspiring encounters that you have along the way. I met Aydin on my way to Paddington station to catch a train and then a plane to Manila. Conversation started, as it often does in the UK, with the weather, before quickly moving to Aydin’s life in Turkey and within 20 minutes I had a recipe for mercimekli kofte, a vegetarian dish from Turkey which I never even knew existed.

Opening doors and hearts: food and friendship in Mondovi – I met with Lorenza Borsarelli to find out more about the work of ‘Intrecci’ (interweave), a collective of local agricultural producers who, like me, believe passionately in the power of food produced sustainability and with love to bring together communities and create a shared sense of identity and belonging. Based in Piedmont in north western Italy, the group currently comprises six companies who have come together with the explicit of promoting local ‘cultura’ (culture) with a emphasis on ‘condivisione’ (sharing) and ‘crescita’ (growth), in all senses of the word.

Less is more: a morning at Mondovi’s mercato contadino – Mercati contadino (‘farmer’s markets’) have spread across Italy in just a few years and they offer a great economic and social opportunity, precisely because they allow direct contact between producers and consumers. The farmer’s market in Mondovi was established in 2011 to provide an opportunity for local producers in the region to sell their products directly to people living in and around the city.


Da casa a casa: il corridoio italia-filippine – The migration corridor between Italy and the Philippines, so vividly represented by the sign at a local Italian Luna restaurant on the tiny Filipino island of Caniguin, is far from new. Like all migration, once you start to look you see that there has been a long history of movement – not just of people but also of knowledge, ideas, language, arts, music and of course food – between the two countries.

Mixing it up in the Philippines: the story of halo-halo – Halo-halo is one of the most popular desserts among Filipinos and available in virtually every restaurant and café you visit. By European standards, it’s a pretty crazy pudding! It brings together completely different – and seemingly random – ingredients to create something that somehow tastes rather wonderful and is often shared between friends.

Myanmar, Momo and me – So this is where it all started! My first ese-ne-tekrema blog inspired by visit to Myanmar (Burma) and my time with Myo Myo who lives and works at Nyaung Shwe on the shores of Lake Inle. Our visit to the local market to purchase fresh ingredients which we then turned into a delicious Burmese feast really brought home to me the power of food to connect us as human beings, wherever we are in the world.