I think its safe to say that food is one of if not the greatest pleasure in life, looking at it, anticipating it, smelling it, feeling it, talking about it, and of course eating it. In fact I had some great food last night cooked by a Nepalese friend, the food was spicy, with so many different flavours and textures, absolutely wonderful,
If you have never tried Nepalese food you are missing out,
One of the most popular Nepali dishes Momo is a doughy steamed dumpling originating in Tibet and served with a Nepalese spice dip.
The spice dip my friend served was hot, hot, hot,
Traditionally stuffed with ground buffalo meat known locally as “buff”, they are now more commonly found filled with goat or chicken, I'm not sure what mine were stuffed with but they were very morish.
They remind very much of Chinese dumplings, I had some very good Chinese dumplings in Melbourne which has a big Chinese quarter, great food, great aroma's and worth trying if you haven't done before.
You can get vegetarian alternatives which have a variety of finely chopped vegetables including carrot, cabbage and potato.
Many versions of the momo abound, deep-fried andif its your thing dessert momos filled with chocolate. Although eaten as a snack, momo can also be served with a rich broth.
During the day I had wandered along to the Love Northampton food fair which was held in the Guildhall, a visually treat of a building both inside and out, located right in the centre of the town.
The interior of a building can either make you feel alive and inspired, or bring your mood down, the fabric of the building itself can feel alive and make you feel the same way, invigorated, curious to learn more.
Overlooking proceedings are a rather dour looking Oliver Cromwell, don't know what he would have made of the food and drink, and his old enemy Charles 1st, no doubt his court would have welcomed the wine, although rose may have been a step too far even for the King.
The other person pictured is ???
You could even draw a parallel between dull and uninspiring food and dull and uninspiring buildings, Northampton has got some glorious buildings, it's also got some shockers, the Guildhall is one of the former,
Even on a wet and dull day like yesterday it's great to walk round the corner from the market and cast your eyes over the carved figures that cover the exterior, and I hope the thing is still standing hundreds of years from now.
Northampton has also got quite a lot of fast food outlets, but to balance that it also has some producers of high quality food and drink, and I'm not saying all fast food is bad, but I think it's important to have variety otherwise everything becomes homogenised.
Generally I think peoples expectations of food and drink is way beyond what it was even 20 years ago, we want quality, we have become obsessed with food, look at any night on the television, food programmes.
To see all the small artizan producers who go out of their way to brew great beers, distilling gin, producing meat and poultry without compromising our health, baking wonderful cakes, biscuits, bread, all this is good.
A few months ago I went out for Sunday lunch at a local pub and on the menu was Northamptonshire cheese, it was some of the best cheese I'd tasted for a very long time, that made the meal memorable for me.
So onto the food fair.
This thing of beauty is a breakfast loaf, I picked this up from Whittlebury Bakeries stall, absolutely gorgeous.
I also picked up some gingerbread houses for a friends children, they loved them, I had a little taste, I loved them too.
I was hoping to pick some Cobblers Nibble cheese but didn't see their stall yesterday, but here's a link
And here's another link to a cheesmaker I was completely unaware of -
If you have tried any of the cheeses from Nene Valley Dairy please give me some feedback, I'd like to here anybodies thoughts on the various cheeses they produce.
At this point a shout out to Shop Zero -
Picked up these nice fridge magnets from Fridge Street I like them all but I really like the one depicting the bandstand in Abington Park.
The St Crispin Street fail was in full swing while I was in town, but the wet weather had obviously put a lot of people off, and I can't blame them.
I stopped at a stall and got myself a tea and listened to the music being played for the various rides, most of it from the waltzer was early 70's stuff like "young gifted and black" and some Eddy Grant, "Electric Avenue".
Some years back I was coming back from work and got off the train at Castle Station and walked up Gold Street which was full of rides and stalls, because it was evening it bought the town alive, it was really good to see.
I know not everyone thinks its good for the town and maybe yeah its looks a bit tacky, but it livens things up a bit, although looking at the stallholders yesterday you could tell they would rather have been somewhere else, somewhere warm and dry.
I also had a chat with Fitzy on his market stall about the what is going on with the old building that was Chicago's, the scaffolding is still there but apparently the roofers haven't been paid so work has stopped.
A great shame as it would be good if the development really got going, as it is it's just another eyesore, not what we need.
This sunrise lit up the sky on a Monday morning in Northampton a few weeks ago, as I lay in bed I could see a red streak in the sky, then the sky slowly became more and more illuminated in red hues until I had to go outside in my pyjamas and get this picture.
On the subject of illumination -
With the nights drawing in as they are it's always great to see something that lifts a bit of the darkness, so last night I went along with some friends to the Diwali parade in Northampton town centre.
I'd been aware of it before but had never been along to watch, and I'm glad I did, the whole thing was a wonderful lift of the spirits.
Lots of children with their parents and drummers in colourful costume beating out a sound which in its own way lit up the mood for everyone, a delight to see so many smiling faces, and just what Northampton needs.
The parade passed slowly up Abington Street, then turned left down by St Giles church right onto St Giles Street,
A moody October sky with All Saints in the background.
Diwali celebrates the victory of good over evil and light over darkness, but it's also a time for friends to have fun and exchange gifts and sweets, and the work Diwali means "row of lights".
The parade ended on the Market Square, where everybody mingled and had a closer look at some of the very cleverly put together puppets, if that's the right word.
First off, we're into October and I'm starting to see Christmas tree's and all the other paraphernalia thats goes along with the season of good cheer in shops and garden centres.
This year seems to have gone by even faster than they normally do, a sign of my age I suppose, I went over to my very elderly Step Mums yesterday, she will be 91 this month, to plant out some winter plants for her and deliver some home made vegatable soup.
When I was 16 and she was 44 I thought she was old then, its seems incredible she's now over 90 and still going strong, if a little unsteady on her feet, I sometimes try to imagine being that age, to be honest I can't.
She is a mine of informtion on old Northampton, but because she is unsteady she doesn't get into town much now, but we often talk about what's going on, this week I was talking to her about a very positive proposed development for what used to the the site of the Angel Hotel in Bridge Street.
This was one of the oldest coaching inns in the country.
The building suffered a catastrophic fire way back in 2012, in fact January 2012 when it was being used as a bar called Fat Cats, I was in town not too far away and remember seeing the smoke, I didn't realise then how long the shell would remain surrounded by scaffolding or why.
The site has been an eyesore in the town centre for 7 years, now at last it looks as though that eyesore will be replaced by a new hotel, and a 4 star one to boot, which is great news for the centre.
This goes into detail
I get the thing about protecting very old buildings (Grade 11 listed) absolutely but maybe a balance has to be struck whereby the needs of the present are given as much thought, that's not to say we should give carte blanche to developers.
We have seen the result of developers ignoring laws for their own financial benefit, most notably in London where an historic pub was demolished on the whim of a dodgy development company,
But whatever way you look at it it's good news for the town, and will provide employment and jobs for people once it's built, when I took these pictures yesterday I also took this one.
This old boarded up snooker club sits directly opposite the site of the proposed new hotel, not something I'd want to be the first thing I saw when leaving my nice plush new building.
The town used to be well served by hotels, with one of the best known being the Grand which used to be located in Gold Street, that building is now a Travelodge.
A few bits of interest about the former Grand Hotel - this information comes from a 2010 edition of the Northampton Chronicle and Echo.
1889-1892: The hotel was originally built for the Northampton Brewery Company supposedly because it was thought it would be "Far too grand for Northampton".
1941: A Sterling bomber crashed in the middle of Gold Street, clipping the hotel.
1946: It was reported the hotel served between 1,600 to 2,000 meals a week and more than 400 teas.
1955: The Shah of Iran called into the hotel for coffee and biscuits while touring the Midlands looking for horses.
1963: The hotel was upgraded to a four star venue. Work included the creation of a grill room offering three course meals from 6s 6d. The restaurant's wallpaper included real butterflies.
May 1966, thieves stole two large safes form the hotel containing 347 in cash and cheques. They were found empty in Little Houghton the next day.
I have very vague memories of going into the Grand with my Uncle when his came up from London, but don't remember anything specific other than he wanted to go there because it was the best hotel in the town.
While I was wandering about I came across this, on the building which is now Turtle Bay, but which I believe was the headquarters building of a large Northampton brewery at one time.
With something equally ornate above it.
Going off at a tangent slightly if you love music get along to The Deco for this -
Carole King, one of the finest singer / songwriters, I'm booking my tickets today.