Wednesday, 21 May 2014


Last week I went to a very special event indeed. It was a fundraiser and social for Indian vegetarian street food traders Manjit's Kitchen. Last month they were the unfortunate victims of an attack whereby their van for trading was completely vandalised to the point of being written off. With this as their main way of getting to events and trading it was a big shock to their business and to their every day lives.

Manjit and Michael, the talented duo behind the business put faith in a blue horsebox which was pointed out to them. This then quickly became a new viable option for a portable street food kitchen to trade out of. They put together a Crowdfunder appeal to raise £4000 to help them get their new set of wheels made into a kitchen and get back on the road. This was amazingly reached in just under a week. To make their new vehicle safe and secure they decided to continue with "overfunding" and have at this point made £4741 and have nine days of donations left.

Back to the event... It was put on by Emma of Culture Vultures and Andrew of Northern StrEats/Fish& as an opportunity to raise more money for Manjit and Michael's new vehicle but also for friends and for those who had donated to come together to celebrate the campaign and Culture Vultures 5th birthday too. Held at Holbeck Underground Ballroom (The HUB) it was a great setting.

Street food traders from Leeds and Manchester united and give up their time and serve their food on a 'Pay as you feel' basis with all money donated to the Manjit's Kitchen crowdfunder appeal. Street food traders who collaborated with the event were Fish&, Manjit's Kitchen themselves, The Greedy Pig and Ginger's Comfort Emporium who had doubled up with Noisette Bakehouse to serve some delectable goods.

Heading over with Diane, we were both on a mission to share a bit of everything on offer. First up was Fish& who were serving up their notorious twisted fish and chips in taster cones. With fis in three different batters (normal, chilli and pepper) laid upon a cone full of chips.

The fish was very good. Extremely good actually and it was the freshest fish I have ever had in the form of fish and chips. Flaky but firm white fish in a light and crisp batter - not greasy and heavy like some of the traditional versions. The flavours in the batter gave a nice little kick to the eating experience too. I could have eaten this all night!

Next up was the stars of the show - Manjit's Kitchen! Back on form with the support and confidence of all their supporters they were here to trial run a new street food dish. In comes the Chapasty! 

A dry curry of beetroot and paneer marinated in masala with coriander, sev and spring onion then wrapped in a chapati into a pasty shape. These were truly intriguing and a great new take on the street food which they offer.

Manjit was on rolling duty, honourably rolling out each chapati individually and then filling them with the curry and the toppings before shaping it into a pasty. Michael was in charge of frying the chapasty's and giving them a nice bit of colour. Good teamwork! 

The resulting dish was a lovely golden chapati filled with a sweet flavourful curry. Beetroot is one of my favourite vegetables and I love tasting it with different cultural influences and twists. This was definitely a winner for me. It was easy to eat, not too greasy and absolutely beautiful to look at too! These would make for a perfect little meal or snack to eat and I look forward to seeing them resurface on future menus at events.

Jo from The Greedy Pig had been busy making two variations of scotch eggs to bring to the event. I managed to get my hand on one of each. The meat option was filled with what I think was pork and chorizo. The egg yolk was runny, the meat juicy and tender and the coating was a light coating of fine breadcrumbs. These were seriously good. I'm not really a scotch egg eater but I think it's because I have memories of the horrible things that are available in the supermarkets. 

On to the vegetarian option... this was MIND BLOWINGLY good. My favourite vegetable made yet another appearance in this wonderous delight with a shredded beetroot filling surrounding the egg. It was seasoned very well and the whole texture in my mouth thing going on was incredible. 

Last but not least was the collaboration between Ginger's Comfort Emporium and Leeds favourite baker Noisette Bakehouse. Sarah from Noisette Bakehouse had made a selection of cookies to team up with Ginger's ice cream to make ice cream sandwiches. These looked really good but unfortunately I didn't get to try one. Ginger had packed up and was just about to leave by the time we had worked our way round to getting some ice cream. 

The evening ended with a raffle with lots of very generous prizes donated from a wide range of sources, including local independent businesses.

It was a fantastic evening with some really good vibes going on. It was not packed out with people but the people who were there were full of love, awe and support for Manjit and Michael. 
It is great to see the people behind Culture Vultures and Northern StrEats continuing to support and strengthen the food and culture scene in Leeds. There was such a good community feel that night and I was honoured to be part of it. The evening managed to raise over £840 too.

There is still time to donate to Manjit's Kitchen crowdfunder, to do so click here.

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