Spitalfields Life: and a recipe from Boundary Estate

Despite the fact I didn’t nominate it as a ‘Lovely Blog’ (perhaps because I feel the Gentle Author is a real professional, not someone who turns out posts only when time permits) Spitalfields Life is definitely a favourite.

Every morning without fail, his daily offering drops into my in-box, usually as I check my mail before breakfast.

And in it will be some tale of life in London’s East End.  The story perhaps of a neighbourhood shop, or a resident who arrived some years ago from a different continent, or another whose family has been deep-rooted in the area for endless generations…. anyone and everyone has a story to tell the Gentle Author.  The posts I look forward to most are those when he showcases the atmospheric photos taken in the 1960’s by John Claridge, of a way of life I remember well, but now seems so very distant.  Or those introducing newly- published work by the witty illustrator Paul Bommer.  The Gentle Author will show us 18th century trade cards, ancient  graffiti from the Tower of London, transsexuals from Bethnal Green – anything or anybody who takes his sympathetic yet enquiring fancy.

The other day he and photographer Sarah Ainslie went to the Boundary Women’s Group, and found a group of women of Asian heritage cooking lunch to share.  They shared their recipes too, and one in particular took my eye, contributed by Julie Begum.

Sardine curry

This is my favourite quick home cooking recipe after a long hard day’s work.

Ingredients –

500 g. sardines

2  tomatoes

1 onion

3  green chillies

1 teaspoon of red chilli powder

½  teaspoon of turmeric powder

1 teaspoon of coriander

1 piece of ginger

 8 cloves of garlic

1 dessert spoon of lemon juice

Salt as required.


  • Cut and clean the fresh sardines (score on both sides) or just open the tins (I prefer the ones in tomato sauce).
  • Heat oil in a pan.
  • Add sliced onion, green chilli, ginger, garlic and sauté well.
  • To this, add red chilli powder, turmeric powder, salt, lemon juice and tomato slices. Sauté well until tomatoes are done and add fish.
  • Add water as required and until fish are cooked.
  • Serve with fresh coriander and a slice of lemon with white basmati rice. Yum!’

Julie – I can confirm that it’s ‘yum’ indeed, and easy, and quick…and the kitchen doesn’t stink of sardines for hours afterwards, as can be the case with this otherwise wonderful fish.

Author: margaret21

I'm retired and living in North Yorkshire, where I walk as often as I can, write, volunteer, and travel as often as I can.

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