Tale #40 Mazí Mas

Mazí Mas, meaning ‘with us’ in Greek, is a social enterprise-pop up restaurant-glorious business venture all rolled into one created by my fellow feminist comrade, Niki, which creates employment opportunities for migrant and refugee women and allows foodies like the beast to indulge in their delectable cuisine.

It is clear to see why the beast would be drawn to such a brilliant endeavor — little sneaks of home-cooked delicious food in exchange for slicing and dicing a few bits and bobs for some awesome chefs. Not a bad deal for a foodie. And since it’s all in the name of a feminist cause, even better.

I recently began helping out with Mazí Mas during the Yam Yam! Food festival at the Albany in New Cross, a six week festival celebrating food and culture galore. I had the great honor of working alongside the Mazi Mas chefs and learning how to cook Filipino, Ethiopian and Brazilian cuisine during this time. I”m still not 100% confident about my spring roll making skills but I can live with that. And of course sampling all the food was  quite a hardship…

While this post could ramble on in traditional Rav B fashion about the amazing work Mazí Mas is doing, I’ll focus on a specific event so I can a) shed some light on what these ladies do and b) talk about the food served because that’s what the beast really cares about.

Following on from the sadness of the Yam Yam! festival finishing last week, Mazí Mas got right back on its feet to host a Brazilian themed London brunch for Parliament Week 2013. This year’s Parliament Week (November 15 – 21) celebrates the role of women in democracy. How perfect. Attending as a 100% eater this time and not kitchen staff, I got to sample all the goods.

Headed up by the lovely Roberta Siao, the brunch featured an array of Brazilian delights to tantalize the taste buds even at 11am on a Sunday, pre-coffee. Tucked away on a little side street in Wandsworth, Cafe Fleur provided an intimate setting for such an occasion complete with a lovely photo display of dangling images of all Mazí Mas chefs and helpers smiling at various events carried out over the past few months. And despite some confused stragglers who wandered in just looking for a traditional English fry up, all attendees seemed satisfied and cozy.

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Okay moving on from being sentimental…

first food item served was Brazilian cheese balls called pao de queijo, which are crispy on the outside but amazingly soft and chewy inside. It’s interesting to note that pretty much every culture has its own version of ‘cheesy bread,’ some classier than others (can’t really compare French gougère with British cheese on toast, but hey, each delicious in its own right).

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These delightful puffs were followed by ‘Romeo and Juliet’ canapés, squares of thick, sugary guava jelly on a layer of crumbly Wensleydale cheese.

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Then there were sweetcorn pancakes with cheese and avocado…

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Highlight was definitely the shakshuka ‘Brazilian style’. Shakshuka is said to have originated in the Middle East and is typically a dish of eggs poached in a sauce of tomatoes, chili peppers and onions. This has been adapted by many cultures and crafted into something different each time. I like to call this dish the Brazilian version of Mexican huevos rancheros.

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Lastly for dessert, some platanos with cinnamon and doce de leite (Brazilian milk caramel sauce)

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Photographic evidence of the vibrant, rich, and ‘full of flavor’ cuisine brought to you by Mazí Mas. Boom.

Don’t forget to check out the Mazí Mas website for future events because it is an awesome enterprise and definitely deserves your support. And you get fed so, just do it.

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