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Pic of Burrata, Romesco, Red Chilli recipe

From Catalogued Ideas And Random Thoughts by Stuart Ralston

Acclaimed chef Stuart Ralston is known as one of the most innovative and creative cooks working in the UK today. Catalogued Ideas and Random Thoughts – A Cookbook traces his evolution as a chef, and brings together the food that inspires him, from the finely crafted dishes that he creates in his restaurants to the food he likes to cook at home. 

We are delighted to share one of his favourite recipes with you- Burrata, Romesco, Red Chilli.

Now over to Stuart!


Burrata, Romesco, Red Chilli

According to Jade Johnston, our Ops Manager and partner in everything we do, burrata is hands down the best cheese in the world. It is super versatile, great for sharing and easy to source. It’s also delicious paired with my ride-or-die sauce, romesco. We use a little gochujang chilli paste to give the romesco a slight change of direction from its native Spanish roots.

Seves 2 with plenty of sauce.

For the romesco:

75g flaked almonds, toasted 

75g whole hazelnuts, toasted 

250g shop-bought roasted peppers, drained and seeds removed 

250g tinned tomatoes, drained overnight 

30–60g gochujang chilli paste, depending on desired spiciness 

45g olive oil 

8 garlic cloves, finely grated 

10g sherry vinegar 

5g smoked paprika 

8g salt 

sugar to taste

To serve:

1 burrata

1 red chilli, sliced

olive oil

sea salt 

black pepper

Method:

For the romesco, pulse the almonds and hazelnuts together in a food processor to form coarse crumbs, then place in a large bowl. 

Blend the roasted peppers and drained tomatoes together in the food processor until incorporated but not smooth. Add to the toasted nuts. 

Blend the gochujang, olive oil, garlic, sherry vinegar, smoked paprika and salt to form a paste. Add this to the nut mixture and season as necessary with more salt, sugar and vinegar.

To serve, place the burrata onto a paper towel to drain any excess liquid. Spoon plenty of romesco onto a plate and put the burrata on top. Add a couple of slices of red chilli, season with a little sea salt and cracked black pepper and then drizzle over the olive oil. 

Serve with toasted focaccia.

So tasty! We hope you enjoy this recipe at home.

You can buy Stuart’s book here and discover many more of his amazing recipes.

Cookbook cover
Pic of Stuart Ralston

Acclaimed chef Stuart Ralston is known as one of the most innovative, creative and hard-working cooks in the UK today. Stuart’s inspirations come from all around him, and throughout his career he has kept a notebook to jot down ideas for flavour combinations and recipes. He goes back to those ideas again and again, playing with taste and texture to create stunning and intriguing dishes. 

We are so excited to publish his first cookbook Catalogued Ideas and Random Thoughts – A Cookbook. The book traces his evolution as a chef, and brings together the food that inspires him, the finely crafted dishes that he creates in his restaurants and the food he likes to cook at home.

Cookbook cover

Stuart grew up in Glenrothes in a family of chefs. From learning his trade in kitchens around Scotland, he moved to New York to work in Gordon Ramsay’s flagship 2 Michelin Star restaurant at the London Hotel.

Pic of London Hotel NYC

He spent two years as the Chef de Cuisine at Sandy Lanes, Barbados cooking for the likes of Rihanna and Mark Wahlberg, before returning to Edinburgh to open several highly regarded and top quality restaurants – Aizle in 2016, followed by Noto in 2019 and most recently Tipo in 2023.

Pic of Noto Restaurant in Edinburgh

We caught up with Stuart and asked him a few questions to give us some insight into what he does and what lays behind his love of food and cooking. 

Enjoy!

Was there a cookbook that really inspired you? 

Many many cookbooks have given me something. The French Laundry Cookbook by Thomas Keller, my first 3 star cookbook, was life changing. A timeless book now you look back at it. It’s a book that made me daydream about what life must have been like in a 3 Michelin star environment.

The French Laundry Cookbook Cover

I love the David Chang Momofuku book. It was a book that was just so refreshing and cool. The food was so varied that you could have his fine dining dishes like his “ KO Egg” or move onto something causal you’d find at Ssam bar like spicy rice cakes and sausage, which felt like a very New York dish similar to a gnocchi with broccoli rabe and sausage meat.

Pic of Momofuku Book Cover

Books are also about what strikes me in the moment. Others I love in my collection are Ikoyi, Coco, the Ikarus collection, Munchies, or Christopher Kostow a new Napa Cuisine.

Pic of Ikarus Cookbook

2. What is your favourite item in your kitchen that you simply couldn’t do without?

My Cast Iron pans, without a doubt. My pans were made by the Griswold Co in Pennsylvania in the 1850’s. They last a lifetime, and are always non stick and heavy as hell. They retain heat like no other and basically I use them every day.

Pic of Griswold Cast Iron Skillet

3. Do you have a favourite song, type of music or podcast you like to cook to?

Sadly a lot of the time I listen to Talksport radio in the house when I’m cooking haha. But at work it’s pretty eclectic – INXS, Wu Tang Clan, Childish Gambino, Kendrick Lamar and podcasts like Dave Chang Show and Restless Natives are all pretty good.

Pic of Childish Gambino
Image from Restless Natives Podcast

4. If you could cook anywhere in the world in any location then where would you choose?

Dream location to actually cook would be somewhere in the deepest woods or mountains, something similar to Blue Hill at Stone Barns.

View of Blue Hill Restaurant from Stone Hill Farm

Or perhaps The Willows Inn on Lummi island, overlooking water somewhere, but very calm and quiet on long summer days…

Pic of The Willows Inn on Lummi Island

5. If you had to give one single piece of advice about cooking to someone then what would that be?

Just to try and be organised, that always helps.

Pic of Gnudi from Stuart's cookbook

Massive thanks to Stuart for taking the time to share his fascinating and inspiring thoughts with us.

His absolutely stunning new cookbook is now available in all good book stores and of course direct from us right HERE.

Stuart Ralston cooks great food and now you can try his recipes at home for yourself.

With Brother Marcus

Tas Gaitanos and Alex Large are old school-friends who set up the first Brother Marcus restaurant in 2016. Since then it has been called the ‘Best Brunch in London’ by Time Out and as having ‘Some of the best brunch options in the city’ by Harper’s. They now have outlets of their hip Eastern Mediterranean restaurant in Angel, Spitalfields Market, Borough Yards and South Kensington and are about to release their first cookbook Brunch With Brother Marcus.

Tas is of Cretan and Cypriot heritage and grew up working in his father’s restaurant. He was lured into the family trade by his love of the flavours of the Eastern Med. Alex is a trained actor so finds running front of house and developing the notorious Brother Marcus cocktail list a natural home. Both have travelled extensively in the Eastern Med and look to it constantly as a source of inspiration. Brunch at Brother Marcus is a weekend institution in London, and in their first cookbook you can find out why.

Brother Marcus Cookbook Cover

In the book, Tas and Alex take the flavours of the Eastern Med to make dishes really worth getting out of bed for, from simple favourites such as Menemen – a spicy scrambled eggs made with peppers and tomatoes – to the sublime: think Pulled Lamb Flatbreads or Rosti with Fried Chicken and Eggs. 

Picture of Menemen

Brunch with Brother Marcus also features recipes to make your own yoghurt, pickles, salt beef and breads.

Picture of Pickles

As well as a drinks chapter that delivers both smoothies and fortifying cocktails such as the Brother Mary, or the alcohol-free Pomegranate Ginger Beer (sure to put a skip in your step). 

Picture of Brother Mary cocktail

And there are sweets too, including traditional Baklavadika and a truly divine Portokalopita, an extraordinary orange filo pastry cake. You won’t want to brunch with anyone else.


Picture of Portokalopita dessert

We recently caught up with Tas and Alex and asked them a few questions to give us some insight into what they do and what lays behind their love of food and cooking. 

Enjoy!

1. Was there a cookbook that really inspired you? 

Our office and home shelves are full of cookbooks that we like and admire, but specifically for our book there were three that inspired us, Mazi, Palomar and Brunch The Sunday Way

Picture of Maxi Cookbook Cover

Specific brunch books aren’t as easy to come by as you might think so Brunch by Sunday’s was a real inspiration in terms of creating a book just for that one meal and seeing what they included and how they positioned it. 

Brunch The Sunday Way book cover

In terms of aesthetics, design and writing style, Palomar and Mazi have been books we’ve always liked and gravitated to. 

Picture of Palomar Cookbook Cover

2. What is your favourite item in your kitchen that you simply couldn’t do without?

This was a hard one to answer as we have too many favourites, it depends what cuisine we’re cooking, the mood we’re in and who we are cooking for but we’ve gone for Aleppo chilli

Picture of Aleppo Chilli

We use it in so many dishes at Brother Marcus it must subconsciously be our favourite, or maybe just very versatile! Aleppo is a variety of capsicum that is used a lot in Eastern Mediterranean and Turkish cooking. We sprinkle it on lots of dishes including in our fennel tzatziki but also make a delicious Aleppo butter that we use with our king prawns, adding a subtle kick to the dish. 

We even use it in cocktails such as the Aleppo Margarita that’s in the book, it’s a very useful spice to have in the kitchen. 

Picture of Aleppo Margarita

3. Do you have a favourite song, type of music or podcast you like to cook to?

If I’m on my own in the kitchen I normally put on whatever I’m currently watching on Netflix, at the moment it is a football documentary, but if my wife and baby are in the room it’s a different scenario altogether and football is definitely not on the cards! Normally we put music on as we listen to different podcasts and audiobooks so music is our mutual ground. Our favourite band is Fleetwood Mac

4. If you could cook anywhere in the world in any location then where would you choose?

I was brought up in Elounda which is a town on the island of Crete. It has a pretty beach right in the town where I spent much of my childhood so I think I’d have to say the beach there. 

Picture of Elounda, Crete

It’s right across the road from my father’s restaurant where me and my siblings were able to play whilst my parents sat in the restaurant half watching us. I used to catch octopus just off the beach so I’d love to cook octopus, or local seafood, on an open fire on the Elounda beach. 

5. If you had to give one single piece of advice about cooking to someone then what would that be?

Don’t stop exploring, there are so many amazing cuisines, ingredients and produce so never get stuck in your ways and take the easy option with sticking to things you know. New ingredients and produce are always being discovered which is one of the most exciting parts about being a chef, experimenting with these and coming up with new flavour combinations and recipes is always fun. 

Massive thanks to Tas and Alex for taking the time to share their thoughts with us. Their absolutely stunning new cookbook is now available in all good book stores and of course direct from us right HERE.

Fi Buchanan Pic

With Fi Buchanan (Seasonal Soups)

Fi Buchanan is a food writer and chef who owned Glasgow’s legendary Heart Buchanan café and deli. Winner of a Glenfiddich Spirit of Scotland award, she presented the BBC series TeenCanteen, has worked behind the scenes on many tv food shows and has given a TedX talk on courage. She lives in Glasgow and we think she is wonderful.

We asked Fi if she would write the companion volume Seasonal Salads to the best-selling Seasonal Soups by Fraser Reid, which has sold over 10k copies, and Fi said yes!

Seasonal Salads Cover

‘Salads can be anything you want them to be’ says Fi and with Seasonal Salads she created a book that celebrates salads in all their seasonal glory.

What these recipes all have in common is Fi’s trademark inventive flair, her ability to combine flavours and textures in the cleverest of ways to make the most of what’s plentiful in each season.

Watermelon Salad

If you thought salads were something you served on the side, it’s time to turn over a new leaf.

We recently caught up with the lovely Fi and asked her a few questions to give us some insight into her background and her love of food and cooking.

Enjoy!

Q: Was there a cookbook that really inspired you? 

A: Yes definitely, there were three; Real Fast Food by Nigel Slater, The Silver Palate Cookbook by Sheila Lukens & Julie Rosso, and The Nantucket Open House Cookbook by Sarah Leah Chase.

Real Fast Food Book Cover

I poured over those books on my work breaks, on the bus, in the laundrette, and I truly loved them. The authors seemed as if they were speaking to me like a friend as I read and the recipes were irresistibly fresh and sparkling with flavour. I wanted in.

Open House Cookbook Cover
Silver Palate Cookbook Cover

It was 80’s Edinburgh, I was vegetarian and sick to death of boiled potatoes and brown food. I remember the first day I ever tried fresh basil, the first day I ever tried a kiwi fruit, the first day I tried the Italian mountain cheese Taleggio … literally … I can remember where I was and what I was wearing. It was like getting the key to a door into a technicolour world from a black and white world.

Fresh Basil

Q: What is your favourite item in your kitchen that you simply couldn’t do without? 

A: Well for practicalities sake I’d be an idiot if I didn’t say my knife. A very plain – non designer – wooden handled, easy to sharpen, 20cm cooks knife.

Pic of Fi's kitchen knife

After that I’d have to say the music and podcasts on my phone. They set the tempo for me – giving me energy, soothing my hot brain, educating me, talking me … or dancing me … through the solitary days and nights in the kitchen for the past few years.

Q: Do you have a favourite song, type of music or podcast you like to cook to? 

A: My musical taste is eclectic, I make playlists all the time, and my son has caught the bug, and laughs at me for calling them tape-mixes. A good mix is a magical thing, very similar to a good dish, it has to match your mood and then find you and lift you a little. When you share what you’ve made it’s a deeply personal thing, and if someone you like appreciates it, it can generate deep joy in you.

Pic of Mixtape

I’ve made a tape mix for each of the 12 months of salads in the book. Here is the QR code for January’s playlist:

Fi Mixtape QR Code

When it comes to podcasts; Invisibilia, How To Fail, Shedunnit, Origin Story, and The Desert Island Discs archive are all wonderful.

Shedunnit Podcast logo

How To Fail Podcast Logo

Q: If you could cook anywhere in the world in any location then where would you choose? 

A: Hmm. Would I be cooking for my friends & family? If I could bring them with me there are some pretty nice beaches in the Virgin Islands I’d quite like to go back to.

I’ve always thought that a vineyard in Chile would be a great place to hang out and cook up a storm.

Chile vineyard

However, if the forces of magic were at work (oh please let them be), I’d conjure an amphitheatre of growing walls full of veggies and herbs, and wood fired ovens. I’d put it in every single school in the land and we’d make huge platters of salads, big vats of soup, and homemade bread everyday for lunch. I know it sounds a bit far out, but could you imagine?! It would be so good. That would be magic that’d make more magic.

Pic of growing walls

Pic of growing walls

5. If you had to give one single piece of advice about cooking to someone then what would that be? 

My one single piece of advice to you would be to cook the food you like. You can’t get your mojo from food you don’t like. Motivation is the unstoppable force. Be motivated by what you love. Do yourself proud, then share it with people you love.

Massive thanks to Fi for a truly inspiring chat. Her Seasonal Salads cookbook is now available in all good book stores and of course direct from us right HERE

Urvashi Portrait Cropped

With Urvashi Roe (Biting Biting)

Urvashi Roe was brought up in a family who loved to snack.  Any news of impending visitors would prompt a flurry of activity in the kitchen. Within 30 minutes her mother and aunties would have the ‘biting biting’ prepared – a spread of vegetarian and vegan snacks made with store cupboard ingredients and leftovers. 

Her family are originally from Gujarat in India, but Urvashi grew up in Tanzania in East Africa, where she lived until she was a teenager.  Their family tradition of ‘biting biting’ takes its roots from classic Gujarati farsan – salty snacks served with tea or as street food – famous throughout the In- dian subcontinent. The recipes evolved to use East African ingredients like cassava, then again as the family moved to the UK. 

Biting Biting the cookbook is a celebration of this delicious family custom, and of the food of the Gujarati diaspora in Africa and in the UK. Extremely tasty, quick and easy to prepare these snacks will set your tastebuds buzzing.

Biting Biting Cover

We recently caught up with the lovely Urvashi while she was holidaying in Greece and asked her a few questions to give us some insight into her background and her love of food and cooking. Her answers are as delightful as her book and her cooking.

Enjoy!

Q: Was there a cookbook that really inspired you?

A: Nigella Bites is the first cookbook I ever owned. My husband bought it for me for Christmas in our first home. We used to watch Nigella on TV cuddled up in a fluffy red throw with red wine and popcorn. We had very little furniture at the time and we’d watch with the odd exclamation now and then. “Ooooh let’s get spoons like that” or “I love the way she has those twinkly lights on the bookcase”. We totally did get those spoons and twinkly lights when payday came round.

We started writing the dates of when we made the recipes in the top corner of the page. If I had carried this tradition on til today then there are most certainly pages that would have run out of space.

A few highlights would be:

Breakfast Muffins – I remember one morning when we woke up to find our neighbour’s cash register in the back garden. We called the police and as they did their investigations I put on a batch of these and we had them with hot tea. My girls were little then and they enjoyed toddling out offering Mr Policeman a muffin.

Chocolate Fudge Cake – still the go to cake recipe for our birthdays. Over the years the decorations have changed from My Little Pony to Polly Pocket to Disney Princesses to Harry Potter most recently when my daughter turned 16 but the base is always this same delicious recipe. The memories that page in the book evokes are so special. It’s almost like the book holds them safely for us.

Stovetop Rice Pudding – when I had my flower shops the hardest season was always Christmas. Your hands are shredded with snips from the thorns of thousands of Grand Prix roses or spiky ivy wreaths. The phone is constantly ringing. There is never enough time to get warm. The first Christmas was especially hard as I had no experience of the madness. I’d been on my feet for nearly 15 hours, just shut the shop door and flipped the open sign to closed when one of my regular customers came in not looking his usual cheery self. His mum had passed. We sat in silence with hot tea. I held his shaking hand for about an hour before he was ready to make her funeral arrangements and then I drove him home. Tone had been taking care of the girls all day and I got back just as they were setting out their mince pies for Santa. He saw the tears in my face as I came in for a big hug. He bolted the door, led me to the spot in front of the fire and deposited Amber and Amy Sienna on my lap for cuddles. Over the next 20 minutes I lost myself in their happy chatter and then the intoxicating smell of vanilla and milky rice as he brought me a bowl of this pudding. It’s become a Christmas Eve ritual ever since.

It’s a very special book and I love the storytelling within. It’s her relaxed and open style that inspired me to do the same – capture moments in time within the pages.

Q: What is your favourite item in your kitchen that you simply couldn’t do without?

A: My Velun. A Velun is a rolling pin. We use it for rotli and other flatbreads. It’s got a slightly thick bit in the middle and this is the part we use to flatten the ball of dough. The outer sides are thin and we apply a little pressure on the right then left and so on. This makes the disc of dough spin to get bigger. It’s very clever.

I’ve had mine since I was in primary school and it travels with me to demos and when I teach at Demuth’s. I have used a wine bottle at friends’ houses but it’s not the same. It’s also handy for smacking naughty husbands who try and steal hot off the pan rotli smothered in ghee before it’s dinner time.

Q: Do you have a favourite song, type of music or podcast you like to cook to?

A: I like a really quiet, calm kitchen to cook in. No music. I like just getting lost in the recipe I’m following or my own thoughts.

Sometimes if I’m making rotli I listen to a podcast. It’s a monotonous, step by step task that requires very little concentration. Roll the dough ball, flatten it, roll into a disc, flour it, roll out into a circle, toss it on the hot griddle, make another dough ball, flatten it, roll it into a disc, flip the rotli on the griddle, back to the disc of dough, flour it, roll it to a circle, flip the one on the griddle one more time and then off, plop the one you just made onto the griddle, put ghee on the hot one and then back to making another dough ball and so on.

I like listening to How to Fail by Elizabeth Day.

A particular favourite is the one with Andi Oliver. That one made me cry and I got flour all over my face wiping the tears away. The one with Delia Smith is also great. 

I wasn’t allowed to fail as a child. My father set high standards for my schoolwork and it wasn’t a happy conversation when I got less than As. It took me a LONG time to accept failing and understand that failure is what helps us grow. Elizabeth is exceptionally good at highlighting the learnings that come from her guests’ failures and is a constant reminder to me that in the grand scheme of things I am not a failure just because I slipped a few As at school.

Q: If you could cook anywhere in the world in any location then where would you choose and what would you cook?

A: Just after I finished filming for Series 2 of Bake Off we went on a holiday to India. Tone and I had been before but this was our first trip with the girls. We were driving from Jaipur to Udaipur when the first episode was aired and I was on Twitter and Facebook all the way to get an inkling of how it was. It was so stressful!

We arrived in Udaipur tired, hot and hungry. After freshening up we went down to the restaurant of the Shiv Nivas Palace Hotel. The one that was in Octopussy where the bad guy stays.

Unfortunately the restaurant was full with an event and their other restaurant was being renovated. Room service was also too busy to take more orders so the waiter sat us down in the courtyard with some drinks while he tried to find a solution. After what seemed like hours he came back and ushered us into the hotel again. We thought they’d sorted out room service but we went a different way. Down a long corridor, through a few sets of locked double doors. Elaborate, wooden doors with intricate carvings and brass handles. The girls were proper grumpy and we had to carry them.

Finally we arrived into a large banquet hall. The Maharaja was not happy that as guests of the hotel we were not able to eat and so had offered us his private kitchen and banqueting suite. Every table was masterfully laid with silver platters, brass goblets, crystal glasses and cutlery. The napkins were made of silk. There was a full kitchen staff to welcome us. They promptly lifted the girls out of our arms and into the kitchen. Ordinarily the girls would have objected but they were so tired they complied. Warm Nankathai biscuits and fresh sugarcane juice perked the girls up and abated my hunger. We were given a tour of the immaculate kitchen before sitting down wherever we wished in the banquet room. We chose middle middle. Dinner was Dhal Makhani, buttered Naan, a myriad of vegetable curries and the poshest pasta with tomato sauce we had ever seen. The waiters served us flamboyantly with flourishes and bows and trays under huge silver domes. It was magical.

I would go back to that kitchen and cook that Dhal. I’d make Naan in that tandoor and learn how to cook the giant prawns on skewers you see on TV. I’d bake those nankathai, simmer some chai to go with them and marvel at the magnificence of the room again.

Q: If you had to give one single piece of advice about cooking to someone then what would that be?

A: If you are making a recipe for the first time always follow it precisely. Then it is much easier to adapt it and get creative. I’m sometimes in such a greedy rush to eat that I skip a step or miss a spice. I never get a good result with this impatient attitude!

Thank you so much Urvashi for sharing these wonderful stories with us.

You can order Biting Biting direct from KP here or in all good book stores.

Picture of Sweet Potato Falafel & Tahini Dressing

Although you may have to make a pitstop to eat them, these falafels taken from a recipe in the up and coming Eat Bike Cook by Kitty Pemberton-Platt and Fi Buchanan are perfect for a cycling lunch, or any other kind of lunch.

This Eat Bike Cook recipe was inspired by the food diary of Sophie Edmondson (a member of the wonderful The 5th Floor Cycling Collective) while taking part in the 200km off-road race the Sussex Mystery Tour and fully illustrated by Kitty for the book.

 

These falafels are so satisfying without being heavy, and the lemon zest and coriander give them an enjoyable freshness. This recipe also makes more than you need for one pitta so make a batch and then freeze them. 

Serves 4

Ingredients for the Eat Bike Cook sweet potato falafels:

About 2 medium sweet potatoes (500g baked flesh)

50g gram flour (chickpea flour)

1/2 tsp baking powder

1 garlic clove, finely chopped

1 1/2 tsp ground cumin

1 1/2 tsp ground coriander

1/4 tsp sea salt

handful of coriander, finely chopped

juice and zest of 1/2 lemon

50ml olive oil

20g sesame seeds

Method:

Preheat the oven to 200 C/180 C fan. Place the sweet potatoes on the top shelf of the oven and bake for approximately 50 minutes, until soft. When cool enough to handle, cut the sweet potatoes in half, scoop out the flesh and discard the skins.

Mash the cooked sweet potato in a large bowl, then add the rest of the ingredients, except for the olive oil. Using the two tablespoons, arrange 12 evenly sized balls of the mixture on a baking tray and sprinkle the sesame seeds over them. Drizzle the rest of the olive oil over the falafels and bake for 15-20 minutes, or until the seeds are brown and the exterior of the falafels is crispy.

Ingredients for the tahini dressing:

1 garlic clove, finely chopped

juice of 1/2 lemon

100g tahini

pinch of salt

pinch of cumin 

Method:

To make the tahini dressing, put all the ingredients in a medium bowl along with 6 tablespoons water and whisk well until combined. Serve three falafels in a warmed pitta bread or tortilla wrap, with salad leaves, tomato and cucumber slices and a drizzle of tahini dressing.

To serve:

4 pittas or wraps

4 handfuls of salad leaves

2 vine tomatoes, sliced

1/4 cucumber, sliced

Wrap tightly in greaseproof paper and/or tin foil.

Then enjoy them on the road!

Eat Bike Cook can be pre-ordered here.

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