Saturday, 26 September 2020

September 2020 Favourites List

Hello my friends!

September is coming to a close and the days in the UK are becoming increasingly chilly. The message is becoming clear that Summer is on its way out and Autumn will be on the way with red russet leaves and cooler weather.

The new academic year has started. and on the course I teach, we will be teaching online this term. The learning curve for teaching synchronously online has been a steep one. Getting used to the technology, the different gadgets you can use and the way of switching from them all, has been quite a challenge! 


I am lucky to have a great group of colleagues and we have been supporting each other by having both organised and impromptu run throughs with the tech. Being able to experiment has definitely built our collective confidence. Training is useful, but there is no substitute for trying it out for yourself.

I find myself teaching students across multiple time zones which is both fascinating and strange. Students are joining my classes during UK daytime and I can see their homes are still bathed in darkness. Sometimes we ask each other where we are, and in a single session I might be crossing 7 or 8 time zones.

We are finding that this new way of working brings new challenges and new perspective. Wish us luck this term.

Here is my regular list of favourite things – recipes, food writing and cultural stuff. I hope you enjoy it!


Gary Fenn’s recipe for Black Forest Doughnuts:

Sabrina Ghayour recipe for beetroot and feta lattice, using vacuum packed cooked beetroot and ready made puff pastry:

Recipe for Indonesian Spiced Corn Fritters (Perkedel Jagung) from Lara Lee’s Indonesian cookbook, Coconut & Sambal:

The three types of Roux, how to make them, and what they can be used for:

Sauteed Onion and Garlic Pak Choi by Hungry Huy:  

Thomasina Meirs’ recipe for Mexican green rice salad:

Aaron and Claire make another great Korean food recipe video – easiest cucumber kimchi:

Ohn no khauk swe (coconut chicken noodles) recipe from the Rangoon Sisters’ new cookbook:

Artist Annie Morris shares her obsession with spaghetti and her recipe for Spaghetti Arrabbiata:



Freekeh with summer vegetables, served with Labneh with sesame and pumpkin seeds, an end of Summer treat from Nigel Slater:

MacDonald’s chef Dan Coudreaut shows how to make the Big Mac sauce at home, for anyone into fake-aways:

Food articles:

What’s in season in September?

A simple, fuss free way to create and maintain a freezer inventory:

The music of food, and a review of Mei Mei Malaysian food at Borough Market by Aaron Vallance:

How to cook quinoa, a video lesson:




Under The Skin


I May Destroy You

Mafia Only Kills In Summer (Mafia Uccide Solo D’Estate) Season 2


World Party – Goodbye Jumbo

Hans Zimmer and Johnny Marr – Freeheld (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)

In My Life, Mojo Presents the new singer-songwriters - Various Artists (October 2020 issue) 

Please note: as with every monthly Favourites List, all of these items have been selected by me simply because I love them. I do not receive any money, benefits in kind or other incentive for posting these links or recommendations.   

Tuesday, 25 August 2020

August 2020 Favourites list

Hello friends,

Well, this is embarrassing, isn’t it? Another month has passed and I’ve still no news to share with you.

So perhaps I will forgo this month’s introduction. I don’t have anything new to tell you!

I hope you are all enjoying good healt

h and that you are safe and well.

Please dig into this collection of recipes, food writing and other cultural picks. I’m sure you will find something which appeals to you.


Recipe for three pea tagine (whole chick peas, chana dahl and green peas) from Sally Butcher’s new book “Meze: Snacks, small plates and street food from the Middle East”:

Kohl rabi and fennel salad, with a tahini, maple syrup, olive oil and miso dressing:

Chinese style “Bolognese” with chilli bean sauce, hoisin, oyster, soy sauce, beer and tomatoes. Perfect with noodles:


No bake apricot and chocolate energy bars with mixed seeds:

Low and slow oven cooked pork shoulder with pico de gallo from Food I Fancy’s Tash:

Jamaican rum punch for Summertime sunshine:

Burmese (Myanmar) recipes from the Rangoon Sisters, (who are NHS doctors, Supperclub hosts and now cook book authors):  

Easy onion and garlic pak choi (or bok choy):

Three lunchtime salad grain bowls to make ahead (with quinoa, bulghur wheat and couscous):

Meera Sodha’s recipe for strawberry and fennel kulfi (Indian ice cream):

Skye McAlpine’s recipe for a flourless chocolate, chestnut and rosemary cake:

Literary cocktails - Charles Bukowski’s Boilermaker, Ian Fleming’s Vesper Martini and Jane Austen inspired Negus:

Sweet potato with corn, feta and red pepper, summer vegetables with tonnato dressing, watermelon with ajo blanco, and Asian slaw with peanut dressing – four salads for (socially distanced) picnics or barbeques:

Beyond Ramdon: 1001 Things to do with Instant Noodles:

Fennel and sausage orecchiette pasta:

Mohinga is a breakfast institution in Myanmar. Here is how to make this Burmese classic from storecupboard ingredients, recipe by Mandalay author MiMi Aye:

Food articles:

What’s in season in August:

Some thoughts on food and well-being and whether your diet affects your mental health:

Farmer’s Girl Kitchen’s writer Janice shares her memories of Venice along with three recipe for Cicchetti (Venetian open sandwiches):

What you might have missed at Snig's Kitchen:

A vegan and vegetarian recipe for fried Okra (bhindi bhaji):

Freezer ragu sauce means one lot of cooking and 10 portions of delicious pasta sauce, for lockdown and beyond: 

My other writings

Methodology matters; a blog post for LLM students writing their practice focussed dissertation:


The Imposter


Mafia Only Kills In Summer (Mafia Uccide Solo D’Estate) Season 1


Khruangbin – Mordechai

Nitin Sawhney – Prophesy

The Best of REM (IRS years)

Please note: as with every monthly Favourites List, all of these items have been selected by me simply because I love them. I do not receive any money, benefits in kind or other incentive for posting these links or recommendations.   

Sunday, 26 July 2020

July 2020 Favourites List

I am back for another favourites list. Hope your month has been a good one.

I am hoping that you are all safe and well. I am sending you all warm wishes for your good health and safety.

What have I been doing? Not much which is noteworthy, I'm afraid. I have been working from home, doing things online and virtually, rather than in person. My workplace has still not yet opened up the buildings for us to have access, so travelling into Central London is not something I need to do yet. I'm lucky to be in employment in these uncertain times, and even more fortunate my work can currently be done online. 

Being at home has resulted in more time spent cooking, and more time spent in the garden. Looking for kitchen inspiration has become more important now than ever, and I am digging out my old cook books and scouring websites for ideas. I'm chatting about food online with my friends, and we are often swapping recipes, tips and ideas. There are some great foodie reads out there, with the Vittles newletter being a welcome new guest to my inbox. Initially conceived by Eater London writer (and mango lover) Jonathan Nunn as a food newsletter for these new and strange times, it has grown into a place for diverse, thoughtful, beautiful food writing and unique one-off artwork. You can investigate and/or sign up here:

The current "new normal" in England involves wearing face coverings on public transport and in shops. It's a small, but effective way of keeping ourselves and other people safe. There are some who are resisting the requirement, but I think we are all generally thoughtful and considerate people, and from what I have seen most people are sticking to the rules. Maybe some of the refusers will change their mind, as they see public opinion is supportive of looking after each other. We shall see, as it is early days. 

Restaurants have been reopening these last two weeks. Some are simply ensuring they have social distancing. Others are taking greater additional precautions such as staff wearing masks, temperature testing customers before allowing them entry, asking people to sanitise hands on arrival and limiting the number of people going to the bathroom. The challenges faced by the hospitality industry are enormous and I am hoping that my favourite business, large and small, local and further afield are able to come through these difficult times.

Maybe I should have done what all the motivation people on social media told me to do with this time.... like write my first novel, learn a language, start my own business. But I think that's easy to say in the abstract when you aren't thinking about how difficult lockdown and social distancing can be. I've managed to get work stuff done. I've also succeeded in sitting down at my computer each day having showered, washed my hair and gotten dressed. I say that's good enough. Some of us have found these times a real strain, and if you found some days too much to take, I do understand. There have been days staying in my dressing gown all day, doing very little, has been tempting.

My students have been doing the best they can to prepare for next month's centrally set knowledge exams. Trying to revise the highly technical and fiddly subjects of civil and criminal litigation, and the nuanced and practical professional ethics in these conditions has undoubtedly been more stressful for them. I've been hearing from some of them, as they do their best to stay focussed and motivated on their revision. I am so impressed by their resilience, resolve and determination. Please join me in wishing them every success.  

So, onto this month's collection of the stuff which has kept me going this month.
Mildred's is a brilliant vegetarian restaurant in London. From their cookbook, this is their roasted vegetable and puy lentil salad:

An excellent critique of how badly the Times got their report on the Bon Appetit fiasco wrong by Jonathan Nunn and some thoughts on Sambal, with a recipe by Lara Lee:

Turkish Lahmacun (minced lamb topped baked flatbreads) rolled with salad is a favourite of mine. Here is a recipe for making them at home, from Kavey:
Romy Gill’s radish recipes:

Coleslaw with sesame and charred chillies recipe

Stale bread, ripe tomatoes and olive oil combine with store cupboard ingredients to make Tuscan salad Panzanella:
Kim Neilsen recreates a Danish stew of pork loin and wiener sausages from his childhood:
Bored of the same old salad dressing? Here are 10 simple quick dressings to help you mix it up a little.
Pasta all'Amatrice, bucatini pasta with a sauce of pancetta, tomatoes:

Karen Gokani, the director of Hoppers in London, shares four Sri Lankan seafood recipes, Banana leaf mackerel, devilled prawns, Mussels hodi and pol sambol:

Food articles and writing: 

What is in season in July?

Some philosophical thoughts about recipes. Are we becoming too constrained? With some interesting insights into Covid-19 era cooking.

After recent revelations and many apologies from leading media outlets, there is still much which needs to be done to fix the racism in food writing and media:

What you might have missed at Snig's Kitchen:

My vegan and vegetarian recipe for Okra fritters (bhindi bhaji):

Burning Spear – Marcus Garvey/Garvey’s Ghost
Julia Holter - Have You In My Wilderness
Nick Drake - Bryter Layter

Music writing:
"Greek, withouth the sex: Nick Drake and John Martyn's folk bromance" - an account of Beverley and John Martyn's friendship with Nick Drake:

The Luminaries
Radiohead at Glastonbury 1997
The Cure at Glastonbury 2019
Beyonce at Glastonbury 2011
David Bowie at Glastonbury 2000

The Lady In The Van

Please note: as with every monthly Favourites List, all of these items have been selected by me simply because I love them. I do not receive any money, benefits in kind or other incentive for posting these links or recommendations.