Thursday, 24 December 2020

December 2020 Favourites list

We have made it to the end of 2020. And what a year it has been! We've found ourselves feeling a wide spectrum of emotions, taking us to places we never thought we would be. In the meantime, we've spent much of the year at home, going nowhere. What a contradiction!

I realise I have been very lucky this year. I am still in work, and I have been able to adapt to a new way of working, by teaching on line and students attending classes remotely. Of course, it isn't the same, trying to form a bond with students via a webcam and PC, but I can see how hard my students have been working, and how they have tried, against the odds, to engage with the course and connect with me. They have shown such resilience, fortitude and maturity, I am so impressed and inspired by them.

Many people have lost their jobs or been put on lengthy furloughs this year, challenges I can hardly imagine. Many have lost loved ones, or been unwell themselves. This pandemic has turned lives upside down. If this is what has happened to you, I would like to extend you a virtual hug.

We had our first true ray of hope this month, with the roll out of the vaccine. I was very cheered to see today a photo my friend sent me. His mum had her vaccine yesterday, and the doctors gave her a jaunty little pin badge which says "I've had my Covid vaccine". Looking forward to the day we can all wear ours with pride. 

I would like to wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. May 2021 be a year of hope and happiness for you all.

This month's favourites list has photos of some of my recent home cooking creations. I hope you like them.


Soup recipes by Stosie Madi: a lemony lentil and chard soup from the Levant, a lazy bowl of ham hock and squash, a game bird and barley broth, and a fish soup:

Angela Hartnett's simple Chorizo, kale and lentil salad:

This garlic chilli prawn recipe from Pinch of Nom is full of flavour, yet surprisingly low in calories. Diet food with flavour is making cutting down a little bit easier:

How to make your own Za'atar for Middle Eastern cookery.


Seven Indian fish dishes to make at home; curries, fried, marinaded, from all over the subcontinent.

Nik Sharma shares two recipes, for red lentil dal with carrots, pumpkin and fried ginger, and sweet-and-sour pork tempered with ginger and curry leaves:

No cook tamarind chutney for bhajis, pakoras and fritters from Maunika Gouwardhan:

Nut roast is often a great vegetarian main course for Christmas. Here is the Vegetarian Society's trouble shooting tips and a recipe:

What to do with leftover cooked Turkey? How about a Turkey and glass noodle salad. (I would use Mung bean noodles for this one, personally.)

Vegan Cobb salad - a recipe from The Cheesecake Factory:

Food articles:

What is in season in December?

A food and drink directory to help prepare for Christmas:

Every home baker will be wanting a leopard print shower cap for Christmas, thanks to Nigella Lawson:

A beautiful trip down memory lane as Kavey reminisces about her experiences of a British Asian Christmas. Just lovely.

Food TV to watch while you're stuck indoors:

Which storecupboard ingredients are best to buy in for Winter cooking?


Looking for cookbook inspiration? Here is Kavey's collection of best cookbooks from 2020:

How to use a humble silicon ice cube tray and your freezer to create "flavour bombs". These can be herb pastes, curry pastes, caramelised onions or something else. Use your imagination!

Romesh Ranganathan's confessions of a take away addict: 

My other writing

How to answer civil litigation exam questions on the Bar Course:

My updated post on what to do over the Christmas break for Bar Course students.





The Big Sick

It's A Wonderful Life



The Valhalla Murders


Bruce Springsteen - A Letter To You

A Winged Victory For The Sullen – ATOMOS

Daughter – If You Leave

Pet Shop Boys - Actually

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.   

Saturday, 21 November 2020

November 2020 Favourites List

Hello readers and friends,

It's time for another favourites list and I am posting this from UK Lockdown 2.0. I haven't quite lost the extra pounds I put on from last time (I have lovingly called it my Lockdown Belly). So right now, I'm doing my best to control my food impulses. Wish me luck! Thanks to the recommendations of friends, I have discovered the Pinch of Nom website. They have a keen sense food fans want big flavours, and that we can't bear some of the bland "diet" food which is so often found in the supermarket. 

Before this second UK lockdown, I had reason to pop into the workplace. On my way home, my regular train was cancelled, so I had to find another route home. In a moment of sheer serendipity, I ended up travelling via Lewisham station, to find freshly painted street art at the building site immediately outside. 

I love the imagination of contemporary street art, and the diversity of styles the artists have. Some street art is rooted in graffiti art, some inspired by comics and cartoons, some owes more to fine art, some is political, some satirical, some of it packs a message. It brightens up the urban environment and always brings colour to bustling streets. 

So this month's pictures are of the Lewisham station street art, taken back when it was fresh. You can almost smell the paint.


It might not be January, but as the days get shorter and chillier, here is a comforting fish pie recipe:

Autumnal tray bakes from Yotam Ottolenghi: Five-a-day (root vegetable) toad-in-the-hole, Curried butternut and coconut gratin, Berbere-spiced chicken, carrots and chickpeas:

Grilled corn succotash, a light bite or side dish from Janice at Farmer’s Girl Kitchen blog:

Ragu sauce (what some call Bolognese, although it isn’t strictly accurate) takes so long to make, you might as well make lots and use it for several meals. Here’s an smart idea for when you have too much ragu, but don’t feel like having it with pasta or potatoes – “Bolognese” garlic bread:

JalapeƱo Brined Fried Chicken and Homemade Chicken Fat Tortilla Tacos from Niamh at Eat Like a Girl:

Green Couscous With Prawns from the new cookbook Roasting Pan Suppers by Rosie Sykes, as featured at Kavey Eats:

A vegan and vegetarian mushroom soup from Jacqueline Meldrum at Tinned Tomatoes:

Food writing:

Aaron Vallance has explored a brief history of food and drink in five objects, as inspired by the collection of the British Museum:

The history of chicken tikka masala:

The ingenious and sneaky ways supermarkets encourage you to spend more money than you need to:

What you might have missed at Snig’s Kitchen

Recipe post – Spicy prawns with pooris:

My other writing

A guide for Bar Course advocacy students on the “legal test” in civil procedural submissions:


Small Axe: Mangrove

Dark Waters


Anthony Bourdain – A Cook’s Tour

Top of the Pops – The Story of 1983


Yazoo – Upstairs At Eric’s

Neil Young with Crazy Horse – Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere

Mogwai – Every Country’s Sun

Pet Shop Boys - Introspective

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.