Wednesday, 11 December 2019

Pork Katsu Curry for cheaters

Katsu is a wonderful Japanese food creation. Sure, there are other versions of it around the world, like Schnitzel, but there’s something about katsu. I think it is the unique texture and lightness of Panko breadcrumbs. They are, in my opinion, the best breadcrumbs in the world. I have no idea how to make them, so I confess I buy them in. 

Katsu can be served with a fruity sauce or curry sauce. If you are lucky and get to visit Japan, you will find specialist katsu restaurants. These take crispy, breaded cutlets to a new level. Elevated to lovingly made, art form, they are crunchy and crisp on the outside and soft and tender on the inside. Sometimes they will do a cheeky little tempura on the side. 

As I have confessed, I buy readymade Panko breadcrumbs. Other breadcrumbs, I might be prepared to make out of stale bread. Another thing I buy in is Japanese curry sauce. 

Japanese grocers sell many different curry sauce products. I favour the curry cubes, which are sold in little flat boxes with trays of solidified curry concentrate, waiting to be broken up and brought back to life. 

Here is my pork katsu curry for cheaters like me. I hope you like it. I got my ingredients from the Japan Centre and See Woo. Hopefully they are not difficult for you to find. 

Pork Katsu Curry for cheaters

Serves 2


2-3 pork loin chops

1 egg

Panko breadcrumbs

Plain flour

Salt and pepper

Vegetable oil

Half a mug of frozen peas

1 carrot, peeled and cut into thin slices of 4-5mm

1 potato, peeled and cut into

1 onion, peeled and finely diced

Japanese curry sauce block

400 ml water

Japanese rice, cooked, to serve

A dessert spoon of pickled red ginger, to serve

A sprinkle of toasted sesame seeds, to serve [optional]

1. Beat the egg in a mug with a fork. 

2. Using a meat tenderiser, smash the pork loin chops until around half and inch (1cm) thick and flat. 

3. Set up three plates, which should be at least as large as the now-smashed pieces of pork. One should have Panko breadcrumbs (around two handfuls), one should have the beaten egg. The last should have plain flour, which you will need to season with salt and pepper.

4. In a small pan, fry the onion until soft in a little vegetable oil (10 minutes).

5. In the meantime, parboil the carrot and potato in another pan (10-12 minutes). 

6. Take the pork pieces and initially dip in the flour, then the egg, then the breadcrumbs. Make sure the pork is covered liberally in the breadcrumbs to give lots of crunch.

7. Break up the curry sauce block or curry cubes, and combine with the water in a pan, when the curry has dissolved, put on the heat and add the onion, carrot and potato. Heat gently for 8 minutes. 

8. Fry the breaded pork for 6 minutes in all, three minutes each side. It should be a lovely golden brown. 

9. Add the peas to the curry sauce and continue to cook for another 2-3 minutes. 

10. Carefully cut the pork katsus into one inch thick (2.5cm) slices.

11. Serve up with cooked rice at the bottom, then the sauce, then the katsu slices. Put the pickled ginger on the side. Top with toasted sesame seeds, if using. 

Tuesday, 26 November 2019

November 2019 Favourites List

Street art is a great love of mine. Once upon a time, it used to divide opinion and some saw it as little more than vandalism. But now it is seen as a sign of renewal, and councils and local authorities are welcoming and commissioning new artworks to bring colour and joy to neighbourhoods. 

This month's pictures are of a gigantic and beautiful new street artwork in Ladywell, near Lewisham. One side welcomes people to the "Village" of Ladywell, which is a cute little area that remarkably does feel like a village in the middle of London! The other....

The other side is a huge mural, in the greens, creams and purples of the Suffragette movement, celebrating the struggle for universal suffrage. Last year was the 100th anniversary of the first rights of UK women to vote. The UK were following the lead of the Isle of Man, New Zealand and Canada. Those first UK rights were a big step, and make an anniversary worthy of celebration. However, women had to own property and be over the age of 30, in sharp contrast with the position of men under that same the law of 1918, who received unqualified voting rights to men over the age of 21. Eventually, in 1928, ten years later, women received the right to vote at 21 without the need to own property.

This particular artwork celebrates the suffragettes and Rosa May Billinghurst in particular. She was a Lewisham based campaigner for votes for women. She campaigned in her tricycle, after a bout of polio meant she was unable to walk. The police took advantage of her disability, letting the tyres down on her tricycle to prevent her joining protestsand even tipping her out of her tricycle! But Rosa was made of stronger stuff. A regular protester who was arrested multiple times, she eventually joined the hunger strike for votes for women, becoming severely ill in the process. Rosa was awarded a Hunger Strike Medal For Valour by the Women's Social and Political Union for her efforts. 

Learning about Rosa has made me realise that wherever you live, there is hidden history. There are hidden heroes. Born in 1875, in Rosa's day and age, women had little power and disabled people were not expected to campaign and protest. Rosa May Billingham is an inspirational woman, one the people of Lewisham can be proud of. 

My pictures don't properly capture the sheer size and ambition of the artwork. But nevertheless, I hope you enjoy my photos, some feature the detail of the mural. 

I should add that today is the last day for registering to vote in the UK general election. You have until 23:59 to register. The brave Suffragettes didn't just fight for votes for women, but votes for people of all classes, including those without property. Register to vote and vote in the election to honour them.

Food writing: 
An excellent and informative book review of MiMi Aye's Mandalay Burmese cookbook by Nicky Bramley at Kavey Eats blog. I am slowly cooking my way through this wonderful cookbook. One for your kitchen shelf!
What's in season for November? Parsnips, pears, celeriac and kale:
A thoughtful article about New York's famous Jewish delis, focussing in particular on Gottlieb's in Williamsburg:
17 supermarket houmous products recalled over possibility of salmonella: Aldi, ASDA, Lidl, Morrisons, Sainsbury's and Spar affected.

How to make your cooking Masterchef worthy:
What might be a food trend in 2020? The Indy asked Whole Foods. Do you agree?


Batch cooking at the weekend can help cut the work in making midweek suppers. Here are some ideas for Autumn:
Jamie Oliver is exploring meat free eating with his new book. Whether you are vegetarian or flexitarian, these recipes look worth a try. I particularly like the look of the stuffed aubergines.
Lamb Cutlets With Mint, Chilli & Golden Potatoes. The potatoes here are steamed and then fried, to make them golden and delicious. From Nigella Lawson:

I would make this in my cast iron casserole pan, herby cream sauce with chicken thighs and mushrooms. Comforting and Autumnal!
If you're going to make a Jack O'Lantern for Halloween, please don't waste the insides of your pumpkin! Here's a pumpkin soup recipe to warm you up and prevent food wastage:

When I am at work, I'll confess, I'm lazy and if I make porridge, it is in the microwave. But at the weekend, taking my time is more possible. This is a herby and gently spiced take on humble porridge:
I love Sake with Japanese food, its flavours are always clear, precise and delicate. It seems to me to be incredible something made from rice can smell flowery or have flavours like wood or aniseed. But Sake can also be used for cocktails, and here is a Sake Cider Fizz for Sunday afternoon!
Want to get ahead this weekend for next week's food? This is a freezable and reheatable soup. Celeriac, bacon and pearl barley soup:

It is Bonfire Night tomorrow, and jacket potatoes have often been a staple - easy to wrap up in foil and eat with your hands. This is like a fish pie and jacket potato combo for standing out in the cold and watching the fireworks:

Su Scott grew up in Seoul, South Korea, where kimchi is a very important part of the food culture. Here is her kimchi jjigae recipe - a stew for ripened kimchi, with mushrooms and tofu. This recipe won the Observer Food Monthly 219 award for best reader's recipe:

What you might have missed at Snig's Kitchen: 

Double spiced parsnip soup - a soup of serendipity:

The story of the Billable Hour Cookbook. Features a legendary crumble, an intrepid editor and the lawyers of Twitter and their friends. All working together to raise money for Save The Children:

My other writings: 

Starting your civil submission - an advocacy blog post:

5 steps to take when you haven't passed an exam:


Plebs Season 5
World On Fire

Nils Frahm – Felt

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.