And as I hath forthtoldeth, so it hath cometh to pass....... We are in assessment season. A time of fear, anxiety and hardship. My poor students have just taken an advocacy assessment and an exam testing their drafting skills. They are also working towards a hand in of some written work and are preparing for some very taxing knowledge exams. They are stressed and tired. The tutors are in the middle of marking whilst teaching. We are all struggling to stay energised and enthusiastic. Thankfully, Spring is around the corner, and spirits will lift as the days get steadily longer and brighter.
I am still very much minded to eat and cook Wintry comfort food. I am not yet ready for salads and light bites. So pastas, soups and stews remain what is going on down in this neck of the woods.
My enormous headphones are more than earning their keep as earmuffs as well as delivering tunage to my frostbitten ears.
So here are my selections for the month.
Since Chinese New Year was earlier this month, on Sunday February 10th, I am using pictures from my trip to China with a theme of good luck and blessings. These prayer offerings are tied by people at many temples and shrines in China. These pictures were taken at the Daoist in the oldest remaining part of Chongqing.
Blogs worth following:
An engaging blogger, perhaps not as snobby a the name suggests: http://thefoodsnobuk.wordpress.com/
Dreaming of visiting Vietnam? Check out: http://stickyrice.typepad.com/my_weblog/
Jack Knight - the Knight of the Round Table: http://theknightoftheroundtable.blogspot.co.uk/
Mummy I Can Cook blog: http://mummyicancook.blogspot.co.uk/
For Mardi Gras (AKA Pancake Day on Tuesday 12 February): http://www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyle/2013/feb/10/nigel-slater-pancake-recipes
Warming Turkish minced lamb stew: http://mediterraneanturkishfoodpassion.blogspot.co.uk/2011/04/chickpeas-with-ground-lamb-kuzu-kymal.html
For food fans on a budget, a simple and cheap pasta bake: http://bluekitchenbakes.blogspot.co.uk/2013/01/cheesy-mushroom-pasta-bake.html
Spicy sausage rolls with red wine sauce for very cold days by Nigel Slater: http://www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyle/2012/oct/21/nigel-slater-sausage-rolls-potato-wedges
Madhur makes Moghlai curry with beef (reckon you could use lamb equally well!): http://www.mykitchentable.co.uk/index.php/2011/09/madhur-jaffrey-beef-baked-withyoghurt-and-black-pepper/
A good way of eating oily fish: http://www.domesticsluttery.com/2013/01/sluttishly-savoury-thai-salmon-curry.html
An alternative Pollo al Ajillo (Chicken with garlic Spanish style: http://azaharskitchen.wordpress.com/2013/01/14/pollo-al-ajillo-con-espinacas/
Tinned tomatoes - an indispensable staple in my house: http://www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyle/2013/jan/25/tinned-tomato-recipes-fearnley-whittingstall
How to cook the perfect steak: http://thefoodsnobuk.wordpress.com/2012/11/04/how-to-cook-the-perfect-steak/
Angela Hartnett's simple pasta dish uses chestnuts. I can still find them fresh at my local Turkish grocers. Middle eastern and Turkish grocers also sell ready cooked packets of chestnuts. They are labelled Kestane Kebap. They are really useful and save work and hassle since they are also ready peeled! http://www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyle/2013/jan/16/fettuccine-with-bacon-chestnuts-recipe
Ramen really seems to be all the rage at the moment: http://www.editer.com/food-drink/ramen-recipe/
Italian style tapas dish from Gwyneth's blog: http://goop.com/recipes/small-bites/zuchinni-fritti
List of oily and lean fish for healthy eating: http://www.cookuk.co.uk/freezer/fish-oily-lean.htm
Where to get Fish n Chips in the Big Smoke: http://www.timeout.com/london/restaurants/londons-best-fish-and-chip-restaurants-1
A really interesting idea about how to make existing recipes leaner, healthier and 'cleaner' by ingredient substitution: http://www.thegraciouspantry.com/clean-eating/food-substitution-chart/
Food fraud; horsemeat, fake duck, dodgy halal meat and products which claim to be
organic which are not: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-21381689
Alternative fillings for won ton wrappers: http://www.foodrepublic.com/2013/02/14/your-daily-lunch-hack-10-clever-ways-fill-wonton-w
A guide for all of us who can't tell our bhindi from our gajjar - Indian names for fruit and vegetables: http://www.tastyappetite.net/2013/02/glossary-of-indian-vegetable-fruits_8883.html
Toy Story 3
Ren Harvieu - Through The Night
Joni Mitchell - Blue
The Smiths - Hatful of Hollow
Stevie Wonder - Innervisions
Fleetwood Mac - Rumours