Thursday, 21 January 2016

January 2016 Favourites List

Happy New Year, readers! Please forgive me for expressing this wish fairly late in January. I have sadly had little time for blogging this month, which I hope to correct as the year progresses.

For me, 2016 started excellently. I was travelling around the Western Cape area of South Africa, enjoying Cape Town, the Wine Country and the Garden Route. Beautiful places, full of natural beauty, with wonderful food, world class wines and fantastic people.

Coming home to the cold is always a bit of a shocker. But I returned to the cold (and the arduous commute from South East London to the centre of town) and then was struck the blow of discovering that David Bowie, a musical hero of mine and an undoubted legend, had passed away. I hope I won't be ridiculed, but I cried real, large, heartily sobbed tears on the day his death was announced. I don’t intend to write a eulogy or obituary here. Many have already done so, and in better fashion than I can manage. I simply trust that this disclosure may explain the unifying theme to the music section of this month’s Favourites List. 

To cheer you up, since I know many of you have been mourning the loss of David Bowie, Alan Rickman and Glenn Frey, I thought I’d share some fun and colourful pictures of Cape Town’s Bo Kaap area. This is a Muslim neighbourhood of Cape Town where the residents celebrate their heritage and nationality by painting their houses in vivid and vibrant colours. In the intense and bright sunshine of the Western Cape, the colours appear more pure and searing. I hope you like them.


Spicy, marinaded pork belly you can cook indoors in the cold Winter but can be upgraded to grill cooking outdoors later in the year.

Sea bass is in season, try Cyrus Todiwala’s Indian stuffed sea bass with a tomato patia, influenced by his Parsee heritage. Don’t fear cooking fish!

Seasonal persimmons baked into a fragrant cake by Lisa at Cookwitch Creations:

Risotto reimagined: pearl barley is the star here, in place of risotto rice.

Wahaca's Thomasina Meirs' new recipes: chicken in fragrant broth and udon noodles with spring greens, for post festive season light eating:

Finger food is always more fun! Minted lamb lollipops with mint sauce dip:

Articles/Know How:

As the temperature drops, a mug of hot chocolate is like a warming hug. Here are some tips on making fab hot chocolate:

Jay Rayner nails what goes wrong in restaurants. Only a couple of weeks ago, I had my order taken "sans notebook". Him Indoor's dish was forgotten by our waiter. Unless you are a memory champion, write my order down!

A very different view on the food trends for this new year. Restaurants you can hear your conversation in? South Indian/Sri Lankan hoppers? I like what I see!

Diana Henry on stir frying, including seasoning a wok (only works with steel woks with no non-stick coating):

Other lovely stuff:


Mr Holmes

Testament Of Youth


The Martian


Sherlock (New Years Day 2016 Edition)

Luther (Season 4)


David Bowie – Hunky Dory

David Bowie – The Next Day

David Bowie - The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars

David Bowie – Scary Monsters (And Super Creeps)

David Bowie - Blackstar

The Maccabees – Marks To Prove It

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.

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