Monday, 30 January 2017

January 2017 Favourites List

After the high of Christmas and New Year’s day, do you find January a bit of a downer? I certainly find January a slog. It’s cold and grey, the days remain short and there isn’t an awful lot to look forward to… 

So to combat the January blues, I’ve been enjoying cooking some deep flavoured, substantial, comforting food to feed the soul and the body. Slow cooking, braising, currying and oven bakes… you get the picture. 

One thing I have definitely not been doing is dieting. Or Dryathlon. Or detoxing. Or “clean eating”. Of course, if you are doing any of those things, I wish you every success. It’s just not for me. I’ve always believed in moderation. And having a little of what you fancy. I have some knowledge of nutrition basics, though I’d never pretend to be an expert, and I try to maintain some form of balance. I have good days and bad days. I don’t beat myself up about having a bad day, I just try to do better the next. 

Life can be demanding. Maintaining a work-life balance can be difficult. What we eat can end up being an afterthought. Skipped a meal? Eat some fast food? Binged on take-away? It’s all right today, just do something different tomorrow. Do your best to do what’s best for you in the time and space that you have.  

If you’re too harsh on yourself, all you do in introduce the guilt monster into your life. There are enough people with a messed up relationship with food as it is. 

Try to look after yourselves, but in a kind and humane way.

This month’s pictures are some recent street art pictures, from Shoreditch.


Wednesday night (25th Jan) is Burns Night. Here's how to make the classic celebratory meal of Haggis, Neeps and Tatties:

Marinaded grilled pork served in lettuce leaves with rice noodles, herbs and dipping sauce:

Cool chorizo recipes... one of my favourite ingredients!

Porridge made not with oats, but leftover rye bread, Scandi style. Soak overnight to have tomorrow morning:

Minestrone soup recipe by award winning chef and cookery school tutor Neven:

Could this be a hug in a bowl? Simon Hopkinson's Coq au Vin, made with red wine:

I've learned two cheeky hacks from Oprah Winfrey's tomato soup recipe. Firstly, to roast the tomatoes in Winter to increase the flavour. Second, using tomato paste (puree) for thickness and intensity. Clever.

Articles/Know How:

New study on the Mediterranean diet and brain health. Lots of veg and olive oil helps preserve brain size/mass as you get older: brain-study-finds-t106694

The latest restaurant scam: if tuna seems too cheap or the source is not stated, it could be dyed to  make it look fresh. Ew!

Since I have been discussing the "Five A Day" guidance on facebook, here's a guide on how to count your five daily portions of fruit and veg:

Further explanation of how the Five a Day system works and what counts:
Is there such a thing as "good" or "bad" food? "Dirty" or "clean" food? Here's an impassioned rant in defence of the current Billy-no-mates of the food world, the humble carbohydrate.

There's nothing wrong with wanting to achieve a more nutritious diet or to lose weight or to cut down on certain things. But don't fall for bad science and false promises:

What food trends, fads and innovations can we expect in 2017? The Telegraph speculates.

What you might have missed at Snig's Kitchen:

Brand new guest post from Linda Poulnott - Pasta casareccia al forno. An authentic Neapolitan (southern Italian) recipe at Snig's Kitchen. Linda's posts are always among my best, well read posts, I am so pleased to host another of her wonderful recipe posts.

My other (non-food) writing:

My review of some of the most significant cases in employment law of 2016:



The Secret Life of Pets

Le Diner Du Cons

David Brent, Life On The Road


Extras, Seasons 1 and 2


Mogwai – Rave Tapes

Leonard Cohen – You Want It Darker

Agnes Obel – Citizen of Glass

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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