Wednesday, 24 May 2017

May 2017 Favourites List

Another month has passed by and it is already time for another favourites list. May has raced by, bringing with it colour, warmth and opportunities for new food, new cooking, new recipes. Spring has brought with it wild garlic, asparagus, Jersey Royal new potatoes, Spring lamb among other treats. 

I have been thinking about food waste recently. It’s very sad that so much food in the western world gets thrown away. Food waste in the home means families are paying more for food than they need to spend. Simple tweaks like recipe planning or buying smaller amounts of food might help prevent this. Savings can be made, particularly on fresh fruit and vegetables bought in excess. Cooking larger dishes at the weekend to freeze for busy weeknights can help avoid ingredient wastage and save time when we have none. With food prices on the rise (and due to increase further), better planning, greater efficiency, ensuring we use everything we buy will help our wages go further. 

But this is a small part of the food waste problem. Commerce must accept the giant’s share of responsibility here. If you buy a sandwich when you’re at work, did you know that some sandwich manufacturers have to throw out 4 slices out of every loaf because the bread won’t make a perfect sandwich? The shops they make sandwiches for require it. What about the misshapen, so-called “ugly” fruit and veg? This doesn’t even make it to the shops to give us the choice of whether we want it or not. It is simply discarded. 

I think we all could do a bit better. Myself included. I’ve been known to pick things up in the shops which looked good at the time, but never quite got finished. I’ve realised shopping when hungry is a bad, bad idea. I’m sharpening up my menu/recipe planning to avoid less.

We can all use a small amount of thought and a tiny amount of effort which will benefit the environment and save us money. Let’s get to it!


A beautiful cakey bread to use up unused, browning, bruised and unattractive bananas… or you can do what my friend does, and buy the overripe bananas especially to make this lovely Banana Bread:

Now is the time for Jersey Royal potatoes. Here are two recipes from former Masterchef winner, Thomasina Miers:

New post from Cookwitch! Persian Khoresh from Sabrina Ghayour (author of Persiana) and some thoughts on food and cooking in general:

No pretty picture, but this pork belly rib recipe from Glynn Parnell is highly likely to be cooked Chez Nous:

Russian kebab recipe from gifted food writer Diana Henry, whose recipes I love to cook:

This vegetarian pea risotto is a traditionally Venetian dish. To make it authentic, use vialone nano risotto rice from the Veneto region of Italy:

Chicken, morel mushroom and asparagus pie. A bottomless pie for ease of preparation and cooking:

This Malaysian dish looks utterly delicious. Time to buy some more glass noodles!

Cool new bau "burger" recipe with braised beef from Chef Jeremy Pang (School of Wok, now Cha Chaan Teng) at the Kavey Eats blog!

Dishoom is a brilliant place for tasty Indian food, inspired by Bombay's disappearing Irani cafes - here is their "gunpowder" potato recipe:

My jeans are fitting a little *too* snugly... so time to go back to the 5:2 diet... Warm chicken and pearl barley salad, only 383 calories.

Articles/Know How:

In the UK we throw away 1.4 million (1,400,000) bananas a year. Because they're going brown on the outside. Seriously, people, this has to stop. End food waste!

Want to know where to get the best Burmese food in London? Check out MiMi Aye's article here:

Ranty, sweary and NSFW, this is an interesting hatchet job on high end restaurants and chef worship.

What you might have missed at Snig's Kitchen:

Recipe blog post - Tuna and bean salad (tuna fagioli):




Animal Kingdom

Dara & Ed’s Road To Mandalay


Line Of Duty (Season 4)

The Doors – The Story Of LA Woman

David Bowie – Five Years

Decline And Fall


Robbie Robertson (Robbie Robertson)

Dial M For Monkey – Bonobo

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, 13 May 2017

Tuna and bean salad (tuna fagioli)

A simple salad, packed with protein and fibre. You can cook the beans in advance and keep them in the fridge, meaning you can cook them when you have time over the weekend and then have the salad on a weeknight. I think that boiling your own beans gives a slightly nicer texture than tinned. If you don't want to bother cooking up the beans, then you will need just under a full tin of cannellini beans. If you prepare the salad and keep the dressing separate, you could take this into work as a packed lunch. Given the Italian influence, it would be nice to eat it outside, rather than "al desko". 

Tuna and bean salad (tuna fagioli)

Serves 2


100g dried cannellini beans, soaked overnight in water
1 tin, line caught tuna steak in oil, broken by hand into chunks
1 big handful of roughly chopped fresh flat leaf parsley
10 ripe cherry tomatoes, halved
1 large red onion, peeled, halved and cut into thin slices (you could use two smaller echalion "banana" shallots instead)


10ml (2 teaspoons) fresh lemon juice
30ml (2 tablespoons) extra virgin olive oil
2ml (just under half a teaspoon) Dijon mustard

Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste


1. Wash the soaked beans. Put in a saucepan, covering in plenty of water. Bring to the boil, ensuring any scum is scraped off. Turn the heat down and simmer for 30minutes to 45minutes or until tender. You want a little bit of "bite", so cook until a little bit firmer than baked beans. Drain, run under the cold tap to arrest the cooking process. Set aside, or refridgerate in a container until needed. 

2. Prepare all the other salad ingredients, and mix together in a large salad bowl. 

3. Take a mug (or a jam jar as advised by Jamie Oliver). Put the mustard in, followed by the lemon juice. Mix up with a spoon so that the mustard is watered down by the lemon juice. Then add the olive oil, stirring until combined. 

4. Dress the salad and turn it over a couple of times to ensure everything is thinly coated with the dressing. 

5. Divide the salad up into two bowls. Season to your taste. 


Sunday, 7 May 2017

Snig's Veggie San Choi Bau

This is a recipe inspired by a Malaysian Chinese restaurant which used to be in Deptford called Kaya House. Ambrose, its genial owner, ran this place with his family, where you were made to feel very at home. Even if your visits were months apart, your name and preferences were somehow remembered and respected. 

The Kaya House San Choi Bau was a vegetarian dish of incredible flavour, balance and wonder. It had some unexpected ingredients, such as pickled cabbage. The stir fried, saucy, tiny vegetable chunks were intended to be spooned into a salad leaf, which was folded around the filling to give a perfect little morsel of food, to be eaten by hand. Somehow, they managed to serve the dish with perfectly round leaves of iceberg lettuce.

There are other San Choi Bau recipes, involving either pork or tofu. I am sure they are delicious. But I wanted to attempt a recreation at the Kaya House dish. I loved that place so much, when I left a job I had in Deptford, I had my leaving do there. Unfortunately, Kaya House closed, taking the secrets of their San Choi Bau recipe with them. This recipe gets close, but until Ambrose and family open a new restaurant, is the best I’m going to get. I don't pretend it is authentic, so any feedback from people familiar with Malaysian Chinese cooking would be appreciated!

Snig's Veggie San Choi Bau


A wok (I used a carbon steel seasoned wok, but you can use any wok you like)

Various bowls and plates for ingredients

(Serves 2)


1 carrot, peeled and diced very finely (between 5mm and 7mm)

6 baby corn, diced very finely (between 5mm and 7mm)

5 mushrooms, diced very finely (between 5mm and 7mm)

3 shallots, peeled, halved then sliced very finely (3-5mm) into half moons

1 pepper (any colour), diced very finely (between 5mm and 7mm)

Bamboo shoots (half a can, drained and rinsed), diced very finely (between 5mm and 7mm)

Petits pois (half a mug of frozen)

2 birds eye (red) chillis, deseeded and diced as small as you can cut them

1” (2.5cm) piece of ginger, peeled, diced as small as you can cut them

4 cloves of garlic, peeled and sliced thinly

2 tbsp groundnut oil

1 romaine lettuce or a couple of little gem lettuces, washed and whole leaves removed

For the sauce:

1 tbsp Shaosing rice wine or Sake

3 tbsp Hoi sin sauce

3 tbsp light soy sauce

1 tbsp oyster sauce

1 tsp fish sauce

2 tsp brown sugar

1 lime, juiced


1. Prepare all the ingredients in advance, as when you start cooking there will not be enough time. Cooking will take place quickly. Either keep the vegetables separately, or put them on plates (or in bowls in the order they are added). Put the prepared chilli, garlic and ginger in a small bowl to one side. Put the sauce ingredients in a mug, and whisk together with a fork until mixed up. 

2. Heat oil in a wok, until very hot or smoking. 

3. Begin by stir frying the carrots and baby corn together. Stir or toss the wok to keep them moving and cook for 1 minute or maybe 2. Turn the heat down if necessary, but try to keep the wok hot. 

4. Add the chilli, ginger and garlic. Stir/toss for 30 seconds, making sure you do not burn the garlic.

5. Now add the mushrooms, shallots, and pepper. Stir fry or toss for 2 minutes.

6. Add the petit pois, stir fry or toss for 1 minute. 

7. Add the sauce ingredients, ensuring the wok is on a high heat. Mix thoroughly, coating all of the vegetables. 

8. Allow the sauce to boil and thicken. Cook in all for about 3 minutes. 

9. Serve immediately in a large bowl with a spoon and the romaine leaves on a separate plate.

9. Spoon the vegetable mix into your leaf, roll ever so slightly and enjoy!