Monday, 26 November 2018

November 2018 Favourites List

The clocks went back and there is a chill in the air. I’m beginning to wonder if it is still Autumn or whether Winter has crept in a little bit too quickly. I’ve dug out my gloves, with a pair stashed in my handbag “just in case”. The light coats have been tucked up for their regular hibernation, since they just can’t keep me snug any more. 

I hope that despite the cold, you are all well, my lovely readers. If you follow me on Twitter or Instagram you will have noticed that I have gone all out for comfort food this season. Casseroles, stews, braises and sauces; the recipes call out to me from my cook books and internet browsing. The slow cooker and cast iron casserole dish have been recommissioned into action!

This weekend, many of you will have been baking your Christmas cakes and cooking up mincemeat, as the last weekend of November is the traditional time to do these things. The cakes will be carefully marinated over the period of Advent as we get closer to the big festivities. I enjoy seeing all the different traditions of Christmas food; gingerbread, mince pies, lebkuchen, made with love and kept ready for the holidays. 

My pictures this month are of a beautiful and inspiring recent piece of street art. “Round About Now” is a huge mural under the railway bridge at Lewisham Station. By Artmongers, the triptych is inspired by the logo of the local council, the London Borough of Lewisham. A group of people joyfully dancing, holding hands in a giant circle, forming a crown. As the artists say “the mural evolves… into a dynamic dance between diverse people having a great time together”. The sunshine colours bring energy and warmth to a little corner which ordinarily would have been walked past, as we rush around trying to get from one place to another. Pausing to take it in, the vibrant colours filled me with warmth on a recent journey into central London.


I hope you enjoy this month’s selection of stuff. 

Food articles and know-how: 

Foodie road trip in Kerala - Spice up a trip to this idyllic corner of south-west India by stopping off for chicken wrapped in cinnamon leaves, coconut dosas and cardamom-laced coffee.

I recently discovered (through another home cooking enthusiast on Twitter) that there is a new(ish) way of speeding up your cooking - the "Instant Pot". It's like a small electronic pressure cooker. Available in Canada, USA and UK:

Diwali, the festival of lights, happened this month. Here is a guide to Diwali celebration food:

A meditation on time, getting older, cooking and Makhan Malai by Aaron Vallance:


Four recipes from Asma Khan, the brains behind the wonderful Darjeeling Express:

Gajjar (carrot) halwa, dill and lamb keema rice, Masoor (red lentil) dahl - three more recipes from Darjeeling Express' Asma Khan:

Thrifty and quick, this Slovakian dish, Haluski, is made of pasta (of your choice), bacon or speck and cabbage. Perfect for weeknight dinner:

The miso ramen soup and Golabki (pork-stuffed cabbage rolls) have caught my eye here - slow cooked recipes by Gizzi Erskine:

Butternut squash risotto is one of my all time favourite cook at home dishes. This version has a twist - barley is used rather than risotto rice.

I've been making a lot of stews, casseroles and comfort dishes recently. Perhaps it is time to think about Autumnal salads. The Warm pear, mushroom and ricotta salad and the Freekeh and chickpea salad with pulled harissa lamb look delicious:

I have just discovered that Aldi sell the little floury soft tacos that you get in Wahaca (the Mexican street food restaurant founded by Thomasina Miers). I think I might have to make this...

Marinaded in olive oil, harissa (chilli paste) and lemon juice, this chicken thigh and chorizo one pot bake can be eaten hot in the weekend, then taken to work and enjoyed cold for packed lunch:

For cooking in either a slow cooker (crock pot), pressure cooker or Instant Pot, here is a Beef stew with carrot and peppers drawing on the flavours of the far east:

Over the weekend I made a beef stew with dumplings. I made mine on the stovetop and finished it in the oven (to bake the dumplings), but this recipe from Janice at Farmer's Girl Kitchen uses a slow cooker:

Chef Jeremy Pang shared his recipe for black pepper glazed brisket bao. I love bao - steamed light buns, filled with deliciousness. Who's going to be giving these a try?

Chef Angela Hartnett's recipe for Mushroom tagliatelle (with fresh, homemade pasta):

For Halloween Waitrose came up with a quirky "Eyeball" cocktail - with lychee and blueberry eyeballs in! I like this idea a lot. But I might just sub out the Cointreau and replace with Plum wine!

My other writing:

Not food writing - but my latest blog post for law students. Law essay 101. For LLB and GDL students.



Still Alice


John & Yoko: Above Us Only Sky


Wild Japan


Johnny Marr – Call The Comet

Nadine Shah - Holiday Destinations

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.