Monday, 7 October 2019

French "country" style pork chops

The heating has been switched on both at home and at work. I've got my "Big Coat" and gloves out. The season has turned and Autumn is here. When this happens, I crave comfort food. 

This is a French inspired recipe, using Autumnal porcini mushrooms and courgettes. I used "single clove" garlic, although you do not have to. You could simply use 2-3 cloves of regular garlic.

Because you cook the chops and the sauce in the same frying pan, you save on washing up!

Serves 2-3

10g dried porcini
120g button mushroom, sliced
1 onion, finely chopped
1 leek, topped, tailed and cut into half moons
1 "single clove" garlic bulb, peeled and very finely diced
1 courgette, partially peeled, halved and finely sliced
125ml creme fraiche (I used reduced fat, but do not feel obliged!)
3 pork chops
200ml white wine
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1 tbsp fresh/frozen tarragon leaves, chopped
olive oil
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper

You will need a large frying pan with a lid.


1. Soak the porcini in hot water for at least 30 minutes.

2. Drain the porcini, reserving the water, and chop finely.

3. Pour some olive oil into a non-stick pan and heat up. When hot, add the pork chops.

4. Cook the pork chops for 2 minutes on each side, and remove from the heat. 

5. Put the same pan back on the hob, adding a little more olive oil if needed. Reheat and add the onions. Fry the onions for 5 minutes on a medium heat, until beginning  to soften.

6. Add the garlic, leeks, porcini and mushrooms. Mix well.  Put the lid on and cook on a low heat for 8-10 minutes.

7. Add the courgettes, mix well. Cook with the lid on for another 2-3 minutes. 

8. Add the white wine and 3 tablespoons of the porcini water. Cook on a high heat with the lid off until the wine smell has disappeared and the sauce is beginning to thicken.

9. Add the tarragon, Dijon mustard and reduced fat creme fraiche. Mix well. 

10. Once mixed put the pork chops back into the pan. Cover with the sauce. Replace the lid and cook on a low heat for another 10 minutes. 

11. Serve with mashed potatoes (made with milk, butter and freshly ground black pepper) and steamed mange tout.

Saturday, 28 September 2019

September 2019 Favourites List

It's the start of a new academic year and I am meeting my new students. After many years of working in Higher Education, I have got used to the idea of the "new year" starting in September. It feels a lot like being a schoolgirl!

My new students are finding their way around their new course, and the considerably different way of working. It's all very practical, problem solving and focussed. The recent rain has meant they have not been able to enjoy being in legal London as much as they could. But hopefully we will have a few dry and bright days before the season changes. 

That feeling of the change of the season has inevitably had an effect on my thoughts about cooking and eating. I'm beginning to think more and more about soups, and less about salads. I'm sure I will be digging out the slow cooker and planning out more casseroles and stews as the leaves and temperature drops. 

I am sharing some of my recent home cooking escapades with you this month. Hope you like some of my food creations. 

So, now, without further ado, here are my favourite things this month. 

Hawaiian style Poke

Fruity, fresh, with a little kick, this citrussy salad from Reggae Reggae man Levi Roots might make your tongue sing:
Enjoy the last days of Summer sunshine with this Sweetcorn Chowder recipe from Nigel Slater:
I wouldn't make these for breakfast. More of a weekend brunch, in a burger bun with a little salad and sauce or relish. Bon Appetit's "breakfast sausage" recipe:-

MiMi Aye's second cookbook Mandalay explores Burmese food. Her first, "Noodle!" explored the world of noodles. Here are some recipes from that book:

Dan Dan Mian (Dan Dan Noodles)

Sick of sandwiches? Here’s a pasta carbonara recipe which can be made using a microwave oven:

My parents would often bring home Kachoris from the Indian shops in Hounslow or Southall. They were magical spherical parcels of spice and joy. Until I saw this recipe, I would never have considered making them at home (vegetarian and vegan):

Food writing and articles:

Interesting to see this new restaurant trend in the USA (and in Peru!) - providing snuggly blankets for customers. As a person who often feels chilly in Autumn and Winter, I hope it takes off in the UK.

Spanish bomba rice with prawns and peas

Want some cooking inspiration? Sarah Cowen reviews Leah Koenig's The Jewish Cookbook at Kavey Eats blog.

What is in season this month? September and what to be cooking with:

What you might have missed at Snig’s Kitchen

Office workers! Students! Only have access to a microwave oven or kettle at work? Noodle queen MiMi Aye has a lunch hack to save us all!

Salmon Teriyaki




Hatton Garden

Pet Shop Boys – Live at Hyde Park

Fleetwood Mac's Songbird: Christine Mcvie

The Mash Report

Nitin Sawnhey - Prophecy

Bruce Springsteen - The Ghost of Tom Joad 

Fleetwood Mac - Rumours

Sesame pork meatballs with pak choi and noodles
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. 

Monday, 26 August 2019

August 2019 Favourites List

Meltdown Festival is a music festival with a difference. Starting on a Saturday and ending the following Sunday, it stretches luxuriously over 9 days. This means you never have to worry about acts clashing. You can see whoever takes your fancy. Because the festival is at London’s South Bank, there’s no camping or concerns about British weather or any need for wellies. Each year’s festivities is put together by a music icon, so you get to immerse yourself in their tastes and influences. 

This year, Nile Rodgers, songwriter, producer, guitar legend and king of disco was the “curator” of the festival. Naturally, there was a lot of focus on guitar music. But Nile is a man of varied tastes, so his selections took in jazz, blues, indie and, of course, funk. 

I was lucky enough to see Nile Rodgers speak about his career and his many fruitful musical collaborations. He even treated us to the earliest ever demo of David Bowie’s “Let’s Dance”, having told us the most thrilling history of that particular song. Who knew Bowie originally wrote it as a folk rock song? And who would believe we would get to hear Bowie slowly appreciating how it could work as a funk rock song? Only Nile Rodgers could have been responsible for that sound and that radical change of direction. 

Nile Rodgers brought his band along with him, and seeing Chic is always a treat. They are a super tight band, with vocal power and tonnes of soul. They didn’t disappoint, with the whole of the Royal Festival Hall on its feet, dancing for all it was worth. 

Nile hosted some of his favourite musicians and I was able to catch shows by Johnny Marr and Songhoy Blues. Both have bands with strong guitar sounds, but could not be more different from each other. Desert blues and British Indie royalty. Again, only Nile Rodgers could bring those influences together. 

This month’s photos are from Nile Rodgers’ Meltdown Festival 2019. I wonder who will be running the show next year? 

Hope you enjoy the photos and my selections of my favourite things this post month. 


Wear an apron when cooking. Don't wear a white shirt while eating. Laksa is a Malaysian/Singaporean institution: a colourful and spicy noodle soup. Here's Felicity Cloake on how to make the perfect Laksa:

MiMi Aye's Red Prawn Curry (Pazun See-pyan) from her new Burmese cook book Mandalay!

Looking for an alternative to a Sunday roast? How about this Summery Lamb and aubergine stew with houmous served up with Mediterranean flatbreads?


Grilling aubergines brings out the best in them. Here are some recipe inspiration - with cute baharat parcels, a creamy dip and stunning salad.

Summertime cordial recipes: cucumber and lime, peach and basil, and strawberry and cardamom cordial:

Got a pint of milk you might not use? Already cooking with some chillis? The bacteria in the chilli stalks can be used to make your own yoghurt!

Sushi rice has to be sticky, with a slight touch of sweetness. Here's how to make sushi rice with full instructions and videos:

Potato and chick pea masala:

Grilled portobello mushrooms and red peppers, in this rocket and couscous salad, suitable for vegetarians:

Chicken, giant couscous and harissa broth. Use giant couscous, don't substitute.


Food writer Sejal Sukhadwala picks out London's best meat free restaurants. List with map and reviews. Absolutely agree with Vanilla Black and Mildreds.

Every Summer, legal geniuses Sean Jones QC and Dominic Regan go through the arduous process of tasting the Summer's new crop of wines. They suffer for their art! Here are their picks for this Summer. I definitely agree that the Aldi Cotes de Provence (with the bottle embossed with flowers) is a great value, great wine:

As Chef Cyrus Todiwala prepares to open his new restaurant "Tandem" in Leicester, he took a few moments to talk to Seetal Savla about the restaurant trade, his faith and his rules for life:


Year Of The Rabbit

REM at the BBC



The Favourite


Johnny Marr – Call The Comet

Songhoy Blues – Music In Exile

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.