Monday, 28 January 2019

January 2019 Favourites List

The New Year means many people try to make a bit of a new start. I’ve always resisted it in the past, as January in the UK is cold and a little bit grim. It’s hard to make a big change of habit and stick to it when the days are short and the mercury has plummeted. But this year, my Christmas overindulgence has left me squeezing into my skinny jeans and my dresses. The “skinny jeans dance” I do to wriggle into them has become more and more elaborate. Enough is enough, I’ve gone back to the 5:2 diet.

Thankfully, there are many tasty meals you can make for the 5:2 diet, so it doesn’t feel like a flavourless, joyless chore. And it is only for two days a week! I’ll be posting some of my low calorie cooking adventures on Instagram in the weeks to come.

It isn’t just people making a new start at the beginning of the year. The Black Horse and Harrow is a Victorian coaching inn in my locale of Catford. It is a huge, cavernous pub where you could park your carriage overnight on a long journey from Kent into the city of London. It has sadly been empty a long time.

I was surprised to see it covered in scaffolding one day, wondering whether it would be converted into flats or perhaps even demolished. Tarpaulins covered the front for a couple of days…

But when the coverings were removed, a bold piece of street art emerged. The front of the pub has been painted jet black, with motifs resembling torn paper, revealing bright designs underneath. And in the corner, because this is Catford, after all, are some cats, including one which looks a lot like the famous Catford Cat. There are 9 cats in all, a cute and clever visual joke because the new pub will be called Ninth Life. It opens in early February.

So this month’s pictures are the Ninth Life street art and another piece of street art I spotted in Bellingham, Catford.

I hope you enjoy this month’s collection of my favourite things. 


Tins of chickpeas are cheap and cheerful. Here are 14 ways of turning this larder staple into a quick, simple, delicious dinner:

4 ingredients for a tomato sauce? Really? Oh yes. I found this recipe thanks to Cookwitch food blogger Lisa. Thanks for the new discovery!

Winter pie recipes from Nigel Slater: Cauliflower and rosemary tart, and a Beef, kale and artichoke pie:

A British classic I made very recently; Cottage pie:

After the furore over Greggs the bakers' vegan sausage rolls (seriously? People are up in arms that vegans might be able to enjoy baked goods? Grow up!), here is Alfred Prasad's recipe for veggie rolls. If you buy vegan pastry and use almond milk to brush over them, they'd be suitable for vegans.

Italian style beef stew with pinto beans and ditalini pasta:


A twist on Caesar salad - with sourdough bread and Swiss chard:

Cold overnight oats are great. But what if you want something more warming? Here's a slow cooker (crock pot) hot overnight oats recipe:

Moro Restaurant's Chestnut and Chorizo soup - a simple recipe which is satisfying, warming, subtle yet packed with layers of flavour:

Nigel Slater's recipes for the in between days of the festive season:

Cooked too much turkey? Got leftovers? Here is a turkey and leek pasta bake to help avoid food waste in delicious style:

Food writing and articles:

Where you can find London's freshest seafood. 15 Super Fresh Seafood Restaurants to Try in London:

Cutting down on meat, responsible packaging, goat, Burmese and Sri Lankan food - food trends for 2019:

Trying to look after yourself a little better in 2019? Here is a guide on how best to get more fibre in your diet. We need 30g a day, and on average most of us only manage 18g.

Catford's best places to eat. OK, Babur is in Brockley. I would add La Pizzeria Italiana. But some great recommendations here and a couple of new places for me to discover.

My other writing – my Snig’s Classroom blog for law students


Tin Star (Series 1)

Luther (Series 5)


Weaves – Weaves

Anohni – Hopelessness

Courtney Barnett – Tell Me How You Really Feel

Cigarettes After Sex – Cigarettes After Sex

St Vincent - Masseduction

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.