Monday, 26 April 2021

April 2021 Favourites list

Hello everyone! Welcome to this month’s favourites list. Without much news to share, I think I will get straight to my list of lovely stuff for the month.

There should be lots of sustenance here for food fans and home cooks. For the first time, I am featuring some recipe tuition videos. Let me know if this is a new feature of the list you would like me to continue. 

 

Glorious Magnolia tree in full bloom, Bromley Road, Catford


Food writing:

What's in season in April, with recipe inspirations: https://www.greatbritishchefs.com/features/whats-in-season-april

Traditional foods for Easter from across Europe: https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/howto/guide/guide-international-easter-foods

The curious tale of the food “influencer” wanted by the FBI: https://www.theguardian.com/food/2021/mar/21/the-wannabe-food-influencer-wanted-by-fbi-hargobind-tahilramani

Initially Lockdown got home cooks excited about making lunch and dinner at home. Did that wane for you? And was it your lunch which suffered? https://www.tastecooking.com/have-sad-desk-lunches-gotten-sadder/

“I Rejected Cooking in the Name of Feminism—Until I Had to Feed Myself” – a thoughtful and beautiful musing by Aurvi Sharma: https://www.bonappetit.com/story/rejected-cooking-for-feminism

The “Idli equation” or, how you can use other pulses for your lactofermented steamed Indian snacks, from Krish Ashok, author of Masala Lab: https://lifestyle.livemint.com/food/discover/the-idli-equation-111615478082190.html

Forget me nots (Myosotis Alpestris)

 

Food videos:

How to make Japanese Chashu pork, for ramen or salads, from Tomo’s Kitchen: https://youtu.be/x8KVGMrGpaM

How to check eggs are fresh: https://www.goodhousekeeping.com/uk/food/cookery-videos/a657141/how-to-check-eggs-are-fresh/

Recipes:

How to make a “Focaccia garden” bread: https://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/entry/people-are-going-wild-for-spring-focaccia-gardens-heres-how-to-make-them_uk_6059d42ec5b6bd9511801175

Garlic tear and share bread from Janice at Farmers Girl Kitchen: https://www.farmersgirlkitchen.co.uk/wild-garlic-bread/

Lucky Peach’s Miso-amped Hummus, a vegan recipe: https://www.dorothy-porker.com/vegan/miso-amped-hummus-from-lucky-peach-presents-power-vegetables/

Snake beans, also called yard long beans are available in Chinese and Indian grocery shops. Kavey has shared a Sri Lankan snake bean curry recipe from Peter Kuruvita’s book, Serendip: https://www.kaveyeats.com/sri-lankan-snake-bean-curry

Rosemary flowers (Salvia rosmarinus)

Smoked haddock, pea and chorizo macaroni cheese by Kirsty Scobie and Fenella Renwick: https://www.theguardian.com/food/2021/mar/29/20-best-cheese-recipes-kirsty-scobie-fenella-renwick-smoked-haddock-pea-chorizo-macaroni-cheese

We made this fish pie, substituting a fillet of monkfish, scallops and king prawns for fish pie mix. The recipe is good, but watch out – the video shows cheese being added to the white sauce, which is missing from the instructions. https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/family-meals-easy-fish-pie-recipe

Speedy, spicy prawns and pasta for a weeknight dinner: https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/prawn-harissa-spaghetti

Leek, herb, bulghur wheat and almond tabbouleh, a vegan recipe from Meera Sodha: https://www.theguardian.com/food/2021/apr/03/meera-sodhas-vegan-recipe-leek-herb-almond-tabbouleh

Raymond Blanc's pea soup recipe is simplicity itself for a weekday lunchtime: https://www.itv.com/food/articles/pea-soup

Yellow pansy flower

 

What you might have missed at Snig’s Kitchen

My recipe for wild garlic soup:

http://snigskitchen.blogspot.com/2021/04/wild-garlic-soup.html

If you want to make a quick and easy creamy sauce for stuffed pasta, here is my recipe for a shallot, garlic and Vermouth sauce:

https://snigskitchen.tumblr.com/post/646923036804661249/stuffed-pappardelle-with-shallot-garlic-vermouth

Film:

Billie: In Search of Billie Holiday

Dogman

TV:

Amsterdam Vice

Unforgotten – Series 4

BBC Radio 6 Music Festival – Laura Marling

BBC Radio 6 Music Festival – Michael Kiwanuka

Music:

Goat Girl – On All Fours

Massive Attack – Blue Lines

Pet Shop Boys – Introspective

Sananda Maitreya (formerly known as Terence Trent D’Arby) - Introducing the Hardline According to…

 

Purple pansy flower

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.  

 

Tuesday, 20 April 2021

Wild garlic soup

Some years ago I was given the gift of a wild garlic plant. Given to me by Food Urchin blogger (http://www.foodurchin.com), foodie, content editor and social media manager Danny Kingston, I lovingly planted it in my south facing back garden.

 

If you have wild garlic available to you, whether in your garden or foraging (although my European friends tell me you can actually buy wild garlic in the supermarket), you might want to preserve it. My friend and food blogger Kavey has this advice on preserving wild garlic: https://www.kaveyeats.com/how-to-have-wild-garlic-all-year-round

I’ve been warned about how wild garlic can spread and “take over” your garden. Somehow the winters in South London have managed to limit the ambitions of my wild garlic plant, which is limited to a small corner of the back garden flowerbed. I left it for a few years to acclimat
ise and build up its strength in its new home. I am well aware that bulb plants need to be left alone before you can bother them. 


 

This year, it looked vigourous enough to take some leaves and flowers from to do some cooking with. After all, that was the point of growing it, right?

One of my Twitter friends suggested making a soup with the wild garlic leaves, so here is my version of wild garlic soup.

This makes enough soup for 4 portions. You can choose to make the soup and split it up into two portions, one to have now and another to have later. If so, then miss out the topping stage when you portion up the soup for the fridge. Leave the serving ingredients for when you reheat the soup and serve up. Remember that when you reheat you should not allow the soup to boil, but to heat up until it is piping hot (it is steaming and hot all the way through).

Wild garlic soup


 

(Serves 4)

Ingredients:

500g floury potato, peeled and diced

50g wild garlic leaves (you can include the stalks as they are fresh and garlicky flavoured in the Spring, they are not woody at all), cut into strips. 


 
One organic onion (medium to large), peeled finely diced. You could use a leek instead, particularly the green parts for the colour.

1 litre hot vegetable stock

2 tablespoons of olive oil

Freshly ground black pepper

Salt, to taste (optional, as the stock may already have salt – check to taste)

To serve:

2 leaves wild garlic, cut into narrow strips, to serve

4 wild garlic flowers, to servie

4 tablespoons double cream, to serve

Method:

First heat up the 2 tablespoons of olive oil on a medium heat and when hot, add the finely diced onion. Cook for 12 minutes on a low to middling heat. You want the onion completely soft but not coloured.

 

Next add the 500 g diced potato and 1 litre of hot vegetable stock. Cook this for 20-25 minutes on a medium heat.

  

While the potato was cooking, I shredded the wild garlic, leaves, stems and all. I left this until later to prevent the wild garlic from drying out or wilting. 


Take the pan with the potato, onion and stock off the heat, add the wild garlic, stir well to combine.

Now blend the soup. I did this in the pan with my trusty stick blender. You can always use a worktop blender. 


 

Once blended, add a sprinkling of raw shredded wild garlic, a drizzle of double cream (about 1 tablespoon per bowl) and a wild garlic flower. Season with freshly ground black pepper. Taste for the salt content and add salt if needed. 


Enjoy immediately, unless you are reserving half for later, as per the instructions above.

Saturday, 27 March 2021

March 2021 Favourites list

Hello again, my friends!

Spring is here! March has brought with it a little bit of sunshine and a lot of colour. The Spring flowers are so vibrant and life affirming, after what has felt like a longer than usual Winter. Drinking in the colours has been joyful. 

Magnolia flowers
 

For the first time in a long time, I have news! I have had my first Coronavirus jab! As I mentioned in last month's Favourites List post, the UK vaccine rollout has been a source of hope for many of us here. Well, my turn has come around, and I was ready for it!

Arriving at the local health centre tasked with vaccinations, the security guard asked me if I was here for my vaccine.... Without hesitation, I replied "bring it on!" He laughed at my eccentricity, my miming of jabbing my own arm was probably more theatrical than was strictly necessary, but he smiled and directed me into the building. 

Inside, was an operation of such organisation, efficiency, happiness and positivity, I won't forget it in a very long time. Yes, you read that correctly; happiness and positivity. Volunteers smiled and greeted us, reminding everyone to sanitise their hands on arrival. 

I was shown into a socially distanced waiting room where a very kindly man checked I understood what vaccination was, and whether I consented to the process. Then ten of us at a time were walked to the nerve centre of the operation; rows of cubicles where details were taken, information about the vaccine was given, arms swabbed, jabs administered. Local GPs who would normally be working in their own clinics were carrying out the vaccinations and ensuring everyone understood what was happening. 

Then we were given a sticker with the time of our injection, and shown to a second socially distanced waiting room. The idea being we would wait for 20 minutes in case of an immediate adverse reaction. I was there with around 30 people and nobody had any problems. In that time, three smiling and relentlessly positive people asked me if I was OK, and whether I was feeling strange. At the end, I was told I could go home, but before leaving was presented with what is now my favourite pin badge (some of you will know how much I love a pin badge) proudly stating that I have had my Covid vaccine. 

I would like to express my heartfelt and deep gratitude to the medical staff, doctors, nurses and amazing volunteers. They made the experience one without trepidation or worry. In a couple of months, I'll be back to do it all over again. 

So, on to the main event, my March favourite food writing, cultural picks and recipes. With photos of some of the Spring flowers I've been spotting this past month. I hope you enjoy my selections. 

Food writing and articles:

What is in season in March, and some recipe ideas for cooking inspiration: https://www.greatbritishchefs.com/features/whats-in-season-march

Kavey has continued her exploration of the food of the UK. Here is her post on the best traditional food of Wales: https://www.kaveyeats.com/the-best-traditional-food-from-wales

 

Spring blossom

Kavey’s final instalment of her foods of the UK series is about the best traditional foods of Northern Ireland: https://www.kaveyeats.com/the-best-traditional-food-from-northern-ireland

Cooking steaks in a toaster? I'm not saying it wouldn't work, but how can you have crumpets with jam afterwards? https://metro.co.uk/2021/02/26/chef-reveals-how-to-make-the-perfect-steak-at-home-using-a-toaster-14151349/

Could this be a big time saving kitchen tip? Don't take time making rice, noodles or pasta, just roll up a tortilla: https://www.eater.com/22225516/just-put-everything-in-a-tortilla

Cleaning and storage tips from a restaurant kitchen to yours: https://food52.com/blog/25900-restaurant-kitchen-cleaning-storage-tips

Recipes:

From Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s new cookbook ‘Eat Better Forever’: recipes for Asian hot pot with mushrooms, celeriac and beans, Curried beany cullen skink, Mushroom & black rice ‘chachouka’ and traditional chachouka: https://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/food-and-drink/hugh-fearnley-whittingstall-book-recipes-ideas-b1787802.html

Purple pansy
 

I made this delicious and simple Korean lamb hotpot with gochujang: https://www.theguardian.com/food/2021/jan/09/korean-spiced-hotpot-to-baked-squash-chantelle-nicholson-recipes-for-winter-meals

Chef Asma Khan (of Darjeeling Express, London) shares her mung dahl recipe for home cooking: https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2020-06-26/best-indian-dal-recipe-for-home-asma-khan

Meera Sodha’s recipe for Iranian white bean stew Fasoulia: https://www.theguardian.com/food/2019/feb/02/meera-sodha-vegan-recipe-iraqi-white-bean-stew-fasoulia

Rosie Reynold’s recipe for one pot chicken noodle soup for an easy weekday main meal: https://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/food-and-drink/chicken-noodle-soup-recipe-easy-b1807280.html

Raymond Blanc shares his mum’s vegetable soup recipe. One main soup, which you can eat three ways: https://www.itv.com/food/articles/maman-blancs-vegetable-soup-three-ways

Sushi bake is a Filipino dish layering sushi rice, seafood, sriracha chilli sauce and mayo. With its roots in Japanese food, it is infinitely flexible comfort food: https://www.bonappetit.com/story/sushi-bake

Cream primrose

 Orzotto is like a risotto, made with rice shaped pasta called orzo. Here’s a Gorgonzola, leek and walnut orzotto, which is warming and cheesy: https://www.deliciousmagazine.co.uk/recipes/gorgonzola-leek-and-walnut-orzotto/

This crab tostadas recipe is from Borough Market's Tacos Padre stall. Grab yourself some crab meat, coriander, avo and get crunching! https://www.olivemagazine.com/recipes/fish-and-seafood/crab-tostadas/

Seven London chefs share their quick and easy lunch recipes for those of us working from home: https://www.standard.co.uk/reveller/foodanddrink/quick-easy-lunch-recipes-london-chefs-b907072.html

For the history buffs – recipes from Ancient Greece and Rome: https://blog.britishmuseum.org/cook-a-classical-feast-nine-recipes-from-ancient-greece-and-rome/

Cook like a Suffragette: https://www.atlasobscura.com/articles/suffragist-cookbook-historical-recipes

I'm intrigued by this peanut lime noodle salad with tofu: https://www.badmanners.com/recipes/peanut-lime-noodles

What you might have missed at Snig’s Kitchen:

My recipe for Chicken and sweetcorn soup with egg. https://snigskitchen.blogspot.com/2021/03/chicken-and-sweetcorn-soup-with-egg.html

Euphorbia

 My other writing:

I was recently asked to provide some insight into the employment law issues involved with working from home by Adriatico News in Italy. A link to their news article and my original words in English are here: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/my-statement-adriatico-news-working-from-home-snigdha-nag and https://www.adriaticonews.it/2021/02/24/snigdha-nag-lo-smart-working-non-e-cosi-ovvio-da-generalizzare-anche-se-si-lavora-da-casa-bisogna-pensare-alla-salute-e-alla-sicurezza-dei-propri-dipendenti/

TV:

The Great

The Investigation

Deutschland 89

Film:

Frantz

One Night in Miami

Frances Ha

Music:

Radiohead - The Bends

Various Artists - Buena Vista Social Club

Nitin Sawhney - Beyond Skin

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.