Friday, 26 January 2018

January 2018 Favourites List

Happy New Year, food lovers! I hope 2018 is treating you well! I am intending to spend 2018 enjoying good food, good music and maybe a little bit of travelling. How will you be spending yours? 

To kick off the new year in appropriate fashion I was at Rockaway Beach festival at Butlins, Bognor Regis this month. The festival took a year off and has moved from October to January. But the same commitment to celebrating the best of alternative music remains. 

I was amazed to be standing at the feet of bass guitar legend Peter Hook (Joy Division and New Order), a man whose distinctive playing has been the soundtrack of my life from childhood. I was privileged enough to see Wild Beasts final festival performance (their farewell tour is next month). I discovered a love of Honeyblood, proving that women rock. I found out why British Sea Power's live shows are so celebrated; the party atmosphere and costumed bears invading the audience. Definitely a band to see again! 

Peter Hook

I witnessed the brooding power and rock star moves of Faris Badwan, during the Horrors' dark (literally!) set. Alabama 3 impressed with their subversive lyrics and bluesy sound. Gang of Four proved that even when you have a change of line up, great bands fight on.

Faris Badwan - The Horrors

My pictures are the highlights of my weekend, hope you enjoy looking at them and picking over my cultural titbits for the month.





Recipes:

Butter beans are creamy, delicious beans, great in salads, super in soups: http://www.deliciousmagazine.co.uk/recipes/smoked-bacon-leek-and-butter-bean-chowder/
 
Colourful shredded veg in the sesame flavoured slaw, with chicken for a healthy midweek supper. http://www.olivemagazine.com/recipes/shredded-veg-and-chicken-salad-with-japanese-sesame-dressing/
 
One of Tom Kerridge's low cal but high flavour new recipes: https://www.bbc.co.uk/food/recipes/beef_stroganoff_16029
 
 
Wild Beasts (Hayden)
Wild Beasts

A vintage fusion food post from Helen at Fuss Free Flavours - lamb keema tacos: https://fussfreeflavours.com/lamb-keema-tacos
 
Tash at Food I fancy blog shares her Seafood linguine recipe. Dig in! http://www.foodifancy.com/tasty-seafood-linguine
 
Thrifty, warming, comforting supper for four people - costing a fiver in ingredients. http://www.deliciousmagazine.co.uk/recipes/sausage-carrot-and-cumin-hash/
 

Honeyblood (Stina)
Honeyblood (Cat)
 
 
British Sea Power

British Sea Power (Hamilton)

Food writing and articles:

What food trends can we expect this year? https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/howto/guide/15-food-trends-2018
 
I do intermittent fasting to allow myself the chance to eat what I want the other days of the week. 5:2 if I've indulged myself too much, 6:1 too keep things in check. It's not for everyone, but I can't do dieting. https://www.medpagetoday.com/primarycare/dietnutrition/70663


Films:

Wonderwoman

The Drop

Headhunters
Alabama 3
Alabama 3 (Rob/Larry)


Music:

Green Leaves (Nick Drake Covered) - Various Artists (a Mojo magazine compilation)

Nick Drake - Five Leaves Left

Wild Beasts - Boy King

New Order - Substance 1987

Gang of Four

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.

Wednesday, 20 December 2017

December 2017 Favourites List

Dear Readers,
 
Somehow the end of the year is upon us again, and I feel rather underprepared! Cards, presents, Christmas messages…. So much to do and so little time! All my intentions of planning ahead went awry, and I find myself disorganised and rushing.


The end of term is always a busy time up in the ivory towers of academia. Everything has to be done before the students scurry away for the vacation. They do deserve it, as they have had a gruelling 14 week term, full of classes and hour upon hour of preparatory work in between.



Hopefully your festive preparations are going well and you are looking forward to the big day. I hope you all have a wonderful Christmas. I wish you a healthy, happy and success filled 2018.


My selections this month are generally festive, with Christmas dinner recipes and present ideas for you. I’ve not had as much time for films, TV and other cultural things, so I have compiled my list of albums of the year. I wish I’d had the time to investigate many other of the music of the year, as it appears to have been a great year for different and original sounds. Cigarettes After Sex, Sampha, War on Drugs and LCD Soundsystem are all on my list to investigate in the New Year.


Here is my final Favourites List of 2017, see you in the New Year!



Recipes:


Posh sausage roll by Glynn Purnell for serving up with Christmas dinner: https://www.bbc.co.uk/food/recipes/posh_sausage_roll_64375


For Christmas dinner - roast potatoes by Big Spud Gary. He suggests you could pre-cook them and freeze, to save time on the big day. http://bigspud.co.uk/recipes/perfect-roast-potatoes/


Showstopping centrepiece dish for vegetarians or vegans for Christmas day. It's not all about the Turkey! https://www.standard.co.uk/lifestyle/foodanddrink/vegan-christmas-recipe-ideas-tomato-cashew-aubergine-baingan-musallum-a3711656.html


Don't like Christmas cake? Here are some alternative Festive bakes from Bake Off winner Sophie: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/food-and-drink/recipes/bake-winner-sophie-faldos-perfect-stollen-buche-de-noel-pandoro/


Slow Cooker Chocolate Caramel Puddings served with Chocolate Caramel Cream; an alternative to Christmas pudding, by Janice at Farmer’s Girl Kitchen: https://farmersgirlkitchen.co.uk/2016/12/slow-cooked-chocolate-caramel-puddings/


For the chilli fiends out there. I personally wouldn't carry my own chilli sauce stash. Mind you, those New Orleans chicken wings seem irresistible! https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2017/dec/02/hot-sauce-recipes-yotam-ottolenghi-chicken-wings-prawn-pasties-green-beans


Macaroni cheese can be done down-home style or de luxe. Here is a posh version with lobster: http://www.olivemagazine.com/recipes/fish-and-seafood/lobster-mac-n-cheese/


In Guadalahara, they don't make chili con carne. They make carne con chili. This is from Rick Stein's food and travel exploration of Mexico: https://www.bbc.co.uk/food/recipes/carne_con_chile_04415


In need of a Winter warmer? How about Adam Handlings' Hot Toddy. That'll chase the cold away! http://goodthingsmagazine.com/adam-handlings-hot-toddy/
 


Articles:


Perfect gifts for food and drink lovers, as selected by Kavita at Kavey Eats blog: https://www.kaveyeats.com/2017/11/five-delicious-gifts-for-food-drink-lovers.html


Which fish are OK to eat, which should we avoid? Handy and beautiful graphic here: http://www.informationisbeautiful.net/visualizations/which-fish-best-safest-healthy-to-eat/


Christmas wine picks from Sean Jones QC and Professor Dominic Regan: https://www.counselmagazine.co.uk/articles/christmas-wine
 


My recent blog posts – these are for my students:


My latest blog post for students - how to approach resit assessments, step by step: http://snigsclassroom.blogspot.co.uk/2017/12/resits-your-step-by-step-plan-to-pass.html


Brian Mondoh on Smashing the BPTC - in other words, how to pass with a Very Competent first time round! http://snigsclassroom.blogspot.co.uk/2017/12/nuggets-of-wisdom-for-smashing-bptc.html


My albums of the year:


Alt-J – Relaxer


Courtney Barnett and Kurt Vile – Lotta Sea Lice


The xx – I See You


Lorde – Melodrama


Mogwai – Every Country’s Sun



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, 27 November 2017

November 2017 Favourites List

In my September Favourites list this year, I told you all about how I received the wonderful surprise of seeing some new street art in my local neighbourhood magically appear. (For the story, visit here: https://snigskitchen.blogspot.co.uk/2017/09/september-2017-favourites-list.html). Well, the good people of Catford haven't stopped there! Local artists are busy working, some are volunteering their skills, designs and time for free to make our locality feel loved and look beautiful. Co-ordinated by Caroline Hughes of 6arts, it's a mission to increase civil pride and create thought provoking urban art.

In the last couple of months, the street art invasion of Catford has intensified. We now have the other side of Catford Bridge (the road bridge over the railway lines) decorated with running greyhounds. 



This is a tribute to the old Catford Greyhound Stadium, which was near by, but also a poignant symbol. It is a sad fact that whilst many people love the spectacle of greyhound racing, once their careers are over, the dogs find themselves surplus to the requirements of their owners and trainers. The artist, Andrew Ioakim, has rescued some of these greyhounds, so for him, the dogs are not running in a race; they're making their bid for freedom and a life of love and affection with a "forever owner".
 


Another amazing project is the Nature Tunnel, designed by artist Zoe Hendersen. Assisted by scenic artist Charlotte Gainey, Tamara Froud, Caroline Hughes and a group of dedicated volunteers. They have transformed the unloved tunnel leading from Halfords to the train station, a sad, stinky little place... (No prizes for guessing why it smelt so bad!) It is now a tranquil "Tunnel of Trees", a gorgeous celebration of nature.



Finally, we have Lionel Stanhope's retro railway "Catford" signs at the railway
bridge. Their neon colours resplendent, they're a bold and beautiful welcome to da 'hood! Catford is now proud to welcome you in, confident and colourful.





So I hope you will enjoy this month's pictures from Catford's amazing artists, designers and volunteers, brightening up the neighbourhood bit by bit. I hope you will also like my choices of the usual mix of recipes, food writing, and my own efforts since the last Favourites List. 


Recipes:
Fish pie (fish in a creamy sauce, baked with mashed potato on top) is a British classic. Here are 10 tips to make your fish pie even better. I totally agree with not double cooking your fish - overcooked fish is ruined fish! https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/howto/guide/how-make-next-level-fish-pie



Tom Kerridge with his wintry recipes for beef brisket lasagne, classic fish pie and spicy sausage casserole with black cabbage pesto: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/food-and-drink/recipes/beef-brisket-lasagne-spicy-sausage-casserole-stews-bakes-serve/
 

A side dish with a difference for this weekend's Sunday lunch? Parmesan baked cauliflower: http://www.olivemagazine.com/recipes/vegetarian/parmesan-crusted-cauli-steaks/
 


In local grocery shops I've admired Autumnal pale green Kohl Rabi. Other than knowing vaguely they're a Brassica (same family as super healthy broccoli), I know nothing about them. Or how to cook them. Here's a salad recipe from Nigel Slater: https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2017/nov/07/nigel-slater-cannellini-fritters-and-kohlrabi-salad-recipe

Janice Pattie writes the Farmersgirl Kitchen blog. Here's her recipe to make you own "mincemeat" for festive mince pies. (Non-UK readers - there's no meat in mincemeat. It is made of dried fruits, which is baked into little pies for Christmas). https://farmersgirlkitchen.co.uk/2017/10/slow-cooker-mincemeat-with-ginger/


Janice's video of how to make the recipe can be found here: https://www.facebook.com/snigskitchen/posts/1834893933205340



You can use leftover pumpkin to make this dish. Substituting pumpkin for butternut squash is no big deal. http://boroughmarket.org.uk/recipes/pork-collar-steak-butternut-squash-puree


This Japanese poached chicken can be served with veggies or with rice, as you prefer. A simple dish for Monday's supper, as we look to the week ahead: https://www.pickledplum.com/poached-chicken-with-sesame-sauce-recipe/
 

With the warming flavours of cumin, ginger and coriander, this cauliflower and carrot soup can be served chunky and hearty or smooth and well blended. Vegan, and vegetarian from Jac at Tinned Tomatoes blog: http://www.tinnedtomatoes.com/2017/04/hearty-spiced-cauliflower-and-carrot.html
Food writing and resources:



Food critic Marina O'Loughlin asked Twitter for their "Cheap Eats" recommendations. The brilliant Anya (@anyabike on Twitter) a noted employment lawyer, has put them all together in a google map: http://bit.ly/2yohPTx

Recent studies show conventional dietary wisdom is wrong - eating fats will not necessarily result in weight gain, and your body needs certain oils and fats for good health: http://uk.businessinsider.com/eating-fat-wont-make-you-fat-gain-weight-says-doctor-2017-11


I plan my meals. We do a weekly plan with one big shop and a couple of top-up shops a week. It definitely saves us money and prevents that "what's for dinner?" panic at 7:30pm. Here are 20 reasons why you might want to meal plan: https://www.easypeasyfoodie.com/20-reasons-need-start-meal-planning/


Goodbye to Antonio Carluccio, the great champion of Italian food in the UK. Rest in peace, Antonio! https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2017/nov/08/antonio-carluccio-obituary
  

What you might have missed at Snig's Kitchen: 

New blog post - creamy chicken with cider and mushrooms. A new recipe post: http://snigskitchen.blogspot.co.uk/2017/11/creamy-chicken-with-mushrooms-and-cider.html
 


My other writing:

Not food, but legal skills. I am proud and delighted to host Dan Hoadley's Pro tips on Cross examination on my law student blog: https://snigsclassroom.blogspot.co.uk/2017/11/cross-examination-guest-post-by-dan.html


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, 20 November 2017

Creamy chicken with mushrooms and cider

Ooh, November, you are naughty! The sudden drop in the temperature has left me a little lost for words. The autumnal jackets and macs I thought I could wear a little longer will have to be put away, in favour of my heavy, warm wintry coats. The gloves are being dug out for another season's service; thank goodness for my fleecy leather gloves! Anyone who knows me knows I always have cold, cold hands. I have fingers like ice cubes!


The household vacillations over whether to put the heating on or not have stopped. The heating is most definitely on. My new electric blanket is currently my favourite appliance; taking the chill out of my bed before I turn in at night.

Inspired by the weather, I have been thinking about internal central heating. By which I mean warming, comforting food for shivery days. Elizabeth David's Spicy Lentil Stew has been a lifesaver recently, a number of variations described by her in the recipe ringing the changes. Soups, curries, stews and slow braises are the things I crave when it's brisk and nippy.

So, on a cold Sunday, I thought of hearty pasta with a creamy and indulgent sauce. Tender chicken and just-cooked mushrooms with a touch of booze. Stews made with beer and ale favour darker meats. Chicken thighs (the brown meat of the chicken) cooked in vintage cider

This creamy chicken dish could be served up with rice, mash or baked potatoes. But I love pasta, so I used some Spatzle, a chewy egg pasta typically used in German, Swiss, Austrian and Hungarian cooking.

Creamy chicken with mushrooms and cider (with Spatzle pasta)

Serves 2-3 people (2 greedy portions or 3 normal portions)
 
Ingredients:
2 large echalion shallots (peeled, halved lengthwise and sliced finely)
4 chicken thigh fillets, sliced
160g chestnut mushrooms, quartered
3 anchovy fillets (preserved in olive oil or salt)
1 teaspoon paprika
60ml double cream
200ml vintage cider
3 tablespoons olive oil (2tbsp + 1tbsp)
25g (1oz) unsalted butter
3 tbsp finely chopped fresh Italian flat leaf parsley
Juice of half a lemon (optional)
250g egg spatzle pasta 
Freshly ground black pepper (to taste)
Freshly ground sea salt (to taste)

Time required:
10 minutes preparation
40 minutes cooking time

Equipment:
Two saucepans
Frying pan

1. Heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a saucepan, add the shallots and soften under a gentle heat for around 10 minutes. Do not allow to colour. 


2. Remove the shallots, keeping to one side, trying your best to leave as much of the oil in the pan. Add the remaining oil to the pan and heat up. 


3. Add the chicken in small batches. You want to seal the outside of the chicken slices so that they are no longer pink, buy you don't want to cook them completely. 


4. When you have cooked the last batch, put all the chicken to one side.  Hopefully, your pan still has residual olive oil in it. If not, you will need to add half a tablespoon. On a gentle heat, add the anchovies and paprika, and stir until the anchovies have disintegrated into the oil. 

 
 


5. Now put the shallots and chicken back, turn up the heat and stir until the chicken is coated with the oily mixture.



6. You will want to put a pan of water on for the Spatzle pasta. Mine took 11 minutes to cook, so you will need to ensure the pasta is cooking during the following two steps of the recipe, or you won't be able to bring the dish together.  


7. Add the cider to the chicken and "burn off" the alcohol smell on a medium-high heat. The cider will come to the boil and bubble. You aren't actually burning off the alcohol, but you will notice the smell becomes less boozy. When this happens (5-7 minutes), reduce the heat to a simmer and allow to simmer for another 7 to 10 minutes. 

 














8. In the meantime, in a frying pan melt the butter, then add the mushrooms. You want to cook these on a gentle heat for about 7 minutes until just tender. Do not overcook or they will become too soft and slimy to add to the chicken.


 



9. Add the cream to the cidery chicken and fold in the mushrooms. Let everything sit on the heat for a few minutes to get heated through. Add the parsley. Taste and season accordingly (if you used anchovies preserved in salt, you may find you don't need to add much salt). Add the lemon juice to your preference. 


10. Drain your pasta, and begin assembling the dish in bowls ready for serving. Put some pasta at the bottom of a bowl. Add the chicken with some of its sauce on top. Serve immediately. It would look prettier if you garnish with a little double cream and parsley, but I was too hungry and wanted to eat straight away!


Happy eating!