Monthly Archives: April 2013


ImageAs I mentioned last post, I’m easily distracted when I get back to work, so blogging kind of slips down below doing essential tasks like tidying my room or washing the floor. But HA! I’ve worked out a way to beat the system – by writing some posts now and scheduling them to appear later. Admittedly it’s taken me nearly two years on wordpress to work out how to do this, and even then only because my fiancee taught me how (the joys of marrying someone who works in comms), but all the same: take that, indiscipline! Be vanquished, ennui! Begone, apathy!

I’m choosing to stick it to the system by recommending that you all go out and buy Esther Walker‘s excellent book The Bad Cook on Kindle, for a whole range of reasons:

1. She is an excellent writer, both about life and cooking, and will make you laugh inappropriately on a regular basis if you like either of the above things.
2. She has long been trying to get a publishing contract, and will benefit from the inevitable encouragement that will come from lots of people reading her book and then sending her enthusiastic messages about how great it is (you probably will).
3. She is writing another book at present, and is also heavily pregnant, and so may also require plenty of the above encouragement (see point 2).
4. She and her husband Giles, who is the head food critic for The Times, are pretty much unfailingly polite in replying to messages and requests on Twitter – which is quite rare in these days, especially given that they’re both quite big names.
5. It’s full of good recipes (even though the first one in there is a stew which features rose veal and bone marrow – but don’t be put off).
6. £1.99 is nothing for a cookbook, especially not a good one.

If you’re not yet sold (or even if you are) then have a look at this recipe for Lemon Surprise Pudding, which I have no desire to eat but which nonetheless made me laugh out loud on multiple occasions, especially having met plenty of people who act this way in Oxford. Also, it’s full of wisdom if you like lemon surprise puddings.

You can buy the book on Amazon here – are you convinced yet?

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Posted by on 07/04/2013 in Uncategorized


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ImageOnce again I’m on holiday, and so I’ve sorted out my priorities, and as well as having done some essential admin (on today’s list: sort out suits for groomsmen, or else as it stands I’m getting married in jeans and a T-shirt) have sat down to do some cooking again. Nothing overly ambitious, really, but it’s been cold for so long that I’m kind of sick of casseroles and stews, and anyway, I want to live in hope that this winter will come to an end. So I wandered round M&S in a bit of a haze, trying to work out what I wanted to cook, and then ended up at the tills with some pork mince, a bunch of fresh mint and some red chilis, and decided to make green chilli.

If you look back over the archives of this blog, you’ll see this pattern: I do basically nothing for long periods of time, then apologise and start blogging prolifically again for about a week, and then work kicks in and I’m silent for months. So I’m not going to make any promises about this being a new era – I have two weeks before I start commuting back to Worle again and then the friends who I see in person aren’t likely to see me, let alone the internet. However, this does mean that you get a new recipe from me while I’m here.

This is a Jamie recipe, which means that you could just go to the Channel 4 website and download it for free, but then you won’t get my rambling thoughts. Don’t say I’m not good to you.

Anyway green chilli is nothing like chilli con carne. Where chilli con carne has that unique British flavour of rich, tomatoey stew that’s been bubbled away at with dried oregano for ages until it’s both distinctly Italian and as English as Yorkshire pudding, green chilli basically doesn’t have much sauce to speak of at all. It’s fresh, clean, filling and tastes nothing like a stew, but it’s also spicy enough that it’s perfect for a lethally cold April day. We ate it with pitta breads and yoghurt and it was glorious, although I don’t recommend having it with rice as there’s not enough liquid to carry it. Oh, and fresh mint is essential, or else it will be horrible. Here’s how you do it:

You’ll need some pork mince (500g fed two and then enough leftovers for another day),
some red chilis,
a green pepper, chopped into chunks
a couple of onions, also chopped into chunks
about four large tomatoes, chopped into chunks
half a lime
some fresh mint
and three cloves of garlic

And then some natural yoghurt and pitta breads to serve it with, and lettuce if you have some.

Jamie uses sage, but I didn’t have any and it worked fine. Heat your mince in some oil in a deep pan on a high heat with some salt and pepper, stir it about until it browns a bit and then add your onions, garlic, green peppers and chilis.

Turn your heat down to medium, cook it all until it turns golden (or at least looks slightly less anaemic – pork mince never really looks ‘golden’) and the liquid from the pork is gone. Then throw in your chopped tomatoes and half a cup of water – remembering that the point of this ISN’T to make chilli con carne, and so don’t put too much in – and then cook it for another ten minutes. Chop up your mint, stir it in and then squeeze a lime over the top, and then serve with toasted pitta breads and yoghurt.

It was good enough to make a weary teacher sit down and start blogging again, so that’s saying something.

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Posted by on 05/04/2013 in Uncategorized


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