Am I going round in circles?

Apparently I’m reliving my second year. This week we took advantage of a TASTECARD, and went to Fire and Stone.

If I haven’t made it clear over the last year, Fire and Stone is pretty amazing. They make pizzas, but they’re based on cities across the world. For example, we shared a New York, a Madrid and a Melbourne, and they were DELISH. Here’s their menu if you want to see what we ate. Or you can drool at my pictures instead.

IMG_20131113_234726

IMG_20131113_234454

So at Fire and Stone, a tastecard gets you 50% off your bill. I would however like to warn you now, that this does NOT include drinks anymore. When we were eyeing up the drinks menu, I was sure that drinks were included. It’s fine guys, I said, drinks are included. Let’s get cocktails.

So we did.

IMG_20131113_234605

I don’t think I need to go into the pain that we (and our overdrafts) suffered when we saw the bill.

 

Remember this?

Remember this?

https://studentfoody.wordpress.com/2013/03/07/spaghetti-with-smoked-salmon-and-peas/

Well I only went and made it again, didn’t I?

This time I added mushrooms and broccoli. Beautiful. Something I would like to add is that you might notice that the next day, your pasta is noticeably less creamy when you try and heat it up. If you are worried about this, add a little bit of water (I don’t mean just a drop, but don’t flood your plate. A healthy dribble of water should be sufficient) before putting it in the microwave and it should loosen up and resemble your heavenly pasta again.

IMAG0650

 

Fro Yo

It’s nearly winter, but my ice cream obsession doesn’t fade away with the changing of the seasons. This isn’t the problem; ice cream is always on offer when it gets cold. The problem is that since becoming a twenty year old, I’ve decided that old age is imminent and I should probably start looking after my body a bit more.

Enter fro yo. Tesco do their own brand and it’s actually delicious, so I’d definitely recommend it. In fact, I’m recommending it now.

IMG_20131024_212334

Quesadillas!

These came about because there was no bread. We did however have some brown wraps, so I decided to try quesadillas instead. They’re amazingly easy.

IMG_20131031_224708

I’m not sure I’ll bother with a proper recipe because all you have to do is put a wrap in a frying pan, fill it up with goodies, put the other wrap on the top like a lid and flip until both sides are nicely toasted. I put some ketchup, cheese, chorizo slices (obviously) and some onions and it was so good that I’m off to make another one now. Toodles!

BY THE WAY! If you’re wondering about my sporadic posts, you might like to know that it’s partly because I am now in charge of another blog (here comes the shameless plugging). If you like baking, check out UCL Baking Society’s baking blog! http://www.uclbakingsociety.wordpress.com

Fish Noodle Soup!

So I go onto WordPress and they tell me my stats are booming! So I thought I’d make a sneaky back entrance re-entrance onto the food blogging scene.

I’m in my final year now at uni (cry) and the disaster of coming from and going to uni in London means that the inevitable has happened: I’ve moved back home. Home is where mummy can look after you when you’re ill (which has already happened in the two weeks I’ve been back; freshers’ flu is a bitch to grandma finalists). Home is also where mummy feeds you and makes you fat.

However! Cooking is such a big part of my life (cue orchestra) that I still will be cooking on a pretty regular basis, probably with almost the same ingredients as before. I’ll do my best to make this as affordable and student geared as possible, and in fact I’ll do so well that if you decided to bypass this whole spiel you probably won’t be able to tell the difference between last year’s and this year’s recipes.

So here we go:

IMG_20130925_230843 (1)

Time taken: 25 mins

Ingredients: 

  • 1 sheet of noodles
  • Vegetable stock (1 cube  probably, I used the granulated stuff, but basically enough to mix with a small saucepan’s worth of water)
  • Water (see above)
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • A few dashes of soy sauce
  • A few pieces of frozen white fish/salmon. You can buy these in big supermarkets, I’ve only just discovered them, and they are INCREDIBLE. Fish on tap, what more could you want?! Sainsburys even do an own brand version, which tastes just as good. See? Still a student. Always a student.
  • Optional: a few cloves of garlic and a small cube of ginger, both grated.

Method:

Boil a kettle with your water. If you’re using garlic and ginger, fry these off first and then the kettle is boiled, mix with your stock and pour into the saucepan. Let the water boil and add your noodles and fish. The fish takes longest to cook, about 6 minutes if I remember rightly. Follow the instructions for poaching the frozen fish (of course if you have fresh fish use that). Turn the flame down if the soup is going crazy. In the last few minutes add the peas and soy sauce. Add some more if you like.

Serve up!

Jerk Chicken!

This recipe was taken from the master himself, Levi Roots, so no complaining is allowed. Well, as much of Levi Roots’ recipe that I had with my limited budget/laziness to go back to Sainsbury’s. And might I say, it was pretty damn good. I was definitely jammin as I ate it. There was certainly no guiltiness involved with my oven baked sweet potato chips and the taste meant that I was far from waiting in vain for this meal. Is this love? I think so.

IMG_20130502_155053

Sunday morning, jerk chicken is sweet. Make you wanna move, your dancing feet.

Time Taken: 35 mins

Ingredients:

  • 1 pack chicken thighs
  • 1 large sweet potato (I had a really small one so used some small baby potatoes too)
  • Handful of peas

Jerk Marinade:

  • 4 spring onions, green part only, roughly chopped
  • 1 hot red chilli (ideally Scotch Bonnet, but I used a regular chilli),
  • seeds left in
  • 3cm piece of root ginger, cut into chunks
  • 2 tbsps thyme leaves (I substituted for mixed dry herbs)
  • 100ml cider vinegar (I used white wine vinegar because that was in my cupboard)
  • 3 tbsps honey
  • 2 tsps ground allspice
  • 1 tsps ground cinnamon (left out)
  • 2 tbsps olive oil
  • salt and pepper

Method:

Mix all the marinade ingredients together. If you have a blender, blend them, but if not I just mixed in a bowl but grated in the ginger so it would blend better. Cut any excess skin off the chicken and coat in about half of the marinade. If you find that there might not be a lot of marinade to go round, add a bit more oil.

If you have the time/ foresight, cover up your chicken and leave in the fridge to marinate for a few hours. If not, no worries. Turn on your oven on a highish heat, (by the way, our oven only seems to work at the highest temperature, so that’s why I’m always so sketchy with temperatures. It’s also one of those fab ovens where you have to stick your head inside, turn on the gas and then light it up with a lighter to turn it on. Yay for student living.)

Heat up a pan and fry off your chicken (unless you have a dodgy pan you almost definitely wont need more oil.) Fry for about 10 to fifteen minutes. While this is happening, wash, fork and microwave your potatoes for 7 to 8 mins. If your chicken blackens slightly don’t worry, its all part of the jerk chicken vibe. When the chicken seems nearly cooked, take it out of the pan and into an oven proof dish. Pour over the rest of the marinade.

Cut up your potato into chip shapes and spread on a tray. Sprinkle salt, herbs and a drizzle of oil over them, and then pop into the oven with your chicken. I’m aware that I’m starting to sound like Jamie Oliver with all this olive oil, but frankly, he’s a cooking god so that can only be a good thing.

Make your peas, and after ten minutes take out your chicken and chips. Eat up.

 

FREEDOM

So in the most bizarre turn of events, I’ve now finished my exams. Yes, it’s barely even May. But rather than being jealous (although you can be jealous too, I would be), why not see this as a blessing in disguise, because my freedom means the blogging can recommence! I’ve updated the recipes page, and coming up hopefully tomorrow will be my recipe for JERK CHICKEN, so stay tuned for that.

For now, here’s the most colourful salad I’ve ever eaten, which I made in celebration after my last exam yesterday, with leftover chicken, spinach leaves, red pepper, cherry tomatoes, and few torn up chorizo slices.

Having a celebratory salad sounds like an oxymoron, but despite being free as a bird, I’m still a student.

IMG_20130502_154636

Finally updated my instagram app and am marveling at the improvements.

Nandos!

 

IMG_20130502_155220

 

It’s been a horrifically long time since I blogged- apparently the blog/work balance isn’t as easy a juggle as I thought it would be. Also it’s Easter, so I went home to be fed by mummy, and as much as I love her, she isn’t a student, so taking photos of her dinners wouldn’t be that appropriate really.

Anyway, I made Nandos!

Looking pretty good right?

Looking pretty good right?

WARNING. This recipe is for the slightly more dedicated chef. If you feel you’re ready to undertake a recipe that involves more than three ingredients, then read on, because it’s time to turn the heat up to extra hot. Or lemon and herb. Whatever you prefer.

Who doesn’t love Nandos? From its humble beginnings in the late 1980s, Nandos has slowly but surely wormed its spicy way into our cold hearts. Let’s face it, nothing quite beats going to Nandos, but sometimes forking out a tenner for chicken, chips and a drink just isn’t quite possible for the student budget. So let’s make some at home. The true peri peri sauce finds its base in the African birds eye (or peri peri) chilli, which has a distinct taste to it. I have no idea where you might buy these, so I have substituted with chilli flakes and/or any chilli you can find. The Nandos connoisseur might choose to turn his nose up here and read no further, but there are a few simple solutions to this dilemma. If your bank balance can sustain the loss and you refuse to accept a substitute, just go to Nandos. Failing that, Nandos actually sell bottles of their marinade in the supermarket. Obviously this would be a brilliant cooking decision in itself, but if it was my decision there wouldn’t really be any point in writing an article about it, which brings us to the last option, sucking it up and making a pretty good replica yourself.

Time Taken: 35 mins

Ingredients:

–          1 pack chicken thighs (makes enough for 2 servings)

–          1 large potato

–          Peas

For the marinade (for a medium/ hot flavour)

–          3/4 cloves of garlic

–          1 chilli

–          A big pinch of chilli flakes

–          2 tablespoons white wine/ red wine vinegar

–          4/5 tablespoons olive oil

–          A big pinch of herbs

–          Juice of half a lemon

–          1 tablespoon smoked paprika

–          Salt and pepper

How to make

Mix all the marinade ingredients together in a bowl. Feel free to include/ leave out anything you have or don’t have. There’s many different recipes around for peri peri sauce and this one is a mix and match of most of them. Things like white wine vinegar are a good investment, as it makes a great salad dressing when mixed with a bit of oil. Smoked paprika is also great if you’re ever making anything the slightest bit Spanish.

Cut off any excess fat from the chicken and stick in the marinade. Ideally, you could do this an hour or more before you want to start cooking, but it’s no big deal if you don’t.

Turn on the oven. Wash and prick your potato and stick in the microwave for 6 minutes (or however long it needs to cook.)

In a large pan, heat up the tiniest bit of oil (you won’t really need any because of the oil in the marinade). Put the chicken in the pan, but save any marinade left in the bowl for later.

Cook for about five minutes, then turn over when the underside is looking brown and like Nandos chicken. Leave the other side to cook for another five minutes.

Take out the potato, cut into chip shapes and put on a foiled tray with herbs and oil to stop them sticking and burning. Stick in the oven.

When your chicken is looking cooked, take it out and put it in an ovenproof dish and pour over the rest of the marinade. (This is because despite appearances, it’s probably not actually cooked yet (as I discovered the first time I made this. It will break your heart to plate up, cut open your chicken only to find out it’s not ready.)

Put the chicken in the oven for 15 mins. Your chips might take less time than that so check them regularly.

Heat up your peas in the microwave with water for a minute.

Get yourself a bottomless drink, and you’ve got some Nandos!

ANNOUNCEMENT

In perfect timing with my blog post, TASTECARDS ARE NOW JUST £29.95 FOR THE YEAR (RRP 79.95) WITH A FREE ‘2 FOR 1 TASTECARD CINEMA CLUB’ ANNUAL MEMBERSHIP WHEN YOU BUY ONE USING THE CODE MOVIE7

BUYBUYBUY

TASTECARD

This is going to be a post all about tastecard. If you haven’t heard of it before, hopefully by the time you’ve read this you will know everything there is to know.

There isn’t much to know. Tastecard gets you 50% your food bill or 2 for 1 on meals at THOUSANDS of restaurants. These restaurants range from places like Zizzi and Ask to super posh fancy restaurants, so if you’re just looking for a ridiculously cheap meal, or if you want to save money but still eat out somewhere posh, a tastecard is the thing for you.

You can get a month’s free trial if you enter your details and address on their website, and normally it costs quite a lot for the year (but they do special offers around Christmas, for about £30-40. That sounds like a lot, but if you think about it, if you were to go out with one other person and eat a starter and main, a tastecard would probably save you £15 from the bill. On one trip. Therefore, it is actually ridiculously value for money. End of my maths lesson.)

Here are some pictures to illustrate my point. Last week I went to Fire & Stone at Westfields. Here is what I ate.

A San Sebastian pizza with CHORIZO, peppers, potatoes and sour cream. The other pizza is a Peking, with DUCK, HOISIN SAUCE, CUCUMBER AND SPRING ONIONS. I KNOW RIGHT.

A San Sebastian pizza with CHORIZO, peppers, potatoes and sour cream. The other pizza is a Peking, with DUCK, HOISIN SAUCE, CUCUMBER AND SPRING ONIONS. I KNOW RIGHT.

A warm chocolate brownie with vanilla ice cream and chocolate sauce. THIS WAS SO GOOD.
A warm chocolate brownie with vanilla ice cream and chocolate sauce. THIS WAS SO GOOD.

How much do you think these cost me in total?

£7.45.

Another example. Last week I also went to Cafe Concerto in St Paul’s, this beautifully romantic restaurant that has live jazz while you eat.

Spaghetti with toger

Spaghetti with tiger prawns. Yeah, my phone is taking worse and worse photos these days. 

How much did this cost me?

£5.48

 

GO BUY A TASTECARD.

Sweet and Sour Salmon!

Ok I know it seems like I’m really on this salmon hype, but it’s just so cheap! Last night’s meal was a super quick salmon with green beans and potatoes. I couldn’t decide between doing a Chinese style salmon with noodles and a more traditional dish with potatoes and green beans in garlic butter… so I just combined the two.

IMG_20130313_102345

Time Taken: 20 mins

Ingredients:

  • Salmon fillets
  • 1 pack green beans
  • 1 large potato, cut into chunks
  • 2 spring onions
  • 2 tbsp (ish) soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 1 tbsp white wine vinegar
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 2cm chunk of ginger if you have any
  • Small chunk of butter

Method

Turn on the oven, and put a kettle onto boil. Mix the soy sauce, honey, spring onions, ginger and two of the garlic cloves together to make a marinade, and cover the salmon in it. Pop the salmon into an oven proof dish and bake for about 15- 20 mins

When the kettle’s boiled, pour into a big pan and add the potatoes and beans together. The smaller the potato chunks are, the quicker they’ll cook. On average it should take about 15 mins all together.

Chop/ grate the remaining garlic clove. When the potatoes and beans are done, drain and put back into the pan. Add the garlic and butter and mix around. Take out the salmon and serve up!

Spaghetti with Smoked Salmon and Peas!

This is probably the most indulgent, luxurious meal I’ve ever cooked at university. Spaghetti in a thick creamy sauce with lashings of smoked salmon and peas…but wait, I hear some of you say! I thought this was a student food blog! How is all this possible!?

I’ll tell you how. Sainsbury’s Taste the Difference Smoke Salmon… is half price. That’s right, a huge pack of beautiful smoked salmon for just £2.50. So here’s how to make this gorgeous and astoundingly cheap dish.

2013-03-06 20.33.34

Ingredients:

  • A large glug of milk (I’m sorry, I’ve yet to measure out the ingredients for a white sauce to this day, but I basically poured enough milk to cover the base of a medium sized pan by about 1cm)
  • 1 large tbsp plain flour
  • 1 large tbsp butter (ALL THESE ARE ROUGH MEASUREMENTS!)
  • Grated nutmeg (optional)
  • 1 garlic clove (just to give the sauce some flavour)
  • Handful of grated cheddar

Note. I’ve made a white sauce. This could be substituted for creme fraiche, double cream, or a cream cheese, but I had none of these in the fridge but always have milk, butter and flour. So this is why I always make a white sauce. (Also I prefer it.)

  • Spaghetti
  • Half a cup of peas
  • Smoked salmon teared up into pieces (there is no way you’ll need the whole pack. My recipe made enough for two meals and I’ve still got loads left, but every mouthful still got some smoked salmon which is the way it’s supposed to be).

Method

Boil water for the kettle.

Chop/grate the garlic clove. Heat the milk in a pan, add the garlic, butter and flour and whisk on a low heat. There are specific ways of making a white sauce, but I’ve found as long as you whisk it lots it’s a lot quicker to bung everything in at the same time. Soon it should become a thick sauce.

Add salt and the spaghetti to the pan of boiling water. Grate in the nutmeg and cheese to the sauce and stir.

In a mug measure out half a cup of peas and cover with water. Microwave for 30 seconds- 1 minute. Keep your sauce on either a really really low heat or turn off now until the spaghetti is cooked.

Drain the spaghetti when done and add to the sauce. Then add the peas and smoked salmon and mix in well. Grate some more cheese over the top.

Eat.

Go to heaven.

Yes Peas!

If peas are probably the only vegetable you can bring yourself to eat, and you fancy a free nifty little recipe book, Yes Peas are the people for you! Visit their website for all things peas and to order your free recipe book, which I got in the post today. It came just in time really, seeing as Sainsbury’s are doing two packs of frozen peas for £1.50. How perfect!ImageImage

ImageImage