Sunday, 27 February 2011

Oreo Brownies

I have a good friend who makes the best brownies in the world. She used to sell them at school to raise money for charity, that was until she was banned by the dinner ladies for taking all their break time trade. I don’t think any recipe will live up to hers, and these don’t quite, but they are very good, and actually improved with age. I was a little bit worried about the amount of dark chocolate and cocoa, preferring milk, but these weren’t as dark in the end as I’d expected. The Oreo’s added a nice twist to the traditional recipe, but they’re certainly not essential. The finished product came out oozy in the centre but was a little more like cake then brownie, but the consistency improved once it had been put in the fridge over night. I certainly haven’t found the best brownies in the world yet, but while I’m searching for them I’m more then happy to munch on these.

I followed the Lorraine Pascale recipe, from her ‘Baking Made Easy’ series.

Culinary Know How: FRESHER
Budget: UNDER £3

Saturday, 26 February 2011

Spaghetti Carbonara

Now I know its notoriously bad for you, and I know there’s a lot of double cream, cheese and bacon in it, but it don’t half taste good. Really simple to make and pretty tasty too, it does include Parmesan which is extortionately priced, but as a show off dish to be shared with friends it’s a great choice. I loosely followed the BBC Good Food recipe, my go to cooking site of choice at the moment, but added a few good glugs of white wine to the egg, cream and cheese mixture.  

Culinary Know How: FRESHER
Budget: UNDER £6

Wednesday, 23 February 2011

Salmon Parcels

I wish there was a bit more fish in my diet, but I’m put off by price and feel I don’t have the practical skills to prepare and serve most of it properly. However, this recipe appealed because I do like the occasional salmon steak and you can throw everything into the parcel and it’s all done in one, making it the ultimate lazy supper. The addition of the ginger provided just the right amount of interest without overpowering the delicate taste of the salmon and the vegetables were tender.

From the Waitrose Weekend newspaper
Serves 2
Butter (to grease the baking parchment)
1 leek
1 carrot
2 salmon fillets (preferably without skin)
2cm chunk of fresh ginger
½ lemon
  1. Preheat the oven to 200C. Cut 2 pieces of baking parchment into 22cm/22cm squares and grease well with the butter. Place on a baking tray.
  2. Finely slice the leek and carrot and divide between the baking parchments. Place one salmon fillet on each of the vegetable piles, season well, and sprinkle with the finely shredded ginger. Squeeze a ¼ of lemon on each of the fillets.
  3. Wrap each parcel tightly and bake for 20 minutes or until the fish and salmon are cooked. Serve with noodle flavoured with a little soy sauce.

Culinary Know How: FRESHER
Budget: UNDER £7

Monday, 21 February 2011


I thought these were a disaster right up until the moment I tried one. Luckily they redeemed themselves in the tasting. I’ve loved macaroons ever since I walked past the beautiful Laduree patisserie in St. Germain, Paris. The first time I saw the edible rainbow of these sugary concoctions I was smitten. However, the price tag isn’t quite so inviting, making them a rare treat. I have always been keen to try making my own, but very apprehensive, hearing plenty of horror stories. I decided to give the Lorraine Pascale recipe a go as they seemed pretty straightforward. The only problems I encountered were making the sugar and water mixture turn syrupy and getting the mixture (which I don’t think was thick enough) into the piping bag. I also left them in the oven longer then prescribed because they appeared gooey on the underneath. I gave up on trying to cook them after about half an hour and went ahead with assembling them once they had cooled, and after tasting them I realised that they were probably supposed to be this way!!

Culinary Know How: 2nd YEAR
Budget: UNDER £5

Sunday, 20 February 2011

Rosemary and Sea Salt Foccacia

I’ve been neglecting the blog this week because of a horrible cold, and haven’t felt like cooking anything too adventurous. Hopefully this week will be better, and I’ve started as I mean to go on with a rosemary and sea salt foccacia. The recipe starts out in the same way as the other bread recipe that I have followed, and uses most of the same ingredients, except for the addition of sea salt and rosemary. However, it manages to have a wholly different consistency after the kneading, and different texture after it’s baked. We devoured half of it still warm dipped in olive oil as a tasty snack.

The recipe is from Lorraine Pascale’s excellent BBC 2 program ‘Baking Made Easy’, and can be found here.

Culinary Know How: 2ND YEAR
Budget: UNDER £5

Thursday, 17 February 2011

Two Ways with Sweet Potato

The humble sweet potato is a versatile carbohydrate and a staple of my kitchen cupboard. It’s nice to have a different option to the trusty potato every now and again, and they taste good tossed into a curry, simply cubed and boiled, mashed or even chipped.

Sweet Potato Curry:
I know it’s another curry, but I really can’t say enough how perfectly suited they are to the student budget and kitchen. One big pan, lots of lovely leftovers and store cupboard basics, and you’ve got your self a flavoursome and eternally changing meal. I made this one before a night out, its heat and stodginess providing a defense against the long night ahead. I’d never tried a vegetarian curry before, but the sweet potato provided a great meat substitute.

Serves 2
½ onion
large glug of vegetable oil
1cm piece of fresh ginger
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp ground cumin
½ tsp cayenne pepper
½ tsp turmeric
200g chopped tomato (1/2 tin)
2 average sized sweet potatoes
½ cauliflower
200g coconut milk (1/2 tin)
50g cashew nuts
handful of frozen peas
  1. Peel the onion, roughly chop and fry in the oil in a large frying pan for 5 minutes. Peel the garlic and crush, and peel the ginger and finely chop. Add to the pan and fry for 1 minute. Add the spices and cook for 2 minutes.
  2. Add the tomatoes and peeled and cubed sweet potatoes (I suggest just over bite sized or they won’t cook in time). Cook for thirty minutes over a low heat, covered with a lid, adding water if it appears to be drying out.
  3. Add the florets of cauliflower and the coconut milk. Put the lid on and simmer for around 8 minutes, or until the cauliflower is soft. Add the peas for the final 2 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, toast the nuts in a dry frying pan.
  5. Season and add nuts just before serving on rice.
 Culinary Know How: FRESHER
Budget: UNDER £5

Sweet Potato Fries:
Cut into fine strips and sprinkled with salt, these sweet potato chips make a tasty snack, and best of all they take less then five minutes to make.

Sweet Potato
Vegetable Oil
  1. Finely slice the sweet potatoes into slim chips, leaving the skins on.
  2. Fry small batches in hot vegetable oil until golden.
  3. Drain, dab off with kitchen towel, season with salt and eat immediately.
Culinary Know How: FRESHER
Budget: UNDER £1
Kitchen Requirements: FRYING PAN.

Wednesday, 16 February 2011

Chicken Cacciatore

This recipe is in the top 20 on the BBC Good Food website, and it’s easy to understand why. It’s simple and tasty, and has a true Italian feel to it. The first time I made this was the best, so I suggest following the recipe to the letter rather then experimenting with it too much. On this occasion I served it with pasta, but it also works well with steamed greens, such as broccoli, and potatoes.

Culinary Know How: FRESHER
Budget: under £5
Kitchen Requirements: OVEN PROOF DISH OR DEEP PAN.

Tuesday, 15 February 2011

Valentines Day.

Although not strictly student cooking, and not strictly cooked by me, I thought I must show you the lovely meal that Ben cooked for Valentines Day, and the recipes he followed. It was lovely to have a night off from cooking, and especially lovely to have such a wonderful feast cooked for me. We started with griddled langoustine (BBC Good Food), which were served with a hazelnut and parsley dipping sauce. The sweetness of the sauce went well with the shellfish, which were a great choice as a light starter.

This was followed by roast quail served on a bed of pureed parsnips and potatoes with buttered spinach and a delicious plum sauce. The plum sauce recipe is from the BBC Good Food website and was initially meant to accompany duck breast, but it went very well with the quails, which were a real treat, simply cooked in the oven at 190C for 20 to 25 minutes.

Pudding was a no cook Chocolate Tart, with a sweet biscuity base that offset the bitterness of the chocolate nicely, served with a dollop of crème fraiche and a scatter of raspberries. This rich dessert provided the perfect ending to an indulgent meal, as is fitting for a Valentine’s Day. The best thing about the menu, other then it tasting delicious of course, was that it was planned in a way that meant Ben didn’t have to spend too much time in the kitchen during the meal. Thank you baby.

Saturday, 12 February 2011

Chocolate Pots

Those of you with a sweet tooth will love these, those without, steer well clear. Packed with chocolate and sugar, they make a really rich and indulgent pud, which probably shouldn’t become an everyday fixture, but is nice as a treat every now and again (Valentines day being the perfect opportunity). You will, I’m afraid, need a food processor to make them though.

Makes 4 to 6 pots (mixture filled four old GU ramekins)
240ml double cream
70g caster sugar
200g chocolate
1 tsp vanilla essence
2 egg yolks
  1. Heat the cream and sugar in a pan and bring to the boil. Stir until all the sugar is dissolved.
  2. Chop the chocolate into small chunks and put into a food processor with the vanilla essence and egg yolks.
  3. When the cream is simmering, start the processor and pour it in (do this VERY carefully, and on a low speed, or you will end up with a chocolate explosion like I did). When smooth, pour the mixture into ramekins and refrigerate for over 2 hours.
Culinary Know How: FRESHER
Budget: UNDER £5

Friday, 11 February 2011

Roast Chicken with Garlic, Apple and Cider

This is a good recipe to impress your friends with, it looks great on the plate, the mustard gives it a ‘grownup’ edge, but the cider keeps it kind of studenty too. The sauce is rich and creamy, but keep a close eye on the measurements, an overly generous slosh of cider can make it a bit watery. If you don’t have Dijon you can substitute this for English Mustard, but halve the amount, as the English is stronger. I serve mine with a simple mashed potatoes and steamed greens.

Serves 2
4 garlic cloves, peeled
2 skinless chicken breasts
2 tbsp olive oil
100 ml dry cider
1 red apple, peeled and sliced
2 tbsp Dijon mustard
100 ml crème fraiche
  1. Preheat the oven to 200C. Bring a small pan of water to the boil and cook the garlic for two to three minutes, and then set aside. Season the chicken breasts and drizzle with olive oil in an oven proof dish, and cook on the top shelf of the oven for 25 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, put the garlic, cider, apple and mustard in a frying pan. Cook gently for 10 minutes.
  3. Transfer the cooked chicken to the pan, add the crème fraiche and simmer for 5 minutes. Squash the garlic with a fork and season with salt and pepper.
Culinary Know How: FRESHER
Budget: UNDER £7

Thursday, 10 February 2011

Cheese and Ham Muffins

These are a great option when you’re running to catch the bus, and want a quick bite of something tasty. A good choice for breakfast, elevenses, teatime, or anytime you’re feeling peckish really, they are quick to put together and can be stored in an airtight container.

Makes 12
6 slices of ham
190g cheddar cheese
75g butter
1 egg
250ml milk
300g self-raising flour
½ teaspoon paprika
  1. Preheat oven to 190C and lightly grease a muffin tin. Cut the ham in to 1 cm chunks and grate the cheddar. Cut the butter into pieces. Beat the egg in a bowl with the milk.
  2. Sieve the flour, paprika and a pinch of salt into a large mixing bowl, and rub the butter into the flour until it looks like breadcrumbs.
  3. Add the chopped ham and grated cheese, then stir in the egg and milk mix thoroughly.
  4. Spoon into the muffin tin and cook in the oven for 20 minutes. Place on a wire rack to cool.
Culinary Know How: FRESHER
Budget: UNDER £5

Wednesday, 9 February 2011

Cheats Risotto with Bacon and Peas

Whenever I go to someone’s house for supper and they cook risotto I feel terribly guilty. Slaving over the stove for hours, painstakingly stirring, adding stock and stirring again, the results were always delicious, but I couldn’t face working on something for so long. Which is why this recipe immediately jumped out to me (on a website I can not recall I’m afraid). For this cheats risotto all you need to do is throw everything in the pan and leave it for 15 minutes. That’s it. What you’re left with is perfectly cooked rice with that gloopy consistency expected from a risotto. Simple flavours, simply great. I add peas and bacon, but you can throw pretty much anything in.

Serves 2/4
1 onion
6 rashers streaky bacon, chopped
160g risotto rice
600ml hot vegetable stock
100g frozen peas
  1. Finely chop the onion, heat 2 tbsp of olive oil and a knob of butter in a pan, add the onion and fry until it is lightly brown. Add the bacon and fry until it starts to crisp.
  2. Add the rice and stock and bring to the boil. Stir well, reduce the heat and cooked, covered, for 15 minutes, until the rice is almost tender.
  3. Stir in the peas, add pepper to taste and cook for a further 3 minutes.
  4. Serve with grated Parmesan or cheddar.

Culinary Know How: FRESHER
Budget: UNDER £5
Kitchen Requirements: ONE LARGE PAN WTH A LID.

Tuesday, 8 February 2011

Curry Chicken Pot Roast

An unusual take on the traditional Sunday roast, this simple to make and delicious to eat recipe provides perfectly cooked chicken permeated with a lovely curry flavour, and a spicy yoghurt crust to boot. The chunks of potato left to cook under the chicken with slices of lemon pick up a citrusy flavour that offsets the curry chicken nicely. Served with simply steamed greens and a large glass of wine, and you’ve got the perfect excuse to get your friends round and celebrate the weekend.

Serves around 4
3 cloves garlic
4 tbsp natural youghurt
2 tsp turmeric
2 tsp ground cinnamon
2 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp chilli powder
750g potatoes (or enough to serve you and your friends)
1 lemon
1 tsp vegetable oil
1 whole chicken
fresh coriander (optional)
  1. Preheat the oven to 190C. Peel and grate the garlic into a bowl, and add the yoghurt, spices and chilli powder.
  2. Slice the unpeeled potatoes fairly thinly and place in a large deep pan with the oil. Slice half the lemon and scatter amongst the potatoes, and season.
  3. Smear the yoghurt mixture all over the chicken, stuff some of it under the skin too so that the flavours permeate the chicken further, and put the other half of the lemon in the cavity of the chicken.
  4. Cook covered in the oven for 1 hour. Then remove the lid and cook for another 30 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through.
  5. Carve, and serve the potatoes sprinkled with the fresh coriander.

Culinary Know How: FRESHER
Budget: UNDER £10

Monday, 7 February 2011

Chilli con Carne

Before now my understanding of this classic Texan dish was that it consisted of beef mince, an onion, garlic, a tin of chopped tomatoes and one of kidney beans, and of course, a chilli, all served over a pile of rice. How wrong could I be? The greatest thing about this recipe is that most of the ingredients where hiding in my cupboard just waiting for me to put them all together. Of course I substituted the meat for quorn mince, and added a dollop of marmite to give it more depth of flavour, but I really couldn’t fault the recipe in any way. The fact that you can pretty much throw all the ingredients together in one big pan and leave it on a low heat for a couple of hours makes it a very appealing choice for the busy student, who wants a really tasty and satisfying supper, but who can’t be bothered to hover over the stove for more then 10 minutes.

Serves 6
3 carrots
2 onions
4 cloves garlic
olive oil
2 sticks celery
1 kg minced beef
2 tsp ground cumin
3 bay leaves
1 tsp oregano
2 tsp sweet paprika
3 tsp cayenne pepper
6 tbsp tomato puree
3x 400g tin chopped tomatoes
100ml malt vinegar
2x 400g tin kidney beans, drained
  1. Peel and quarter the carrots and onions, chop the celery and peel the garlic (the original recipe says to blitz all the veg in the food processor, but I chopped them all finely by hand and they turned out great).
  2. Heat the oil in a large deep pan, add the veg and fry until they have all softened.
  3. Add the mince and cook until it is brown all over. Then add all the other ingredients and stir. Cook uncovered for two hours on the hob, stirring occasionally, and add a little water to stop it drying out if necessary.
Culinary Know How: FRESHER
Budget: UNDER £10
Kitchen Requirements: ONE LARGE DEEP PAN.

Sunday, 6 February 2011

Sausage and Leek Casserole

I've never made a casserole before, but after making this I'll definitely be doing it again, but perhaps minus the dumplings. After throwing everything in a pan and leaving it for a couple of hours I was left with perfectly cooked sausages, potatoes, carrots and onions, it's just so simple. The only element I was a little unsure about was the dumplings, I found them to be very dry, although Ben, having had them before, said they were just right. I leave it up to you to decide. The recipe can be found here.

Culinary Know How: FRESHER
Budget: UNDER £5
Kitchen Requirements: LARGE PAN WITH LID.

Saturday, 5 February 2011

Chocolate Chip Cookies

Today has been a busy day, cooking wise. Bread, cookies and casserole, needless to say I'm feeling pretty cooked out now. Luckily I have these lovely chocolate chip cookies to get me through, and the batch is big enough to be snacking on for a good few days to come.

Really simple to make and devilishly indulgent, the only changes I made to the original recipe was using an extra 100g of milk chocolate and 100g less of the dark (I couldn't find 50% cocoa solids so had to settle for 70%, but didn't want to make them too bitter). The recipe can be found on the BBC Good Food website.

Culinary Know How: FRESHER
Budget: UNDER £5

Friday, 4 February 2011

Coconut Chicken and Pea Curry

Curries are generally pretty simple to make, but the great thing about this one, that makes it different from others I’ve made in the past, is the fact that everything but the coriander can be found in the store cupboard or freezer, you just need to remember to take the chicken out of the freezer in the day or pick it up from the shops on your way home. The addition of the tikka paste was a real discovery, not only does it add a really deep curry flavour which really livens up the chicken, but it can be kept in the cupboard even after opening, so no need to take up valuable fridge space. The flavour’s complimented one another perfectly, it was very mild allowing the coconut to shine through, but I wouldn’t be afraid to throw in a chili if you prefer a kick to your curry.

Serves 4
4 Chicken breasts
25g butter
2 tsp nigella seeds (black onion seeds)
2 tbsp tikka paste
300ml coconut milk
200g frozen peas
Handful of fresh coriander leaves
  1. Slice the chicken breasts into thin strips
  2. Melt the butter in a heavy based pan and cook the chicken and nigella seeds until the chicken is cooked, around 10 minutes. Stir in the tikka paste, coconut milk and peas. Stirring constantly, bring to a boil, and then simmer for a minute or two.
  3. Chop the coriander and add to the pan before seasoning to taste. Serve with rice. 
Culinary Know How: FRESHER
Budget: UNDER £5
Kitchen Requirements: BIG FRYING PAN.

Wednesday, 2 February 2011

Simple White Bread

This is the proudest I’ve ever been of anything I’ve cooked so far. I followed a simple recipe, but I was still amazed that it turned out so well. The recipe was so quick and easy, apart from the two hours resting (I never knew bread was so lazy), and the need for me to google the term ‘knocking back’ (punch the dough a bit and knead it some more). The results were great, a soft, light and fluffy interior, a slightly crusty shell, and the smell, not only of the bread itself but the smell that permeated through the flat, was delicious. Totting up what I spent on the flour and yeast, and working out how many loaves I can make with the ingredients was almost as big a surprise as the fact I managed to make the bread, each loaf costs roughly 40p, a greatly different figure to what I usually spend on the generic loaf packed with preservatives at the supermarket. If the economic and taste factors have still not swayed you, remember that the hands on time is less then 20 minutes and the rest of the time is resting and baking, so there really is no excuse. I’m going to try and make a loaf every Sunday from now on, and if you’re still not converted then try it for your self and expect to savour the results. The recipe can be found on the BBC Good Food website.

Culinary Know How: NO LONGER IN HALLS
Budget: UNDER £2

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...