Souper easy Leek and Potato Soup

Soup1Isn’t it horrible the way that winter has that habit of slowly creeping up on you. It starts with the first christmas displays in late august which you dismiss as the false cheer of money grabbing chief execs fa-la-la ing at the thought of huge christmas bonuses. But then the weather gets suspicious dreary and soon you find yourself recovering from near pneumonia in front of Strictly Come Dancing of a Saturday night. And then the Bake Off ends and you know it’s happened. It has arrived. ( I would hate for everyone to think that my life is entirely dependent on TV, it’s not really I just love competition based shows on the BBC.)

Soup2Anyway as of this week Summer is actually, irrefutably over and winter is near so I have been making nice wintery food this week. Also, as expected I remain jobless and therefore penniless so am scrimping a bit on food. This Leek and Potato soup is a twist on a french onion soup that will really warm your cockles as the torrential rain sets in (just as a side note lost my umbrella last week just as the weather forecast switched to black clouds for the foreseeable future, great!). Back to the soup… it is simple and delicious and cheaper than any fresh soup you can get in the supermarket! Continue reading

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Fajitas for Friends

fajitas1I feel compelled to apologise for my lack of internet presence in the last couple of weeks although I am sure there aren’t many of you waiting on the edge of your seats for another post. This first few weeks at uni has been manic. Trying to force myself to read more than one page of a book at a time has been challenging to say the least! I am also finding it a little more hectic as I am living in a new flat, no longer in the student hub of Manchester and so seeing my friends has proved harder this year. This is why I decided to set up a supper club to meet every few weeks, I cook the dinner and they pay me £3 each for the privilege of my company and cuisine.

Before

Before

I wanted to start with something easy so I chose fajitas, a Mexican classic. This is such a good meal for getting to know people, something about sharing out food and passing it around the table is just perfect for breaking the ice. I thought this meal could translate well for those of you who are new students or have moved into houses with new people and are having to cook for the first time. This is such an easy dish to make and its great way to get your housemates on side. For anyone having trouble meeting people or making new friends don’t stress, it will work itself out and, in the meantime, food remains the best way to people’s hearts so cook them a meal!

...And After!

…And After!

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Pho Style Noodle Soup

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I’m feeling very blessed at the moment, working in London’s Wet End. There are just so many options for lunch. Although many are not cheap, everyday options, there must be over 50 takeaway food joints within a 10 minute walk from my office sampling 20 to 30 different cuisines for under a tenner. Currently, when I am feeling very flush I treat myself to something delicious and healthy from itsu. Japanese food has been a bit of a revelation to me in the last few years and, although this is not real japanese, it is still perfect for an asian inspired lunch on the go. Plus, their sushi comes with loads of wasabi and pickled ginger which is a must for me!

Pho2Today I really fancied one of their potsu dishes, noodles served in various warming spiced broths. Unfortunately, however, today I did not find myself particularly plump in the pocket so had to opt out. I still found myself craving the soothing warmth of noodles and chicken, the ideal antidote to those first suggestions of winter. Therefore, I decided to have a pop at making something similar myself.

Pho3This recipe works best as a use for leftover road chicken but alternatively you could cook a chicken breast in a tinfoil parcel in the oven and make the broth with chicken stock (this would be far quicker but not as tasty). I also should mention for any sticklers out there that this is not a proper pho at all, I skipped many of the ingredients because they are hard to find and expensive. Continue reading

Stuffed Peppers

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Yesterday was one of those days that revolved around food. in the office, it seemed like all anyone could think or talk about was food. We talked about what to have for lunch, what we were having for dinner, what we used to love as children, our weird and wonderful food creations (apparently cheese and banana toasties are about to sweep the nation), and somewhere between the best sandwich (pastrami with sauerkraut, pickle and mustard mayo on rye) and the worst spicy sauce shocker stories (a devilish burrito from wrap it up!) we talked at length about stuffed vegetables.

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Stuffed mushrooms we decided left a lot to be desired unless done perfectly, they are too often soggy and tasteless. Stuffed courgettes are good (I love courgettes) but theres not enough space for the filling. And so the price for the worlds best stuffed vegetable goes to the pepper. We passed on to chillies, chilli con carne, burritos but still the thought of stuffed peppers stayed with me. I had to have them.

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This is one of my favourite recipes for stuffed peppers as, although there are quite a lot of ingredients it is really quick and easy to make and super filling. I usually have these on their own but they are great as a side too, perhaps with a tomato and chicken bake or meatballs. They are also perfect at a BBQ as they go well with the meat but are nice and filling for vegetarians. Remember to use vegetable stock though if serving to vegetarians.

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Courgette and Pancetta Summer Pasta

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It is far too hot to cook at the moment. Even I have been finding it very hard to motivate myself. I have been seeking out really simple recipes that don’t require too long in the kitchen as weather like this should be enjoyed to its best extent, in a beer garden. Pasta is always the best simple dinner option, perfect for soaking up any inadvertent after-work drinks.

Courgette Carbonara

This dish is a sort of twist on a carbonara. It is a great lighter alternative, perfect for anyone working on a bikini body as I have avoided the cream element. A much more interesting alternative to pasta and pesto but still really quick to make and requires very few ingredients. Hope you enjoy it, I am off back outside to frolic in the sunshine!

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Salmon Supper for Parents

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There has been an incident at my house. The equilibrium of our middle class lives has been shattered. My mum has sprained her ankle. It is the biggest news of the year. The ground troops have been called in for back up, i.e. me. My first good turn (a brownie guide must do three good turns everyday) as substitute woman of the house was to cook everyone dinner. Sound easy, not so. My dad had been instructed to buy Salmon, easy dinner she thought. My first thought was salmon tacos with guacamole, roasted peppers and rice. My dad doesn’t really like Mexican. So then maybe a nice warm salmon salad with grilled courgette. He doesn’t really like salad either. Basically give my dad an overcooked pork chop with overcooked veggies and boiled potatoes and  he will be happy, he’s old-fashioned that way. The recipe I came up with is traditional with a twist. It was completely made up but I think it works. It is not the cheapest dish in the world but for entertaining or pleasing fussy parents it is perfect.

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By far the easiest way to cook salmon, or any fish in fact, is in a tinfoil parcel, in the oven. You don’t get the crispy skin that frying would give but on the other hand the fish will not dry out, it stays lovely and flakey. If this recipe looks a little complex/ pricey for you you could equally make the risotto on it own but I would add a little grated parmesan and perhaps some int to give it more depth of flavour. You could also save money by using less salmon and at the last minute, just before adding the veggies, stirring it into the risotto. This is a bit less fancy but equally delicious!

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Something Summery- Asparagus, Courgette and Mint Risotto- Perfect for Busy Bees

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So I have finished with uni for the year,  but I have not been free to revel in domestic bliss for long. Today was the first day of my two month summer job working as an ‘administrator’ (i.e. general dog’s body) in a financial advice company. Not only is the work dull, which is to say incredibly DULL, now I have even less time for cooking than I did at uni.

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Luckily I am prepared for such eventualities with a host of recipes that take very little time to make and require minimal washing up, workers of the world not not despair you can still have delicious mid-week dinners. One of the best fail-safe speedy dinners is risotto. I chose to make it with asparagus, courgette and mint because its lovely and summery (and obviously it was the only thing I had in the fridge!) but if you just follow the first few steps then you can add any veggies you like at the end.IMG_0991

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