Chorizo, Chickpea and Spinach Stew

chorizo stew2

You know it’s spring when you find yourself hauling a bag usually reserved for short holidays on a twenty minute walk to the supermarket. Our highly erratic weather necessitates a volume of paraphernalia and equipment not dissimilar to that required to climb everest. Sunglasses, an umbrella, some form of waterproof outerwear, a hat, gloves and a possible change of shoes and clothes may all be required at a moment’s notice.

On arrival at said destination, the dilemmas continue. It may be sunny at the point of purchase but you know there is every chance you will have to fight through a whirling blizzard to get home and following that ordeal you don’t want to be faced with some bullshit salad ingredients, bought in a fit of optimism.

chorizo stew1

Chorizo is pretty good in this situation. Get it in a salad, sit outside and eat it with a glass of Rioja and a cigarette. You’ll think you’re in Barcelona. Or maybe costa del sol, lets not aim too high. However, on a day when the air is so thick with misty grey drizzle that you could only be in Manchester, you can use the chorizo in a rich, warming stew like this one. Also, as an added bonus, this recipe uses mainly store cupboard ingredients so hopefully you won’t need to go out in the pissing rain to buy anything.

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Crispy Chicken Goujons with Homemade ‘Slaw

chicken goujons1

Just as spring shows its first signs of bursting forth, and with easter just around the corner, I, much like Jesus Christ himself, have chosen to be born again. After 5 months maintaining the pretence of adulthood, with a real job and commuting and stuff, I have returned to Manchester and part-time work. This has allowed me far more time to both binge-watch Netflix, and re-indulge in everything to do with food.

chicken goujons2

To accompany my glorious resurrection, I chose to make something tasty and unhealthy as a shameless two-fingers to all of those seed-munching prigs who are smugly still sticking to their new-year’s resolutions. In all seriousness though, this recipe is not actually as bad for you as it looks, because nothing is deep fried. Neither is it that much of a faff to make and yet it remains a fairly decadent mid-week treat.

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To accompany my crispy little chicken pieces, as the Americans call them, I made some coleslaw with all of the odds and ends I had in my fridge. It was pretty delicious but do not worry too much about sticking staunchly to the ingredient list, and certainly don’t go out and buy things especially.

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Chicken, Bacon and Leek Pie for Spring

 

Checken and Leek3I realise that I have slightly missed the window for this recipe. I began writing it only days before an avalanche of essays, dissertation stress and exams hit, only to be thawed by the summer sun of the last few weeks. Now I am free though I thought I would return to few of my favourite spring recipes which work had prevented me from cooking and sharing with you. Even if this one is a little heavy for the weather at the moment you can be guaranteed that rain is never very far away, especially in Manchester. Keep this one in the back pocket then for a rainy summer day, and enjoy!Chicken and Leek 1

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Chorizo Skillet

Skillet2So its really really cold at the moment. I don’t know why it is but the idea of winter becomes so much less appealing after Christmas, the frosty mornings and air so chilly that your breath condenses as you talk is no longer charming, it is a nuisance. As the rest of the country experiences the first snowfall of 2015 and spends their weekends reliving a scene from a Victorian Christmas card, the Manchester skies are a flurry of dismal unidentified slush. I have never seen anything so depressing.

Skillet1After Christmas I felt so sick I could barely eat for weeks but now with the advent of this weather a small part of me is longing for buttery mashed potatoes and pies and sponge puddings and roast dinners and ah everything that would screw up any hope of being able to fit through my front door by my forties. This is also seriously challenging my need for easy, cheap food, created by a mixture of essays, exams, a post christmas overdraft and some serious January sales bargains! As a result I have been trying my best to find interesting recipes that are comforting, healthy, quick and inexpensive, because at this time of year a salad just won’t cut it.

Skillet3This skillet is a great example. Its more summery than wintery but it is a perfect hot lunch that won’t break your bank or rip your jeans and best of all it can be eaten straight out of the pan! The chorizo gives it a fiery, smoky hit and the oozy egg yolk brings a silky delicious texture. An added bonus is that you can chuck just about anything in it. If you don’t have potatoes this is really nice with just a handful of quinoa stirred through. Equally you can use half a tin of tomatoes instead of fresh ones. It also tastes great with spring onions, courgette, parsley or sweet potato so its a great one for cleaning out the odds and ends of your fridge. Enjoy!

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Cheesy Beef Hotpot

Hotpot1It seems to me, the toughest challenge faced by budding student foodies is finding as many uses for mince as is humanly possible. Chilli, lasagne, spag bol and shepherds pie are on the menu every otter night in unit up and down the country. Mince is such a good ingredient when you’re cooking on a budget, it is cheap and really adaptable.  Sometimes the old classics get a bit boring though so here’s a recipe for mince that is a bit different.

Hotpot2This recipe is really simple except, for any sauce- virgins out there, the homemade cheese sauce might prove tricky. You can obviously substitute this for something from a jar but white sauce is such a useful thing to learn how to make, you only need 3 ingredients, all of which most people will have in the house already. The quantities here are just guidelines really, I don’t normally measure it all out, you just need enough butter so all the flour is incorporated but no more. The key is not to get frustrated, if it goes wrong you can try again, it won’t break the bank! Other things to remember: just keep whisking and it should turn out alright and don’t use a non-stick pan because the whisk will scratch off the coating.Hotpot3 Continue reading

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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Ultimate Fully Loaded Burgers!

burger3Recently I made plans to meet a friend for dinner, unfortunately neither of us had much money. I hate eating out or searching for restaurants when I have got no money. The food always sounds great but any enjoyment is hampered by knowing that you can only afford half the things on the menu. After being underwhelmed by everything in my price bracket I thought why not just bring the pub to mine. I provided the food and she provided alcohol in various shapes and sizes. ( I apologise for the quality of the photos- many beverages had already been tested at this point!)

Burger1For ultimate pub-grub I decided to make us burgers. Everywhere seems to have their own view on what makes the best burger and I thought I would add my voice to the mix. I go simple normally with burgers, I stick to original beef but with all the trimmings. In my opinion both cheese and bacon are essential as is a good base of salad. All in all, I can confirm this recipe is the quick and easy way to make the perfect Friday night-in burgers that will rival any pub’s.

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