Chorizo, Chickpea and Spinach Stew

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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.

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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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Bacon, Apple and Potato Hash with Eggs.

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A full English breakfast is one of the world’s most glorious things. It is one of the only meals that is appropriate to eat “all-day” and it is pretty much the only thing that can truly help to cure a hangover. Whether you are a ketchup or brown sauce person, whether you love or loath black pudding and whatever accompaniments you think should be included, be they potato cakes, potato farl, tattie scones, oatcakes or lava bread, pretty much everyone loves a good fry up.

apple bacon hash3Having said that, there are some downsides to having a full breakfast every weekend. Aside from the inevitable damage to your coronary arteries, fry ups are a bit of a faff to make and they are not cheap either, due to the endless roll call of varying pork products required. For this reason, I have decided to lay off the fry ups for a bit and try out some lighter, cheaper and less complicated breakfasts for my lazy Sunday mornings.

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This hash ticks all of the boxes, it is really cheap and quick and only includes one cancer bearing pork product, which must surely be a good thing. It is also entirely made up of stuff that most of us have lying around meaning that hellish, hungover/ half-asleep traipse to the local supermarket can be avoided.

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Easy Peasy Pasta

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I am a bit rushed for time at the moment with hundreds of essay hand-ins all arriving at once and the constant looming threat of the dreaded dissertation. Because of this I haven’t got much time to dedicate to cooking or blogging. I thought for this week that I would just share the quickest easiest recipe I know for a delicious bowl of pasta. For anybody out there who is in the same position as me this is a recipe for a lovely home-cooked dinner that won’t eat up your evening. Throw out the ready meals and take aways for just one night and give this a go.

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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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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

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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AMAZING Eggs for Brunchers

P1030168If you are anything like me, Saturdays call for lazy mornings in the kitchen accompanied by good food, great music and even greater dance moves. Saturday breakfast is one of the best things civilisation has given us, but in the last few years it has morphed into a new strange, unplaceable meal called brunch.  The reasoning behind brunch is as follows: we are all either fucked from the night before or just unashamedly lazy and can’t call this meal breakfast because we’re eating it at 3 o’clock in the afternoon. I am usually not a fan of portmanteau words in the vain of “kimye” or “frenemy” but I am pretty chillaxed about this one because it has become so much part of our culture that it has adopted its own space in our language.

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I like brunch, it sanctions laziness and it tastes good. You can do anything you want with brunch, it is the perfect combination of amazing breakfast things, that we wish we could eat all day, and more substantial lunchy stuff that properly fills you up. Take these eggs for instance, they are far to rich for early morning fare but they taste amazing and are, therefore, perfect for brunching. They are also really quick to make, unlike a full english, so you can get on with your day. Today my music of choice was Jimi Hendrix, the god that is, but I was barely half way through the album by the time I had cooked eaten and cleaned up!

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