Fluffy American Style Pancakes

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Hooray its pancake day. The first of the two sugar-filled, coma-inducing feast days, allowing children everywhere their first glimpse into adult life as they wake covered in vomit and shame following the previous day’s over indulgence. I, like many, will most certainly be found passed out with chocolate smeared all over my face in 6 weeks time. However, full disclosure, I probably won’t be eating pancakes today. I’ve got work and a hangover and this weird thing is going on with my eye. It’s all too much. In the words of the immortal Karl Pilkington “why am I being told when I can have a pancake? Have em when you want… Pancake Tuesday? Nah I won’t bother I’ll have a trifle.” 

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I thought I would embrace the spirit of the thing though and share this recipe because pancakes are very yummy, particularly these ones. You can have make them savoury, like the smoked salmon cream cheese and spring onion ones above, sweet, mixing blueberries or banana in with the batter, or my personal favourite sweet and savoury, with crispy bacon and maple syrup. Get creative and even slightly gross with your flavour combinations. Why not? You should only really eat pancakes once a year after all.

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Vegetarian/ Vegan Shepherds Pie

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Recently I have decided to heavily cut back on the amount of meat I eat. I do not possess any where near the requisite will power to become a vegetarian full time but I have pretty much stopped buying and therefore cooking with meat. This is in part a money saving venture but predominately I just enjoy being able to smugly reflect on the microscopic sacrifice I am making for the good of the environment every time I get on a plane or accidentally put some plastic in the normal bin.

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Actually cooking without meat is pretty hard, especially if you like trying out new things in the kitchen. At first it was an exciting challenge, but after about a month of the same 5 vegetables variously disguised as curries, chilli and stew, I was starting to get pretty bored. This shepherds pie, despite not exactly reinventing the wheel, does provide a bit of a contrast. The lentils are a good alternative to mince and give a fairly similar texture and the whole dish is comfortingly familiar; perfect for a chilly winter night.

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Lemon and Orange Polenta Cake

Polenta2For most of us, exams are finally over. It is such a relief, not just because I can throw out the ridiculous amount of useless dates, facts and quotes I had attempted to cram into my brain for a week but mainly because I had completely run out of clean clothes. The end of exam season means a return to sanity (to some extent). I no longer have to spend every waking moment, and a disturbing number of sleeping moments, reading or noting or listing everything I have ever leant over and over in my head until I go insane. I can wash my clothes, my bathroom no longer looks like a scene out of a horror film and best of all I have time to cook!

Polenta1When you are attempting to procrastinate, as all good third year students with dissertations currently are, the best thing to do is bake a cake. It takes a good long time, requires minimum concentration and allows for the spontaneous appearance of delicious baked goods. Unfortunately I am pretty rubbish at baking cakes but this recipe below is fool proof and the end result is delicious. Proof of this is in the lack of photographs of the whole cake; I couldn’t wait long enough to take a photo before I had some. It is a bit pricey with the polenta and ground almonds so I would only suggest making it if you already have one or both of these items or you are feeling particularly flush! Continue reading

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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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

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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