My Favourite Meals of the Week

pork pre cooking  pork + bulgur wheat

This is how I cooked some pork loin steaks I bought (you guess it! HALF PRICE at Tesco’s). It is a sort of ‘casserole-y’ type dish where I just bunged some garlic, shallots, early potatoes, tomatoes and carrots topped with the pork into the oven. After about 20-30 minutes (I kind of lost track of the time), there were some lovely aromatic juices at the bottom of the dish so I added some bulgur wheat to bulk it up a bit and absorb everything.

finished port + veg casserole

In hindsight I would have pre-cooked the potatoes maybe for 10-15 minutes first so that they were a little softer. But all in all, quite a yummy little dish and very easy to make as everything is in one dish. It is also an easy one to keep in the fridge for leftovers the next day!

chicken noodle soup + veg

This chicken noodle soup/broth was really to use up some defrosted chicken stock I had in my fridge and my oh my did I feel full afterwards. It felt like I had eaten two meals – I actually had to stop half way for a ‘break’. To be fair I did use a whole courgette and half a lettuce as well as some prawns though. Eyes bigger than my belly.

steak and misc

I put the leftover garlic butter (‘recipe’ here) that I had made earlier that week into the pan to give the steak some lovely flavouring and cooked it more towards the well done side this time. After resting, cut into slices. De-licious. I just served with some roasted plum tomatoes (10 minutes in the oven on a moderate heat), a fried egg and rice. A bit of a miscellaneous dinner but I enjoyed every minute of it.

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Fried Rice with Peppers +

I know a did a previous blog post a while ago on egg fried rice with some broccoli and sweetcorn, but I really couldn’t resist doing another post with some colourful veg! This time I used peppers and also added a few other things to make it a wonderfully warming winter meal that you can make in no time at all.

First I prepared the colour array of peppers by slicing them into quite thin strips (similar to julienne prep) and then turning then and cutting again almost into small cubes. This way they hardly need any cooking and will still retain a crunch providing some contrast to the rice.

Rainbow peppers

Now onto the actual cooking. I added a few finely chopped shallots into a hot oiled pan just to give a bit more flavour. After a while, add in the cold rice to warm through and allow it to become a bit crisp. Make sure you break up any large chunks and turn it in the pan. I also added in some fresh root ginger (chopped as small as you can, and also slightly crushed) to the pan. Recently I have really been loving the smell and taste of ginger and find it really gives a warming sensation to the rice (I think it’s also good for colds as clears your sinuses etc.).

Then to the eggs. I like to make a ‘hole’ in the middle of the pan and crack the egg into here. Then gradually half scramble/mix the rice gradually so that it is distributed throughout.

Fried rice with a funny looking egg

When the rice is nearly ready, I added in the colourful peppers for a few minutes to warm up. Switch off the cooker and drizzle a little soy sauce at this point if you have any to spare – it gives a wonderful seasoning. And there you have it!

Egg fried rice with multi-coloured peppers

Warming plum and pear crumble

Now that it is almost December and suitably wintry, there are some nights when you just yearn for some hot delicious dessert fresh out of the oven to warm you up. Now I don’t have cake tins and baking trays but I did get very excited about a new purchase (sad I know) I made the other day. It is a cute little Pyrex dish with a microwavable lid that can store food in the fridge, freezer and be used in the microwave and oven. I was literally thinking as I bought it ‘this would be perfect for some crumble…’ So here it is.

Easy peasy pear and plum crumble (although obviously you can really use any fruit you like, and the recipe is by no means accurate, I don’t have the luxury of scales)

You will need:

-Unsalted butter (preferably)

-Flour

-Some fruit of your choice

-Oats/nuts (optional)

-Ice cream etc. (to serve)

-Sugar (this will probably be useful to add to your fruit if it is not very ripe or is a little sour) – you can also add this to your crumble topping but I was not willing to but a 500g bag of sugar I wasn’t going to use again…

 

These instructions are not specific and don’t really have any measurements, but crumble is pretty easy to make. Guestimate how much butter you need and then put in a little more flour that the butter. Add sugar/oats/nuts as you wish. I find the easiest method is just to mix it up with your finger tips and squish the butter into the flour so that you end up with something that resembles large breadcrumbs, ie. CRUMBLE.

   

Chop up your desired fruit into sizeable chunks (I don’t like fruit mush) – bear in mind that the fruit will shrink a lot in size to be sure to have enough to fill at least half of your dish. If your fruit is quite sour, I would advise cooking it a little in a pan on a low heat and adding some sugar, a little golden syrup etc. to sweeten it up a little before putting into your oven dish.

Now you are ready to assemble!

Cover the fruit with all the crumble and leave a thick enough layer (I would say a centimetre or two) of crumble on top of this.

Bake in a hot oven at about 180-200 degrees Celsius for half an hour or so. The fruit should be bubbling away and cooked with a lovely golden layer of crumble on top when ready.

I chose to serve with a generous helping of vanilla ice cream as I didn’t have any sugar in my crumble and I thought it needed a little sweetening up! Otherwise that’s it really.

>What are your favourite winter desserts to make?

Random eatings from my past week.

This post doesn’t quick make a ‘Dinners of the Week’ post since there are only four meals and I have been meaning to put it up for a while now. Anyway, my four ideas for filling and super quick dinners from the past few weeks are:

Salad and naan bread makes a minimal effort dinner after a long evening. (In this post  I explain my love for including sundried tomatoes in salad). This is a simple meal or snack and you can always add some meat or more carbohydrates to bulk it up a bit.

 

Fried rice with scrambled egg and prawns. I know I should have probably should have  included some greens here but again I was in a rush and laziness got the better of me… This was made also to use up my eggs that had been lying around for a little while. I will be doing an upcoming post on this in a little more detail but essentially I added shallots, egg, prawns, ginger and rice to make a warm bowl of comfort food.

 

Brown rice with sauteed courgettes and tomatoes was a little daring for me because I don’t normally like tomatoes cooked. But actually here the juiciness worked really well with the courgettes I found. (Cook the courgettes for about 8-10 minutes first before adding tomatoes). Brown rice is a healthy alternative to traditional white rice as it has been less ‘processed’ making it unmilled with only the outer husk layer having been removed. (It is very easy to cook in a rice cooker).

 

Red cabbage and carrots with quinoa and giant couscous + a random Ryvita cracker topped with Philadelphia is another example of my mish-mash jumbling of food together that needs eating. This was actually inspired by a Nigel Slater episode from his latest ‘Dish of the Day’ series (recipes can be found here) where he was focussing on ‘one pot cooking’ – my favourite kind in terms of washing up! I will be doing a post on this dish (hopefully soon as this was the same red cabbage from this post, I have just been very slow getting posts up!)

That’s it for now! Toodleloo.

Dinners of the Week

I thought this would be quite an interesting post to do (please do let me know what you think of it in the comments) as dinners on a student budget could be quite interesting. I tried to steer away from the typical pasta, pesto and cheese for 7 nights a week as even though I do love that, it’s not the most varied diet is it? I also wasn’t quite sure how to include some fish into my food as I’m not a big fan but it’s important to get those essential oils and whatnots – but I returned from my Tesco’s trip today with 6 fillets of salmon which will go in the freezer for later (thank you mother for the help!) so will be using those soon. More bargain hunting included some meaty chicken legs and fillets and king prawns which are also sharing the freezer at the moment (I even put them in those little freezer bags and labelled them with dates too). I was really pleased with those because I find it a little harder to include some proper meat and fish in my diet because they are slightly more tricky to cook but hopefully I will get to try out some new recipes in the process! Anyway without further ado, here’s what I ate last week…

Saturday : My mish-mash dinner – Stir fried beansprouts with cucumber, chopped apple slices and two cheese ‘toasties’

I didn’t have much time because I got back late so I just cooked the vegetables to use them up and shoved in my carby toast to give it some ‘substance’ otherwise I would have just kept eating and eating!

Sunday : Beansprouts with a Fried Egg and Pepper accompanied by a generous bowl of rice

Unfortunately I had eaten all the rice by the time I remembered I was supposed to be photographing my ‘dinners of the week’ so it’s just the vegetable side dish really. I just bunged together some vegetables that needed eating and fried eggs make everything better!

Monday : Egg Fried Rice with Vegetables 

Once you’ve cooked the rice on the ancient hobs we have here, it’s relatively quick to make. Unfortunately you can’t really see the egg in the photo (I promise it’s there) and it would have been nice with a splash of soy sauce.

Tuesday : Pasta and Bolognese

I was thinking all afternoon ‘oh I’ll have that lovely bolognese with spaghetti I’ve taken out for defrosting’ and then what do I do? I only go and pour a whole load of pasta into the pot instead of spaghetti, and I was looking forward to doing some serious slurping! Oh well, it still tasted just as good.

Wednesday : Salmon with assorted vegetables and steamed rice

My new rice cooker was put to the test today and oh how I love it so, it is marvellous! My mother gave me a few tips on how to cook the salmon and it tasted yum indeed (dankeschön, yep I have been spelling it wrong)!

My new rice cooker!

Thursday : Egg fried rice with sweetcorn and king prawns

 

Friday : Roast Potato Chips with Carrot, Broccoli and Tomato

I had bought a bag of Charlotte potatoes which needed eating so decided to make them into healthy ‘chips’ – another one of my mother’s ideas… You basically just put a few tablespoons of oil into a baking tray and coat both sides of the thinly sliced potatoes. (I may do a very short blog post on these, they are so yummy they deserve it!)

I hope you enjoyed this longish post and Happy Eating!

 

Apologies for the varied background and lighting in the photos, it is quite difficult to control here (especially when I’m hungry)!

Quick student meal – Fried Rice

So being at university I don’t have all the time in the world (strange after 4 months of holiday) so I like to cook and prepare things in advance so that I can eat them quickly when needed. Fried rice is incredibly simple to make and you can add any vegetables and meat to it you like to incorporate those important fresh ingredients. All you’ll need are eggs, rice, and your choice of vegetables.

Prepare the rice using a rice cooker or boiling in a pot. Cook your vegetables/meat if needed.

Heat a pan (thank you mother for the non-stick one, makes it so much easier!) until hot and add some oil. When hot, crack an egg into the pan. Wait 10 seconds before gently stirring a few times. You don’t want to completely scramble the egg  as you want it to slightly ‘bind’ to the rice. When most of the egg is cooked, add the rice. Continue frying and stirring so that the egg and rice mix together.

Then add in your meat/vegetables one at a time.

When you are satisfied that everything is warmed up and mixed together nicely, turn off the heat. Add a splash of soy sauce and serve. Fried rice is really easy to store in the fridge and microwave for a quick meal (which is what I did), just keep refrigerated.