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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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?

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)!

What’s in my kitchen?

So I was thinking of ideas for posts to do and I thought why not take a photo of what’s in my kitchen cupboard and fridge? I would always recommend for students especially to buy things on offer and check for bargains (but don’t go buying things unnecessarily just because they are on offer which you’ll never eat, assess whether it’s worth it).

– Some packs of Green Giant sweetcorn (my favourite) which are always useful to add to rice, pasta or a salad, or just straight out the can

– A few tins of canned tomatoes which I used for making some bolognese

– Pasta and spaghetti are a must in cupboard (I’ve got a few more in my room) as they are dry and store for ages

– That big box of Mingles isn’t actually full of mingles, it’s just to keep crackers/biscuits dry so they don’t go soggy (any old biscuit tin will do)

– Rice, I don’t recommend the Tesco basics long-grain rice, next time I will pay a bit more for some good tasting rice (cheaper to buy in bulk)

– Dried fruit like apples or apricots are good snacks, these can be expensive so I don’t have them all the time

– If you’ve spotted that unmistakable gold and red stripey packaging, yes I did go and and buy an 8 pack of Caramel bars because they are so DELICIOUS (my treat after I’ve worked hard in a sports session)

– Go Ahead bars and other cereal bars

– Green tea (the only kind I drink)

– Porridge oats

– Nut granola and bran flakes go really well together although since the granola wasn’t cheap cheap I ration myself to 3 spoonfuls per cereal bowl of bran flakes!

– Some fresh fruit, bananas and apples

– Little canisters of salt and pepper (you can get them really cheaply) and some mixed herbs (oh and a spare jar of pesto)

– Knorr’s chicken stock cubes, for flavouring vegetables

I saved the apple ‘trays’ to put my cutlery and knives in, they are just the right length although the chopsticks stick out a tiny bit. I also had a pack of tortilla wraps, onions and some garlic in a bottom cupboard.

– Pesto and cheese, friends for my pasta

– Activia intensely creamy apricot yoghurt pots (LOVE THESE!)

– Eggs, they are just so yummy.

– Fresh vegetables, when I took the photo I had a pack of beansprouts, a carrot, cucumber, and some peppers

– Leftover minced beef from the bolognese which will be going into the freezer too for the next time I make it

I would be careful with the fresh vegetables and fruit though because you don’t want to go overboard and buy loads (easily done when looking for bargains) as you won’t be able to eat them all at once (as they won’t keep for too long), so just have a rough idea about what sorts of fresh food you have at home when shopping. I don’t eat a lot of fish because I’m a bit fussy but will be out to get some salmon (buy a large piece and chop into smaller ones) or prawns as they store well in the freezer and give you lots of essential oils.

I totally forgot that we had an oven until a few days ago so all that’s in my freezer drawer is one pizza and some bolognese I made earlier. It’s really easy to make (see recipe here) and you can freeze a few portions so that they give you an hearty meal in no time.

(I don’t have the luxury of a chopping board yet I didn’t really get round to finely chopping anything) I also substituted the celery for pepper (put this in 20mins before the end) as I wouldn’t be able to finish the rest of the celery, but I love peppers. The same goes for ingredients like tomato puree, you don’t have to buy every little thing, just the important ones.

They are ready for the freezer when they have cooled.

So that was a rather long-winded post, I hope it wasn’t too boring but I tried to include a few tips and ideas about how to save money and plan ahead by buying food in bulk. Please do check out my other recipes by using the categories column on the right hand side or the ‘recent recipes’ column. I will be posting a ‘Dinners of the Week’ post to show how a few similar ingredients can make a tasty variety of meals. If you have any ideas for posts or quick and easy recipes to try out on a student budget, I welcome all suggestions! Cheerio.