Cooking Adventures

Some people go to the gym to blow off steam and relax. Some people go shopping. Some people write or play music. I’m partial to all of those things, but if you know me at all well in real life, you will know that my true passion when it comes to down time and relaxation is cooking.

I have blogged about this before but #newyearnewme and all that so I thought I’d share some wisdom on the food front.

This year I decided to stop eating meat at home and become a social carnivore (that sounds absolutely ridiculous, what have I become). What I mean is that I’m only eating meat when I’m out or at other people’s houses and otherwise eating a vegetarian diet. Why? Mostly to see what it’s like and to see how long I can keep it up. I think there is an ethical way to consume animal products so this isn’t going to be about trying to convert people to the veggie way of life, it’s more about challenging myself to think outside the box when it comes to cooking and eating healthily. So what have I been cooking.

Butternut and sweet potato soup. Mmmm.
Butternut and sweet potato soup. Mmmm.

I thoroughly dislike the horrible cold snap we’re currently in so I made a massive batch of very warming, very hearty butternut and sweet potato soup. My mum makes this quite a lot at home so it’s based on her recipe I guess. Peeling and preparing a butternut squash is a bit of a pain but it’s well worth it and adding lentils makes it more filling and adds lots of additional protein. It’s so sweet and filling and delicious, I usually don’t even eat it with bread!

I’m a massive fan of spicy, fragrant food particularly when it involves a whole carton of coconut cream. Coconut cream is healthy right? Even if it’s not, it’s worth it to enjoy this curry. I made it with sweet potato and lentils and plenty of ginger, garlic, lime, tumeric and chilli. Cook everything in coconut cream and a little veggie stock, enjoy over rice and cover the whole thing in a liberal amount of fresh coriander for optimal results. This costs only 65p per portion if you cook it in bulk which is a massive bargain, and it freezes pretty well too!

Coconut improves everything
Coconut improves everything
Fajitas are just as good without meat - never thought I would hold this opinion
Fajitas are just as good without meat – never thought I would hold this opinion

If you’re beginning to see a pattern, yes I love coriander and put it on everything I ate this week. I made veggie fajitas this week by cooking kidney beans and black beans in half a tin of chopped tomatoes and garlic (of course you need plenty of garlic). I tipped loads onto some wholewheat tortillas and topped with some avocado, lemon and coriander and cherry tomatoes with red onion. Bit of a faff to prepare all the seperate components but it’s delicious so it’s worth it. Each fajita costs about 90p – another bargain.

Greek yoghurt cupcakes
Greek yoghurt cupcakes

 

If everything was looking a bit too healthy, never fear – it’s been revision and exams since I came back to London after Christmas so I’ve eaten plenty of sugary exam fuel in addition to my healthy vegetables. I love to bake and these are my favourite chocolate-greek-yoghurt-fudgey cupcakes. I made them for a friend’s birthday last term and got the recipe here – would definitely recommend!

If you’re coming up to university this year and you’re worried about fending for yourself, don’t worry. I couldn’t cook that many things before I started at Imperial but you’ll find that you have to learn pretty fast or else subsist off expensive convenience food. If you want to save a few pounds: learn some basic recipes, cook in bulk and defeat the ‘students can’t cook stereotype’ at the same time. Hope everyone is having a great January!

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