20 May 2013

Instafood round-up #2

Getting back in the cooking rhythm has been more difficult than expected... I've been incredibly busy (I got an internship at Company magazine! Like, omg! It's so much fun and I'm loving it and I will discuss it more on here shortly), and the constantly changing weather has been craving for salad on cold days and dying for a huge comfort meal when it's 25° outside. In the end, I just give up on food/have cereal in the middle of the day/buy a sandwich. NOT GOOD.

Still, I managed to whip up a few tasties in the past couple weeks and even Instagram them before devouring them!



1. Sweet and savoury summer salad.
Spinach. Granny Smith apple quarters. Cherry tomato quarters. Feta cheese crumbs. Pomegranate seeds. Balsamic vinegar. BAM, done! 

2. Cheapest easiest tastiest hot dogs.
Grill the sausages in the oven with chopped red onions, olive oil and a bit of sugar. Keep checking them until they seem cooked (tip: Google how long sausages are supposed to cook. We didn't. They tasted raw.) Spread some good Dijon mustard on the buns, stuff with a sausage and way too much onion things. Eat.
Optional: get reduced hot dog buns + reduced sausages and this meal will cost you less than £3 FOR TWO HUGE PORTIONS. Hashtag food win.

3. Pasta with cheesy green sauce.
Cook pasta. In a pan, melt some fresh goat's cheese with green pesto, add sliced mushrooms, and a handful of spinach when it looks almost done. Mix in the pasta, and serve sprinkled with Parmesan.

4. Summer pita sandwich filled with grilled things.
Grill halloumi slices and bell pepper slices (any colour is fine, apart from green, because it's yuk.) Stuff a pita bread with them and some spinach. Eat. This is literally the easiest thing ever. And it tastes so good and summery.

Now, cook this all up and let me know what your taste buds think! I for one know I will definitely be making these again <3

7 May 2013

SC#31 | Herby salmon bricks and couscous salad

Summer's here, peaches!

London has been drowning in endless sunshine for the past few days. It's unbelievable. A month and a half ago, I slept with two jumpers on and the fear of snowstorms and icy mornings remained.

A few weeks later, and I've bought sunscreen and got my sunglasses on constantly.

Naturally, food has been evolving and my meals have turned into colourful salads and pretty much nothing else. The other day, I felt adventurous, so decided to go for something a bit wilder. I'd been eying Jamie Oliver's crackin' crab briks ever since I got the 15 minutes cookbook, and figured it was just the right time... for a student-budget adapted version of this recipe.

Because, crabmeat, harissa, sundried tomato purée? God knows I love food and spending money on it, but I also love being able to afford transport, and clothes, and electricity. So here's a slightly cheaper version, with a few tips at the end on how to use leftover things!

Herby salmon bricks and couscous salad, serves 2-3
- Pack of filo pastry
- Tin of salmon (I used pink, cheaper than red)
- 1 tbsp ricotta cheese
- Half a bunch of fresh coriander
- Half a bunch of fresh mint
- 1 bulb of fennel
- 2 spring onions
- A handful of spinach
- Half the seeds of a pomegranate
- Couscous
- Tomato purée
- Some form of spicy spice (paprika, cajun mix, chilli, etc)
- Olive oil

First, get your pomegranate sorted. I use the wooden spoon method which is well demonstrated in this incredibly annoying but very helpful video.

For the couscous: put half a mug of couscous in a bowl, 2-3 tbsp tomato purée, a large pinch of salt and a couple large pinches of whatever spice you're using (I used paprika), cover with boiling water, then cover the bowl with a tea towel and set aside. In a food processor (or with a grater if you don't live with a real-life student housewife like I do—hi Laura!), chop the fennel bulb with the mint. Drizzle lightly with olive oil and set aside.

Now for the fillings, chop the coriander, spinach and spring onions. Mix in a bowl with the drained salmon and ricotta. For the folding, nothing too complicated, but here's a little visual of how I proceeded:
Place the filling in the bottom middle of the filo sheet and press your thumb in the middle to make sure there's enough room for the filling to expand during cooking. Fold one side over, then the other. Fold the bottom over (it'll probably crackle and break, that's alright), then fold/roll until it looks like a little parcel. You're done!

Pour a little oil in a pan on medium-heat, and cook the bricks until they're golden on both sides. Serve with the couscous, topped with the mint fennel salad and half the seeds of the pomegranate.

I used the leftover pomegranate, spring onions and spinach in a salad with tomatoes, granny smith apple and feta, and I plan on making more bricks with the leftover ricotta, spinach and coriander. :) Easy peasy! Hope you enjoy x

3 May 2013

The Culture Feature | April 2013

I don't know what's happened recently, but after months on end of feeling stuck into music I knew and was bored of, I've finally started discovering plenty of new artists. So like last month, this month is a lot about music, with just a side of TV.

MUSIC | Different Pulses, Asaf Avidan
Everytime I go home, I head back to London with a suitcase full of freshly ironed clothes and my iTunes filled with my family's music recommendations. Easter was as fruitful as usual, since Asaf Avidan was the soundtrack of my two weeks at home.
Asaf Avidan has a voice like no other, strangely very clear then husky, and impressively high-fey for a man. I also really love the non-traditional drums and the sort of mysterious synth sounds in the background. It's ages away from what I usually go for, but man, I really do love it.

MUSIC | Maybe They Will Sing For Us Tomorrow, Hammock
Last month was all about essay writing, but it's very difficult for me to find good studying music. I can't listen to anything with words because it distracts me too much, which usually means I stick to the Lord of the Rings soundtrack, which despite being a great choice, can get a little bit old.
My friend James mentioned Hammock in one of his vlogs, so I went for it, AND I'M SO GLAD I DID. I find it hard to say anything specific about it, since it's "just" ambience music, but it's good and inspiring and positive with a tad of melancholia. Or at least that's how it makes me feel.

MUSIC | Some Nights, fun.
OK I know that's old and it's been heard and re-heard but I've developed a strange love for it recently. The song Some Nights makes me strangely happy. It's got quite a few good summer tunes, so if you want to give it a go, it's now or never!

MUSIC | Dead & Born & Grown, The Staves
I got this CD from my housemate Megan for my birthday, which was super cool because 1) I haven't been given CDs in ages, 2) especially by artists I had no idea about, and 3) I really love The Staves. The band is made up of three sisters whose beautiful, beautiful voices are laid out on quiet folky guitars. This album is really all about their voices and melodies, and would give chills to anyone.

TV | Broadchurch
I can't get over how good Britain can be at TV sometimes.
I'd been seeing a lot about Broadchurch on Twitter so figured I'd give it a go. From the first episode, I was hooked. A murder comes to shake the small and quiet town of Broadchurch, where DI Alec Hardy (Tennant, fantastic as ever and finally free from the drastic anti-Scot-accent rules of Doctor Who) is sent to solve the case. In typical mystery programme style, everyone gets involved, is suspected, is caught up with their past, is declared innocent, and is re-suspected until the whole thing becomes a tangled mess of doubts and suspicions. I thought I'd find the killer three times until I got the right one, but I had doubts until the very end.
But Broadchurch isn't just the story or the cast, it's also an incredible cinematography. I spent as much time shouting potential suspects' names at the screen than I did commenting on great shots. The composition, colours, and plays on depth of field were always excellent and really contributed to making Broadchurch as addictive as it is.
A+ would watch again—which is great because Broadchurch is coming back next year for a second series!

I also read a couple books this month, but both were so incredibly disappointing that I don't want to mention them. Honorary mention to Gangster Squad which was better than I expected, and this not only because Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone were in it ;)

See you next month for more, and very soon with a recipe, at long last!