Archive for May, 2011

Working Lunch

Tuesday, May 24th, 2011

Isn’t university a wonderful thing, you wake up, someone makes your breakfast. When you return from a hard day in the library your bed is made, sink unblocked and light bulb changed, all in time for a nice hot meal!

Well, these things don’t happen by themselves! In fact there are hundreds of people employed by the university to make sure your time there runs like clockwork!

With this in mind, the University of Leicester set us the task of turning the tables a bit, and giving a handful of students the chance to spend the day in a number of different facility roles. The students would have to spend the day working in a number of different jobs and in return they would receive a fantastic meal prepared by one of their “co workers”.

With the roles assigned, it fell to Yishan to rough it out in the kitchen with chef Ben to create a hearty lunch consisting of Cottage Pie and Rhubarb and Ginger Crumble.

By lunchtime, all the workers were ready for a steaming plate of food and a bit of a chat, which was dutifully supplied by the worn-out Yishan.

Pine Needle Tea

Tuesday, May 24th, 2011

If you fancy making Dave’s Pine Needle Tea, here are a few simple guidelines:

1. Find a pine tree (these can usually be found in most good forests or garden centers around Christmas time).
2. Remove a good sized branch with a thick covering of pine needles. Place the pine needles in a tea strainer (the one Dave uses is perfect!).
Add lots of hot water, this should turn the liquid a greenish colour.

3. If you want to improve the flavour a bit, add to the liquid a teaspoon of sugar or a blob of honey. Yum!

Love in the Granite City

Tuesday, May 24th, 2011

Aberdeen may be a cold, grey city at times, but not when rolled into town – love was in the air!

In an attempt to set the lovely Ashley up with a dream hunk, we took 3 young men from around the globe and made them cook a healthy, Scottish dish in order to woo our highland lassie. All three boys had never so much as boiled a haggis before we met them and thought that Scottish food extended to no more than deep-fried Mars Bars.

Each of our lucky lotharios had thirty minutes to battle with a bit of Gaelic gastronomy and I must say, they all seemed to do a fine job. Ashley was happy enough with the Irn Bru and Scotch Eggs she munched on while the lads sweated it out in the kitchen. In the end all the dishes were fantastic and did credit to Scotland’s great culinary tradition!

And the winner?

Watch and find out…

Hamza’s Cranachan

Tuesday, May 24th, 2011

• 350g of crème fraiche
• Jumbo oats
• 2 tbsp whiskey
• Mixed berries
• Meringue

1. Take your oats and toast them in a pan with a bit of sugar until they are golden brown. Remove from heat.
2. Pulp your raspberries (this can be done by hand or using a food processor) set aside.
3. Beat the crème fraiche until you achieve soft, stiff peeks, when you have this fold in the raspberries and oats.
4. Serve with a bit of fresh mint and a drizzle of whiskey – sorted!

Dave’s Day Out

Tuesday, May 24th, 2011

Toss out those Tesco Club Cards! neglect your Nectar Cards! I have seen the future and it not high street supermarkets! It’s in the hedgerows, copses, under mossy stones, by river banks and footpaths!

Wild food has made a big impact on our TV screens in the last few years, with some of the top chefs championing the use of ingredients such as wood sorrel, chanteelles and gut weed. Dave was your average super-market shopper until he teamed up with man of action, Tony Wilson. Tony is a former St. Andrews student who is now one of Fife’s rangers, looking after Scotland’s natural habitat and helping people of all ages learn about the wilds they live in.

The day was great fun, and although we did not get our hands on any mushrooms or shell fish, we certainly got a good haul of tasty salad leaves which you will see on many a Michelin-starred menu.

The great thing about wild food is it is all free and usually right under your nose!


Foraging is not as simple as it looks! Thre are many dangerous, poisonous foliage and fungi out their that can seriously harm you. Before you set out into the woods, it might be worth picking up one of the many books out on the market, check the internet or get in contact with your local ranger!

Cottage Pie

Tuesday, May 24th, 2011


For the pie filling:
• 1 Beef OXO cube
• 2 medium onions, chopped
• 500 g extra lean minced beef
• 75 g swede, cut into small cubes
• 1 large carrot, chopped
• 1 stick celery, thinly sliced
• 1 tbsp plain flour
• 1 tbsp tomato purée
• 1 tsp dried thyme (or 1 tbsp chopped fresh)
• 1 tsp dried parsley (or 1 tbsp chopped fresh)
• Freshly ground black pepper

For the topping:
• 1 Vegetable OXO cube
• 4 large potatoes (approx. 900g), cubed
• 75 g butter
• 50 g mature cheddar cheese, grated
• 2-3 tbsp fresh coarse white breadcrumbs

1. Preheat oven to 170°C.
2. Fry the minced beef together with the onions in a saucepan until the mince becomes crumbly and turns a rich brown colour and the onions have softened.
3. Add the swede, carrot and celery and cook, stirring, for a further minute or two.
4. Crumble in the beef OXO cube, sprinkle in the flour, and add the tomato purée and herbs. Mix well then blend in 250ml hot water. Season with freshly ground black pepper. Partially cover the saucepan and simmer over a very low heat for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. The stock will reduce to just the right rich consistency.
5. Meanwhile, boil the potatoes for 15 minutes or until tender. Drain thoroughly and return to the saucepan, add the butter and mash until smooth.
6. Pour the mince into a deep 20cm (8 inch) baking dish and spread the mashed potato evenly all over. Mix together the cheese, 1 crumbled Vegetable OXO cube and the breadcrumbs.
7. Scatter over the potato and bake in the oven for about 25 minutes or until the top is crusty and golden brown.