Archive for October, 2011

Advice from The Grumpy Chef

Thursday, October 6th, 2011

So, you might know a bit about The Grumpy Chef from his ‘Bio’ Guest Blog – here he shares his advice for you cash-strapped students (as well as young budding chefs!) on how to make your money stretch far with food and some simple cooking tips so you still have time and money to have fun!

‘Nowadays it’s tough being a student: tuition fees, accommodation…and have you seen the cost of highlighters and the humble Bic pen? Truly beggars’ belief at times and if you try the cheapo ‘5 for a quid’ option they last about a day before they crumble or run out.

Anyway, I am not here to discuss stationery – I’m here to help you get better at cooking…or at least start! (And yes you do have time to cook, so don’t give that excuse either!) After trawling through the wonderful concept that is I have found some fantastic recipes and videos that are inspiring and also heart-warming at times.

Cooking is…

Shortcrust Pastry – a guide and recipe!

Thursday, October 6th, 2011

‘So, first the basics: how to make a good pastry. Once you’ve mastered this, the options are endless – you can turn it into anything – a humble creamy Chicken & Leek Pie, Baked Goats Cheese & Sweet Red Onion Tartlet, Quiche Lorraine…

Soften 250 grams of butter, about 30 secs in the ‘jukebox’. Put into a large bowl with 500 grams of plain flour, one egg and a splash of milk. Beat the ‘bejezus’ out of it with the back of a spoon until it all comes together as a dough that’s soft and supple. Wrap in cling film, put in the fridge for about 20 minutes and you got some decent, workable pastry.

…Now you’ve made the pastry – try this!

The Grumpy Chef – who is he?

Thursday, October 6th, 2011

Want to know more about The Grumpy Chef? Here’s his bio so you can find out more about this culinary dude, be inspired and want to get cooking or writing about food yourselves!

‘I was classically trained, initially on the west coast of Scotland until I moved to North London and now work for a ‘gastro-pub’ in Cheshire. I started my career when I was about 16 and fell into it like most kids did back then, not really knowing what they wanted from life or for their future.

Little did I know what awaited me through those swing doors that only opened one way…once in, never out! It grabs hold of you firmly by the apron, and with the old-school training in full force back then, you sure as hell knew you weren’t in Kansas anymore!

You would endure what could only be described as an initiation: a full on torrent of screaming, shouting and having to duck frying pans and various other kitchen implements when mistakes were made or you got a little too cocky. Yet with that came the want and need to learn, to absorb the lessons and recipes being taught; to become a Chef and to be accepted by your peers.

Leicester, looking for international food shops?

Thursday, October 6th, 2011

We have the answers!

Leicester has a great range of shops and small supermarkets specialising in different types of international food. Narborough Road has a wide selection and the area around Belgrave Road is one of the main centres for Indian shops.

Here’s a selection:

Alannah’s Tomato & Ricotta Gnocchi

Wednesday, October 5th, 2011

Get an antioxidant boost with this comforting, rustic Italian dish made my Alannah in the video. Potato gnocchi (difficult to say, yummy to eat!) makes a welcome change from pasta – give it a go in this simple veggie supper for two!


Serves: 2 (easily doubled)
Ready in 30 mins

• 1 pack gnocchi , about 350g
• 350g tomato sauce, a good bought one
• 100g young leaf spinach, roughly chopped
• 250g ricotta
• Handful of grated parmesan

1. Heat the grill. Cook the gnocchi according to packet instructions and drain.
2. Meanwhile, heat the tomato sauce and add the spinach and stir until wilted. Put the gnocchi into an ovenproof dish, pour the sauce over and dot with blobs of ricotta.
3. Scatter the Parmesan over and grill until bubbling and golden – simple!

Pim’s Chilli Bean Wraps

Wednesday, October 5th, 2011

These Mexican wraps, as Pim made in the video, are great fun – just chuck in anything you fancy into your tortillas, like jalapeño peppers and fresh tomato salsa for a spicier version, or cooked chicken. (You can also use taco shells instead of tortillas for another twist.) A great veggie feast for you and your housemates!


Serves: 4 (easily doubled for a bigger crowd!)
Ready in 15-20 mins
Vegetarian, low-fat

• 1 small onion , sliced
• 1 tbsp vegetable oil
• 400g can mixed beans in chilli sauce
• 8 soft corn tortillas wraps (Old El Paso are good)
• Grated cheese, guacamole and soured cream

1. Gently fry onions for 5 mins in oil, until softened. Tip in beans then simmer for 10 mins, stirring occasionally.
2. Meanwhile, warm the wraps in the microwave on High for 1 min.
3. Take a large spoonful of beans and spoon along the centre of each wrap. Top with some grated cheese, a spoonful of guacamole and soured cream and sprinkling of coriander or parsley. Wrap into a cigar shape and eat straight away!

Rishi’s Breakfast Trifle

Wednesday, October 5th, 2011

We all know that breakfast is the most important meal of the day – and with this superfast recipe there’s no excuse to skip it! As Rishi shows you in the video, if you’re a bit bored of breakfast why not serve it in a cheeky wine glass and layer it up – make it feel like more of a classy occasion!


Ready in 5 mins
Serves: 4
Easy, quick, cheap and healthy!

• 150g muesli
• 120ml apple juice
• 450g strawberry yogurt
• 350g mixed seasonal fruits

How to make it:
1. Place the muesli in the base of 4 wine glasses.
2. Spoon 2 tbsp apple juice over each.
3. Spoon over the yogurt and top with fruit – sorted!

Food shopping in Dundee

Tuesday, October 4th, 2011

So, student Natasha took us round the city of Dundee for the Dundee Student Shopping Guide, to show us where to shop for cheap but tasty, good quality and good food – from supermarkets to a butchers, to an organic delivery truck to an international food store! Here’s some more info about where we went.

Laura’s Posh Breakfast Recipe

Monday, October 3rd, 2011

Breakfast, as we all know, is the most  important meal of the day – and shouldn’t be missed! In this recipe video, University of Leicester student Laura shows us how to make a breakfast fit for a king – and it’s all ready in 20 mins!


Serves: 1-2
Prep time: 5 mins
Cooking time: 10 mins

For the smoothie
• 1 and ½ cups of frozen mixed berries
• 1 and ½ cups of fresh orange juice

For the Eggs Florentine
• 2 eggs
• 2 English muffins
• Olive oil
• 150g fresh spinach
• Ground black pepper

1) Smoothie time: Before you crack on with your egg dish (haha) you might as well make your smoothie. Simply chuck all the ingredients in a blender and whizz up until you get a nice drinking consistency (about 30 seconds) – refreshingly fruity!
2) Now for the posh dish: Prepare the spinach by heating a pan – when it’s hot add a splash of olive oil and throw in the spinach. Turn it over with tongs/a fork for 1-2 mins until wilted. Tip into a colander or sieve and squeeze out any excess liquid. Return to the pan and keep warm.
3) Preheat the grill. To poach the eggs, bring a pan of water to the boil and add 2 tsp white wine vinegar. When simmering gently crack the eggs and slip them into the water WITHOUT breaking the yolks. Poach for about 3 mins or until the whites are set but the yolks are still soft.
4) Meanwhile slice the muffin in half and toast in a toaster.
5) Put the spinach on each muffin half and warm under the grill.
6) When the eggs are done lift them out with a slotted spoon and pat dry on kitchen paper. Place one egg on each muffin half, season with black pepper and enjoy!

Laura also made a fabulous Fish & Couscous in a Bag dish perfect for the next meal of the day – lunch!

Laura’s Fish & Couscous In a Bag Recipe

Sunday, October 2nd, 2011

This is probably one of the easiest recipes ever! A super healthy, super fast and super simple lunch – all done and cooked in a bag! Our presenter Laura (from the University of Leicester) shows you how in this video, and here’s her recipe.


Serves: 1
Prep time: 10 mins
Cooking time: 25 mins

• 1 lemon, grated
• 100g couscous
• 25g pine nuts
• 1 small courgette, thinly sliced
• Dried herbs
• 150ml vegetable stock
• 1 haddock, or other white fish fillet

1) Preheat the oven to 180C. Fold a large sheet of tin foil in half and tightly fold one side to seal. Mix the couscous, pine nuts, courgette, lemon zest and herbs together – season well.
2) Tip it all into the open ‘bag’. Cut the lemon in half, then cut 2 thin slices from one half. Juice the other half and add the juice to the stock.
3) Lay the haddock on top of the couscous, top with the lemon slices, the carefully pour over the lemony stock. Fold the remaining open sides of foil tightly.
4) Bake for 20-25 mins, depending on how thick your fish is, unit the fish is cooked and the couscous is fluffy. Easy peasy!

When it comes round to dinner time, Laura also has the perfect dish for you and your hungry housemates: Italian Tuna Pasta Bake!