I was shocked when I moved to university (apparently I’m seen as a Northener down here, despite only being from the Midlands!) as no-one, absolutely no-one, seemed to know what bubble-and-squeak is. To those who don’t know – it’s leftover mashed potatoes, mixed with leftover finely chopped green vegetables and bacon, fried until crispy, and you need to try it. For those who do know, it always seems to be a favourite. I know it is for me!
We have this quite often at home on a Monday (which reminds me – meatless Monday’s make no sense to me, as it’s the day you have meat leftover from a Sunday roast. I get the meatless thing, just not the Monday for sake of alliteration!), and it’s a Boxing Day staple in my house. It never fails to remind me of home, even the smell just seems so homey. It’s also a fab way of using up mashed potatoes and vegetables if you’ve cooked too much, or if you have vegetables going past their best, it’s great to cook them fresh and use them in this rather than chucking them away.
Granted, this isn’t a sophisticated dish (especially when serving the potato mixture on top of good crispy bread smothered in butter…) but it sure tastes good! Like this ‘leftovers’ post I won’t be writing a proper recipe, but here goes…
Take some leftover mashed poatoes, some leftover green vegetables (I have savoy cabbage and curly kale here), and some diced bacon.
Fry the bacon in a little oil until crisp.
Meanwhile mix the potato and greens together with a fork. When the bacon is done, add a small knob of butter to the pan to melt.
Tip the potato mixture into the bacon-y-butter-y pan, and mush together into a cake, making sure the bacon is distributed throughout.
Fry on a medium heat for 20-30 minutes, stirring up to get lots of crispy bits.
When done, it should look something like this:
I served mine with sausages and sweet chilli sauce (I loved ketchup with this dish, but that’s a no-no now!). It’s also good with pickles, and good cheese and bread, with leftover cold meat (my Boxing Day meal!) or grilled gammon. Yum yum!
You might be able to tell from last week’s post that I didn’t keep it updated very well! Here’s my excuses – firstly, the ‘beginning’ of the week was busy for me, as I was trying to get uni work done so I could enjoy my weekend at home. Once home I didn’t really want to start taking photos of all my meals, as I just wanted to dive in. Readers, chipotle ribs are amazing! Then, arriving at my birthday meal on Monday, my housemates surprised me hugely. They’d arranged for my boyfriend to travel down and stay for a few days. They’d been planning it for weeks, I knew nothing about it, and so had no food in. I pulled together a pretty decent meal though, cooking some of the pies I’d frozen a few weeks ago.
Hopefully this week’s post gets updated more successfully!
Boyfriend went home today, but took a late train, so I needed something quick for when I got back in – relying on my freezer again I pulled out a serving of Tomato-Free Bolognese, served with spaghetti, stirred through some fresh spinach, and added a bit of garlic bread too. I really enjoyed the addition of the spinach!
Thursday – Something with Leftover Mash
A housemate gifted me some leftover mashed potatoes, and I’m not too sure what to go with. I quite fancy being inventive, so may give gnocchi a try!
I did end up giving gnocchi a try, and I think it turned out quite well, although it was a little too greasy. It definitely wasn’t perfect, but I think I did better than most of the professional chefs on Masterchef a few weeks ago! I served it with bacon and sausage balls, and plenty of cheese – I think it would have been better with the addition of some wilted spinach too!
Friday – Cottage Pie
I ended up moving this from Saturday – and making six meals! I will be posting a recipe shortly!
Saturday – Mac’n’Cheese
I tried a new recipe, and it was amazingly good. There is already a blog post scheduled!
Sunday – House Dinner
It’s K’s turn to cook, and I think we are getting Toad in the Hole. It’s one of my favourite meals, so really looking forward to it!
Monday – Sausage Casserole Cottage Pie
Due to an emergency doctor’s appointment I didn’t have time to make my casserole (moving it to tomorrow instead!) so reheated a cottage pie, and served with; curly kale, red cabbage, savoy cabbage, and broccoli. With the veg already in the pie too, it felt like a very healthy dinner!
Tuesday – Sausage Casserole
I didn’t take a photo of this, nor did I photograph the lovely Pear & Raspberry Hazelnut crumble I made. I think that’s an excuse to make another just so I can share it with you!
How do you cope with cooking when circumstances unexpectedly change?
As you all know, I love saving money. If I know I can get something cheaper I will, so I really enjoy comparing budget buys with branded products. Recently I’ve been branching out in terms of where I buy my beauty products, and have ended up finding some very cheap and surprisingly good little gems. Here we go…
First up are my beloved Rimmel Soft Khol Kajal Eyeliners (can be found easily, especially in Boots). I’ve used these ever since I started wearing eyeliner, simply because my mum always used them too! Granted they smudge easily, yes they aren’t the longest lasting, but they offer what I think is a great everyday look, but also look great when used heavily to define eyes. I have worked out they heavily applied, powdered, and applied again makes them last longer. My everyday look is to line my upper waterline with the grey, then add a light coat of mascara. Eyes done!
Next is a BB cream by Lacura, found in Aldi. I’m actually not sure if they stock this anymore, because I found it on it’s on, with a greatly reduced sticker on it – I paid £2.99 for this tube.
Even at the original price of £4.99, I would still consider this to be a bargain. It does seem as though regular use of it would break me out, so I save it for special occasions as the coverage is surprisingly good. It works well for a day out, when you don’t want to be too made-up but still want to look nice, and it lasts all day too! I’ve found it works really well mixed into my normal foundation (Bourjois 10-Hour Sleep Effect) as it adds the pink tone my skin needs.
I hope the above photo portrays the best thing about this BB cream – the fact that its pale! I have a huge problem getting BB creams to match my skin tone, but this one really is pale!
Back to eyes now…I have used Natural Collection mascaras for years, and at £1.99 you really can’t go wrong. My absolute favourite is the Lash Curl one, as I prefer the wand. I do find them gloopy when new, but a wash of the brush under the hot tap and a shake of the tube normally helps!
Next up is a set of my new favourite nail colours – from Primark. I absolutely love these colours, they look classy and elegant, but are still different. However the formula is pretty bad (though for 50p each, can’t complain!) and even with a base and top coat they chip within a day. That said, my top coat is pretty cheap, so I’m hoping the Seche Vite one will come my way soon!
That rounds up my current favourites. Would you like to see more beauty posts?
If you made my Chicken & Sausage Pie recipe, or indeed any pie recipe, you might find yourself with some spare pastry hanging around. I certainly did! Rather than throw it away (I have a ‘thing’ about throwing perfectly edible things away) I decided to make something, and raided my fridge/freezer for other things to use up. I have to admit though, I was very, very tempted to just make some Cinnamon Swirls…
I found some Pesto (from my Tomato-free Bolognese recipe), chorizo, and cheese, and so some version of Pizza was going to be born. I also decided I wanted something portable, so I could use it for lunch the next day, so had a little google and found this recipe…and improvised. Here’s my very quick version, which taste delicious. They are easily adaptable for your own tastes, and whatever you have in too!
I’m not going to write this properly, with a full ingredients list, because it depends on what you want to include, but I’ll outline what I did and the basic method – the rest is up to you!
Take your strip of leftover pastry, and roll in out a little, so it’s long and thinner. Spread with the pesto.
Sprinkle with grated cheese, and top with the chorizo slices. This did make it quite greasy, so next time I’m going to try ham instead.
Roll up tightly – a bit like this:
Then cut into slices – mine worked well at around 1 cm width. Place on a foil covered baking tray.
Bake at 180C for 15-20 minutes, the cheese should be bubbly, the pastry golden and crisp. All totally yummy!
Try to resist eating, if you can. These would be great served with a salad as a main meal, but I’m going to enjoy them instead of a sandwich in my lunch box. This is definitely an idea I’ll be trying again, with lots of possible variations!
This post was really well received last week, so I’m hoping it’ll be a regular occurrence. I really enjoyed writing it, as although I always read LOADS of blogs (it helps pass time in boring lectures…) I find noting down what ones to include made me pay a lot more attention!
I have, however, decided to only do this once a fortnight, just to prevent my blog from getting samey. Plus I do have some studying to fit it! So, what am I loving this fortnight?
My boyfriend picked up an order in Cath Kidston last week (a birthday present for me apparently, looking forward to it!) and I persuaded him to give me the bag it came in, as it’s so damn cute and festive. I am normally a bit of a bah humbug about Christmas, and being an early-December baby I like my birthday first, but this year I’ve been getting very excited about Christmas already! I still have three weeks left of this university term, so it’s a long way off, but I’m already planning outfits and festive baking! I have have a few budget gift guides scheduled for posting, so keep an eye out for those!
Related to the last post, I’ve been getting out and about doing little bits of Christmas shopping lately, and last weekend we headed out of town to do a mammoth present shop. A new dress may have slipped in the basket too! There’s been some great bargains around already this year, which I’m hoping to blog about soon.
As a student, I’m often on a tight budget, so saving money where I can is a must for me. I realised this past fortnight that some of my methods have saved me a ridiculous amount over the last term, and I’ll definitely be sharing these ideas with you soon! Not only do I feel smug, I’m also able to treat myself. That new dress feels more justified now…
And now to the blogroll – what I’m loving from other blogs:
I know I link to her quite a lot, but I really do love Rosie’s posts (plus she’s probably my favourite blogger, end of!). This Mac’n’Cheese sounds just up my street, gloriously unhealthy and easy. Plus as it’s made with less milk than normal, it should agree with me more (dairy overload does not agree with me!). I’ll definitely be adapting this recipe to my student budget soon!
I should stop reading beauty blogs, as I’m becoming a sucker for high-end products that I really, really just cannot afford. I’ve fallen in love with Naked 3, with the best preview I’ve seen being on Vivianna Does Makeup. If anyone wants to treat me to this (my birthday is next week, it could be a joint birthday/Christmas present!) then please feel free…
I’ve been reading Miss Budget Beauty’s gift guides with great care recently, as I’m on a very tight budget. Check out her Under £10 guide here. However I saw these vintage-style brush rolls and fell in love. I know I’m getting lots of make-up brushes as a gift this year, and something like this would be perfect for me! I’m now browsing that website and wishing I’d never found it…love so much of their products!
This seems like a bit of a strange recipe to write on a student blog, as it seems so expensive – and I must admit the price did make me wince slightly when buying ingredients. But actually it makes a huge amount, and the cost spreads out. Each portion of pie is roughly £1.50, and whilst that’s not the cheapest meal around, its far cheaper than buying a ready meal.
Pies are so fun to make too! There’s so many different stages, but none are complicated (unless you are attempting to make your own pastry, with a cling-film roll instead of a proper rolling pin), and you can tailor the flavours to your own tastes completely. They are perfect for crowds – I made this when it was my turn to cook the house Sunday dinner and it was very well received. Not only did I make enough to feed four hungry girls, I made four individual pies for my freezer too – 2 hours work (and a lot of washing up) but I filled my freezer, relaxed from revision, and generally made a mess in the kitchen. Something I recommend!
And who wouldn’t want a dinner like that?! Served with plenty of mash and veg, this would have actually served at least another person, so I got at minimum nine servings out of this recipe, and I can’t wait to eat some of the ones I have stashed away in the freezer! I originally made a similar recipe from a Times magazine – I no longer have that recipe, so improvised with what was in my cupboard and what I remembered!
Four chicken breast (£7 from Tesco)
6 sausages (I bought 16 for £5, also in Tesco, working out at £1.88)
1 slice of bread, this recipe is perfect for using the ‘end bit no-one wants’ (5p)
Two regular onions (40p)
A large knob of butter (20p)
A handful of the cheapest mushrooms, optional (20p)
2 chicken stock cubes (10p)
Two tablespoons of flour (5p)
Some herbs and seasoning (5p)
1-2 packs of ready-rolled puff pastry (£2 from Sainsburys)
Splitting the recipe into eight servings, this works out at £1.49 per serving.
Let’s make pie!
First of all, cook your chicken – preheat the oven to 200C, and get four large squares of tin foil ready. Spread each with a little oil, place a chicken breast in the centre, and season with salt and pepper (I also added a bit of thyme). Wrap the foil into a parcel, it should look a little like a Cornish pasty in shape. Cook in the preheated oven for 30 minutes, then leave to cool.
Meanwhile, finely chop the onion, and sweat down with the butter until soft.
And while that is going on (see, we’re multi-tasking here!) remove the sausages from their skins. Pulse the bread in a food processor to make breadcrumbs, and mix this into the sausage meat – a kneading movement works well here. If you want, add a bit of lemon juice to this mixture – but don’t worry as it’s far from essential. Shape the mixture into balls – it makes lots, the picture below shows half of mine…
By now your onions should have sweated down. Make the stock up (you need 1.5-2 litres). Add the flour to the onions and stir to make a roux, then slowly add the stock whilst stirring. Once it’s all in the pan, add some herbs, salt and plenty of pepper, and your mushrooms (if using). You could also add vegetables at this point, I imagine some chopped carrot would work well.
Leave your sauce to simmer on a low heat for a bit, whilst you brown the sausage balls in a little oil. Make sure the pan is hot when they go in, or the bread will absorb oil and the final result will be greasy.
Back to the chicken. Remove it from it’s foil parcels, and drain any grease on a piece of kitchen towel. Cut up into bite sized pieces.
Once all of your elements are prepared, put some chicken and sausage in the bottom of your chosen dish.
Ladle in the sauce until it is roughly this full…
And bake for around 30-45 mins at 160C. If you are making a day in advance, keep the filling in the fridge, top with pastry when ready to cook, and bake covered with foil for 30 minutes, and then uncovered for 30 minutes. If freezing, use pastry that has NOT already been frozen (I made my own for my individual ones), defrost fully before cooking, cover and bake for 40 minutes, and then uncovered for 30 minutes. Remember to only use my timings as a guide – everything should be fully cooked and piping hot.
If you want, you could get fancy with your pastry and make some pretty shapes on top…mine was a little rough looking though! Serve with plenty of green vegetables and mash, and you have a filling dinner for under £2.
Having made this, I’ve been inspired to make more pies – I’m planning on making some steak ones over my Christmas holidays! Does anyone else make double portions and freeze meals to save time?
Can you believe it is Week 5 already? Weeks are just flying by! I used to think people were being cliched when they said univesity will go quickly, but it truly does…check out last week’s updated post here.
I’m heading home for the weekend as it’s my birthday on Monday, so expecting to be spoilt rotten with lots of yummy food! My boyfriend is cooking for me on Friday night, then I’ve chosen to have Spicy Chipotle Ribs on Saturday, with a big Roast Beef dinner on Sunday. Looking forward to it!
Monday – Birthday Meal
As it’s my birthday, me and a few friends are heading out to Prezzo for a meal. I’ve already salivating at the menu!
I haven’t really thought that far ahead, but depending on the amount of vegetables I have left it will be either a pie or some form of pasta. Maybe. I reckon this will be a ‘decide on the state of my fridge’ meal!
Do you have any celebration meals planned this week?
This post is about two months late, but something I’ve been meaning to do. My landlady paid a visit recently and my room had to be tidied and cleaned (it isn’t usually THAT bad, but I generally have a floor-drobe going on!) and I took advantage of that to take some photos and write this post. Sorry that it’s so picture heavy, but I really feel this gets some of my personality across.
I also hope this will give you tips on how to make a home on the budget; check out my first year post about home-ifying student halls too! Here we go…
Welcome to my room!
I got the ‘big’ room of the house this year (paying the premium for it too!) and I’m very glad as I really enjoy having space.
Here you can see one of my favourite bargain buys for this year – the three canvases on the wall look great, are a neutral colour so can move with me from house-to-house in the future, and were ridiculously cheap at £6.99 from Argos. Most importantly – they are really lightweight so blue-tac onto the wall, with no need for damage! There’s a great cheap selection online, so it’s really worth having a look.
The price for having a bigger room is the fact that I have to share with the boiler. Luckily it’s in its own cupboard, but its slightly noisy, and also has various lights which glow out through the door. And it doesn’t mean my room is warm either, far from it! I have, however, accessorised the boiled with the addition of a five-hook over-door hanger (from Wilkinsons) where I place my coats, belts and bags.
My lovely Leather Satchel resides here too! I am still totally loving my bag, it gets so many comments, fits everything in, and is just perfect. I’m so lucky to have it!
Now onto my bookcase – I have a LOT of books and folders, and really that’s for another post! Put it this way – the shelves are actually being supported by the folders as they don’t hold up themselves anymore (they were broken when I moved it!).
Now over to my bed…
I love love love cushions, and really think they give my room a home-y feel. I have six, which is probably overkill, but it means I’m nice and warm and cosy when I snuggle in! I also love my sentimental soft toys – the penguins above were one of the first presents my boy bought me, back when we’d been together for about a fortnight. He did well!
Speaking of cuddly toys, this is the adorable Highland Cow my parents bought as an early Christmas present – so cute!
Now to the realllyyyyy girly part of my room – the dressing table! Here I have the makeup mirror that formed part of my 18th ‘Prep for Uni’ birthday present bundle, and is probably one of the best things you could buy a female prospective student as it ensures a good light to apply makeup. No idea where mine is from, but I’m sure I’ve seen them in Boots.
I also have lots of lovely photos, my make-up bag, my vintage-style alarm clock, my Cath Kidston Salt & Pepper Pots Ornaments (I have a terrier cross, hence the terrier theme with my cushion and ornaments), my bargain wide bowl (£1 in the sale in Marks & Spencer), my key pot (the really lovely butterfly box – a leaving present from work) and various other pretty bits. This is the one area I try to keep work/uni free!
I have also built a ‘bedside table’ out of two plastic storage boxes (storing dried foods I buy in bulk) and a prettier fabric box. In the pretty box go my cooking books, kindle and emergency chocolate supply. Oh, I always recommend a little lamp too – I love mine for giving a soft glow to the room before bed, instead of using the harsh main light.
Here’s my desk. Its a little battered, and rather on the small side, but it isn’t too bad (one of my housemates doesn’t have a proper desk at all!) and now I have another extension lead I can finally charge and use my laptop at the same time!
The academic in me really recommends a wall planner for students – mine really does help me keep track of deadlines, and how long it is until I can go home to a really decent (i.e. expensive) meal.
To hide a really bashed part of my desk, I’ve made an arrangement of my biscuit tins (bought separately, from TK Maxx) and my memory box (filled with letters/card from my boy, birthday cards from my parents, pictures my sister drew me when she was younger, etc – I really recommend that everyone has a box like this!).
And that rounds up the room I’m living in for my second year of university. Of course, I spend less time in it than my room in halls, because I’m living with lovely friends, we have a lovely lounge area, and it’s just a whole lot nicer than my experience of university accomodation (which really wasn’t great for me!).
What’s your way of adding home-y touches to a rented place?
I’ve always seen myself as a pretty decent cook. I’m hoping from the recipes on here that most of my readers will agree with that! However I have a problem, and it seems to be a pretty big one – I cannot cook anything for my boyfriend!
The first time I cooked for him I blew the electrics in the house after putting the oven on. As it turned out, the oven died its least death that night (it had been threatening it for a while!) and so it wasn’t technically my fault, but it still happened, and it’s still brought up pretty regularly.
I had numerous disasters whilst cooking for him at other times – overcooked rice, a particularly sloppy mince-potato-bake thing, too-spicy chillis and bland curries. But since moving into my second-year house I don’t think I’ve managed to cook him a single meal where everything has been faultless, or even edible.
I bought a ready-made pie from the butchers (see here). Didn’t notice that one of my housemates had turned the oven to 250C, so I served up burnt pastry and cold filling.
Trying to redeem myself, I bought another pie. This turned out to be a mushroom instead of a ham one (and he hates mushrooms!). Not only this, I managed to boil the broccoli to slop…
I scrambled a carbonara, although luckily he really enjoyed it. He claims I always undercook egg though, so maybe it was properly cooked?!
Somehow (and I really don’t know how!) I managed to burn potatoes that were boiling in water. The pan didn’t boil dry, there was plenty of water, but the spuds were stuck to the bottom. The mash that night tasted distinctly chargrilled…
Whilst all of the above were bad, the other night really took the biscuit. I know, and everyone else knows, that I can cook a pretty damn good Toad in the Hole. I can do it without measuring, without checking cooking times, with my eyes closed basically. But one Friday night I decided to follow a recipe. Bad plan. Resulting in this (ps – the featured image at the top of this post is how it is MEANT to look!):
Yes, that is the ‘batter’ of my cooked Toad in the Hole. It was hideous! Completely doughy and flour-tasting, and utterly inedible. Thankfully we bought amazing sausages from the butchers, infused the gravy with cooking liquor from a twice-cooked pork belly dish, and I managed to make decent mash. Moral of that night – don’t follow a recipe when you know what to do!
Does anyone else have the inability to cook for someone they are trying to impress?
It’s amazing how quickly the weeks go by when you do this type of post!
This week’s menu is based on trying to spend as little as possible, as it is my turn to cook on Sunday. My plan is to start eating up what is in my freezer, slowly emptying it down for the Christmas break (despite it being a long way off!). Remember to check back as the week goes on to see how my meals went – last weeks post is now fully updated.
No picture of this, but it wasn’t the most attractive of dishes – tasted good though!
Thursday – Mushroom Pasta (with Spinach) & Garlic Bread
This is my comfort dinner – I love a creamy mushroom sauce. Mine is made by slow-cooking a can of condensed mushroom soup with half a tub of chopped fresh mushrooms, a chopped onion, a tub of creme fraiche and loads (five cloves!) of garlic with some herbs too. This makes five or six servings for the freezer, and as long as you stir it well when reheating (as it does split) it is absolutely fine.
Friday – Out at McDonalds!
Me and the girls are heading out to an 8.30pm showing of the new Hunger Games film, we have McDonalds vouchers, so thought we’d make a cheap night of it – I’m looking forward to some junk food!
Saturday – Noodle Stir-Fry
Again, not the most attractive of dishes, so no photo. But see my basic stir fry here!
Sunday – Chicken & Sausage Pot Pie, Mash & Veg
It’s my turn to cook this week, and I thought I’d go with this. I made it at some point from a Times Newspaper recipe, but I’m hoping I can find a similar one elsewhere as I’ve lost it! This meal definitely went down well, and I’ll be blogging about it soon!
Monday – Bubble & Squeak with Sausages
I changed my menu plan to accommodate leftovers, and it was definitely yummy!
Tuesday – Mushroom Risotto
I was in need of a treat/comfort me, and this is my go-to ‘recipe.’ Made enough for Wednesday’s lunch too!