Going into second year at university at a self-catered hall of residence has opened a whole new world for me. Cooking. Despite having pretty much free reign of my parent’s kitchen at home, it was rare for me to volunteer to cook dinner (as bad as this is, I know!). I loved baking occasionally but never really enjoyed cooking meals, my sister, on the other hand, loved it so I left it to her. However, upon arriving at Carlaw I have discovered a love of cooking, in fact, I look forward to cooking an evening meal as it is very calming.
My flatmate, Eva, and I have known each other for years and are determined to live and eat healthily overall this year. Eva is a vegetarian which I don’t mind at all as vegetarian food has proven itself to be quite delicious. We share a cooking roster and split grocery costs between us which has proven to make shopping a LOT cheaper than it otherwise would be. We budget roughly $40 each a week when it comes to food shopping, plan what we are going to eat that week and shop the lot in one go. (With any luck we’ll stay this organised year-long).
As a student, it’s always interesting to see what other people have been cooking so this blog is dedicated to what I have been cooking and eating these first few weeks since being at Carlaw Park Student Village.
(I’ve attached all of these recipes at the end)
Cheese and Onion Plait
Let’s start with the simple cheese and onion plait. When I was in year 7, I was part of the “chefs club,” this was the first recipe that we cooked and has held a special place in my heart ever since. Alongside being extremely delicious, it’s also super easy to cook and takes less than an hour to serve including prep time.
Not quite Tasty’s Cauliflower Fried Rice
Let me tell you, this dish may not look it, but it was delicious. I’ve always been a fan of Buzzfeed’s Tasty videos and the above picture is a take on a Tasty cauliflower fried rice (but I didn’t follow the recipe at all…) Last week I decided that I was interested in roasting vegetables. My dad makes the most amazing roast potatoes which at the time, Eva and I did not have. So, cauliflower it was. A fair bit of cheese and a more than the conventional sprinkling of mixed herbs had the cauliflower smelling amazing. It really did add to what otherwise would have been just egg fried rice.
Noodle Stir Fry
Instant noodles, of course, are a student staple, so this is really a fancied-up version of that. Two blocks of egg fried noodles, veg and a sachet of stir fry sauce. Sounds glamorous, right?
Like most of these recipes so far, there is no set ingredient list. We happened to have some left-over spinach in the fridge, so we threw it in the wok for that splash of green.
When in doubt, just add soy sauce, it fixes all problems.
A somewhat deconstructed version of my mum’s delicious Spanish omelette. My Nan used to make this all the time when I visited her in Spain as a child and it’s a timeless recipe that takes a few ingredients and is relatively simple to make. There are no strict rules as to what you can put in a Spanish omelette, really, you can just take what you have in the pantry whether that is a bell pepper, onion, tomato, bacon; the two key ingredients are the humble but versatile egg and potato.
Featured above is Eva’s vegetarian nacho recipe (absolutely smothered in cheese which I tend to do to every meal haha…) Let’s be honest, everyone loves nachos and this dish fully lived up to the heightened expectations. Cheap and delicious, everyone should make it.
A good friend of mine absolutely loved a Korean drink called ‘Welch’ last year, and my flatmate and I live very locally to an Asian supermarket called Tai Ping Trading Company where this drink is only $1! (Not the healthiest choice but as a special treat it’s totally worth it and I’d recommend it to anyone).
Though cooking for myself has been an adventure and a half, Eva and I did cave once and ordered a Sal’s pizza, crashed on the sofa and watched Netflix.
Cheese and Onion Plait (Roughly an hour to prep and serve)
-One sheet of frozen puff pastry, defrosted
-A cup and a half of cheddar cheese
-2 strips of bacon or half a bell pepper if you are vegetarian
-1 egg, beaten
-Salt and pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 220⁰C and lightly grease a baking tray.
Carefully roll out pastry sheet on a floured surface into a rectangle. Place on top of baking tray and cut slices down each side, leaving room in the centre to put mixture.
Finely chop/grate an onion and grate cheese into a large bowl. Add the beaten egg, seasoning and any other herbs you fancy.
Put the cheese egg mixture in the centre of the pastry and brush the edges with either milk or egg.
Fold the strips you cut around the mixture and then brush with egg or milk.
Bake from 20-30 minutes until golden.
Not quite Tasty’s Cauliflower Fried Rice (Roughly an hour and a quarter to prep and serve)
For this recipe it’s important to start with a roasted cauliflower recipe.
-One whole cauliflower cut into florets
-Two cloves of garlic, crushed
-A dessert spoon of mixed spice
-Half an onion, sliced
-Half a cup of cheddar
-A liberal amount of olive oil
Preheat oven to 200⁰C and oil a baking tray.
Cut cauliflower into florets and sprinkle across baking tray. Gently brush oil over the cauliflower and add sliced onion, gently toss with mixed herbs.
Roast until cauliflower is tender.
Add cheese to the tops of the cauliflower and cook for a further 5 minutes.
-2 carrots, sliced
-A cup of peas (frozen)
-Half a cup of beans
-2 tablespoons of soy sauce
-3 eggs, beaten
-2 cups worth of cooked rice
-Salt and pepper, to taste
In a wok over a medium heat, cook peas, carrots, soy sauce and black pepper.
Add cauliflower to the mix.
Stir and add cooked rice. Cook for 3 minutes until the vegetables are incorporated evenly into the rice.
Spread rice towards the edge of the wok, creating a well in the centre (this will make your rice end up tasting more like egg fried rice and not just eggy rice!)
Pour eggs into the well and cook until they scramble.
-Fold eggs into rice and serve.
Noodle Stir Fry
I’ll be honest, the key to this tasting good is the stir fry sauce which literally comes in a sachet. I would recommend following the sachet’s instructions as it will explain the recipe better than I can!
-3 large washed potatoes
-1 onion, diced
-1 bell pepper, diced
-Salt and pepper to taste
Cut potatoes into cubes and boil them until they are soft under a fork.
Add olive oil to a warm pan over medium heat and add the potatoes, diced onion and pepper.
Beat eggs in a bowl with the nutmeg and salt and pepper.
When onions become translucent add eggs to the pan and cook over a low heat for 10 minutes. Add spinach at the last minute.
-(Attempt to) flip the omelette and serve
Sal’s pizza phone – 09-366 7257