As this is my first ever blog post, I feel I should introduce myself fully. I’m Pip, I’m a 19 year old english and drama student at Exeter University, and I’m very skeptical that this blog (which is going to be 90% food, recipes and reviews, 10% musings on my lack of organisation, my lack of direction and my lack of motivation to leave my bed) is going to really take off. If you’re still reading this – thank you, you’re probably the first one to make it this far.
So first thing’s first. I am terrified about the future. Properly terrified. Uni keeps emailing me about job opportunities, I’m living with 2 medical student who have career paths set out for them, everyone around me seems to be doing things to ‘enhance their employability’ etc. and internships for the summer are slowly being filled. I, on the other hand, spend my days scrolling through food blogs, taking pretty amateur photos of my amateur attempts at patisserie or Moroccan cuisine or whatever I feel like making, and worrying that none of what I’m doing is going to accumulate towards anything. In my eyes, my options are thus:
- A famous film and theatre actor – this is what I had previously wanted since I was little. I studied it at school, auditioned for everything I could, got work experience at my local theatre and was accepted into Exeter to study it. One of my teachers once told me that she could see me performing at The Old Vic in 10 years time if I put my mind to it, and that was what motivated me. But uni completely threw me off balance – there weren’t just 8 of us studying drama anymore, but 80, all of whom had exactly the same aspirations as me, some of whom had auditioned for drama school many times before, some of whom had taken gap years teaching theatre in Thailand and South America and all the other stereotypical gap year locations. I had no idea how I was going to make myself stand out, but more importantly I was beginning to lose interest in the subject. Seminars consisted of 3 hours worth of rolling on the floor and playing stuck in the mud in order to determine how ‘play related to making plays’. I’ll remind you now that this was costing me £9000 a year. £9000 for a year of primary school games and bullshitty essays. Thank fuck I was doing a joint honours degree. Although this year seems to be going slightly better (we’re actually putting on a real play this term!!), I think the past year has squashed the drama bug in me – I auditioned for a play recently and, for the first time in my drama history, I didn’t get in. And I really didn’t give a shit. Famous film and theatre actor: ruled out.
- A journalist – this is purely because I’m also studying English, and it seems that whenever I tell this to someone they assume I want to go into a) journalism and b) publishing c) teaching (god forbid). As much as I’d love to be a travel journalist for someone like Saveur or Delicious or some other big food and drink magazine, a Food52 article by Amanda Hesser has kind of killed this dream. By the sounds of it, it’s a hell of a lot harder to make it as a successful food journalist without starting off on a trawler boat catching sustainable salmon in the Atlantic, taking a course in HMTL and photography and business management and everything else at the Open University, eating out at a different up-and-coming trendy central London restaurant every day, setting up your own brand of smoothies or organic cereals, and blogging about all of this along the side. I’m very nearly in my 20s, and I don’t like fishing. Maybe this career path could still be a possibility, but it sounds like I’m going to have to put up with a lot of unrelated work prior to actually breaking into the foodie journalistic scene. And when would I have time to bake?
- Open my own bakery – oh god if only. The number of time’s I’ve considered dropping out of higher education, getting out some sort of long term loan (you can see my complete lack of financial knowledge, something that would be quite essential when running your own business), buying a tiny shop window or old route master and selling all the baked good under the sun is unreal. But there are obvious problems with this grand entrepreneurial scheme; namely funding, finding a location, finding and buying the equipment, getting all the right certificates to give me a licence to sell, and getting pretty fucking good at baking. Plus, as dad’s reminded me time and time again, there’s no guarantee that all of this will come together to create a successful bakery, especially with the competition being so fierce nowadays. This idea can be on the back-burner for now – saving it in case I ever find myself in a dead-end job (and perhaps with a rich husband willing to back me?) and think ‘sod it I’m going to do it’.
- Something in publicity, marketing, advertising in the food industry – this thought only popped into my head a few days ago after coming across Diana Hossfeld’s ‘A Day in the Life’ and thinking ‘so I get to wear nice clothes all day, making important phone calls and send important emails, AND test restaurant style food…’. Though this idea is still in the foetal stages, the prospect of having a weekly schedule full of meetings and photoshoots and interviews all revolved around food excites me, not to mention the fact that I could actually put my English degree to some use (something 96% of the student on my degree won’t be able to say later on in life).
Okay I could go on for pages and pages about the different career paths I’ve considered, and I’ve kind of forgotten why I started talking about it in the first place. I’ll stop now, sorry. Here’s what I had for dinner instead.
I was planning on making a really warming, sweet, fresh take on apricot chicken, but my seminar ended late, the veg shop had no apricots, and Tesco had no jam. So instead I bought a load of discounted peaches, going off romaine and sweetcorn from the veg shop and made a summer honey roasted peach, grilled chicken and blackened corn salad with feta.
Though this was a throw-together dinner, I’m going to put a recipe down because it tasted bloody good and I feel it would be good practice seeing as this is a food blog. I usually love to dress my salads with 5+ ingredient dressings with things like miso, tahini, sesame etc. but all this really needed was a squeeze of lemon and lots of pepper.
Honey roasted peach, grilled honey chilli chicken and charred corn salad (serves 1)
Lean chicken breast
1/2 sweetcorn, kernals only
1 donut peach, sliced
A few romaine lettuce leaves
A bunch of green beans, trimmed
Drizzle of honey
1 sprig of rosemary
Fresh red chilli or dried chilli flakes
Olive Oil (or garlic infused oil)
The juice and zest of a lemon
- Put the peaches into a small roasting pan, toss in some olive oil, honey, salt and pepper, and roast in the oven for around 20 minutes at 180 degrees fan.
- Meanwhile, heat a glug of olive oil (or garlic infused oil, I had that on hand to used that instead) in a large frying pan. Add the rosemary sprig and swirl this around to infuse the oil. Season the chicken breast and add this to the pan.
- Add the sweetcorn kernels and chilli flakes (and a drizzle more honey if you like), and sizzle on high until the chicken is cooked through.
- Blanch the green beans, shred the lettuce and add to a bowl (since you’re only eating salad it has to be a nice bowl – the simpler the food the more elaborate the crockery).
- Once the chicken is cooked through, slice and place the chicken on the lettuce leaves, followed by the roasted peaches and any juices from the pan.
- Season, add the feta and squeeze some lemon on top.
P.s. I know my photo here is absolute poo and that pretty much every other food blog has 5/6 beautifully orchestrated photos of their food against a wooden board/on a distressed table/in a designer bowl with a hand carved wooden spoon artfully balanced on the side, but I am at uni, and my only camera is my iPhone. I will be begging for a proper camera for christmas, and I might even invest in a few more bowls other than my three Antropologie bowls and plates that will feature in pretty much every post. But until then, you’ll just have to trust that this dinner looks/tastes better in real life.