I’m in the midst of ‘exam ambivalence’ right now (I want to do well, but I’m not doing much about it), and this has a number of side effects. The first is that whenever I go to revise, I end up making lists of things to revise rather than actually revising. The second is that whenever I go to do something that isn’t revision but is productive (writing a blog post, doing the washing, tidying), I feel guilty for doing this instead of revising, and so stop doing it, returning to my desk to stare into space. The third is that this constant focus on revision has given me writers block when it comes to thinking of (mildly) interesting things to ramble about on here, hence why I haven’t posted in a while. So instead of thinking of my own topic to talk about today, I’m going to steal someone else’s.
One of my favourite blogs to actually read is Lady and Pups, because she’s like me; she rants. She doesn’t give some long winded story about how she came up with a recipe or what’s going on in her life etc., she just talks about all the things going on in her head at the time. The best section of her blog, in my opinion, is a section titled ‘shit I eat by myself’ – single servings of easy, quick, sometimes healthy and sometimes crap, hungry person food. I don’t eat amazing photo-ready food every day, so why post amazing photo-ready food all the time? Here’s my own list (plus a couple of recipes at the end) for the shit I eat when I’m on my own – no time required, no skill required and most of which are relatively healthy (with exception of cheese in 90% of cases).
- Grilled portobello mushrooms covered in melted cheese (comté or cheddar), chutney and ham (covered = the mushroom can’t be visible under that cheese blanket)
- Rice mixed with tahini and soy sauce
- 10 minute chicken & mushrooms – fry onions, garlic and mushrooms, add stock, shredded leftover chicken (leg is best), lentils (any colour, cooked), any greens, seasoning, white wine (if you have any around). Simmer, add a dollop of mascarpone, eat from pan.
- <insert any form of fish/meat> either baked or fried with roasted veg (literally every vegetable about to go off thrown in a roasting pan with olive oil, salt, pepper and rosemary/thyme/herbs that are looking sad and floppy)
- Avocado toast, every day, without fail. I know it’s cliche but I don’t care. Avocado toast variation 1: toast some sunflower and pumpkin seeds, mash the avocado with lemon juice and seasoning, stir in some dried cranberries or raisins (it works unbelievably well), top rye toast with avocado mixture and cover in the seeds.
- Sweet potato cubes (better than fries in my opinion) – just cube sweet potatoes into 1inch cubes, rinse under cold water to wash off some of the starch, pat dry (drier = crispier), toss in olive oil, paprika, semolina (gives it an amazing crispy crust so don’t skip this), a pinch of garlic powder and salt and pepper, throw in oven for half an hour at 200 degrees. This is a good go-to revision/work snack to graze on.
- The socca recipe I posted ages ago with anything piled on top and grilled to make it crispy (and melt the cheese because guaranteed cheese will feature). INVEST IN CHICKPEA FLOUR (otherwise known as gram flour) it is literally so cheap and has an abundance of uses. When I’ve got more time to good without revision guilt I’ll post a few more recipes using chickpea flour because it’s my new favourite.
- Milk bottles (the Mr Simms sweet shop ones obviously)
- Anything and everything smothered in BBQ sauce
- My rice-less risotto (recipe below)
So there’s just a small snippet of the food I inhale when I can’t be arsed to make anything more fancy. In the spirit of easy, single serving, eat-with-your-hands-or-a-spoon food, I’ve got a recipe for the comfiest bowl of kind-of risotto ever. No rice, made with beans instead which adds to the creaminess of the whole dish. Don’t scrimp on cheese.
Rice-less canellini bean risotto
1 can of beans (butter beans, canellini beans, anything)
1/2 onion or baby leek
1/2 tsp smoked garlic powder (or a clove of garlic but the former is much better)
A couple of stalks of asparagus
Handful of kale
Handful of spinach
Juice of 1 lemon
1-2 tbsp mascarpone
Garden peas/petit pois
A sprinkling of sunflower seeds
- start by toasting the sunflower seeds in a dry pan until brown. Set aside. In the same pan heat up some olive oil and fry off the onion/baby leek with the smoked garlic.
- Meanwhile, steam your greens (apart from the spinach) and cook the peas until all are just about done. Drain and set aside.
- Transfer to a saucepan and add the drained and rinsed beans, along with the lemons juice, salt and pepper. Add the spinach, greens and peas and cover for a few minutes until the spinach has wilted. Add the mascarpone and parmesan. Stir to combine, and serve with more parmesan, pepper and the toasted seeds sprinkled on top.
This second recipe is for quinoa and chickpea flour falafels – they’re dead easy, quick, make loads and last a while in the fridge. And they can be eaten on a plate, on a train, on the sofa, in bed, anywhere. Let loose and eat your falafels in the bath if you want, no one’s watching.
Quinoa and Chickpea Flour Falafels (adapted from Dolly and Oatmeal)
85g red lentils
35g chickpea flour, toasted lightly in a dry pan to give it a slightly darker colour
1 shallot or small onion, chopped
Small bunch of parsley
2 garlic cloves
Squeeze of lemon juice
Salt and Pepper to taste
1 1/2 tsp ground cumin (I only had cumin seeds and these, toasted, worked nicely too)
1 tsp smoked paprika
1/4 tsp turmeric
2 tbsp sesame seeds
- Cook the quinoa according to instructions, drained and rinse. Do the same in a separate pan with the red lentils. When draining, try to get as much liquid out of the lentils without pushing the lentils through the sieve (they go quite mushy).
- Add everything apart from the sesame seeds to a blender and blend until combined and nicely sticky. Transfer to a bowl and add the sesame seeds, stirring until combined.
- Put this mixture in the fridge to harden up for an hour or two.
- Preheat the oven to 190 degrees c. Take out your mixture and form about 12 golf ball sized falafels (it might make more, it might make less), before placing them on a baking tray lined with parchment.
- Brush with a little olive oil before baking for 25 minutes, turning them all halfway through.
- Serve with a salad, in a wrap, dipped in romesco sauce/hummus/in my case, BBQ sauce.