I’ve now spent a week in my flat sharing with 4 boys and one thing has struck me more prominently than anything else. It’s not that the house suddenly smells of sweat and testosterone (it doesn’t, the males of the household are pleasingly clean); it’s not that items of clothing/kitchenware/booze have been abandoned in the hallway (besides the seemingly unlimited number of rugby balls, our hallway is 100% clear); it’s not even that I’m the only one cooking real food (I don’t think anyone in the house is ready to compete with my culinary prowess, but there’s been a definite improvement on the French’s-mustard-on-ryvita meals I was witness to last year). The thing that has struck me, is that we have a lot of unnecessary, excessive and extremely middle-class stuff. To elaborate;
Things we have:
- 5 frying pans
- 10 Saucepans
- An entire cupboard dedicated to Ribena
- A near industrial oven (my dream)
- A Nutribullet
- A Sabatier knife block
- 3 cafetieres (of varying sizes, to satisfy every level of caffeine craving)
- A Nespresso machine
- A milk frother (…)
- A real Italian espresso maker (…….)
- A coffee bean grinder (…we don’t even have coffee beans. I’m sure that’s the next thing on the list)
- A Le Creuset casserole dish (because what’s a flat full of home-counties Exeter students without a Le Creuset?!)
- Actually, 2 Le Creutset casserole dishes. I just remembered Alex hasn’t arrived yet and is bringing another, in case one is already in use, of course.
- A section of someone’s drainpipe (found on the street post-night out, it reaches the ceiling)
This is all very well – we can make a ourselves tailor-made coffees right down to the size of the grind we want, and are set to perform some DIY if any of our own drainpipes bursts or breaks – but we’re still missing a bathroom light, in a bathroom with no windows or natural light. This means we can wake up, have a freshly made filter coffee/cappuccino/esspresso/every other form of coffee on the Earth, but we still have to shower under torchlight. Somehow the romance of the morning is ruined by this notion.
But not one to complain, I’m instead submersing myself in the wonder of having a proper posh looking oven, and the space to cook with it. My first recipe in the flat was going to be an authentic Mexican Mole (pronounced Mol-ay) that I made when boyfriend came over a few nights ago, but it was 9pm and we were hungry, meaning photo time had to be sacrificed. So, I’m going to save that one for next time I make it, and instead give the recipe for a dead quick harissa brown rice and broccoli bowl. It’s filling, healthy and pretty cheap to make – make extra and save it for lunch the next day, if you think you can control yourself to save it.
Harissa Brown Rice and Broccoli Bowl for 2
1 red onion, diced
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 thumb of ginger, chopped finely
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp ground cumin
1/2 broccoli head – stalk and florets – chopped into smaller florets/chunks
1-2 tbsp harissa (I used rose harissa but regular is fine)
1 tin of sweetcorn, drained
1 handful of raisins
Brown and wild rice (enough for 2 people)
Dollop of hummus, toasted sunflower seeds and chopped coriander, to serve
- Put the brown rice on to boil. Heat some oil on medium in a wok and, once hot, add the broccoli florets. Fry for a few minutes until they begin to char, before removing them and setting aside.
- Add a glug more oil to the wok and add the onion, sweating until soft. Add the garlic, ginger, cumin and coriander, stirring to combine.
- After a few minutes, add the harissa paste and sweetcorn and stir. Add the broccoli and raisins to the mixture and toss to combine. Set aside until the rice is cooked.
- Drain and rinse the rice, before adding to the harissa vegetable mixture, and stir to mix everything in. Put on a low heat to reheat the mixture, and season to taste.
- Serve the brown rice topped with the toasted seeds, coriander, and hummus. Eat with a spoon and congratulate yourself for the minimal washing up that needs to ensue.