Hello all! I haven’t blogged about food for a long time, so I thought that I’d change things up this week and give you a few of my favourite meals to cook at uni, (especially since going veggie). If I received a pound for every person that said to me “you’ll be living off 19p noodles” before I started uni, let’s just say I wouldn’t be a millionaire or anything… but I’d probably be pocketing a fair few notes. Someone even used that statement as a reasoning of why I shouldn’t pick a uni that required me to move away from home. Clearly their argument wasn’t persuading enough. I’d just like to point out that the “19p noodle” statement is on every level of wrong. Firstly, noodles are not 19p. They’re about 25p for the cheapest ones, thanks inflation. But if you do know where these mysterious 19p noodles come from, I’d be interested to know. Secondly, I think the whole ‘cheap’ uni experience has been a bit overplayed now. I mean, yes we are students who have to be very careful with what we spend our debt (that we pretend that isn’t debt for the peace of mind) on. But I think – or I’d like to think – that we are smart enough to know that noodles or toast for tea every night isn’t realistic, or healthy. So a little bit more appreciation on behalf of uni students, please.
I will happily put my hands up and say that I’m no Jamie Oliver, Nigella Lawson, or Gordon Ramsey. Well, maybe the latter, when I burn myself on the oven. But I thought I’d share some of the meals I have been cooking recently. Sending pictures of a dinner you’ve managed to whip up to your parents is a very classic student thing to do, and I am a number one culprit of doing so. But for some reason, receiving the reply “that looks better than our tea” makes my dinner taste even better. The taste of achievement maybe.
And for anyone who’s interested or cares about how my pescetarian diet is going, it is going surprisingly well. I haven’t eaten meat for the entire five months since being ‘veggie’, and I don’t even get cravings anymore. Not even bacon. I haven’t noticed any huge changes since not eating meat, just perhaps my immune system has been kind to me due to the amount of vegetables I eat, even though I still ate a great deal of veg prior to cutting out meat.
Anyway, that’s enough with my rambling, time to show (or tell, rather) you how it’s done, Rachel Jefferies style.
Hummus, Falafel and Avocado Wraps
☕︎ Serves: 2 (2 wraps each) ☕︎ Prep time: 10 mins ☕︎ Cook time: 15 mins ☕︎ Overall time: 25 mins ☕︎
☑︎ 4 tortilla wraps (I used herb tortilla wraps)
☑︎ 12 falafels
☑︎ Hummus (I used lemon and coriander hummus)
☑︎ 1 avocado
☑︎ 1 red, yellow or green pepper (whichever preferred, I used yellow)
☑︎ Fresh salad leaves (or fresh spinach if preferred)
☑︎ 1 handful of seed mix
☑︎ Salad dressing
- Preheat oven to 180/200℃ (Check packaging of falafels in case it suggests differently). Place falafels on a baking tray. Once oven has reached the right temperature, pop baking tray (with falafels on) into the oven for 15 minutes.
- Whilst waiting for the falafels to cook, prepare the rest of your ingredients. Wash and chop off a section of your pepper – you won’t need the entire pepper. Chop the pepper into thin slices.
- Next, slice the avocado in half, being aware that there is a stone in the middle. Once the avocado is cut into two, separate the avocado from its skin with a spoon. (If you’re unsure what this entails, I’m sure there is a YouTube video guiding how to!) Chop your avocado into slices the thickness of 2cm.
- After 10 minutes, check on the falafels, turning them over to their opposite side before placing them back into the oven for the last 5 minutes.
- Prepare your tortilla wraps by scooping one table spoon of hummus onto your wrap, spreading it evenly as a wide rectangle to the middle of your wrap, where the rest of your filling will be. Place salad leaves as a diameter line – remember this will be rolled up so don’t put too much in. Add a couple of slices of your pepper and avocado onto your salad, and sprinkle some mixed seeds. Drizzle some salad dressing if desired (I used honey and mustard dressing).
6. Once your falafels are cooked, place three in each wrap and wrap up your tortillas.
Wrapping your tortilla:
Step 1. Fold one half over the filling Step 2. Fold up both ‘ends’ of the wrap, like so
Step 3. Fold the remaining side over last
Step 4. Flip over the wrap and cut diagonally in the centre
Caramelised Onion, Feta and Tomato Pastry Slices
☕︎ Serves: 6 ☕︎ Prep time: 20-25ish mins ☕︎ Cook time: 15 mins ☕︎ Overall time: 35-40ish mins ☕︎
☑︎ Pre-rolled puff pastry (or you can make your own if you’re feeling adventurous)
☑︎ 1 large onion
☑︎ 1 block of feta cheese
☑︎ 1 handful of cherry/baby tomatoes
☑︎ 1/2 a bag of fresh spinach
☑︎ 1/2 tablespoon of sugar (brown or white, whichever preferred)
☑︎ 1 tablespoon of balsamic vinegar
☑︎ 1 handful of mixed seeds
☑︎ 1 teaspoon of herbs de provence
- Preheat oven to 180/200℃. Cut greaseproof paper to the same size as your oven tray, and place your rolled out puff pastry on the sheet of greaseproof paper, placing both on your tray.
- Next, heat oil in a large frying pan, whilst chopping onions. You can either cut them into slices and use the rings, or chop them more finely into squares, like I did. Once the pan is hot, add onions and cook for 10-12 minutes, stirring occasionally. Then add 1/2 a tablespoon of sugar and the splash of balsamic vinegar. Add the spinach, which will wilt and cook on a low heat for another 5-7 minutes.
- Whilst waiting, wash and chop tomatoes into halves and place to one side.
- (Before I added any toppings to the pastry, I whisked 1 egg and brushed it over the pastry to give a golden, crisp finish, however this step is not crucial).
- Once the caramelised onions and spinach have cooked, spread evenly over the pastry, leaving an inch frame from the outside to allow for a crust.
- Next, crumble feta cheese over the caramelised onion and spinach layer. Then place the halved tomatoes evenly, and sprinkle seeds over the top. Season with herbs de provence to add flavour.
- Place the pastry slice into the oven and cook for 15 minutes (or until the pastry crusts looks golden and the middle is cooked too).
- Once cooked, slice the pastry into smaller slices, and serve hot, or can be eaten cold for lunch the next day. I served mine with buttered kale, but you could alternatively serve it with salad.
☕︎ Serves: 3-4 (depending on portion size) ☕︎ Prep time: 10 mins ☕︎ Cook time: 30 mins ☕︎ Overall time: 40 mins ☕︎
☑︎ Peppers (can be red, yellow, green or even a mixture)
☑︎ 1 large onion
☑︎ 4 spring onions
☑︎ 1 handful of fresh tomatoes
☑︎ 3/4 punnet of mushrooms
☑︎ 1 tin of kidney beans
☑︎ 1 tin of chopped tomatoes
☑︎ Chilli powder
☑︎ Salt & seasoning
- Start by washing and chopping vegetable items; mushrooms, spring onions, onion and tomatoes (cut in half and then half again).
- Heat a saucepan of water and add rice. Judging rice can be hard, but if you’re unsure, then to give you an idea, I find that 1 filled mug of dry rice is enough for 4 servings. Once boiled, allow to simmer, stirring occasionally throughout the process of making the veggie chilli.
- Heat a saucepan on a high heat with a drizzle of oil, and once hot add chopped onion, spring onions, mushrooms, a pinch of salt, seasoning herbs and crushed garlic. Just before the onions soften add the fresh tomatoes just chopped and turn the heat to a low-medium heat and cook for 5 more minutes.
- Then add 1 whole tin of chopped tomatoes to the pan, stirring into the onions and mushrooms.
- Swill and drain the tin of kidney beans in a colander/sieve and add to the pan.
- Add chilli powder – whatever amount you desire. I added 1 teaspoon’s worth, which gave my chilli a kick of spice, but not too much. Note: Different chilli powders can hold different spice strength so be careful. Best thing to do is add bit by bit and stirring in-between addition of chilli powder, tasting each time until satisfied chilli strength.
- Allow the veggie chilli to simmer for 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally. If the chilli is too watery, just simmer for a bit longer.
- Once the rice is soft/cooked, drain and swill with cold water briefly – not too much to make the rice cold. (I’m not sure why, but I have been told to do this when cooking rice!)
- Serve the rice onto a plate or bowl, spooning the veggie chilli on top, and enjoy!
I hope you enjoyed a taste of my uni cookery, no 19p noodles here. If you do try out any of my recipes, I’d love to hear about it!
Images: All images taken by Rachel Jefferies