Hello again, readers. Amidst this amazingly complex and surprisingly interesting pandemic, I’d like to instill a bit of normality again: you come here to laugh at my self indulgence and maybe learn a thing or two about cooking – just like old times. No wartime recipes on here yet, though I am considering posting sauteed loo-roll with a hand sanitiser jus if the situation does get any worse. Anway, normality first, and we’re back with the second edition of Flatmate Food, a blog post series in which I hand over all culinary advice to my flatmates, who seemed to have grasped the concept of student cooking on a budget far better than my ‘I prefer dolce gorgonzola over piccante’ pretentious self. We’re onto Eve this time – and boy does she know how to stretch those pennies.
Eve came to uni and had to actually work out how to melt cheese onto her toast. Now, she’s a changed woman. She cooks from scratch regularly, using cheap ingredients to create healthy, balanced meals, which tend to follow the pattern outlined in the recipe below. The beauty of this dish is that you can do with it what you like. I remember observing one time where she’d had spooned it out onto a plate and carefully perched two boiled eggs on top to increase the protein content. Elegant? No. Simple and effective? Yes.
This is a dish to make from just about anything in your store cupboard, fridge or garage. Eve switches it up regularly, and in the suggestions I’ve suggested some suggestions that you might want to try, if I could suggest such things.
Eve’s Tomato and Other Things Mish Mash – serves about 5-7
- One large onion, usually white
- 3-4 cloves of garlic
- Olive oil for frying
- 2 tins of chopped tomatoes
- Salt, Pepper, Paprika
- Some sort of legume – butter beans, cannellini beans, mixed beans
- Frozen peas/other frozen veg
- Mushrooms (Eve doesn’t like mushrooms so don’t tell her I suggested this suggestion)
- Aubergines (I don’t like aubergines so don’t tell me I suggested this suggestion)
- Red Lentils/green lentils
- Harissa paste/chipotle chilli paste (I know, I know)
- Other soft herbs or spices but keep it themed – Italian = basil and oregano; Mexican = paprika and chilli; British: parsley and thyme – Or, you could very easily make this into a curry type thing but adding a heaped teaspoon of garam masala and frying the onions in tikka paste.
Roughly dice the onion and fry in a little olive oil. Once they’ve gone a bit soft, add in your garlic, which you’ll have chopped finely as the onions are cooking. Now you’ll want to add any hard root veg like carrots, potatoes or parsnips, all chopped into large-ish dice. Let these colour for a moment before adding softer veg such as broccoli, mushrooms, pepper or aubergines. When you’re satisfied with the amount of veg in the pan, and it’s starting to smell lovely you can add your herbs and spices to your heart’s content. Then, pour in your tomatoes and let it simmer for a bit. If you’re using red lentils, stick them in at this stage, along with some more water to keep them happy – let them simmer for at least 15 minutes in the mix before adding any other stuff. Then, add your frozen veg in along with any tinned legumes. If it’s looking a wee bit dry, add some boiling water from the kettle, or if you’re me, some wine. Taste it, season it, and let it simmer for 5-10 minutes while you prepare an Appropriate Carbohydrate with which to serve it (I’d always go for crusty buttered bread). Add in the spinach right at the very last moment, then splollop it into bowls and top with a fried egg if you’re so inclined – or two boiled ones for extra finesse.
There you have it. It’s a sort of recipe, as Eve puts it, but it’s very flexible, just like her. Stay on the Internet for the next chapter in Flatmate Food -where I’ll be interrogating Lucy about her gnocchi habit.