With Christmas just around the corner and the number of remaining shopping days dwindling, perhaps it is time to start thinking about those last few gifts you still need to get. However, instead of trudging out to the shops and enduring the commercial storm, why not make some gifts at home? These could be craft based or, even better, food based! Friends and family will love the idea of receiving something you have spent time making yourself, with them in mind.
Cooking & Lifestyle Blog
With yesterday being exactly a week until Christmas, I indulged in a little bit of festive excitement in the form of The Great British Bake Off Christmas Special. It made for very pleasurable viewing indeed. Inspired by Paul and Mary's festive bakes, I found myself craving the likes of Stollen and Mincemeat Streusel (Mary's ingenious traybake alternative to thrashing out batches and batches of mince pies).
The praises of mug cakes are many; not only are they a beautifully quick and deliciously sweet pick me up, but they can often be made using simple cupboard ingredients, which is why they are perfect easy recipes for students. All these things mean that in a matter of minutes you can be enjoying some first-class home-made comfort food, all without having to endure any last minute dashes to the shop in the cold and rainy weather – always a bonus.
I don't know about you, but one of my favourite things about winter has to be cosying up in warm, wooly jumpers accompanied by good friends and a plateful of homemade food hot from the oven. Things may be a little more draughty away from home, so being at uni is even more reason to indulge in warming feasts. If you are looking for a filling and healthy winter warmer, look no further than this Chilli Con Carne with Crispy Jacket Potato – another one to add to the list of fantastically simple recipes!
So far this week three things have happened to confirm to me that summer is definitely over and winter is fast approaching. Firstly in a stubborn bid to avoid turning our heating on until November at the earliest, making a hot water bottle has become part of my night-time routine. Secondly, after leaving work on Monday to meet a friend for coffee I climbed the steps out of the underground to find that it was almost dark already, and it was only 6.30pm – the night’s are indeed ‘drawing in’ as my Granny would say. Thirdly, just this lunch time, after venturing out to buy her lunch in the pouring rain my work-mate Emma returned to the office, took her boots off to dry near the radiator and stepped into her handy work-slippers. Yes people, winter is on its way!
I am so suggestible when it comes to food! The Great British Bake Off episode on Bread – talk about food porn – had me craving that awesome freshly baked bread vibe you only get when you do it yourself. So I had a look for a yummy homemade bread recipe and turfed up this tasty focaccia – thought I would try something a bit different from your classic loaf…
Is it really autumn already?! Depressingly that makes it months since I donned my massive backpack, grabbed a trusty Lonely Planet guidebook and stepped onto a plane bound for a sun-drenched two weeks in Thailand.... sigh.
As I sat down to choose the third recipe in my series of Top 10 Simple Recipes for College Students, I thought to myself ‘what do all students like to eat?’ And what was the first thing to pop into my head? Yep, you’ve guessed it, pasta! So I set out to find a tasty and delicious pasta recipe that is easy to make and definitely a step above the pesto-and-pasta classic! So roll up your sleeves, step into the kitchen and rustle up some Creamy Chicken & Mushroom Macaroni, perfect comfort food as the evenings start to draw in!
Sweet Potato Curry
Makes 1 large portion
Learning to cook? Did I think it was absolutely necessary? No! Having recently emerged into the world of work from four years of writing essays in my pyjamas, delaying doing my laundry until I got down to that last pair of bikini bottoms, and dancing like a loon into the ungodly hours of the morning I will be the first to admit how easy it is succumb to the good old excuse of “I don’t have enough time or money” when your Mum raises that classically irritating question of whether you’ve been cooking healthily. But looking back from the other side as a supposedly well-educated 24 year old, I warn you without any hint of maternal nagging to act now before it is too late.