Friday, 28 October 2011

Vegitarian Curry

Sometimes as a student, you've run out of money for the week and can't go shopping without going over budget, the easiest thing to do is make weird concoctions in the hope you end up with something tasty. This is a kind of unusual curry that started off with a vague plan then degenerated into a lob pot.

1 tin of chick peas
1 onion
1 teaspoon of peanut butter
1 teaspoon of chilli oil
1 teaspoon of ground turmeric 
1 heaped teaspoon of mild curry powder
1 tea spoon of paprika
1 tea spoon of ketchup
2 teaspoons of tomato paste
A tiny amount of ginger (it would have been nicer without this to be honest)

First finely chop the onion and add it to a frying pan with the chilli oil. Cook on a medium heat and allow to slightly burn on the edges to add a hint of carbon. I don't know why but its a better alternative for curries to have a slightly over cooked onion than a properly cooked one. 

Then add the curry powder and turmeric. Stir well into the onions so they are totally coated in the powder.

Then I peeled a tiny lump of ginger and chopped it roughly, honestly in future I would skip this part I just had a dog end of ginger that needed eating. Maybe chopped ridiculously fine it wouldn't be as noticeable but the occasional ginger hit was a bit odd. 

Then add half a can of chickpeas, you can use the remainder for homemade hummus :) delicious

Then add half a cup full off water or stock to make the curry sauce. 

Then add a squeeze of tomato paste and a lump of peanut butter. Then mix well.

As you can see from the picture, I forgot to buy rice so I ate my curry with pasta. Add the paprika and the tomato ketchup to the mixture. I used tomato ketchup because it adds sweetness. 

Then add handful of either sliced pepper or frozen peppers. Cook until done. Then serve. It doesn't look glamourous but it sure is tasty.

Belinda Stepford

Introducing Addi

Its unnatural to live without pets. It really is, so even though its against the rules I decided to get a pet. I thought I was going to get some fish. I bought a tank and everything, got to the store and walked past a cage full of the sweetest little creatures ever. So I bought one.

Addi is a Dwarf Hamster and I love her, utterly love her. She's named after the adipose from Doctor Who, as she is cute and fat. The guy at the pet store joked that hamsters are useless, difficult to catch and always end up biting you. He then opened the tank and went to get a net thing to catch her with, I put my hand out and she crawled onto it well behaved. He was very impressed.  I then had to walk home holding  hamster food under my arm and Addi in a box, I got some stares. I need to buy a hamster carrier at some point so I can take her home with me, on the train, all the way from Winchester to Liverpool. At christmas the house is going to be so full, The two family dogs (maybe some puppies), Two cats, My sisters two guinea pigs and now Addi as well. Insanity. 

Belinda Stepford

Thursday, 20 October 2011


I'm back home for the week while my parents are in Rome, I've been roped in to pet sit. Gosh I didn't realise how much I'd missed my animals. Its so unnatural to live without pets. I think I might get an illegal pet for uni. It would need not to smell and be quiet... Maybe a fish or a hamster.

My camera also arrived so the quality of my images should improve. It is beautiful. I mean seriously gorgeous. Its a pentax-kr, limited edition in white. I'm still figuring out how to use it properly but I love it. It feels very sturdy and yet light. It wasn't that expensive compared to some of the cameras we've bought in the past and it is all mine.

Belinda Stepford

Saturday, 8 October 2011

Easy Peasy Student Pie

I'm from the north of England, pie is practically a life source. This is not a glamourise, difficult, fancy pie that takes forever to make. Its student food, its cheap easy and there are some cheats in there too.

All you need is;
3 Potatoes, doesn't matter what kind
4 average sized carrots
1 large onion or two average ones
Pork loin half
1 shot of vodka
Flour about three cup fulls
Butter about a cup full
1 garlic clove
pepper corns
1 jar of tomato paste sauce (or home made I know I'm lazy today)

Firstly roughly cut your potatoes up into bite sized chunks, don't bother peeling. If you notice your chopping board is slipping fold a tea towel up and place it underneath, that should prevent slipping. Add the potatoes to a pan full of boiling water and allow to cook.

While they are cooking, dice the onions and cut the carrots to slightly smaller than the potatoes. Again don't bother to peel the carrots as it is quite a large pie the left overs will get reheated so you want the skins to provide a bit of crunch. when the onions are slightly translucent add about a pint of water and a vegetable stock cube and cook for a future minute.

Add the capers (as many or as few at you like, I used about eight), the skinned garlic clove and the pepper corns (again you know how many you like) to pestle and mortar. Crush them until a lumpy paste. Then scrap out as much of the paste as you can and add to the carrots and onions.

Drain the potatoes and add them too a pie dish, or a oven tray if you are a student without a pie dish :)
 mix with the carrots and shake so its evenly distributed.

Take your half pork loin and roughly chop it so the pieces are the same size and sear in the pan you cooked the onions in. Don't cook it all the way through just cook the outside to help seal in the flavour.
When you've done that put the pork in the dish with everything else making sure it is evenly distributed.

Cheat time I'm afraid, I was running out of time so I just used a jar of Asda own brand Bolognese sauce to make the liquid in my pie. I poured half out in to the dish then filled the jar with water, shuck it up and poured that over the top.

Add your flour, butter and vodka together in a bowl. Have the butter as large chunks you want some left so its marbled through out. Don't work it too much just until you have a doughy ball, then wrap it and leave in the fridge for half an hour.  The vodka is to make it go crispy because as it heats up the alcohol evaporates and puffs up the surface slightly.

As you can tell from the picture I am not currently in possession of a rolling pin or a wine bottle. Roll out your pastry, hopefully better than I did and pierce the top. Place in an oven at gas mark 6 for about 20 minutes but you can really rely on sight to tell when its done. The pastry will be pale but crisp.

It might not look like much but it is delicious and most importantly ridiculously cheap to make. Sure there are cheats and the quantity is a bit much for three people but I was happy to live off the left overs for like three days. 

Belinda Stepford

Monday, 3 October 2011

Chilli Oil

As promised a actual post about something kitchen related. When I first moved into my house my Mim noticed there was a green house hidden around the corner of the house, so we instantly made plans of what things I could grow. A trip to Homebase later and I have a collection of pepper plants, Chillies and various herbs that should see me through winter nicely. Thanks to the recent heat wave my chilli plant has been blasting out and is in full crop. The chillies are ridiculously spicy, I will admit to being the human guinea pig and placing a chopped bit on my tongue... much milk was chugged.

The excessive chillies had to be used before they went passed their best. So after a few chillies going into actual chillies I decided on making chilli oil. A classic fragrant useful sidekick to any chefs artillery and one of the simplest things to make ever. All you need is;

A bottle
A handful of chillies
Two garlic cloves
Enough olive oil to fill your bottle

all you need to do is put the chillies into your bottle. You can leave the storks on it doesn't effect flavour and looks rather aesthetically pleasing. I used an old fashioned pop bottle but you could use any bottle you've got.

Then depending on the size of your garlic cloves or the volume of your bottle add between one and three garlic cloves with the skin left on. 

Once you've done that pour your oil oil into a measuring jug and pour it into your bottles so it completely covers the chillies and garlic. I just used pretty cheap oil as the flavour is taken over by the chilli as it infuses so it doesn't really matter. I suppose you could use vegetable oil as a substitute.

That is it. All done. In less than five minutes you've created a really useful product that looks pretty and tastes amazing. It will gain in flavour the longer you leave it but if it gets too strong you can always remove the chillies and dilute it with more olive oil.

Belinda Stepford