Sunday, 27 November 2011

Simple Tomato Pasta

Every single person I know makes their own pasta and tomato totally different from anyone else's. They all feature the vague same ingredients but they can vary wildly. Here is my go to pasta sauce for frugality and flavour. Its incredibly filling, nutritiously balanced and so much better than something out a jar.

1 Onion
A tin of Chopped tomatoes
Pepper corns
Basil Leaves
Tomato Paste

Roughly chop an onion up and add it to a deep frying pan with some chilli oil or some regular oil if you haven't made the chilli oil yet. Turn the pan on to a low heat and stir regularly you are aiming for the onions to be translucent. 

The roughly chop a handful of olives up and add them to the pan. Also add the capers and crush three or so pepper corns in a pestle and add them to the mix. 

Add a tin of chopped tomatoes and a handful of frozen peppers, bring to the boil then turn down to a simmer, you will want to simmer them for about ten minutes so it doesn't just taste like warm tomatoes from a tin.  You will want to put your pasta on some point during this stage dependent on the cooking instructions. 

Once your pasta is done roughly chop some fresh basil leaves and throw them into the pan to wilt. Then drain your pasta and put it back into the pan. Then pour the sauce over it until and mix well.  Then transfer it to a bowl.  

Grate some mild cheese over the top and you are done, a flavourful, quick and healthy meal for one. I tend to have it for lunch when I get in from lectures. 

 In other news I still haven't done a food shop, its week ten at uni, though admittedly I went home for a week early on and I spend two weeks throwing up from medication. I've been being very resourceful though,  when I first arrived I didn't even do a huge shop, I did a basics and some frozen stuff shop. I'm going home on the 19th though, and the bank still won't release my funds so I might have to drag out my food until then scary. My shelf in the fridge only has; Olive Spread, Home-made marmalade, tomato paste and it did have lemon juice but Maria knocked the bottle out the fridge. My freezer has; frozen veggies, pork belly strips, one bag of frozen bacon and it did have a goulash serving I made weeks ago but I ate that tonight. Somehow I don't think I'll need to diet in the run up to christmas...

Belinda Stepford

Tuesday, 15 November 2011

Tea Time

I've been meaning to make a blog about tea for a while. I mean I'm English tea is a practically a religion so its a huge part of my day today life. I can't think of a day where I didn't have at least one cup. I recently received a free sample of Twingings tea in the post so I thought it would be a great starting point to my Blog. You can get yourself some samples from here if you'd like;   Now to begin there is one golden rule of tea you should always, Always follow and that is Never boil your water twice. You will waste good tea that way. To keep the flavour of your tea pure you must use freshly boiled water. Tea so tastes better out a china tea cup and saucer, okay maybe it doesn't but it sure feels more glamourous.  Though I don't have any at university with me so I'm missing that luxury, I might need to go charity shop trawling for some soon... 

I miss this shelf

The first thing you need to know about tea is there is a huge variation in flavour between basic brands saying you want tea bags is like asking for a drink at a bar, you need to narrow it down. My sample was two tea bags of fruit tea. I had the Ginger and Lemon one and it was all right, a little medicinal for my taste but I imagine if I'd have had a cough it would have been like angels in my throat. 

You can get all sorts of fruit tea that you shouldn't add milk to and are good warm or cold. I tend to have fruit tea with a dash of honey in to sweeten as well. Some fruit tea is strong needing you to take the bag out after a minute some its better to leave the bag in while you drink the tea to retain a strong flavour.  The next type of tea is flavoured tea, currently I'm having a love affair with Twinings Rose Garden, a black sweet tea that is just heavenly. If you buy anything this week buy a box of this tea I cant stress how amazing it is any more. Its like regular everyday tea but with the fragrant warming scent and slight taste of roses. Every morning feels brighter when you drink it. I have mine with a tiny splash of milk to mellow the tea flavour back slightly even though you're not really supposed to have it with milk. The rosie scent just encapsulates you and hangs in the room while you drink it. You can even order it online at

 Even the packaging is beautiful

Now the winter is closing in I'm also swooping from my usual summery drinks to my more warming winter drinks. I've been having a lot of Chia tea lately. Chia is a Indian tea made of lovely warming spices that doesn't need long to brew and is perfect with a splash of milk and half a teaspoon of honey. I use Non EC orange blossom honey as it has a delicate flavour and I have a little bit of a mistrust for mixed EC honeys. I know I'm a student so being ethical over the cheaper option is harsh on my budget but I don't mind, I spend a fortune on tea anyway.

There is also a huge range of green tea out their, I like just plain green tea but the flavoured ones can be lovely. I know most people can find green tea off putting but so long as you don't over brew it you can end up with a very lightly flavoured drink. Green tea is also really good for you as its full of all sorts of antioxidants, so you should really drink more of it. If you're unsure on what kinds of flavour tea you might like plenty of companies do selection ranges I regularly buy Twinings as I drink such a variety its easier to find new flavours without committing to a huge box full.

For everyday tea there are a million brands to choose from and a huge range in flavour, I personally use Yorkshire Tea because it is strong and I live in a hard water area so most other everyday tea tastes sort of bland. I dislike sugar in everyday tea purely because I think it masks the flavour, though I know some people who swear by it and after all if people didn't take sugar in their tea who would use your sugar stars? Each to their own I suppose.  Another good everyday tea is Earl Grey tea, it has a slightly more mature flavour than everyday tea that is very pleasant. Rereading this blog it sort of looks like I'm being paid by Twinings or something, I honestly I am not, I don't get anywhere near that much traffic for them to bother. I just really love their products and believe they are a great company, who I'll happily promote. Though to prove I do actually drink something other that Twinings, my preference for Earl Grey is Dutchy Originals. 

Belinda Stepford

Tuesday, 8 November 2011


I'm sick, not like oh i have a cough sick, I mean I've been poisoned by my medication sick. So blogs might be a little light for a while. I'll be fine.