I find that I often get in a food-rut when I’m cooking for myself. It becomes so much easier to make the same tried and tested dishes over and over again if I know that they are seasonal, easy, cheap and healthy. It feels as if I must already know all the meal-options in the world (madness!) so I just vary between the same handful. At the moment, I’ve been eating a lot of vegetable soups and curries with squash, carrots, potatoes and mushrooms. But I was completely knocked out of my food rut when I tried an unusual dish from my Ottolenghi cookbook. I am now completely inspired to try new meals because its clear that I haven’t tried it all. There are plenty of cheap, easy vegetarian dishes out there!
We apologize sincerely for the silence, at the moment our time is being eaten up by two monstrosities: dissertation and a music event we’re organising. In the meantime, we have been managing to feed ourselves and have learned a thing or two about meals that you can make so quickly that they don’t even count as a study break. Yes, this is possible. But before we share those, here is a delicious and simple tomato soup that has become a staple in this house.
Serves 2, 45p per serving
- 2 cans chopped tomatoes
- 1 onion
- 2 sticks celery
- handful basil
- 500ml vegetable stock
- 1/3 cup red lentils (optional)
- salt, pepper, oil
- chop the onion and slice the celery into discs
- heat 2 tablespoons vegetable oil in a deep pan on med-high heat
- add the onion and celery and fry until the onion is translucent
- add the chopped tomatoes, stock, lentils and basil
- cook for 15 minutes and then blend using a stick blender
- season with salt and pepper
In August, when I was reading about the ethics of the cocoa industry and how chocolate is produced, I wondered whether it would be possible to make chocolate myself using cocoa powder, sugar and oil. This way, I would be able to make my own chocolate exactly how I wanted it: vegan, fair-trade and refined-sugar free with lots of desiccated coconut and ground almonds. I managed to find some tips on the internet (I can’t remember where) and started making my own chocolate. The finished product is slightly different to the chocolate we buy in supermarkets, but I think it actually tastes a million times better. It needs to be kept in the fridge and the sugar crystals don’t properly dissolve, making the finished product crunchy and ‘raw’ tasting (which I love). Making your own chocolate is not as cheap as the cheapest ready-made option, but it means that you have complete control over what you are eating. If you’re vegan, avoiding palm oil, refined sugar or cocoa that isn’t fair trade, this is a great way to keep enjoying chocolate. Even if you’re none of the above, this chocolate is easy to make and absolutely delicious.