Saturday, 31 January 2009

G is for Goujons, H is for Hotdogs

Ok so your probably wondering why I’m writing about G and H together right?
Well all will be revealed if you keep on reading!

Lets start with chicken goujons.

We used
Small chicken breasts
About 6/7 slices of bread
Tin of chopped tomatoes
Bag of couscous
Tomatoe Puree
Garlic Powder
Cayenne pepper spice

It cost
Loads! About 10 quid. Just not pratical on a student budget!

This was a Jamie Oliver recipe. Quite complex for us considering the previous disasters. The temptation when things go so wrong is to find the easiest recipe out there and just do that. However we decided against “dumbing down” the recipes so to speak. We chose the ones which we felt would be the nicest, regardless of how complicated they were. After all, theres only so many times a person can go wrong isn’t there? And chicken Goujons are nice so we thought lets just go for it.

The most boring part of this recipe is definitely the breadcrumb bit. It literally involves sitting there, breaking bread over a bowl. At least that’s how we assumed you make breadcrumbs anyway. So many minutes and many pieces of bread later, we finally had a bowl full of bread crumbs ready to coat the chicken. Adding some chives and spices to the breadcrumbs, they actually looked and smelt quite nice. To get the breadcrumbs to stick we had to coat the chicken in egg, then dip them in the breadcrumb bowl. Well this seemed fairly simple. Ok so the coated chicken looked a bit odd and nothing like and chicken Goujon id ever eaten but I was sure this would change when we cooked them.
We also attempted to make a spicy tomato couscous to accompany the Goujons and actually we realised that this recipe was a lot of bloody work! The couscous was almost as complicated to make as the chicken and its hard to get the timings right when your cooking and frying so many things at once. It took well over 2 hours. It was a very fiddly, fussy recipe. I reckon this taught us the lesson that we should actually read the recipes before we attempt them, rather than just getting caught up in what looks nice!

Anyway, by now were well on our way to yet another disaster. When cooking the chicken it occurred to us there was bare bits where the breadcrumbs just hadn’t stuck. God knows why, I mean we did submerge them in the breadcrumbs bowl. What more could we do? Then it appeared that the breadcrumbs were burning so we hastily served up, only to be told by our flatmates that the chicken wasn’t cooked. Keen to avoid salmonella poisoning, our efforts were binned leaving us with a plate of couscous each that neither of us liked the taste of anyway. Marvellous.

H is for Hot Dogs...
Well we did what I said we were so against doing. We dumbed down. Hot Dogs are idiot proof. As long as you can fry an onion and boil a Hot Dog then your sorted. These were lovely. Cheap and easy and tasty.
Were they healthy? No.
Did we care at this point? Not really. we were really disheartened! Anyway what else begins with H, except Hot Dogs and Haggis?!
If your made enought to want to attempt the Goujon recipe, you can find it here:

Thursday, 29 January 2009

F is for...Frittata

Hey Guys!

Tina again...
This again cost about £4 to make

In it we had:
new potatoes
red pepper

We thought masking a frittata would be easy in some way as it looked similar to an omelette. With the success of the omelette we felt positive that maybe something would go right for once. It seemed too however, when we put it all to cook in the pan it just did not seem to cook. We
tried putting it under the grill but when we took it out it didn’t seem cooked in the centre. Trying a little bit, I pushed the plate back as it was minging. I wasn’t going to attempt to eat egg that wasn’t cooked! I might have got egg poisoning as Lyndsey puts it =]...I think that night I just ate cheese and onion sandwiches instead...again the recipe looked simple but with us being amateurs i think even that was too hard for us.

E is for...Enchillada

Hey guys!!

Tina here! Ready to bring you news of yet another tasteful, but obvious fail.

For E, we made enchiladas. This cost roughly £4 to make. And in it we had:
red pepper
chilli sauce

We did not know how we had to put it together because the instructions

were unclear and so it ended up looking like a tortilla wrap gone wrong. As weird as it looked it tasted great!! But I think we needed a better recipe. We tried to follow it and use our own heads to work around it but it still didn’t work so we ended up with this:

It went well preparation wise, the ingredients were sorted to the requirements but then how were we supposed to put it together if it didn’t tell us how exactly!!!Our friends thought it was a pizza at first but how can it be pizza when we was on the letter E?! Oh well, 2/6 successes isn’t bad for two people who are idiots when it comes to the kitchen. To say our cooking skills only stretched as far as putting chips in the oven or microwaving a curry etc, we have learnt new skills.
Eating different foods hasn’t changed me in anyway, except for getting bored with it. We still have 20 recipes to do and I know as we go into them I’m just going to get fed up even more. All this cooking is making me tired!

Friday, 23 January 2009

D is for...Deep Dish Chocolate Brownies

D is for….Deep Dish Chocolate Brownies

I know, I know, so much for healthy eating right? But the only success we’ve had so far with main courses was an “idiot proof” omelette, so feeling abit disheartened we decided an attempt at a desert was in order, chocolate is always a nice cure for a bad mood and main courses were defintley not our forte, maybe our calling was in deserts?

Deep Dish Chocolate Brownies seemed a fairly simple recipe and couldn’t go anymore wrong than A or B so we thought, screw the health kick. Our blog, our rules and we decided to break them. It seems we should have done so earlier coz this was recipe our greatest success so far.

The recipe was simple and fun!! It was so nice not be sat at a chopping board cutting up pepper and onions for once. Instead we got to mix sugar, butter chocolate flavouring, egg and cocoa powder in a bowl. It was like being a little kid again, baking cakes with mum and begging to lick the bowl afterwards. Somehow we resisted the temptation…perhaps it was the thought of raw egg and salmonella that did it!

The worst bit was the torturous 40 minutes wait for the brownies to bake. 40 long minutes, even though the mix itself only took only 10 to 15 minutes to prepare. The room smelt of chocolate and I couldn’t resist the urge to keep opening the oven for sneak peaks of our masterpiece. I was so proud to see that the mixture had risen and it looked yummy, like a massive chocolate cake.
We burnt two brownies out of 20 so I thought that was fairly good going to be honest with you and actually, the burnt brownies were rather nice and crunchy. The only problem appeared to be the fact that once you eat one, you just can’t stop eating them. 20 brownies between a flat of 6 girls are not going to stretch far. They actually lasted about one day which was surprising actually but this was only because I told my diet obsessed flatmates that they were eating a cup and a half’s worth of sugar. They weren’t impressed with this news!

Overall, I’d definitely recommend these. Simple to make and fun and most importantly cheap! There are loads of chocolate brownie websites out there but id find it hard to beat this one for chocolaty sweetness and overall yunmmyness. I plan to make these for my parents when I’m home from uni. Im sure i’ll impress them!

However I do regret the fact that we put no chocolate chips in the brownies, it needed that extra bit of crunchyness since the middle was so gooey.

Tuesday, 20 January 2009

C is for....Chilli Cheese Omlette

It cost
Just under 5 quid, not bad!

We used
4 Eggs
2 Spring Onion
2 Chilli's
Grated Cheese

So, since my experience of cooking egg involves…well actually Ive never cooked it coz I just buy ready made egg mayo, so I guess you could say I had zero experience, and what with Tina not liking egg anyway, this one seemed as though it was going to be quite a challenge! But I was assured by my mum that omlettes were "idiot proof", which is always reassuring right?

So anyway, turns out mum was right and we had our first success! Two eggs in a bowl, whisk then fried, with cheese, spring onion and chillis chucked in the frying pan and that’s all it took to make! No fiddling around making another disastrous pie pastry! Oh no, cheap, simple and easy. 3 of my favourite words in the English language! Ok so we burnt my omelette a little bit but for a beginner, it was a dam good attempt I'd say. I proudly served up my omelette with “salad” or at least my version of sald. You see I don’t like lettuce or any other leafy type things! I don’t eat carrots or tomatoes. So my salad consisted off cucumber, coleslaw and onion. I may the mistake of chopping my cucumber on the same chopping board as I chopped my chilli, therefore ending up with some weird chilli tasting cucumber (dam those things are strong!) but apart from that, we had a definite success for once.

Tina tried egg, which she normally hates, and she like it! We both learnt how to prepare a new meal and it was cheap and easy to make. I mean bean cheese pie? Were students! What were we thinking? As if we could afford to make that on a regular basis! Oh and the biggest success of all? Our flatmates brought takeaway that night, Chinese. I was so proud that we resisted the lure of the takeaway. I wasn’t even jealous either!! Normally if someone eats takeaway infront of me im pratically salivating at the mere smell of it, especially pizza. The fact that I resisted and wasn’t jealous is a definite breakthrough! Maybe im already on the way to kicking my takeaway addiction!

So overall, Id definitley recmomend this, especaily to fellow students. I felt really healthy eating it too, its basically just egg and salad and didn’t give me that horrible greasy fatty feeling that takeaway gives me. Ok so egg isn’t exactly the strongest tasting food in the world, even when its covered in cheese! But it tasted a dam lot nicer then that kebab and far less calories too!
My favourite so far and I will make it again sometime!
Heres the link to the recipe, if anyone wants to try it themselves:

Saturday, 17 January 2009

Guilty secret...

Hi, Lyndsey here,

I know, I know, its late and I should be in bed! But Ive just came in from a night out and for some reason, I have loads of energy!
So I have two guilty confessions for you!

Confession number one...Ive just eaten Kebab meat chips and chilli sauce from the chippy. 4 quid it cost me! And it was vile! The meat tasted like microwave kebab meat from a pack. The chips were thin. And was I hungry when I ate it? No! Its just that weird thing isnt, alcohol makes you want to reach for the nearest greasy takeaway. Sooo to cut a long story short, ive just wasted 4 quid on a meal I didnt want, didnt enjoy and is bad for my health! The result of my binge? Chest pain and not being able to go the loo, it seems my IBS doesnt like Kebab meat, suprise suprise!

I mean what is the point in getting dressed up like this, ya know, nice dress nice makeup etc:

And stuffing my face with possibly the most unattractive and unladylike food ever, this:

I mean why???

Worst thing is is do it all again next time I go out!!!

Confession number two...We decided to have a break from our experiment today. How bad is that?? We've only got to the letter C! But to be is abit of a bloody effort, getting in from uni and cooking, when Im used to bunging some oven chips in for 20 minutes! But what with the pie disaster and chilli overdosed pasta, we deserve a break right? Right......???? (she tries desperatley to justify her actions!!!) So my dinner today was Pizza, chips and cheesy garlic bread. Not a vegetable in sight, You know what? It tasted AMAZING!!! I'd love have told you that I missed the abscence of vegetables...I did not. Still, no one said this was gonna be easy and Im game for a challenge! Bring it on!!!

Friday, 16 January 2009

B is for...Bean and cheese Pie

Hey Guys!
Tina here again!

Well god knows what happened to this one lol…

We decided to do a bean and cheese pie. In this one it had:

Baking powder
Kidney beans
Baked beans
Chilli powder
Taco seasoning mix

As soon as we did the base we knew it was going to go wrong. The instructions were not clear enough at all so we ended up with something that looked like a deflated cake mix

After much discussion we put in the mixture of the other ingredients and ended up with something that looked like what a pig would eat. We ended up with Bean Chilli...
We popped it in the oven with a few chips each as it would be a waste of ingredients and it actually tasted quite nice…not something I’d go mad on though…

When preparing it, it looked horrible and smelt horrible but it tasted quite nice, guess you can’t judge a book by its cover can you?

Want to make this messy disaster yourself? Find it here:

A is for...Amatriciana Pasta

Hi Guys Tina here!

Well the big cook has started and as planned we started with “A”. For this we made Amitriciana Pasta.

The ingredient included in this were:
Chopped tinned tomatoes
Chilli flakes

The overall cost of the ingredient came to roughly £5, cheaper than a takeaway but is it better you ask?

It was a nice dish but we are new to this cooking thing so we ended up having chilli overload in it. Just one little taste and it felt like my mouth was on fire. We tried to cool it off using more tomatoes but even that didn’t work…

The final product was nice but just too hot, maybe we should cut back on chilli in future. It resulted in me leaving half of it as it was too hot and I had nearly finished a litre bottle of water!
It was fun to cook and as you can probably tell from the pictures it was a messy job but we had a laugh =]…

If you wish to try this recipe yourself (With a reduced number of chilli's of course!), you can find it here:

F is for...first post!

Hi everyone!

Ok, well this a new experience me, the first post in my (or should I say our) shiny new blog. I’ve never written a blog before so im finding this kind of odd but I do have a diary and I imagine that’s kind of the same thing? Not that Id let anyone read my diary of course!
Anyway my name is Lyndsey and I’m creating this blog as part of a project with my flatmate and friend, Tina. Were in our second year of a media production course at De Montfort University in Leicester. This blog is part of a web 2.0 project were creating but I hope it evolves to be something much more than that because there are many interesting elements to this project!

The basic idea is that over the course of 26 days, Tina and I create a meal, each one beginning with a different letter of the alphabet, from A all the way down to Z. These meals must be prepared by ourselves, not the local pizza hut or a ready meal from Iceland! Having recipes ranging from A to Z is an added stipulation to encourage us to try things we’d never normally eat (Z’s certainly gonna be a tricky one!) and since I’m scared of any vegetables except a cucumber and a onion, this should be beneficial to my health and my diet!

Now for someone whos idea of gourmet dining is a Pot Noodle and a recently diagnosed sufferer of IBS, the hope is that this change in diet will see an improvement in my condition as I will be consuming nutrients not provided by the endless amounts of fast food and takeaway I usually consume. Also, IBS sufferers are told to keep a food diary to see which foods effect them the most. Ive never actually done this so the results of this experiment will be very interesting I think!

The project is far more complex than that though. Understanding blogs and online communication is the key aspect of this project. How can we keep this blog interesting for our readers? What other forms of Web 2.0 can we branch out in to encourage reader participation? Well I can tell you we’ve just created a new Facebook group. Avid Facebook user though I may be, creating a group is another new experience for me! Basic though this group undoubtedly is, hopefully it will provide a lot of interesting feedback; feel free to leave us comments and interesting recipe suggestions!

Were also going to be looking at just how easy it is for a student to eat healthily these days, how much do fresh meals cost in comparison to the delights of the ready meal? Is there enough variety of food shops around the DMU campus to allow us to buy some of the more exotic ingredients needed for certain recipes? How useful are the food recipe websites compared with the more traditional student cookbooks and will the health benefits this of this experiment be worth the extra effort? Well I guess we’ll soon find out over the course of this blog!