Monday, 23 February 2009

The disappearence of UVWXYZ


Ok guys we are sad to inform you that we ended our journey from A-Z at the letter T. Time got the better of us and we found it really hard to keep up with it as well as do all of our other work. Also, recipes for these last few letters are really hard to find. We could only think of upside down cake for U and we didn’t have half the stuff we needed for it…

We did really well though to say we are useless cooks and as time went by we got more and more frustrated with the experiment. There were many opportunities to quit but we continued and did 20 letters solid. I think this has boosted our confidence in the kitchen and gave us more experience from when we first started. At least now I know I can cook various things I like that don’t include just putting chips into the oven.

Whether we will keep this up is unknown but we’ll have a good go at it…

Tina x

T is for Taco's

I absolutley love Mexican food so I was so excited about making taco’s. we’d made enchiladas and Quesadillas earlier on and spurred on by the success of these recipes, we settled on Taco’s...and I couldnt have been happier. I cant get enough of spicy food, with the exception of the disaster of the Pasta we made for A of course!

Anyway, Mum brought this amazing Vegetarian taco mince kit, it was quorn, rice, sweetcorn, flavouring and onions mixed in together. So all I had to do was mix in the salsa, grate some cheese, cut up some onion and add some chilli powder. Sorted! My flatmate had one of those amazing Taco Kits for El Del Paso (I have no idea if that's how you spelt it but I'm sure you know what I mean!)

So I don't really know what else to say here, we cheated again but it was sooooo worth it. Oh but thse are probably best saved for a specail ocassion because they aren't exactly the cheapest thing in the world!

No pics for this because there wasn't much to take pictures off to be honest! But here's a yummy Taco images I found online. Enjoy!

S is for Spaghetti

Just a quick not of apology about the massive amount of updates over today and yesterday...if you havent guessed already, this is because we've been really bad at updating this. However this was an experiment and I guess the question of whether its possible to fit fresh, home cooked meals into a student diet has been just isnt pratical!

Anyway, Spaghetti was definitely the easy option here but it also happens to be one of my favourite meals so I couldn’t resist making it. I was fairly confident that this would be a sucess!

The recipe was fairly standard. Chopped tomatoes, minced beef, mushroom, branston pickle…Branston Pickle?! Yup, three heaped teaspoons of the stuff! The recipe assured us that this would make the Spaghetti even nicer than usual. We weren’t so sure. I do like Branston Pickle but I can’t say Ive ever had the desire to throw it in my recipes!

Anyway, again this was easy and even for beginners like us, it was hardly challenging! For this reason Spaghetti’s definitely a good student food, it doesn’t cost too much and is easy to make and yummy!! I'd also say its fairly healthy too so thats a sucess on all levels there.

I cant say that the secret ingredient made it nicer than normal spaghetti's but I was relieved about that. Since I was dubious about putting the Pickle in, im glad it wasn’t really strong tasting when everything was mixed in all together.

You can find this Pickley recipe here:

R is for...Rainbow Cookies

R is for…Rainbow cookies

Ok R was a really difficult letter to find something doable for. Most things wanted a lot of ingredients we couldn’t find and just as we were about to give up we came across rainbow cookies.

Baking powder
Baking soda
Vanilla extract

Cost: roughly £6-£8 – depending on required amounts

These started off well. I had fun mixing the dough as it gets your hands sticky and I like the feel of it between my fingers. We followed the recipe exactly so we had perfectly fine dough which we balled up and placed on the baking tray. We pushed in the Smarties as they wouldn’t be rainbow without them would they!?

Placing them in the oven we left them for the required time to bake but as we kept checking them, they had expanded more and more so it looked like one big rainbow cookie bake. We thought despite it’s appearance it would still taste nice so we let them cool down then went back and tasted them…

Verdict: FAIL

They did not taste anything like cookies…cookies are either soft or hard. They weren’t soft but they were definitely hard…too hard even to bite. We couldn’t work out where we went wrong with them. We just hope that we have more of a success with S.

Recipce can be found here:

Q is for...Quesadillas

Q is for…Quesadillas

Ok so for Q we were originally going to do quiche but with the failure of the last pie base we tried to make and the fact we couldn’t buy them locally meant we had to change our idea. So instead we did quesadillas.

Tortilla wraps

Roughly £8 – quite a lot for a student budget but they taste nice.

Here was another success as they turned out right and were so tasty!! We were unsure as to whether we could pull it off as our attempt at enchiladas didn’t work out and it didn’t look like it should have but these looked sooo good only a fool could turn them down! I enjoyed putting the ingredients inside the wrap as you can put as much on as you want and basically what you want. They weren’t hard to do which was good for us as our attempt at anything too difficult resulted in a fail but we keep trying.

Let’s just hope that we have a few more successes as we are fastly approaching the end of the experiment…

Tina x

Sunday, 22 February 2009

P is for Pizza

We used
Pizza base (x2)
Tomatoe Puree
Mixed herbs
Olive Oil
Garlic Powder
Jalapeno Peppers

It cost
Well its hard to say because we had alot of the ingredients in and we borrowed the ingredients off our flatmate...thanks Ceclia! At a guess your looking at about £5.

We had been really looking forward to this one! From the very beginning of the project we always knew P was gonna be for Pizza and today was the day, How exciting! For once we were looking forward to cooking and it didn't feel like a chore… the last time we made Pizza was in food tech back at secondary school. Our first attempt at making the Pizza had been so awful that our teacher had ordered us to remake it! It didn’t bode well for this attempt then...

We brought ready made pizza bases. Again, this was a cheat but we had no rolling pin to rolls out the dough to make a base. Rather than face a disaster by trying to use a glass to flatten it out, we felt the safest option was to just buy the base. However we did make our own tomato sauce base though. Basically it involved mixing water, tomatoe puree, olive oil, garlic and mixed herbs in a bowl, so not the most difficult recipe in the world! But it was nice to make our own because I felt like we were actually doing some cooking!

Adding the topping was easy and quite fun. I enjoyed spreading the tomato puree and decorating mine with onion, jalapeno peppers and spicy pepperoni and then they only needed 10 minutes in the oven so we didn’t have to wait long. It was so simple!

I don’t know if our attempts were any healthier than your shop brought or takeaway pizzas, I mean we did cover both of them with loads of cheese which isn’t exactly good for you. But they weren’t dripping with grease like the pizza’s we order from Dial A Pizza so that’s a good sign right?

They tasted great anyway so I’d definitely make them again!

O is for Oatcakes

Ok so I bet you’re thinking that the most obvious meal to have made for o would have been omlettes...But we made a chilli cheese omelette for C so didn’t particulary want to make the same thing again! that would be cheating wouldn’t it? So in desperation and with no other ideas,
we settled for something rather unusual, oatcakes.

Oatcakes are erm… cakes made of oats basically. They look like pancakes but are savoury and far less sweet. They are a Staffordshire delicacy and that’s why I had them ready to cook in my freezer. My mum is from Staffordshire so I was brought up on them have loved eating them since I was young. They are incredibly easy to make.

I had mine with cheese and sausage. Sounds weird I know but honestly, try it before you judge! It's amazing!!!

My sausages were microwavable sausages and so it was just a case of warming them up for half the recommended time. I took them out the microwave and they were soft enough to cut into small pieces. The small pieces of sausages were mixed in with grated cheese and placed on one side of the oatcake. The sides of the oatcake were then rolled to cover the middle, creating like a Fajita wrap type thingy. We used the same method for Tina except she had cheese and onion instead. Then you just place the oatcake in the microwave for about 1 and a half minutes until the cheese has melted. So simple but so nice! More people need to discovered the wonders of the oatcake and I hope they will after reading this!

So I guess this recipe was another cheat on our part to be honest. However this blog is about encouraging us to try more foods…and this was Tina’s first time tasting an oatcake, which she enjoyed. Therefore I’d have to class this one as a success and I'd reccomend it to anyone for a cheap, yummy meal!

M is for...Muffins, N is for...Nachos

I have written these together and the reason will shortly be discovered =]

M is for…Muffins

Ok so again we did a desert, which I guess isn’t helping us with all this healthy eating malarkey but as letters go one some recipes are really hard to find and we have a lot of work to do for other modules so we needed something easy and quick to do.

In these we had:
Cocoa powder
Baking powder
Chocolate sprinkles
Caster sugar.

Overall cost was roughly £5-£6. It was hard to work out as we had basically all of the ingredients at the flat.

We did originally plan to do chocolate chip muffins but all the shops that were local to us did not sell them! Can you believe it? They had every other baking ingredient but chocolate chips!!

It was a messy job mixing them together and very tiring as it aches your arm so much when stirring the mixture!!
We spooned it into the pan and put it in the oven. They smelt sooo good while they were cooking and looked really nice. We took them out let them cool then came the important part. The taste test.


They were no where near as sweet as they should have been, they just had a really horrible taste but we followed the recipe as instructed so we couldn’t work out where we went wrong. Well at least we know for next time that maybe we should double the amount of sugar to put in. lets just hope that N turns out better.

N is for…Nachos

Ok so there’s not a lot to write about for this one. We cheated slightly and went and brought a nachos kit from the shop. We were both tired and fed up by that point so we thought we would make life easier for ourselves…

They were nice though but the salsa could have been better. The nacho chips were nice warm and the melted cheese just added to the taste. It was a success but does it really count as we didn’t really make them ourselves..

Tina x
Want unsweetened muffins, with unclear recipe instructions and a bitter after taste? Well we've lost the recipe for this so I cant help your here. I suggest you search for a nicer muffin recipe anyway, this was a big disapointment!

Friday, 20 February 2009

L is for Lasagne

We used
Tinned tomatoes
Quorn mince
Parmesan cheese
Dolmio stir in vegetable sauce
Lasagne sheets

It cost
About 8 quid so not the cheapest recipe in the world!

Hey guy, ok well I have a confession to make! We actually made lasagne ages ago now…but keeping this blog is such hard work along with the massive pile of assignments we have to do. It sounds stupid but eating healthily as a student is soooo not practical. If you have a massive essay to do, it seems impossible to find the time to search for a recipe, buy the ingredients and then actually cook the meal! So I totally get why students are known for their love of alcohol and Pot noodles, who can blame us?!

Anyway, sticking to the student theme, we got this recipe from a student cooking recipe in the hopes that a student recipe would be simple and easy and well idiot proof really!
Surprisingly this turned out to be one of our rare successes! It’s actually surprisingly simple to cook a lasagne. You cook the filling which is just as easy as making spaghetti and practically the same process and tastes the same too…and whilst you’re doing that you make the cheese sauce. It was so simple it made me feel slightly ashamed of my habit of buying ready meal lasagnes bit im a sucker for Chicago Town Pepperoni lasagne ready meals!
It was also quite fun layering the pasta sauce and filling at the end, like layering a cake and it was satisfying seeing one of our creations that looked like it does in the recipe photographs for once.
The finished product was nicer than any ready meal I’d ever eaten and I was really proud. It was also Tina’s first time eating a lasagne and she loved it so that was another success!

I felt good after eating IBS twinges and it was alot more satisfying then eating takeaway, which always makes me feel fat and greasy afterwards!

Find the recipe here:

Friday, 13 February 2009

K i for Korma

Well this letter was a toughie!

For a start we couldnt think of a meal beginning with K and were getting desperate. So in our desperation, I posted on the digitalspy forums for help. Among the suggestions were keema, Kiev's and Korma. We decided to make either Korma or Kiev's. Now I love curry but Korma is probably my least favourite. It's far too bland and mild and I don't see the point in having a mild curry...the whole point is that it should be hot and spicy! So we went to the shop armed with ingredient lists for noth dishes...and couldnt find the ingredients for either. We needed parsley for the Kiev's which they didnt have and this yoghurt stuff for the curry which we couldnt find. You see thats the problem with shops on campus. They're hardly the most exotic places in the world. Students like alcohol and ready meals, which both shops sell in abdundance. Fresh ingredients are another story!

So we cheated and brought a jar of ready made Korma sauce. It's not the same as making the thing ourselves but we still had to fry the chicken and cook the sauce on the hob! I brought some strong curry powder to spice it up abit and it made the dish so much nicer, enjoyable even!

Not my favourite of dishes but it was cheap and eay and far more pratical for a student life style than things like "Bean Cheese Pie" or "Jame Doughnuts!"

I didnt feel great afterwards though, felt like a big cheat but oh well, we did try!

Tuesday, 10 February 2009

J is for…jam doughnuts

Ok so it’s not a main meal but J was a totally hard letter to try and find something for that we would both be able to do. So we had to do jam doughnuts!

In them we had:
Caster sugar
Strawberry jam

The overall cost was roughly £5 so it was too bad really.

It was one of those recipes where you had to get your hands dirty, not to mention sticky. Very sticky indeed. Once we had the dough mixed we had to kneed it for about 5 minutes, the mixture was sticking to everything, my hands, my clothes, the table, the chopping board, you name it, it stuck. We used a lot of flour to try and resolve this but looking back I think it made things worse, when we balled them up, there we big cracks in them which we were certain shouldn’t be there….we never said we knew what we were doing…

Once we had cooked them and let them cool and stick the jam in and the sugar coating it was finally time for the taste test…

The verdict?

They just tasted like jam cobs. There wasn’t that sweet doughnutty taste you generally get. Sweet cobs we should have called them as no way were they doughnuts. Oh well at least we tried our hands at something different! Not many students could say they are masters of the kitchen…and we’re not one of them lol.

With 10 recipes complete and only 16 to go can we have some more success before the time is up?

Tune in to find out =]…
And if you're crazy enough to want to recreate this one, find the recipe here:


I is for…Italian chicken

For I as hinted by the name we did Italian chicken! And guess what guys!!?? It was a SUCCESS!!!! It tasted very nice and also looked very appealing!!

In it we had:
Cherry tomatoes
Salt and pepper

The cost you may ask? About £6-£7 top end of the budget but well worth the dosh. Cheaper than a take away too which is a good thing I guess..

It was easy to cook as most of the things went in together. My only problem with chicken is the preparation, I so totally hate the feel of chicken breasts that aren’t already prepared and made into like chicken nuggets or something. It’s all squishy and wet in hands and very risky too. I can do it now I’m just not a huge fan at all!

Lyndsey peeled her first potato of her life so far!!! Big achievement for her eh? A very late one never mind but she’s learning how to prepare things as I am too!! We’re getting there!! We are getting better but it’s still hard not to just bang something in the oven. Cooking takes a lot of time and effort and we are two lazy students who have no energy what so ever, everything is too much of an effort…

So yeah! We had another success under our belts but we are yet to grab that master chef title. 3/9 aint too bad I guess, let’s just hope that J turns out as good =]…

Want to share our sucess, try it yourselves, recipe is here: