A very quick and tasty soup to make for lunch. You can also use up bacon if you have a couple of rashers in the fridge, rather than the ham which makes it a cheaper option for students.
Serves 2 as main course or 4 as a starter
1 Tablespoon mild olive oil (or butter if you prefer)
1 medium onion, peeled and finely chopped
1 large potato, peeled and cut into cubes
400g frozen peas
400ml chicken stock (made from 1 x Knorr gel stock pot)
100g packet ham hock (cooked, diced ham)
- Heat the oil or butter in a large saucepan on low or medium heat, then add the onion and potato, season with salt and pepper, then stir to coat the vegetables in the oil.
- Put a lid on the pan, cook on a low heat for 8-10 minutes, until the potatoes are tender and the onions are soft and translucent.
- Make up the stock by adding 1 x gel stock pot to 400ml of boiling water. Add the peas and stock to the pan, then bring to the boil. Cook for a couple of minutes until all of the peas have floated to the top of the stock and are tender and bright.
- Take the pan off the heat. Using a stick blender, process the peas until very smooth. Add the milk and process again.
- Bring the soup back to a simmer, then season to taste with freshly ground black pepper. Both the ham and the stock are fairly salty, so you may not need to add salt.
- Stir the ham through the soup and serve.
Approx. cost = £4.50 (this pea soup without ham would be £2.50, so you could consider using up some rashers of bacon. Simply cook off and add at the end in place of the ham)
FRAGRANT RICE WITH SAUSAGE, EGG AND CRISPY ONIONS
This is an easy beginners recipe and ideal for student food. It is a one pot meal to satisfy even the hungriest of students, or anyone else for that matter. The quantities given will feed about eight hungry people, but can be scaled down quite easily. Follow the rice cooking guideline below, for quantities.
You will need a heavy bottomed saucepan (so the rice doesn’t stick) and it is worth seeking out the crispy shallots (in tubs in the supermarket) as they add extra flavour and texture. We used Tilda Fragrant Jasmine Rice which is available in all the supermarkets, and used an absorbtion method of cooking to obtain a subtly fragrant taste and slightly sticky texture. Vegetarians can enjoy this meal too, by serving themselves some rice, before the sausages are added, and possibly adding some more veg. It is a great fusion of flavours, matching eastern influences of fragrant rice, soy and coriander with the very British bangers and eggs.
- 2 x 250g packet of cocktail sausages (use as best quality as you can. we used Sainsburys, Ultimate Outdoor bred, Taste the difference)
- 1 x 480g packet frozen garden peas
- 2 cups Tilda Fragrant Jasmine Rice
- 2 x large free range eggs
- 1 x 100g tub crispy onions
- 1 x 31g packet coriander, roughly chopped
- soy sauce, to taste
- Heat the oven to 180’C.
- Cut up the sausages and place in a roasting pan. Cook for approx 25 minutes, until well browned.
- About 15 minutes before the sausages are due to be ready, start the rice.
- Bring a pan of water to the boil and cook the peas for about 3 minutes. Remove from the heat, drain and refresh under cold running water.
- Place the rice and water into the pan and put onto a low heat. We used 2 cups of dry rice to four cups of water. Simmer on a low heat for 10 minutes. Lift the lid and crack the two eggs on top of the rice.
- Replace the lid and leave to stand for 5 minutes.
- At this point you can add the sausages, the peas, and a splash of soy sauce and give a good stir with a fork.
- Add the crispy onions, another splash of soy and the chopped coriander.
- Spoon into bowls and enjoy
NOTES: HOW TO COOK JASMINE RICE
The method we used is where the rice is cooked with a measured amount of water in a covered pan. The rice absorbs the water completely and is not drained. Place 250g/300ml (for 4 servings) of rice in a medium pan. Measure in cold water (1 measure dry rice : 2 measures water). The water to rice ratio can be altered to obtain the required rice texture. Bring to the boil, stir then cover and turn the heat to ‘low’. This will take 10 minutes and try to resist lifting the lid to peek. At the end of the cooking time, remove the pan from the heat, still covered, and stand for 5 minutes. The surface of the rice will have small holes in it, this is quite normal and it should be fluffed with a fork before serving.
This can also be enjoyed with a drizzle of chilli oil or some peri peri sauce
Serves approx 6-8
Cost approx £11
BUTTERNUT SQUASH & SUGAR SNAP PEA THAI RED CURRY
Here is a fabulously tasty and very easy pot of deliciousness to share with a group of friends. This quantity will serve eight and can be eaten in a bowl on it’s own, as a side dish or with some steamed rice. This is a vibrant, healthy and inexpensive meal.
- 1 large butternut squash
- 3 Tbs olive oil
- salt and pepper
- 1 bag sugar snap peas
- 2 Tbs sunflower oil
- half to one x 175g jar Thai red curry paste – you can get this in Sainsbury’s or an Asian store for more authentic version.*
- 1 x 400ml can coconut milk
- 1 Tbs fish sauce (optional)
- large pinch of sugar
- small bunch mint, roughly chopped
- small bunch of coriander, roughly chopped
- Turn the oven to 180’C.
- Peel the butternut squash and cut off the top and bottom. Lay the squash on it’s side and carefully cut in two along it’s length.
- Scoop out the seeds inside, and cut the remaining squash into nice large chunks (around 2 inches square)
- Place the chunks into a roasting pan and add 3 tablespoons of olive oil and salt and pepper. Roast turning occasionally for 35-40 minutes. They are done when a knife slides easily into them and they look slightly caramelised.
- Bring a pan of water to the boil and add the sugar snap peas. Return to the boil and cook for about a minute. Remove from the heat and drain. Refresh under cold running water until they have become cool and put to one side.
- In a large heavy bottomed pan with a lid, heat 2 tablespoons of sunflower oil. Add the jar of curry paste (depending on brand) If it is a Thai brand it is likely to be hotter than a supermarket brand so proceed with caution, adding only two tablespoons to begin with.
- Turn the heat off and add 1 tablespoon of fish sauce and a pinch of sugar.
- When the squash is cooked, add to the coconut milk mixture and add the sugar snap peas. Taste for seasoning and add a little more sugar, or salt if needed.
- Finally add in the chopped herbs and serve.
* I made this with one jar of the Thai red curry paste for my family and they thought it was a bit too hot. I would therefore recommend trying it first with half to two thirds of a jar.<
Serves approx 6
Cost approx £9
Note: The fish sauce can be omitted but will loose some depth of flavour. If you are leaving this out, then add a pinch of sea salt instead. But taste first before adding any extra salt as there will be some on the squash from the roasting.