Antonia Landi

Posts Tagged ‘raisins’

Lunch x2 – Better than Toast

In Food, Student life on February 22, 2012 at 6:42 pm

Picture: Antonia Landi

Nothing is sadder and less appetizing than a few bits of bread, thinly covered with a bland filling, straight from the supermarket fridge. We all eat sandwiches like that far too often – I say, it’s time for a change!

 

Britain is a nation of sandwiches; there are no two ways about it. And while I love a good, decadently filled homemade sandwich that has fresh veg and fillings poking out at the side, I dislike nothing more than those awful, cold and soggy sandwiches you get with your ‘meal deal’. Who wants to look forward to that? No wonder people can’t find the joy in cooking and eating if all they live on tastes, well… horrible.

I haven’t made many videos that work well as lunch, because I often told myself that people wouldn’t have time for that in the morning. I’m one of the laziest people you’ll ever meet and no matter how much I enjoy cooking, I don’t want to wake up half an hour earlier every day just to spend it on the stove. But this term I find myself eating at university a lot, and since I prefer preparing my own food instead of paying over the odds for something substandard, I always take a packed lunch with me.

The great thing about these two recipes here is that they work wonderfully in single servings, taste delicious and they are so quick to prepare. I bet any of you that you could make either of these dishes in six minutes or less. I’m not even joking.

These are only two of many recipes that can be re-arranged, re-developed or invented from scratch that work great for lunch. If you have a day off, treat yourself to a warm lunch, or if your work has a microwave, even better. The tuna and broccoli noodles are quickly becoming a favourite dish of mine, and the couscous salad is easy to transport, superquick and supereasy to make. But whatever you want to take with you, do invest in a good lunch box. Don’t do it like me, you’ll have tuna leaking all over your bag and you’ll be smelling it for weeks! Although I must say, I do enjoy the company of the cats I’m attracting.

 

Both recipes feed 1

 

Couscous salad:

75g couscous

Enough boiling water to cover

50g feta cheese

2tbsp raisins

1tbsp pine nuts

Salt, pepper

Olive oil

Pinch of cloves and/or nutmeg (optional)

 

Tuna noodles:

1/2 can responsibly sourced tuna in brine

1 ‘nest’ of egg noodles

150g frozen broccoli

Salt, pepper

Soy sauce (optional)

Watch the video for instructions, and do get in touch if you have any questions, as silly as you think they might be!

And finally, have a look at these great links for inspiration and information.

Fed up with the usual sandwiches? Me too, and so is Hugh! Follow this link for a great guide on how to make lunch tasty, everyday.

If you’re unsure about where you can get responsibly sourced fish, here is a list of Supermarkets and their involvement in sustainable fishing.

If you have leftover couscous may I suggest making it into a tasty quiche? This recipe looks so fantastic, I might just have to try it myself!

Antonia Landi for the Useful Times.

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Homemade chocolates – Better than Toast

In Food, Student life on February 8, 2012 at 9:09 pm

Picture: Antonia Landi

Yes, it’s that time of the year again. The shops are filled with bears holding up hearts, roses are basically shoved in your face and everyone is supposed to be happy and in love. But why not use this time to treat yourself to some handmade sweets?

It’s Valentine’s Day alright. Quite possibly the worst holiday of the year. You either feel under pressure to make a romantic gesture to your partner, or supposedly need to feel bad because you don’t currently have a partner. Either way, it’s not very cheerful, is it. So instead of spending money on some horrible stuffed animal, get a few bars of chocolate and make the magic happen! Celebrating Valentine’s Day should be about the people that you love, be it friends or family. And trust me, after they’ve tried these delicious chocolates, they will love you.

Working with chocolate is really tricky and easy to mess up. Many people will tell you that you’ll need to temper it by closely monitor the chocolate’s temperature and suggest a myriad of techniques to aid you in your quest for the chocolate of the century. The truth is, as long as you don’t get water into your melted chocolate, you’ll be just fine. True, the chocolate you’ll produce won’t be glossy and shiny, and won’t have that characteristic ‘snap’ when you bite into it; it’ll look and taste more like a truffle. But that doesn’t mean it’s bad! So stop faffing about with your thermometer and let’s melt some chocolate.

Melting chocolate is pretty straightforward. The only two things that could go wrong is if you accidentally get water into it (remember, even a tiny amount can ruin your chocolate, so be extra careful) or if you burn it, but if you’re as impatient as I am, that isn’t likely going to happen. The great thing about making these yourself is that you can personalize them to suit the person you are making them for. Think about their favourite chocolate and customise: chopped or whole nuts, dried fruit, tiny marshmallows, experiment with layering two kinds of chocolate or add a small amount of cereals – there is so much you can do. There is no right or wrong – think about what you like and then make it! This is a great opportunity to really bring your ideas to life.

I find working with silicon moulds easiest – when you choose one, make sure you take its shape into account and go for the one with fewer details. For example, it’s easier to get the chocolate out of a heart shape than it is to get all the corners of a star out without breaking anything. It takes about 4 hours for the chocolate to set, but  I would suggest leaving it to set overnight. And if you have leftover melted chocolate, simply dip some fruits in it and let them to cool on a baking sheet. There’s nothing like a few sweet treats to reward yourself!

 

Makes approx. 20 chocolates:

150g white chocolate

150g milk chocolate

150g dark chocolate

Fillings like cereals, nuts, dried fruits, dried chilli flakes, marshmallows… be creative!

Watch the video for instructions, and do get in touch if you have any questions, as silly as you think they might be!

And finally, have a look at these great links for inspiration and information.

 

If you’re up for making chocolates but you don’t have a mould, or you want to make something a bit more sophisticated, why not try making your own truffles?

For the future Chocolatiers among you and for those who want to know the tricks of the trade, here is a great and simple guide on how to properly temper chocolate.

And if you’d rather keep the chocolates for yourself but still need a gift for your loved one, have a look at these great ideas for homemade presents.

Antonia Landi for the Useful Times.

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