Antonia Landi

Posts Tagged ‘student food’

Three starters – Better than Toast

In Food, Student life on August 28, 2011 at 4:35 pm

Think you can’t make three starters in three minutes? Think again!

Even though they don’t always seem it, starters are a very important part of the meal. Want to be a bit fancy? Simply add another course to your dinner! Invite some friends round to a three-course meal – starter, main, and dessert – and you’ll be amazed at how easily you can pull it off!

As I mentioned before, starters are an integral part of a meal. Think about it – they are the first thing your guests will taste and serve as a mood-setter for the things that will follow. I usually try to keep the starter as seasonal as possible – if you’re unsure of what is in season and when, a quick search will do the trick. The golden rule is to always keep it light – you don’t want to fill your guests up right away! Keep it fresh – starters are an ideal way to serve a cool course during the hot summer months. Alternatively, opt for a warm salad or a soup during colder periods.

There is nothing better than finding a recipe that works for you and then sticking with it. Why not make your starter into a main? I love to serve up my caprese salad as a light lunch during summer, or make bigger portions of the couscous and leek salad and serve it with some toasted pitta bread! The truth is, as long as you keep it light and fresh there is not much you can do wrong. I love to use herbs in starters – since most of them rely on delicate flavours, you can really work with different herbs and make them shine.

Just a quick note on olive oil: I strongly suggest you buy good olive oil for these recipes – try to go for extra virgin olive oil whenever you can. As these recipes work with mild flavours, you will really be able to appreciate a good quality olive oil.

Feeds 4 as a starter or 2 as a main:

Caprese salad:

4 medium tomatoes

2 mozzarelle

Some fresh basil

Salt, pepper and olive oil to taste

Orange salad:

4 oranges


Salt, pepper and olive oil to taste

Warm couscous and leek salad:

150g couscous

1 leek

1 lime


Salt, pepper and olive oil to taste

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

Antonia Landi for the Useful Times.

Barbecue Sauce – Better than Toast

In Food, Student life on August 23, 2011 at 10:51 am

Picture: Useful Times

Believe it or not – I have had to wait up until last week to have my first barbecue of the season! But no matter what the weather, this little sauce is sure to cheer you up!

For a very long time I dismissed barbecue sauce as ‘yet another meat dip’. The only time any of us would use it was at barbecues, and more often than not, I’d just go for the ketchup instead. The first time I saw it on a pizza, I was intrigued and slightly disgusted at the same time. I guess that somewhere and somehow I thought that, unless you opted for French grainy mustard, sauces were a kind of sacrilege to food. What, you’re going to douse that expertly grilled steak in a nondescript brown sauce and therefore negate all the flavour? Be my guest, but I won’t be joining you. Well, it turns out that barbecue sauce as an ingredient is actually pretty versatile and with this recipe you can make it as gourmet as you like! Good news all round, right?

I must admit that this recipe isn’t actually mine. I didn’t even come up with the idea. As an avid food blogger I am constantly on the lookout for new recipes – and one day a fellow blogger posted this delicious recipe that she got from another blogger! I always wondered how they make barbecue sauce and how they get it to be so brown and smokey-flavoured. I had heard of people making their own ketchup before, although the outcomes looked a bit questionable more often than not, but for some reason I assumed that you couldn’t make barbecue sauce yourself. And to be fair, this sauce here won’t look or taste much like barbecue sauce until you add the super top-secret magic ingredient – molasses. Molasses is a by-product of sugar production and has the consistency of runny honey, but it is deep black and has an intense and very complex flavour. On its own it’s not very pleasant, but as soon as it hits the other ingredients you will see what I can only describe as magic. If you can’t find molasses, just use treacle – it is virtually the same thing and the result will still be astounding.

Makes approximately 1 jar of 500g plus enough to marinade 2-4 steaks:

1 tin chopped tomatoes

50g ketchup

1 tbsp tomato concentrate

2 garlic cloves

1-2 tsp dried chilli

2 tsp hot mustard

2 tbsp white wine or cider vinegar

2-3 tbsp brown sugar

4 tbsp molasses or treacle

salt and pepper to taste

Add a glug of water if you find your sauce too thick

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

Antonia Landi for the Useful Times.

Vegan falafel – Better than Toast

In Food, Student life on June 28, 2011 at 12:26 pm

Picture: Useful Times

Falafel is like the Middle Eastern answer to fast food – they’re quick, they’re tasty, and they’re vegan too!

When I first encountered veganism I remember being slightly confused – did they mean vegetarianism or is this something completely different? For those of you still confused, the vegan diet excludes any animal products. So, like vegetarians, vegans don’t eat meat, but they also don’t eat any dairy or egg products. Now, this may sound like a very limited and complicated diet, but I can assure you that all of you have eaten a vegan dish without even realising it. Pasta with tomato sauce? Vegan. Jacket potato with beans? Vegan. Falafel in pitta bread? Vegan. Having tried veganism out of curiosity for a few months myself I can only recommend it. It doesn’t matter whether you do it for health or ethical reasons, what I love about veganism is that it really makes you think about food. If you ever feel like you’re stuck in a rut when it comes to your cooking, try veganism as a one-week challenge to yourself. Besides, with so many fruits and vegetables, veganism is about as healthy as you can get.

Now, I like to serve my falafel with some toasted pitta breads, some lettuce, peppers and hummus and make a big spread where everybody can help themselves, but you can always make them in advance and add them to a couscous meal or even an oriental lamb dish. If you’re not cooking for vegans feel free to add one egg to the mixture as this will bind the ingredients and lower the chances of your falafel falling apart when frying. If you, or one of your friends is vegan, add water to the mix if you feel that it’s too dry. Also make sure that you finely chop the onions – that way you can achieve a more homogenous mixture. And finally, if you’re lucky enough to own a food processor, simply whiz all the ingredients up! You’ll be able to make falafel in no time at all.

Feeds 2

1 can chickpeas

1 medium onion, finely chopped

1 clove of garlic

1-2 tbsp breadcrumbs or flour

Salt and pepper to taste

– if you are feeling authentic, go for cumin and coriander!

Vegetable or sunflower oil for frying

To serve as a spread:

Lettuce leaves, torn

1 large pepper, sliced and quickly cooked

Pitta breads


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

Antonia Landi for the Useful Times.

Spinach & ham quiche – Better than Toast

In Food, Student life on June 20, 2011 at 6:12 pm

Picture: Useful Times

When I say quiche most people will think of quiche lorraine, which is exclusively made with eggs and ham, and can sometimes look quite sad if not done right. Don’t worry if you’re not a fan – my quiche is packed with tasty ingredients and will soon be a lunchtime favourite!

What I like about this quiche is that it’s so incredibly easy to make. You can make it from scratch at lunchtime if you have an hour to spare and then eat it straight away from the oven, or you can make it the night before and take it with you as a packed lunch. I like to have quiche on its own, but pair it with a tasty salad and you have a light and tasty lunch in no time! Quiches are perfect to take on picnics, and you can fill them with a variety of ingredients. Spinach and ham is by far my favourite, as I think that they complement each other very well. Team that up with some creamy soft cheese and black pepper and you’ve got yourself a great meal. If you are a vegetarian, try exchanging the ham for some creamy goat’s cheese – it will give you all the great strong flavours of the ham, while still being veggie!

A note on pastry: If you have time, by all means feel free to make your own shortcrust pastry – but I must warn you: shortcrust isn’t the easiest pastry to make and sometimes it’s not really worth all the fuss. Because of the high butter content in the dough you have to work fast – this goes for both the bought and homemade pastry. I prefer to buy a block of pastry and roll it out myself instead of buying pre-rolled pastry – that way, I can choose the thickness and shape. Another common problem is that pre-rolled pastry tends to break easily, so you’ll have to be careful with it.

Feeds 4 as a main course or 8 with a side:

300g fresh spinach

2 gammon steaks, cooked and cut into cubes

100g soft cheese

1 handful grated hard cheese of your choice

1 egg

500g shortcrust pastry (or 1 sheet of pre-rolled pastry)

mustard and black pepper to taste

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

Antonia Landi for the Useful Times.

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