I have said before that one of my favourite things about being on holiday in France is their cute little pots of sauce and couscous. Well, I finally got around to making my own version of the Couscous Royale and it is (in my opinion) just as good, if not better, than the one we get from the supermarket. To make the sauce you basically just chuck everything in to a pot and then leave it to simmer away! Serve it with couscous (which literally takes a minute to cook) and you’re off! This is for one person but should easily do two portions anyway. Even so, you can double or even triple things up and then freeze the sauce for a rainy day (so long as the meat was fresh when you made it).
- chicken thigh (meat taken off the bone)
- 75g beef, cubed
- 1 chorizo sausage, diced
- 1/2 carrot, diced
- small white onion, diced
- 1/2 courgette, sliced
- 1/2 tin of chickpeas
- 1/2 tin of chopped tomatoes
- 1tsp cumin
- 1tsp coriander
Fry the onions and beef cubes for around 5 minutes. Add everything else in to the pan and leave over a low heat for 20-30 minutes. Serve with couscous and French bread.
This is a dish that I have been eating for quite a long time with my family. Now, it is a slight departure from a one pot meal but it is something that once you’ve done the first step you can just leave in the oven. Serve it with some salad (we often have cucumber, tomato, cold sweetcorn and cold new potatoes when we have it as a family, but for one person just use whatever you feel comfortable with!)
- 75g rice
- 1/2 can of chopped tomatoes
- 1/2 onion, diced
- 1/2 red pepper, chopped
- 1/2tsp chilli powder
- 75g mince
Fry the mince and onions together then when the mince has browned transfer to an oven proof dish. Add everything else into the dish, mix it up and cover with tin foil. Leave to cook for around 30-40 minutes or until the rice has absorbed the liquid and is cooked. How easy is that.
I find that I often want nothing more than a warm bowl of soup when it is cold and raining outside so here are two great recipes for quick and tasty soups!
- 1kg tomatoes
- 500g red onions
- balsamic vinegar
- olive oil
- 750ml vegetable stock
- salt and pepper
Curried Carrot Soup
- 5/6 normal sized carrots
- 2 large potatoes
- 750ml stock
- 2tsp cumin/coriander
- 1/2tsp chili powder
- salt and pepper
Preheat the oven to 180C.
Quarter the tomatoes and onions and put on a baking tray. Drizzle with olive oil and balsamic vinegar then season with salt and pepper. Cook for ~10 minutes or until the tomatoes have gone soft.
Take out the tray and leave the tomatoes and onions to cool for a little bit. When cool enough to handle, skin the tomatoes and then put into a pot/pan on the hob with the onions and vegetable stock.
Bring to the boil and then lower the heat and leave to cook for 15 minutes. Blend until smooth and serve hot.
Chop the carrots and potato into chunks. Put into a pot on the hob and cover with stock.
Sprinkle the spices in (more or less can be added if you like. I think I also threw in a tad of turmeric, possibly some garam masala and I may even have thrown in a tiny bit of ginger because why the hell not, right?!)
Make sure it is all mixed, season and then leave to boil away until the potatoes and the carrots are soft.
Leave to cool a little bit then blend and serve hot.
I recommend a nice crusty bread roll or chunk of french stick to go with your soup. If I know I am having soup during the week I will get a set of part-bake rolls or something similar (generally ~60p, which will do 4 lunches). For more soup recipes, have a look at my first soup-er post here. My carrot soup looks a little clumpy – it was, so before I put it into a pot to store it, I just mixed in a little more water and it was much better after that. Anyway, have a great day!
You may remember that a few weeks ago I made a pair of stuffed peppers for my dinner. They tasted surprisingly great, especially since I was making the recipe up as I went along! Most of the time, I have recipes for what I cook or at least have made it so often that I know exactly what goes in something. Before this attempt, I had never made stuffed peppers before in my life. So, in true student fashion, I decided to make it up as I went along. I am now going to try and remember what I put in them so you can have a go too!
- 1 small red onion, diced
- Handful of cherry tomatoes, chopped
- Handful of rice
- approx. 200ml stock
- approx. 1tsp cumin and coriander
- approx. 1/2tsp chilli
- 25g grated cheese
- Salt and pepper
- 2 orange peppers
Off the top of my head, I think this is probably what I put in there. The amount of spices may be slightly out as I just sprinkled them in until I thought there was enough and I can’t be specific with the amount of rice as I really don’t weigh it out.
So, what I did was spray the pan with oil and start frying the onions. After a few minutes I added in the rice and then poured enough of the stock over it to cover the rice. When the rice had absorbed the liquid, I added a little more and kept doing this – like I would when making a risotto. I chucked in the chopped cherry tomatoes (used because I had some in my cupboard that needed eating) and sprinkled the spices in & seasoned. When the rice was almost cooked I added the cheese and took the pan off the heat.
I then shoved all of this mixture into the hollowed out peppers and shoved them into the oven until the peppers looked soft. At that point, I took them out and ate them.
Clearly this isn’t a very specific recipe but I hope it can give you some inspiration as to how you can try something similar yourself. I think this goes to show that chucking stuff in a pan really can work and you don’t need any real knowledge to make something that tastes great. Next time I would serve it with more salad than just cucumber, but as I think I’ve said I was running low on fresh food so I had to make do. I reckon this probably cost me about £1.50 to make so pretty cheap too – the cherry tomatoes by far being the most expensive part to this dish!
All the best and have a great day!
As you may have read in my weekly round-up last week, I have been struggling somewhat with my lunches. Deciding that I had had enough of either paying extortionate amounts for a sandwich from the university cafe or facing another boring lunch of slightly off bread and a few biscuits, this week I made a change. At the weekend I made up two batches of soup and plan to alternate between the two.
Soup is easy to take with me, doesn’t make much mess and is pretty easy to keep warm – something that I am sure I will appreciate as the weather gets colder. My two soups this week are Broccoli, Cauliflower and Cheddar and Bacon and Red Lentil. Both are exceptionally easy to make taste great.
- Broccoli, Cauliflower and Cheddar: Take the florets from a tree of broccoli and cauliflower and put them in a pan along with a large onion cut into chunks. Cover the vegetables with vegetable stock and add in 50g of grated cheddar (which is the expensive bit!). Season. Keep over a low-medium heat until the vegetables are soft then blend until smooth. A whole batch costs about £1.60 and this will easily do 4-5 lunches.
- Bacon and Red Lentil: Chop 2-3 pieces of bacon into small pieces and fry for a few minutes with a large diced onion. Add 1000ml of stock and add 175g of red lentils. Leave for 30-45 minutes and then blend. A whole batch costs about £1.20 – I use cheap bacon, the stuff that isn’t quite cut into the right thickness so supermarkets sell it in big batches for uber cheap – and again this will probably do 4-5 lunches. (I know it looks terrible but it really does taste good)
Along with this, I am going to make a few bread rolls to have with my soup. I am probably going to make just one the night before so I always have a nice fresh roll with my soup. To do this, I cheat a little and use a packet mix which literally requires you to add water to the flour mix, kneed for a few minutes then leave to rise before cooking. Pretty damn simple. They can be frozen in portion sizes too! Over the next few weeks I will give you lots of soups so watch this space and have a great day!
Stir-fries are one of my favourite meals. They are so versatile and you can literally chuck anything you have in the fridge into them. If you can remember, when I first moved into my house I pre-prepared loads of meat so I actually have bags of beef and pork cut into slices, ready to be thrown into the wok (my flatmate let me use her wok, hoorah!)
So, today’s stir fry is going to be nice simple as I was hungry and I haven’t done a shop for fresh veg for a while so this is just using up what is left! I was also cooking for my friend too – the one who so kindly lent the wok – as we were pooling vegetables!
- Beef strips (for one portion, mine weighs 50g but I just chopped up a cheap steak and split it into bags by sight so just do however much you feel comfortable eating)
- Carrot, sliced
- Red and orange pepper, sliced
- Red onion, sliced
- Broccoli florets
- 1/2 tsp ground ginger
- 1/2 tsp curry powder
- 1 tbsp dark soy sauce
- 1/2 tbsp sweet chilli sauce
- Oil cooking spray
- Rice to serve
Spray the pan with cooking spray and stir fry the beef for 2-3 minutes. Transfer to a plate.
Fry the onions, peppers, broccoli and carrot together with the ginger and curry powder (add a splash of water to stop the spices sticking and burning) until they start to soften then add the soy and chilli sauce. Fry for another minute then add the beef back in.
Meanwhile, cook the rice as it says on the packet (put into boiling water and leave for 12-15 minutes generally). Once it’s are cooked, drain it and serve!
As you can see, it is very easy and this is a great recipe. In total, it will cost about £1.20 which I think is pretty fair! You can serve it with noodles instead of rice if you fancy. I hope this has inspired you, have a great day!
The French have these wonderful packs that have couscous in one pot and a sauce made with meat, vegetables etc in the other. You simply heat the sauce and chuck it on the cooked couscous. Well, having been unable to find anything remotely similar here, I decided to make do with what I had .Whilst not the same as our holiday favourite – which has tomatoes, courgettes, carrots, sausage, chicken, beef, chickpeas etc – mine was probably one of the nicest things I have cooked in ages. When deciding what to put into my couscous, I looked at what needed eating in my fridge:
- Meat of two chicken drumsticks – taken off the bone in chunks
- Chunk of chorizo sausage (however much you fancy, I suppose)
- An onion, sliced
- 1/3 can of sweetcorn
- Handful of diced cucumber
- Salt and pepper
- Couscous (~60-70g for one person)
- 150ml chicken stock
This recipe is really, really simple.As I said, I was just using what I had in my fridge rather than trying to imitate the French dinner we had.
Fry the onion, chicken, chorizo and leek in a pan together – don’t forget to season it! – for about 10 minutes until it is all cooked. Meanwhile, put the couscous in a bowl with the chicken stock and cover. Making sure the chicken is cooked – it shouldn’t take too long as it isn’t in thick chunks – remove the pan from the heat and empty the ingredients into the bowl with the couscous. Add the sweetcorn and cucumber and mix it all together.
I served mine with some pitta bread but that is it! In total, this entire meal cost me about £1.70. Now it isn’t the pot of French “Cassoulet Royale” we frequently enjoy on holiday but I figure that can’t be too hard to make either so I will soon have a recipe for that too.
All the best and have a great day!