Sunday, 29 April 2012

Rainy Saturday Cocktails

It's Saturday night and it's raaiiiinnning.

You've just eaten an epic meal cooked by the lovely Bryony and you can't be bothered to go anywhere or do anything. What do you do now?

Our fridge just happened to be full of other peoples' alcohol after friday night dinner-and-pre-drinks, and we maaay have decided to charge a little rent. In the form of three shots of gin and two of grenadine. (THANKS ED/JAMES :D)

And we came up with a super sweet cocktail I'm calling the Rainy Saturday.

Whatchoo need for one Rainy Saturday:

1 and 1/2 shots of Gin.
1 shot of Grenadine Syrup.
EITHER the juice of 1/2 a lime OR the juice of 1/4 of a lemon. (If you want it extra sweet, go for the lemon.)
4 Mint leaves.
2 Frozen Raspberries. (Just put a pack of fresh raspberries straight in the freezer.)
3 Slices of Cucumber.

What to do:

Put the gin, grenadine syrup and the lemon/lime juice in a glass.
Grab the mint leaves to crush them ever so slightly. Add to the glass along with the raspberries and two slices of cucumber. 
Top up with lemonade, add ice and stir thoroughly.
Cut a slim triangle out of the remaining cucumber slice and stick it on the side of the glass. So it looks pretty.

And ta daaaa one rainy saturday cocktail. 

I have to admit it was slightly too sweet for me so next time I'll try it with carbonated water or something instead of lemonade. Its was still raather yummy though.

We love herbs

And Americans don't get them.

At least, the Americans we lived with in the first term of uni didn't. But I LOVE HERBS, and hence on our kitchen window-sill there is a large plastic pot containing basil, parsley, mint and coriander.

The Hunny pot is our watering can.

It's a family trait I think. As well as making everything taste better there's a certain pride about cooking with something that you've looked after, if not grown from scratch because you're a student with no space/money/resources. I have such big plans for the garden in our house next year...

My favourite at the moment is parsley, which is why I have a GIANT pot of that. And also why I invented a new recipe a couple of weeks ago that uses shed-loads of it. It's basically my take on a cream and white wine pasta sauce, but it sure is yummy.

- 2/3 shallots or 1 onion
- 1 large clove of garlic (because garlic is amazing)
- 3/4 baby leeks, or 1 small normal-sized
- decent handful of french beans
- large glass of white wine (plus one to drink - chef's perk)
- half a stock pot*
- 150ml double cream, or to taste
- 1/2 handfuls of fresh parsley
- salt and pepper

*I like using half of one of those posh Knorr vegetable stock pots, which gives a lovely fresh flavour without being too strong. An OXO cube would be fine, but I'm lucky enough to have several boxes of these which my mum sent down in a food parcel. Thanks Mum :D

Stick some olive oil in a sauce pan and melt a knob of butter (adding the oil first will stop the butter from burning). Add your shallots, baby leeks and garlic and cook for a couple of minutes before adding the beans. Cook until they're starting to colour a little and smelling pretty good - about 8 minutes - then add the wine and let it simmer down a bit (about 5 minutes).

Next add your stock pot/cube, the cream and half the parsley so the flavours can infuse. This will take quite a little to reduce and thicken, so now's a good time to drink your own glass of wine and have a dance around the kitchen.

When you're happy with the consistency and the amount of sauce you have add your seasoning - I think it's important to taste with this recipe to get it spot on. Add the rest of the parsley, and voila!

I think this is best served with some sort of ravioli, and something bready like garlic dough balls to get all the sauce at the end. Parmesan (real cheese, not the weird pot stuff that claims to be vegan) finishes it off beautifully.

And a word to the wise, never leave your herbs unattended with Americans around. It's just not worth it.

Saturday, 28 April 2012

We're kicking ourselves.

Reasonably hard.

Because we only just came up with the idea to start blogging.  

We're two foodies trapped in a university kitchen, with culinary ambitions beyond the capabilities of our rather temperamental oven... Our fridge is full of vegetables, goat's cheese and creme fraiche, we have stacks of recipes and an overwhelming need to share our exploits in the world of university cuisine.

I warn you now, neither of us have eaten a single baked bean all year. This is proper food. 

(And of course, it wouldn't be uni food without proper drink as well....)

This is Bryony on the left and Zosia on the right, two first year undergraduate students here to talk food, drink and university life.