6th November 2023
As January assessments begin to seem like a distant memory, it feels like there was never chance to catch a breath before plunging into semester two. At university, sometimes the tiniest things can throw off your whole week, whether that’s your study plan or meal plan. I don’t know about you, but sometimes the thought of planning meals every day can be overwhelming. By having a few easy meals in your repertoire, the days when planning is a bit too difficult can be slightly easier. Whether you’ve started slipping into some unhealthy routines (I’m thinking working till three A.M. and caffeine becoming a food group), or you’re looking for some easy meals to get you through to the Easter holidays, sometimes it’s nice to get inspiration from other likeminded people. With this in mind, some of our writers at LGSM have shared their go-to comfort meals and foods.
If you’re looking for ease and comfort, then please look no further than Shakshuka. This is a handy meal to just have at the back of your cupboard in case of emergency. I originally took the recipe from Good Food, but most of the time I find an even more simplified way to pull off the cosiness of the meal!
½ carton of Passata
Coriander (preferably fresh)
Salt and pepper
Bread (shakshuka goes so well with sourdough)
Cheese (this is optional as it strays from the original recipe)
Any other seasoning you’d like
I use a mini casserole dish, but you could use a mug for this super easy meal! Stir the passata with salt and pepper, along with any other seasonings you fancy, and then make a little dip in the tomato sauce to crack the egg into. Prick the yolk with a sharp knife and then microwave the dish for 1 minute with either a lid on or cling film over the top. After this, microwave again in 20 second bursts until the white of the egg has set. If you want, grate cheese on top, dip your bread in and enjoy!
You CANNOT go wrong with this simple dish. It’s the ultimate comfort food and perfect cure for a hangover, the winter blues, and all of life’s burdens.
I can already hear you judging this poor meal.
What did pasta, beans, and cheese ever do to you? Do you like beans and cheese on chips? Or on toast? Beans and cheese are just moving onto bigger and better things, keep up!
So yes, it’s literally pasta (I would recommend conchiglie), plus baked beans (Branston, Asda’s or Aldi’s own are the best but other bean providers are available), plus cheddar cheese (mild or mature depending on preference).
This dish is so humble there isn’t even a need for a step-by-step recipe. Let’s face it, you’re not a student if you don’t cook pasta several times a week. I’ll leave it up to your artistic cooking flair whether you mix the cheese in with the beans in the pan or grate on top.
I know only a handful of people that have tried this meal and if you decide to join the pasta-beans-and-cheese club, I promise you won’t regret it.
Rice, for me, is the ultimate comfort food. Maybe it’s being able to scoop up a big forkful of it at once. Maybe it’s having it in a bowl meaning you can tuck up in bed with it. Who knows? Whatever it is, this mushroom risotto is my ultimate go-to meal when I don’t know what to cook. I picked up this recipe in a (free) Hello Fresh box and haven’t stopped making it since. If you’re a bit scared by the prospect of risotto sticking, this one’s super easy as it’s oven-baked.
Start by getting all your prep out the way. Preheat the oven to 200°C. Chop the onion and garlic. Slice your mushrooms, keeping them nice and chunky. Zest the lemon, and then cut it in half. Boil a kettle-full of water.
Now onto the real deal. Heat a generous amount of oil in an oven-proof pan. Start to fry the onion chunks. Once they’ve had a bit of heat, add the mushrooms. Season, and fry until the mushrooms turn brown and smell delicious. Whilst they’re cooking, make your stock. Towards the end of the frying time, add the garlic to the pan.
Next, stir the risotto rice into the pan along with a splash of cider vinegar. Once this has evaporated, add the stock. Bring to the boil, stirring so that the rice doesn’t stick. Reduce the heat and cover the pan with a lid. Bake in the oven for 20-25 mins, checking occasionally that the rice hasn’t stuck (mine never has so far)!
Whilst the risotto is cooking, make a side salad and give making your own dressing a go! Mix together juice from the lemon, a sprinkle of sugar, a splash of olive oil, and salt and pepper. Drizzle this over the rocket.
Once out of the oven, the risotto may need a bit of extra moistening up. Add a knob of butter, your grated cheese, some more salt and pepper, a squeeze of lemon juice and some lemon zest to the pan. Mix it all together and serve with extra grated cheese on top
This recipe is an adaptation from Rick Martínez, previous editor of Bon Appétit. You should be able to get around 16 cookies from this recipe.
70g margarine/spreadable butter
250g plain flour
1 teaspoon baking soda/bicarbonate of soda
Pinch of salt (more for just before baking)
215g dark brown sugar
50g light brown sugar
2 large eggs (room temperature)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
300g any fillings, chopped into small chunks (e.g. chopped nuts or chocolate)
After this stage you will notice the mixture is quite thin – it must be left to rest on the worktop for at least an hour until the flour has hydrated.
5. Towards the end of the resting period, preheat your oven to 160 degrees Celsius.
6. The dough should be much thicker now. Scoop it out into 60-65g chunks (to make large cookies). Roll the dough into balls and arrange on a spare chopping board.
7. It is ideal to have two baking sheets in rotation here. Cut baking paper to fit two baking sheets. I find it easiest to bake three at a time on the baking sheet, so they do not stick to each other. Place three cookies on the sheet and press down lightly. If I am using smarties in my cookies, I like to press 2/3 in the top before squishing down. Sprinkle a little sea salt on top of the cookies. Place the baking sheet in the middle of the oven and bake for 10-11 minutes. Prepare your next batch on the second baking sheet.
8. When you remove the cookies from the oven, they will still be very soft. Place the second sheet of cookies into the oven, prepared as above, and by the time they are baked you will be able to move the cookies from the first sheet to a cooling rack. Bake in rotation until you have finished!
These cookies will keep for 4-5 days if stored well. The dough can be made 3 days in advance – keep in the fridge and allow to come to room temperature before baking.
250ml milk of your choice (I use almond)
25g of protein powder (I use chocolate flavour)
Handful of strawberries
1 whole banana
1 tbsp peanut butter
Why not also try some of our winter meal ideas, for even more meal inspiration!