Another term gone by, another term of college cooking, but this time I was rather bored of my egg/protein-and-vegetable theme and decided to try cooking a couple of big dishes each weekend for the week, so that I could take the time to make something more interesting and flavourful instead of rushing to cook lunch every day. And breakfast, as always, is a highlight of my day, this term featuring figs, apple compote, something called 'omega power seeds' that I optimistically bought in Week 5, and some pretty cool bread. I hosted my first dinner party, and succeeding at making home-style dal, which took care of a lot of homesickness. And instead of a productive Sunday in the library, I discovered the Cambridge Botanical Gardens and dozens of spectacular local apples with one of my best friends. All in all, a very happy autumn :)
Happy New Year x
A chickpea salad with baby spinach, veggie meatballs, yoghurt, roasted cumin powder, coriander powder, smoked paprika powder, chaat masala, and fresh coriander chutney – ridiculously filling.
My vow to eat more raw vegetables/salads last just about few days... on the last day I threw it all into the pan with some olive oil for a warm, crispy lunch instead ;)
My first market bread in Cambridge: a beautiful, soft French country loaf that I enjoyed with stews, with natural peanut butter, Dutch hagelslag (chocolate sprinkles), and for breakfast.
I walk past the bakery stalls every single day but don't shop there enough – new task for next term.
My morning routine is an absolutely essential part of my day; I like to start very early, put Radio 4 on as soon as I'm up, get ready, make a nice breakfast, facetime home, and get onto work. I always start the day feeling super optimistic and this has usually all but disappeared by the time I go to bed, but at least then I can sleep through the stress/fatigue/disappointment and go to bed looking forward to breakfast again ;)
One of my all-time favourites was a thick slice of the French loaf made into French toast, with blueberry-cranberry jam, caramelised and fresh banana slices, and fresh blueberries ^_^
Fresh coriander chutney/salsa, great with Indian dishes, eggs, Mexican, and salads – anything that needs a dash of freshness and spice.
If only you knew what a disaster the kitchen looked like around this photo.
I miss so much food when I'm away, but it's really the simplest stuff I miss the most. I tried my hand at making a nice masoor dal with spinach, and some pulao with lots of different grains and fresh peas, and it turned out to be one of the easiest and most satisfying meals of the term – just the right warmth and comfort to get you through the day :)
Brunch at Espresso Library with my friend and some of her friends from Cambridge and Durham. Espresso Library is one of the most stereotypically hipster places I know, but clichéd doesn't mean unlovable ;) Love the vibe, love the food, sunlight galore, and they have a weekly casual bike-ride which I'm very tempted to try.
Alas, we had the best of intentions, but a big café on a Sunday afternoon with a bunch of friends is probably not the best idea for staying focused...
Not sure how much work actually got done, but the mocha cappuccino, hazelnut granola,and coconut-date were well worth it ^_^ I need to go back (weekday maybe?) to try their famed avocado and chickpea dishes.
Porridge with dark chocolate hagelslag, homemade apple compote, grilled figs, pumpkin seeds, linseed, flaxseeds, sunflower seeds, and sesame seeds (so-called omega-3 power seeds... I can feel my brain power growing with the first bite, you know.)
German rye bread topped with apple compote and grilled figs <3
Aaaaah isn't this cute? Autumn this year was genuinely stunning – the rain held off for much longer than last year, meaning the leaves remained crisp, the trees remained colourful, the sky blue and the sun bright for almost the entire term. The perfect excuse for ginger lattes.
I've lost track of how many dozens of people I've told about my 'someday' café (potential name right there?), but I think I've got myself so deep into it that I have no choice but to make it happen... someday.
I invited 9 friends over for my very first dinner party and this was probably one of my proudest moments of term. I think I might have scared my friend with how thrilled I was setting up; it gave me the first real sense of just how much I enjoy making people happy with a cosy little place and nice food <3
Paneer and peas bhurji, masoor dal, brown rice, raita, fresh coriander, papad, and (store-bought) samosas and onion bhajias.
Stews with various combinations of beans, spinach, kale, veggie meat, quinoa or rice became one of the easiest and most satisfying things to make and store for the week.
I had this one with some of the country bread grilled with cheese, olive, salt and pepper.
The second time I went to buy bread at the market, the previous stall I went to wasn't there that day, which actually turned out to be quite a good thing. At another stall, this bread caught my eye (I'm one of the "what's the weirdest/newest/most different thing here so that I can try it?" kinds of people). It turned out it's charcoal bread (real charcoal powder in there) and apparently it's generally for middle-aged or elderly people who drink too much and have digestive issues...
I almost went for a simple sourdough, but the owner gave me a piece and my 19-year-old, not-an-alcoholic, fine-digestion-thankyouverymuch self decided this was the bread to buy.
That's melted dark chocolate on toasted bread. It's yum.
Thai sweet chili rice with lots of Asian vegetables (pre-chopped, thank you Sainsbury's) and marinated tofu; definitely making this again.
Apple Day has got to be one of the best things I discovered about Cambridge this year. A really close friend and I decided that it trumped work, and spent a leisurely Sunday afternoon in the sunshine making apple badges with 4-year-olds, sipping warm apple juice, and trying dozens of apples feeling very cultured and professional. I never knew so many delicious varieties exist, and supermarket apples haven't looked or tasted the same since.
These two varieties were not too sweet, wholesome, nutty, and beautiful colours.
It would also be a crime to leave an apple event without apple pie, right?
This apple and raspberry crumble lasted about 12 hours.
I hadn't paid a visit to the good ol' crêpe van in far too long, so after 24+ hours of packing my room into boxes and into the attic, I ended the term with a hot crepe with banana, dark Belgian chocolate, strawberries and biscuit pieces <3 i.e. very happily.