A Week in Student Meals

If I haven’t banged on enough in my food blog posts about the frustration about not knowing what to cook, there is also the added pressure to do it cheaply.

This, I know, can be difficult so I thought I would combine both ideas in one and provide you with what we ate as a flat for a week on a budget of roughly £25-40 a week (for three people, including snacks, breakfast, lunches, dinner etc.), which roughly ends up being £10-15 a week per person.

Keep an eye out along the way for some tips on how to keep your weekly shop prices down and what recipes are perfect for giving you some leftovers for lunch the next day.

It is important to note that my flatmates (Kirsty and Mara) and I share cooking duties throughout the week and therefore split our shop. This in itself is a great way to keep costs down, so if you can, I highly recommend doing this.

Sunday

Homemade Fish Cakes

We pair our fishcakes with salad (which we buy in for lunches anyway), sweet chilli sauce and sometimes some peas or veg on the side.

Homemade fish cakes are one of the easiest and cheapest meals we make. Tuna for example is a staple in our cupboards and gets used for several main meals, therefore you’re not having to go out and buy fish (which I love but doesn’t usually come under our budget unless it is on offer). Plus this meal is super tasty!

Mara loosely used two recipes from BBC Good Food (we loveeee this website for our weekly meals). You can find all their fish cake recipes here.

Now if you have a sweet tooth and are looking for something chocolatey and easy then this recipe is perfect for you. Kirsty made a slow cooker chocolate cake which we paired with Lidls own Ben and Jerrys fish food (tastes pretty much the same at a fraction of the price). It wasn’t the best chocolate cake however Kirsty has recommended scouting about for some different options because the slow cooker reduces cooking time drastically! Perfect for students.

Monday

Cauliflower Steaks

We serve this delicious roasted cauliflower with pea puree (the fancy term for blended peas with stuff in it) – Boil peas (a decent bit because they’ll end up being blended), drain them and add two tablespoons of natural yoghurt, some herbs of your choosing (we have dried mixed Italian seasoning), season with salt and pepper then blend away – and serve with some couscous.

If you recently read my post on ‘My Most Loved Recipes: Savoury Meals and Sweet Treats to Boost Your Week’ then you would have already seen this recipe. Cauliflower steaks constantly gets repeated in our weekly meal plan (also another great tip – plan your meals, this way there is no last minute dash to the shops when you’re hungry). It is a firm favourite and a great veggie option.

I recommend adding more paprika and garlic granules when baking the steaks. You can find the recipe here.

Leftover Tip:

We usually bake two cauliflowers for three of us, which depending on the size and how hungry we are provides a small amount of leftovers. I then had a sushi bowl with the leftovers the next day. Sushi rice is a great one to make throughout the week for lunch because it will last you a few days – we have it for dinner at the end of the week if you are looking for a recipe.

Tuesday

Sticky Cashew Chicken (GF)

This was a new recipe Mara was trying and it was a hit! Chicken thighs are a great way of getting protein while not breaking the bank. From lidl you can get a tray of 5 for about £1.75.

Mara paired it with some noodles and broccoli and it tasted great! (there was even some leftover chicken which I had with more of the sushi rice the next day for lunch).

Find the recipe here.

Wednesday

Baked Sweet Potato

Baked Sweet Potato is another favourite in our flat, it gets repeated weekly and is a great alternative to the usual baked potato.

It is also a great opportunity to use up some things you have in the fridge/cupboards.

I microwave the potatoes for around 20 mins (pierce them with a fork first) and then bake them for an additional 20 mins in the oven at roughly 200 degrees (fan).

This is another occasion where we use tuna (we add mayo and then either red onion or apple if we want) because its always in the cupboard.

It also provides the perfect opportunity to use the couscous from the cauliflower steaks which we also had with a salad, some leftover sweetcorn that was in the fridge and some beetroot which is also a staple in our cupboards.

Thursday

Corn Beef Hash

Corned beef is another cheap source of protein and potatoes are extremely cheap. So a win win.

Not the most appealing to look at I must admit but it is just what you need on a colder day. It very much reminds me of stovies (if you’re Scottish hopefully you’ll know what I mean), and reminds me of home.

You just need around 6-7 decent sized potatoes, all cubed and boiled until soft. Dice an onion and fry it in some oil, then add in the corned beef (break it up with a wooden spoon) and the potatoes. Fry unti it is nice and crispy.

I also decided when making this that I would spice up some ordinary baked beans by adding in some paprika, garlic granules and Italian seasoning. I like my beans over done (they go mushy) which means they go perfectly with this dish.

Friday

Lasagne

Now, who doesn’t love a good lasagne night, especially if it involves a side of dough balls or garlic bread! When having meat in our freezer we are lucky that we get to stock up from Costco however, we are also very good at finding a bargain. So, if you have a lidl close to you (which is our shop of choice) make sure to go earlier in the day because you’ll get great deals in their fridge section.

Tip: On the conversation of buying meat, we pretty much always freeze it, so you won’t need to worry about it going off. So if you see a good deal but its on its last day, don’t worry!

Kirsty loves making lasagne and is very good at it. She doesn’t really go by a recipe because they usually involve red wine, however she does recommend using a basic tomato base sauce, like a spaghetti bolognese (so any recipe should do) and then add a white sauce and lasagne sheets and top with cheese!

These dough balls were from M&S and were VERY tasty. Keep an eye out for Lidls ones too because they are also great!

This meal provided us with enough leftovers to have it again for our dinner on Sunday. So, a perfect meal to keep your costs down!

Saturday

Sushi Bowl

The prettiest looking meal, in the sense of it being one of the most colourful ones! This is very much a recipe which can be altered depending on what you have in the cupboard.

Make some sushi rice (instructions should be on the package), chop up some carrot, cucumber, fry some broccoli in soy sauce, garlic and honey, chop up some tomatoes, add some beetroot and if you want bake some salmon. When it comes to the salmon, this is something we found on offer (on reduce) in lidl so we decided to bake it in the oven for about 15-20mins in a soy sauce, ginger mix with some lemon and then flaked it over our bowl. However, this is often something we have as a veggie meal so don’t worry if you don’t have meat – this will also reduce the price. I also add a fried egg to the top (seasoned with Italian seasoning, salt, pepper, and paprika.)

When it comes to sushi bowls the toppings are just as important as the actual components to the main bulk of the bowl. Having sesame seeds, fried onions (this is pre fried and dried onions that you buy in a tub) and sriracha mayo are integral to the taste. Plus you’ll find yourself adding these things to a lot more of your recipes, trust me!

Tip: To finish off I thought I’d recommend what we always start with. Sit down before your shop and plan out what you’re eating when and who is cooking. This way you have a routine to your week and there is no last minute stressing. Additionally this is the perfect time to check what you already have in the cupboards, so you aren’t buying more than what you need plus you might be able to find a meal already available in your home.

It’s also important to note that all recipes are easily adapted. There is most likely some obscure ingredient somewhere or something you don’t have and that’s fine. The recipe will still be taste fine and substituting is always a great idea if you’re stuck. Google is your best friend!


So, that’s our week in meals! An assortment of veggie and meat meals, which can easily be interchanged depending on your preferences.

I think a lot of people have this idea that as a student you have to eat the bare minimum or beans on toast every night (not that there is anything wrong with beans on toast). But as three people who absolutely love food and cooking, that was never going to be an option.

It’s all about finding a balance and figuring out where you can spend more and where to spend less. Introducing more veggie meals and using what we already have is definitely huge steps we’ve taken to not only be more sustainable but also cheaper.

Feel free to let me know below if you want to see another blog post on our weekly meals. If you want some inspiration for lunch you can check out my previous post here.

Let me know if we’ve inspired you or you end up making any of the above recipes. We’d absolutely love to see your photos (tag me in my socials linked below)!

Much Love,

Sophie x


Print shop is available here.

Exploring Scotland: John O’Groats

I couldn’t not start a series on my blog talking about all my favourite places in Scotland and not mention one of the most visited and iconic spots. Plus it is (or was when I was at home) pretty much on my doorstep.

Growing up in the Highlands I have seen a lot of change when it comes to my local area, most notably in John O’Groats. Started in 2009 John O’Groats had a major facelift with the restoration of the hotel (which now looks amazing, although I am yet to see the inside of it), a new harbour square and the restoration of the commercial units (read more about it here). On top of this there is the addition of a recently opened Brewery and of-course the infamous sign.

Plus if you are looking for somewhere to stay there is also the lodges that were put up along with the development of the centre of John O’Groats, check them out here and of course the previously mentioned restored hotel which is by the same company and can be found on the aforementioned like.

I know that John O’Groats has never been some sort of hidden gem but I’d love to highlight the fact there is a lot more than just a sign in this lovely spot. There are a lot of independent, local businesses who are more than deserving of your support. So, I thought I’d highlight some of my favourites so you can plan out your visit and truly enjoy the amazing part of the highlands.

Eating

Stacks Coffee House & Bistro

From their Facebook @Stacks Coffee House and Bistro

Stacks is a must visit if you head to John O’Groats. I love their food and the inside is beautifully decorated and brings you a much needed sense of calm and warmth. Which is most likely highly necessary when you are visiting John O’Groats. They have a wide selection of seating with a log burner taking centre stage, plus they are dog friendly so what’s not to love!

Stacks are a family run business and often switch up their menu with amazing new dishes! While also offering cakes and special items to make you *extremely* happy.

One of my favourite dishes is their Mac and cheese toasted flatbread with crispy bacon, pictured here. The menu is filled with fresh and often healthy options so perfect if you are or know someone vegan.

Check out their socials for covid updates. The last time I was in it was more like a grab and go operation and we picked up a great selection of tray bakes!

Also from @Stacks Coffee House and Bistro Facebook page

Flavours

Probably one of the most talked about stops in John O’Groats, Flavours is a much loved day out for both tourists and locals. They have an impeccable selection of ice cream, toppings, sauces and confectionery to keep your sweet tooth happy for the afternoon.

A local business set up in 2012, there is no John O’Groats without Flavours. You may be wondering why you’d want ice cream when more often than not it is rather cold. Well, the ice cream is that good, you will want it in any weather, trust me.

Flavours have handled covid really well and the shop is set out with the upmost care. Plus the staff are lovely! See you just have to go a visit to see it for yourself now!

The Storehouse

Unfortunately I do not have any photos of the Storehouse and it is currently closed because of Covid. However, when it reopens and you want your hit of Starbucks coffee then this is the place to go. They offer a simple menu and have a little store of local goods to try out. I wasn’t hugely impressed with their offering but if you are looking for somewhere relatively simple with a great view then check them out.

The Seaview Hotel

I am purposely putting this here because I’ve never actually tried the food from the hotel (which is just as you turn into the long road to go into John O’Groats). However, I have heard really good things about it so if you want to add to my recommendation please do! I’d love some additional info on the place or to hear your own experience.

Visiting

John O’Groats Brewery Experience.

After only opening late July, this visitor experience is definitely one to try if you love beer and supporting local businesses. The John O’Groats Brewery have taken the brewing scene by storm, when working in a restaurant in my hometown last year the beer was flying out the door (or shall I say keg).

Set at the front of John O’Groats, my flatmate Mara thoroughly enjoyed her visit (I unfortunately haven’t been able to go yet but I must admit I am not a beer drinker. Mara, however loves the stuff).

They are also including a small bar in their experience (also yet to open) so you can try it right there.

Image from their Facebook @John o Groats Brewery

The experience itself is yet to open as of writing this however the shop is. So you can get yourself some great local beers right from the company itself!

Plus they also sell some merchandise, beer glasses (which are extremely affordable and well made) and they also stock some lovely local artists.

Mara was lucky enough to get a taster of the experience and was thoroughly impressed by what she was shown. So, if you are in the area now, defiantly go in a look and keep in mind that you should definitely go back once the full experience is up and running.

Image courtesy of their website

Puffin Croft

Puffin Croft is one of the best places to go for a wonder, especially if you have kids. Set amongst the owners home it is on the outskirts of John O’Groat, it is truly a lovely experience. They also sell produce which can be bought via an honesty box. Keep an eye out for the animals names to give you a giggle!

Go a Walk

I know this is probably one of the most obvious suggestions out there but Scotland, especially the highlands is known for its scenery. John O’Groats is especially lucky to be surrounded by both a lovely green landscape and the harbour/sea. This way you get the best of both worlds. Plus with the revamp it now boasts striking sculptural art, a newly done sign and some fabulous architecture.

Shopping

I wouldn’t say John O’Groats is overly known for its shopping however there are a few gift shops who stock local artists and memoirs which can remind you of your journey.

  • First & Last in Scotland is a small shop set right on the harbour front and is full of your cheesy mementos and local produce. There is probably enough magnets to last you a lifetime!
  • John O’Groats Knitwear and Cafe offer a traditional experience to shop for the most lavish wools and cashmeres. They also have a cafe in the back if you are in need of a pit stop
  • The North Coast Emporium is a large shop filled with local artists selling a range of different things from gifts, clothes and jewellery. It’s a great place to support local artists while purchasing something truly unique.

I hope you enjoyed my quick virtual tour of my favourite spots in John O’Groats. The place really has grown and now offers you not only spectacular views but numerous places to visit so you can make the most of your journey.

You can now spend all day in John O’Groats leaving fully satisfied and blown away by what’s on offer. Now more than ever local businesses need your support so go show them some love!

Make sure to tag me (@sophieseditblog on instagram or @sophiesedit on Facebook) if I influenced your decision to visit or similarly if you want to share your own experience please do!

Looking for somewhere else to visit? Check out my previous post on Dornoch here.

Where should I visit next? Let me know down below!

Much love,

Sophie x


Print shop is available here.

My Most Loved Recipes: Savoury Meals and Sweet Treats to Boost Your Week.

Instead of trying to alter or come up with some new recipes for here, I thought I’d share some of my favourites from fellow bloggers, chefs and websites. To share the love and all that. This list includes sweet treats and savoury meals, all pretty easy and equally delicious.

I know that it is hard to come up with new ideas and a lot of the time we end up eating the same thing over and over again. Hopefully, this will change that and you’ll end up with new staples for your cookbook.

Savoury Meals

BBC Good Food’s Sesame Salmon, Purple Sprouting Broccoli and Sweet Potato Mash

Image courtesy of linked website on BBC Good Food

Recipe is available here.

This has been a huge hit in both my flat in Edinburgh and at home. Full of flavour and healthy benefits, this recipe is super simple but super tasty!

I must admit I’ve never actually served it with the sweet potato and I always end up throwing any leftover broccoli that’s in the fridge (doesn’t necessarily have to be purple sprouting broccoli) into the tray. A good tip to make sure the broccoli gets cooked is putting it in a bowl with a small amount of water, covered with clingfilm and then put in the microwave for 2-3 mins before putting it on the tray. This way it should be properly cooked when finished.

Jessica Gavin’s Roasted Cauliflower Steaks

Image courtesy of Jessica Gavin’s website (available at the link for the recipe)

Recipe available Here.

Scroll to the bottom of the post on the recipe linked to get the full ingredient list and method.

When I say you NEED to try this, I mean you NEED to try it. Even if you aren’t a huge fan of cauliflower (like my sister) I promise this will convert you. The Cauliflower gets a nice lightly crispy texture with a soft inside bursting with flavours of garlic, paprika and salt. It says to serve with Coriander but I’ve never had it so never use it. It’s a recipe which you can alter depending on your preferences of flavour.

To serve with it I make Pea Purée. I boil a decent amount of peas, drain them and then put them in a blender (you will need quite a lot of peas to make a substantial amount of purée). Next add 2-3 tablespoons of natural yoghurt, salt and pepper and then some mixed herb seasoning or mint sauce (use whatever you have available) and blend. Make sure the mix is smooth and add any extras of the ingredients if needed; remember you can add ingredients but you can’t take away.

This recipe goes particularly well with couscous.

BBC Good Food’s Chicken, Sweet Potato and Coconut Curry

Recipe courtesy of BBC Good Food

Recipe available here.

This two step curry is one of my favourites. If you aren’t a massive fan of overly spicy foods but still love flavour or are looking for a curry great for both adults and kids then this is one you need to try. It’s my sisters go to and I get very excited when she makes it. I once gave my old flatmate a try of the curry and it was a massive hit. Just like any curry it tastes great the next day too!

My sister recommends also adding Garam Masala to the curry and if you are confident enough adjust certain flavours to taste. She will often include cumin or turmeric to the recipe as well. I’d probably suggest that this can also be easily made vegetarian too!

Mary Berry’s Foolproof Yorkshire Puddings

The first batch I made with this recipe!

Recipe can be found Here.

My Yorkshire puddings have become a huge hit in my house since coming home due to lockdown. I must admit I tried them once before and they turned out extremely deflated so I tried this recipe instead and they worked great! I get requested to make them on a weekly basis. It’s extremely easy and once you get the hang of it you can’t go wrong.

Make sure the oil is very hot and watch your hands when pouring the mixture into the tin. It’s also important that you leave them in for the required time because if you don’t they will collapse.

Jamie Oliver’s Messy Meatball Buns

Image courtesy of Jamie Oliver’s website available in the link below.

Recipe is available Here.

Now this isn’t the most attractive thing to eat I must admit but boy is it tasty! Filled with mozzarella, pesto and a rich tomato sauce, what is not to love about this!? It’s a firm favourite in my flat in Edinburgh and one of Mara’s (my flatmates) favourite things to make.

If you have leftover sauce it’s perfect to add to pasta and can be put in the freezer for a rainy day. If you don’t want to have this in a roll you can also make meatball subs out of them. Thankfully the recipe is now available online!

Sweet Treats

American Style Pancakes

Photo courtesy of BBC Food, available below.

Recipe is available Here.

I have struggled to get a decent pancake all my life and I must admit these aren’t like my granny’s pancakes which were amazing. However, they are pretty good and a recipe I can trust to give me results every time.

Expect fluffy, thick pancakes that go great with either savoury or sweet toppings.

Bon Appétit’s Best Chocolate Chip Cookies

Image courtesy of BA, website linked below.

Recipe is available Here.

Now I must put a disclaimer here before I even start telling you about these delicious cookies. I do not support the actions of the BA/Condé Nast team in terms of the treatment of their BIPOC staff and the lack of equality in their company. However, I support the staff who have worked tirelessly under these conditions as they are amazing chefs and provide excellent recipes. I just wish for better and hope the staff get what they deserve.

These cookies are probably the best ones I have ever made, deliciously soft on the inside with a slight bite on the outside. Gooey with a hint of sugary caramel to them. I highly recommend making them.

Jane’s Patisserie’s Chocolate Fudge Loaf Cake

Photo belongs to Sophie’s Edit.

Recipe is available Here.

If I am honest there are a lot of recipes I’d like to try from Jane’s website however I can very much recommend the one I have tried. It is great! A moist chocolate sponge, rich in flavour and soft in texture, it even got my mums approval.

Perfect to fill the stomach of any chocolate lover, this one is a must try. Plus the recipe makes a decent amount; the first time I tried it, we managed to get a whole loaf plus an additional 3 mini ones.

Mary Berry’s Banana Loaf

Photo courtesy of the website linked below

Recipe available Here.

Another tried and trusted recipe from the Queen of baking. This is perfect for any leftover banana’s that are starting to go off. Plus you can get inventive by adding in chocolate chips, cinnamon or pecans. Banana Bread is the perfect accompaniment to a good cup of tea on a rainy day.

Just like any baking the smell of it filling your house is irresistible.

Zoella’s Four Berry Pavlova

Photos courtesy of my sister

I am still trying to figure out whether attaching a Zoella recipe is going to get me hate or a lot of people cringing. I don’t understand why but sadly I see it too often (but that’s a whole other blog post in itself). Anyway, this pavlova recipe is very tasty. Perfect for eating on a nice day. My sister made this a month or so ago and it was demolished very quickly.

The good thing about a pavlova is that they are so light you can fit a lot more on your plate and thus, into your belly.

Recipe is available Here.

If you’re looking for any more recipes or want to check out the food section of my website, click here.


Well, that is basically all my culinary favourites divulged in one blog post. I hope you’ve enjoyed seeing the array of foods that you can now try and impress your friends and family with.

It’s good to switch it up every now and again plus you never know what will sneak its way into becoming a staple in your home.

The variety of meats, fish and veggies available above plus the endless amounts of sweet treats to accompany them means you are really spoilt for choice.

Enjoy!

Much love,
Sophie x


Recipe: Kirsty’s Crunchie Tiffin

If there is anything I’ve eaten a lot of in the past 3 weeks it is this stuff. It tastes very good. Yes tiffin is not the healthiest (by a mile) but whoever said good tasting things were never healthy is on point when it comes to this.

Filled with delicious layers of biscuit, chocolate and crunchie, there is simply nothing you cannot love about it. Plus you can easily swap the crunchie out for other sweet treats like maltesers.

A recipe for both kids and adults to enjoy while being relatively easy to make, means it is a win win recipe. What’s not to love?

Also, I might add, Kirsty is my twin sister and has been fuelling me with this fabulous treat for the past few weeks.


Ingredients

The Base:

  • 200g Milk Chocolate
  • 100g Unsalted Butter
  • 2 tbsp’s Golden Syrup
  • 125g Digestive Biscuits
  • 3 Crunchie Bars

The Topping:

  • 100g Milk Chocolate
  • 100g White Chocolate
  • 25g Unsalted Butter
  • 1 tsp Golden Syrup
  • 2 Crunchie Bars

Step 1: Put a heatproof bowl over a pan of simmering water (make sure the bowl does not touch the water).

Step 2: Add the Unsalted Butter and Golden Syrup (for the base) into the bowl and wait until fully melted (stir occasionally).

Step 3: Meanwhile you will need to prepare the base and the chocolate. Start with adding the digestive biscuits and crunchie bars in an airtight bag. Smash until broken up.

Tip: The biscuits should be a crumb like texture however if the crunchies are not fully broken, do not worry! Also keep an eye on the bag and make sure it doesn’t break, using a ladle is the perfect instrument for breaking this up!

Biscuits and Crunchies for the base
Biscuit base complete

Step 4: Chop the chocolate for the base finely. Once the butter and golden syrup mixture is fully melted, take it off the heat and add the chocolate to it.

Tip: It is important this is done off the heat and not stirred frequently as you risk splitting the mixture. If you do split the mixture slowly add cream and whip vigorously once cooler in temperature to bring back to a normal consistency (which will be slightly thicker than normal melted chocolate if you do split it.)

Step 5: Add this chocolate to the biscuit mixture and combine.

Step 6: Line a 20-25cm tin which is deep with baking parchment and spread out the chocolate biscuit mixture.

Tip: Use the base of a glass to flatten the mixture. This gives an even base for your topping to sit on.

Step 7: Now repeat the melting process for the topping; place the butter and syrup over the simmering heat.

Step 8: Again, chop the milk and white chocolate finely. Repeat step 4 for this, keeping in mind the chance of the mix splitting.

Step 9: You now want to add your melted chocolate to the top of the biscuit mix in your tin.

Step 10: Chop up your crunchies for the topping. This does not need to be small but keep in mind it will be chopped into bite size square pieces.

Tip: if you cut the crunchie down the centre horizontally and then cut smaller pieces from this you should get pieces that stand up.

Step 11: You will also get excess crumbs from the crunchie, simply sprinkle this on the top for added texture and less waste.

Step 12: Cover with clingfilm and refrigerate for 2 hours.

This can last a while if kept in the fridge in an airtight container. It also tastes better when cold.


And that’s it. The perfect tiffin for everyone to enjoy! It also makes a great gift because you can easily cut it up and divide it into whatever size you like.

It has quickly become one of my favourites and because it doesn’t actually need baked its relatively simple and not much can go wrong.

If you try it let me know by tagging me on Facebook or Instagram! I love to see your bakes!

Much love,

Sophie x


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2 Easy and Affordable Recipes for Lunch

Lunch time. The one time of day where I dread going into the kitchen to think of what to make. Being more of a creative person, part of me doesn’t want to waltz in there and purely make a sandwich or a plain salad. I want to rustle up something that is exciting yet doesn’t take the time of day to make.

Therefore, I’m sharing two recipes for easy but exciting lunches and also ways you can interchange items to keep it fresh. Lunch does not have to be boring (although there is nothing wrong with a sandwich)

Recipe 1: Sushi Bowl

Serves 3-4 people but can be amended for smaller portions.

Ingredients

  • Sushi Rice
    • 250g of sushi rice
    • 2 tbsps. Japanese Rice Wine Vinegar
    • 1 tbsp. Mirin
    • 2 tbsps. Caster Sugar
    • 1 tbsp. Salt

Alternative: In Supermarkets you can also find readymade sushi rice that just needs put in the microwave. These can be handy for smaller portions.

  • Toppings
    • handful of tomatoes
    • cucumber
    • pepper
    • carrot
    • beetroot
    • sesame seeds
    • Optional – Sticky Chicken or Salmon or any other meat.
    • crispy onions
    • Sriracha mayo

Method

Sushi Rice

Place your sushi rice in a bowl and wash with cold water, this needs repeated 3-4 times before draining in a sieve. Next add 330ml of water and the washed rice into a pan. Bring this to the boil and simmer for 10 mins with the lid on.

Tip: It is important to note that you should keep an eye on the rice regularly because it can very easily come out of the pan and bubble over.

Next turn the heat off and leave the pan to stand for 15-20 minutes with the lid on. While this is standing you should make the rice seasoning.

In a separate bowl mix together the above ingredients; Rice Wine Vinegar, Mirin, Caster Sugar and Salt (measurements above).

Transfer the rice into a bowl and fold in the seasoning mix (should be done gradually). Once mixed leave to cool (sometimes I don’t wait).

This should then be placed into your bowl of choice – you do not need too much sushi rice.

Toppings

The quantity of toppings are completely up to you, just remember that sushi rice is deceptively filling.

I cut my tomatoes in quarters and tend to use baby tomatoes. The cucumber is cut into match sticks while I tend to either peel the carrot into shavings or cut matchsticks out of them. With carrots I recommend shavings.

In order to fill 3 portions I usually use around half a pepper and again just cut them lengthways. The same with the beetroot (which I get out of a jar and cut).

Place each vegetable onto the top of your rice, I tend to place them into separate bits.

Toppings such as crispy onions and sesame seeds can be found in your local supermarket and easily add depth of flavour to the bowl.

Finally drizzle your sriracha mayo onto the top. This lightly adds moisture to the dish while incorporating a bit of heat.

Optional Topping: I also sometimes include Sticky Chicken (which is actually bought out of Tesco’s freezer section and they come on sticks which I then take off), smoked salmon or tuna is also a good topping or any other meat. I would advise shredding it and placing it onto the veg.

Alternatives: You can swap the sushi rice for the likes of wholegrain rice, other toppings include; Edamame beans, Red Cabbage, Radishes, Ginger (if you have it pickled ginger is a great topping), Avocado, plain sriracha also works, or you can simply add this to mayo and make your own.

Recipe 2: Fried Potato and Egg bowl

This was entirely thought up when I was starving and wanted something quick but tasty. Makes 2 portions.

Ingredients

  • 1 tin of Peeled New Potatoes in water (these are available from supermarkets and are ready cooked. There is nothing wrong with them and are also perfect for using in tray bakes)
  • Salt and Pepper to Season
  • 1-2 tsp of Italian Seasoning
  • 1 tsp of Paprika (or more to taste)
  • 1 tsp of garlic powder
  • Around 1 tbsp of butter
  • 1 large egg
  • sriracha

First you need to drain the potatoes and roughly chop them either into halves or quarters (they come in various sizes). Then melt a nob of butter in a frying pan. Transfer the potatoes into the pan and start frying them on a medium heat. Season with a good pinch of salt and pepper. Let this fry for a few minutes, while the butter is still wet you want to add the other seasoning ingredients onto the potatoes. This includes the Italian Seasoning, Paprika and Garlic Powder. The goal is for the potatoes to be slightly crispy.

Once the potatoes are finished transfer them into your bowl of choice. Now, in the same pan, you want to melt a bit more butter and crack your egg into the pan. This is where you need to act fast. An egg should be seasoned well with salt and pepper. I usually also add a shake of Italian seasoning and Paprika while the egg is cooking (you want it so it will soak into the egg). I cook my egg sunny side up, so you want the white to fully harden and no longer sit on the top. It’s a technique that may take time to master because you also want a runny egg. I must add it definitely doesn’t take too long.

Now transfer the egg onto the potatoes and drizzle with sriracha. Enjoy!

Tip: If like me you are going to eat the second portion the next day, make the egg on the day you are actually going to eat it and reheat the potatoes in a small amount of butter so you can get them extra crispy. Alternatively, you can also cook the potatoes in a small amount of vegetable oil on either day.

Alternatives: If you don’t have/want to use the new potatoes you can chop potatoes into little cubes and fry them instead (this will take considerably longer and it is probably easier to parboil them first), alternatively you can also use ready cubed potatoes often found in the freezer areas of supermarkets. The fried egg is also nice on pretty much any leftovers, I like adding it and the sriracha to leftover couscous with veg.


I know thinking of different things to cook can be challenging so I hope this helps.

Make sure to tag me in any photos of anything you make from my website, all socials are linked below.

Much Love,

Sophie x


Going Dairy-Free for a Week

Image belongs to Sophiesedit.com

Now before anyone says anything I did not go dairy free because I thought it was ‘cool’. A lot of people don’t get to choose this lifestyle and I don’t want to disregard that. However, I did go on it for health reasons which unfortunately this didn’t help.

It was worth a try.

Anyway, I thought it would be interesting to share what I learned/made this week and what dairy-free products I enjoyed.

Day 1 – Tuesday

The first day I didn’t quite anticipate how ‘difficult’ (couldn’t think of a better word because obviously it didn’t hurt me but you get what I mean) this would be. More because my house (parents household) is full of things with dairy, in fact 90% of the things probably had the dreaded dairy in it.

On the other hand it was the first day I tried dairy free milk. I must confess, I have tried almond milk before and absolutely hated it. So, this time, with recommendations from other bloggers I went for oat milk. Specifically Oat-ly’s ‘oat drink’ and I highly recommend it.

The oat drink made porridge taste ten times better with its creaminess and tea didn’t taste horrendous (I still prefer semi-skimmed milk in tea I think, but if I had to go dairy-free for the rest of my days I wouldn’t be angry at drinking purely oat milk).

The one thing I noticed about dairy-free ‘milks’ in general is the shocking price of them. I had to get two cartons of oat milk for a week which were £1.90 each. So, compared to normal milk prices and the amount you’d get in them, it wasn’t exactly cheap. *My student self cringed deeply at the price.*

Day 2 – Wednesday

After the realisation that this would be a bit harder than I first anticipated, mainly because my family kept eating chocolate or ice cream in front of me, I was determined to get into a good routine.

For me that starts with breakfast. As you read above, Oat milk made my porridge A LOT better. Its creamy texture infused with honey (probably a bit too much, but I love the stuff) and topped with strawberries and….. more honey, made my breakfast a 10/10 experience.

Day 3 – Thursday

Lunches and dinner were never exactly a huge problem. Thankfully when I got some dairy free butter I could make decent mash potato and just had to ignore the cheese sitting on the table when we had pasta or fajitas (which was more difficult than I’d like to admit). However, if you want a lunch recommendation Lidl’s pulled pork put into a wrap, then toasted is very tasty and so is a sushi bowl (if you want the recipe or a blog post on lunches let me know).

Sushi Bowl

Day 4 – Friday

I thought I’d dedicate this day to telling you my thoughts on dairy free butter.

As you can see I used the Vitalite Dairy free spread, which after being a devoted lover of butter wasn’t actually as bad as I thought it would be. Mash potato didn’t taste any different, nor did sandwiches or toast. It did have a slight after taste but as a whole I would recommend. I didn’t try it in baking though so I can’t quite tell you how versatile it is.

Day 5/6 – Saturday/Sunday

Now snacking was the thing I struggled with the most. Considering my mum bought a chocolate trifle, opened matchmakers in front of me, and my sister ate crunchy rocks opposite me, I was desperate for a chocolate fix. Thus, I made one of the best chocolate cakes I’ve had/made and it was VEGAN. I’m sharing the recipe in a few days (hence no photos yet, I’ll leave you in anticipation) because I tweaked it but if you want the original its from Nigella’s ‘dark and sumptuous chocolate cake’ available here. It was just the right amount of chocolate and was lovely and moist. I highly recommend making it.

What I did miss with the cake was ice cream, something which I was scared to try considering texture and taste plays a huge part in the icy delight. However, mum found this ice cream in the co-op and I was surprised by how good it was, you definitely couldn’t tell it was dairy-free. (In fact when I stopped being dairy-free I continued eating this and also I didn’t want to waste anything).

Day 7/8 – Monday/Tuesday

I thought I’d put these last two days together so I can round off my thoughts down below while not boring you too much. Adding to the above I highly recommend Oreos and Chocolate Bourbons as some dairy free snacks, plus fruit of course. I think I went through 2+ packs of Oreos (which yes is shameful but I didn’t have much else).

Monday was the day I finally tried Tesco’s free-from ‘White Choc Buttons’, let’s just say I wish I hadn’t. My mum said exactly the right thing to describe them ‘they don’t have the silkiness of ‘normal’ chocolate and have a horrid aftertaste’. Severely disappointing – I know I shouldn’t necessarily expect much when it comes to dairy free chocolate but I wouldn’t recommend them at all, go for a chocolate biscuit (they taste much better).

I have to admit that this is one thing I have noticed when looking at the dairy free/free-from selection is that everything doesn’t look that appealing. Or it makes you feel isolated for not eating a certain ingredient. In my opinion it would be more helpful to compile brands that you wouldn’t think are dairy free/don’t advertise as free-from instead of plastering it all over the packaging.


Final Thoughts – I must say I didn’t feel any radical changes and I don’t weigh myself so I can’t say it altered my weight (which I don’t know how I would feel about promoting anyway) however on the first day I did feel particularly faint during the afternoon but I can’t clarify if that was related. I got hungrier a lot quicker especially before dinner and did get frustrated at how much things had dairy in it which I didn’t quite register before.

However, I did really enjoy the oat milk. Plus I am a very competitive person so even though it didn’t improve my health the way I wanted it to (which I won’t go into detail about) it did make me have something to stick to and think about.

If you have any dairy free recommendations which you’d like to suggest to anyone currently dairy free, please leave them below.

Much love,

Sophie x