We’ve now reached the exam period, where fellow housemates will be stressed out with revision. But in a couple of weeks time, it’ll all be over, and you can get back to enjoying the last few days together before you all head off to your respective homes over summer.
Now, it’s a well-known fact that everyone likes eating; and everyone likes to be surprised with treats every once in a while. Here are a few recipes that can be followed to win over the hearts of your housemates and having them missing you over the summer months.
You could even all arrange to have a meal together after exams, where a couple of you make a starter, a couple of you make the main, and a couple of you tackle the dessert.
Chicken & Chorizo Paella (serves 4)
• 110g cured chorizo, sliced
• 1tbsp sweet smoked paprika
• 1tsp hot paprika
• Knob of butter
• 3 chicken breasts, cut into pieces
• 300g paella or risotto rice
• 1l hot chicken stock
• 1 red pepper, sliced
• A handful of finely chopped, fresh, flat-leaf parsley
1. Heat a large pan over medium heat and dry-fry the chorizo until golden. Remove from the pan and set aside.
2. Add the chicken to the pan, sprinkling in the sweet smoked paprika and hot paprika. Cook for 6-7 minutes; then remove the chicken from the pan and set aside.
3. Heat a knob of butter in the pan and stir in the rice, then add 1 litre of hot chicken stock, stir in well, and cook for 10 minutes.
4. Return the chorizo and chicken to the pan along with the red pepper. Cook for a further 5 minutes until the rice is tender.
5. Stir a handful of finely chopped parsley into the paella and serve immediately.
Butternut Squash, Spinach & Ricotta Lasagne (serves 6)
• 30ml olive oil
• 1 butternut squash, peeled, deseeded and cubed
• 25g butter
• 25g plain flour
• 600ml (1 pint) semi-skimmed milk
• 225g washed and ready-to-use baby leaf spinach
• 250g ricotta
• 1tsp freshly grated nutmeg
• 6 pre-cooked lasagne sheets
• 50g freshly grated parmesan
1. Preheat the oven to 200°C (180°C fan). Put oil in a large roasting tin and add squash and 1tbsp water. Roast for 25 minutes, tossing halfway through.
2. To make the white sauce, put the butter, flour and milk in a small pan and bring slowly to the boil, whisking constantly. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for 5minutes or until the white sauce has thickened slightly and coats the back of a wooden spoon generously.
3. Put 1tbsp water in a pan and heat. Add the spinach, cover and cook until leaves are just wilted.
4. Add the ricotta and nutmeg to the white sauce, and season with salt and pepper.
5. Layer the lasagne in a dish, starting with the squash, then the spinach, lasagne and cheese sauce, seasoning as you go. Sprinkle the grated cheese on top.
6. Cook in the oven at 200°C for 30-35 mininutes, or until the cheese is golden on top and the pasta is cooked. Serve and enjoy!
Raspberry & White Chocolate Blondies (serves 12)
• 115g margarine
• 115g caster sugar
• 2 medium eggs
• 125g plain flour
• 200g white chocolate, chopped
• 115g fresh raspberries
1. Preheat the oven to 190°C (170°C). Grease an 18cm square tin.
2. Melt the margarine and add half of the chocolate until smooth.
3. Whisk the eggs and sugar in a bowl until creamy and slightly thickened. Sieve the flour into the bowl and fold in gently with the chocolate mixture; then add half the remaining chocolate and half the raspberries.
4. Pour the mixture into the tin, and sprinkle the remaining chocolate and raspberries on top.
5. Bake in the oven for 35-45 minutes until golden. Leave to cool before cutting into squares and eating!
Salted Caramel Chocolate Cake - for keen bakers only! (Serves 9)
• 115g salted butter, plus extra for greasing
• 225g plain chocolate (70% cocoa)
• 150ml milk
• 225g light muscovado sugar
• 2tsp vanilla extract
• 2 large eggs, separated
• 150ml crème fraiche
• 225g self-raising flour
• 1tsp baking powder
• 1tbsp sea salt crystals
• Chocolate truffles, to decorate
For the Caramel:
• 450g caster sugar
• 2bsp golden syrup
• 115g salted butter
• 125ml double cream
• 2tbsp crème fraiche
For the Chocolate Ganache:
• 225g plain chocolate (70-80% cocoa solids)
• 250ml double cream
• 1tsp sea salt crystals
1. First, make the caramel. Pour 100ml water into a large saucepan – add the sugar and golden syrup, gently cook until melted, then turn up the heat and cook until the caramel is a dark golden-brown. Swirl the pan occasionally to prevent sticking, but don’t stir. Turn off the heat and whisk in the butter, double cream and crème fraiche. Whisk until smooth, then leave to cool until slightly set.
2. Secondly, make the cake. Heat the oven to 180°C (160°C fan). Grease a cake tin and line the base with baking parchment. Melt the chocolate, butter and milk in a large pan over a low heat, stirring until smooth. Remove the heat, then beat the sugar and vanilla. Beat the egg yolks and crème fraiche together, then mix into the chocolate mixture, followed by the flour and baking powder. Whisk the egg whites in a clean white bowl until stiff peaks form. Stir 1/3 egg white into the cake mix, the gently fold in the rest along with the sea salt. Pour into the prepared tin for 40-50 minutes until firm to the touch. Leave to cool.
3. Thirdly, make the ganache. Heat the chocolate and cream together over a low heat until the chocolate has melted. Pour into a bowl to cool.
4. To assemble, slice the cooled cake in half horizontally. Sandwich together with the caramel. Spread the ganache over the top of the cake and sprinkle with some sea salt crystals and chocolate truffles.
Recipes taken from BBC Good Food and All Recipes.
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