Despite the stereotype of pot noodles and microwave meals, writers at The Siren know that students are more than capable of cooking up a great dish. Roisin O’Connor has a couple of ideas for your kitchen she thinks you’ll like, so why not try them out?

Feeling the temperature drop as we get closer to November? Different weather calls for different food, and recently my cooking has involved more spice and rich flavour to compensate for the fact that me and my housemates don’t turn the heating on until we can see our breath in the living room.

Starter

Stuffed Roast Peppers with Couscous and Mozzarella (Serves 2)

Very simple, very quick, and very tasty! Put the couscous in a pan and pour boiling water over the top, then cover with a lid and leave for five minutes until the water is fully absorbed. Then just slice two fresh red peppers in half, stuff with the couscous and add a slice of mozzarella on top, roasting in the oven at gas mark 5 for five to ten minutes before serving with a drizzle of olive oil.

Main

Chicken with Goat’s Cheese, Butternut Squash Mash and Green Beans (Serves 2)

This dish is great- it has loads of colour and flavour and the butternut squash is a lovely alternative to your bog-standard potato mash. Use two chicken fillets (preferably organic) and slice a slit across the side of each one. Stuff with goats cheese, then prepare the marinade, which is made from one red chilli, finely chopped ginger (a piece about the size of your thumb), one clove of garlic, tarragon, herbes de Provence, and salt and pepper.

Cut the chilli in half and remove the seeds before slicing finely and adding to the chopped ginger, garlic and herbs. Mix together with a pestle and mortar before adding a dash of olive oil, then rub into the chicken, leaving to marinate for 30 minutes before cooking in the oven on a shallow roasting tin at gas mark 6 for 45 minutes, making sure to turn every 15 and cover with the juices.

After the chicken has been in the oven for twenty minutes, cut away the skin of the butternut squash and slice in half to remove the seeds before chopping into small pieces and boiling until soft. Then use a fork and add 70ml of double cream, mashing until smooth. Put the green beans in another pan of boiling water with a pinch of salt and boil for ten minutes, then drain, and serve everything up while it’s still nice and hot.

Dessert

Lemon Drizzle Cake (Serves 6)

I use lemons in both savoury and sweet dishes during winter because it brings back those beautiful memories of hot summer days when you weren’t forced to walk around wearing five layers of clothing. You’ll need 220g of caster sugar, 225g of butter, the zest and juice of three lemons, 4 eggs, whisked, 240g of self-raising flour, a teaspoon of baking powder, and icing sugar.

Preheat the oven to gas mark 5. Beat the butter and sugar in a large mixing bowl until pale and creamy, then add three quarters of the lemon zest. Gradually whisk the eggs into the mixture (don’t worry if it looks lumpy) then sift in the flour and baking powder and fold gently.

Line the base and sides of a deep cake tin with butter then add a handful of flour and shake until the flour has coated the inside. Tip in the mixture and bake for an hour and fifteen minutes.

The result should be that the cake is light and fluffy: perfect when served with crème fraiche or vanilla ice cream.

Want to let us know how these recipes went for you, or have your own ideas you think we should try? Leave a comment, or email thesirenswansea@hotmail.co.uk

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