If you live on campus at the University of Surrey, you will definitely know what and where the Surrey shop is. But is it your first port of call for your weekly grocery shop? If you answered yes, then chances are you really don’t go all Masterchef in the kitchen! Well fret not, what comes next will have your taste buds (and stomach) rejoice in eternal gratitude. Oh and not to mention your bank account too, kind of.
This article will give you some relatively simple recipes that can keep you fuelled up for a long day of boring lectures (We mean very exciting lectures, of course).
Disclaimer: if you’re seeking salad/muesli types of healthy food that don’t actually require any cooking, then these are not the droids you are looking for! Navigate between the recipes using the tabs below.
Egg in the Basket
As you all probably know, breakfast is the most important meal of the day! Kick-starting your day and all that. Well, one extremely simple recipe is Egg in the basket. The photo shows you exactly what it is: an egg cooked in a bread with a hole. Yes you read that right, it’s cooked IN a bread, not on it.
1 Slice of bread
Butter / margarine spread / olive oil
Grated Cheese (optional)
Take a slice of bread, and use a small cup to press on the centre of the bread. The aim is to cut out a small and perfectly round hole in the bread.
If the hole is too small, there won’t be enough space for the egg, which means it will just spill out onto the rest of the bread and you just end up with normal French toast. And if the hole is too big, then, well, you will practically be eating a fried egg. And it will make flipping the bread much more difficult because it will be very flimsy. Trust me, I’ve tried it and it’s not pretty.
You can choose to spread the butter/margarine/oil on the bread first (both sides), before toasting it, or the other way is fine too. As we live in a democracy, it’s entirely up to you! Go freedom!
It might be best to toast the bread first is because if you don’t, and you try to make it crispy by frying it, chances are you will end up burning the entire thing. And remember, you just want the bread slightly toasted so it’s firm. This makes flipping much easier too. So toasting it with the minimum pre fixed time setting is fine. But that varies, so just make sure you get a slightly firmer bread without the colour changing.
To grease up the bread first instead of heating the oil in a pan and letting the bread soak it up is purely a health reason: you can use less oil. If you want to know what I mean, you can try the other method and see for yourself. Lesson of the day: bread soaks things up way better than a sponge.
And also, it reduces the chances of burning. Again, I’ve tried it and it REALLY was not pretty.
Time to get the flame on! Turn your stove on to the highest heat setting as you really want a high heat to fry the bread till it’s crispy. Then heat up the oil (the amount depends on whether you have greased your bread beforehand) before putting the bread in.
Try to flatten the bread as much as possible. Due to their slightly concave shape [if you’re not sure what that means, it basically looks like this: )( ], the egg will not stay in the hole but will spill out just because it can. And this will mean you basically end up with a French toast, again.
When the bread is flattened and fried till slightly golden brown, turn down the heat slightly, and add a bit more oil into the hole and crack the egg in ASAP. You will have to do this extremely quickly, otherwise the bread will just soak up the oil. This oil will prevent the egg from sticking to the pan, which will result in the yolk bursting when you try to flip it. And we all know that this dish is only Instagram/snapchat worthy if it’s all nice and pretty (i.e. yolk intact).
Optional: this is the stage where you can scatter some grated cheese over the egg to give it some flavour. The amount and surface area is, again, entirely up to you.
Give it some time before you flip it, because if the egg is not cooked enough on one side, flipping it will only cause the egg to drop/leak out.
When you think it’s ready, FLIP!
After the flip, you just wait a bit more and you can choose to flip it again if you want it crispier or a darker colour. And when you’re satisfied, then it’s time to take it out of the pan and dig in!
Just kidding, of course you’ll have to snap some photos first before you dig in. And if it’s gone cold by the time you’re done with getting the perfect shot, just pop it back in the toaster for a very short while and it will be nice and hot once again!
Extra tip: remember the round bits of bread that were cut out and neglected from step 1? Well you can grease them up and fry them the same way. For these, you can make them extra flat so it can be fried to a crisp perfection. Top it off with some grated cheese and voilà! Extra delicious goodness to go with your egg in a basket.
Dauphinoise potatoes, baked chicken with lemon and red pepper
We all know that lunch is perhaps the most neglected meal in a way because it is half way through the day, and you might not actually have time to get a proper meal while rushing between lectures. Hence you always end up with those ready-made sandwiches, baguettes, pasta salads etc. (you get the point: snore fest). Well if you do manage to find some time back to your kitchen, these 2 recipes will be simple and yet still very filling. In fact, it’s so simple that you pretty much just chop things up and put them all in the oven. These can be made the night before and still taste as great the next day; if not, even better. So let’s not tease your appetites anymore and get a move on!
3 garlic cloves finely chopped
450g potatoes, thinly sliced (the type doesn’t really matter that much, but preferably larger ones)
300ml double cream
Ground black pepper
Baked chicken with lemon and red pepper
Chicken thigh fillets deboned and flattened
1 lemon, half the lemon will be thinly sliced and quartered, the other half will be juiced
1 red pepper cut into small inch chunks
Ground black pepper
And that’s all the ingredients you need! See I wasn’t kidding, it’s really simple!
Let’s start with the potatoes
Preheat the oven to 170oC.
Grease the dish/baking tray (where the potatoes will be cooked in) with butter. A LOT of butter.
Pour the double cream into a large mixing bowl and add in a small chunk of butter (around 1 inch cube), the chopped garlic, teaspoon of salt and pepper and mix well.
Then add in the potato slices and ensure each slice gets coated with a layer of the cream mixture.
Lay all the slices out into the dish/baking tray (in whichever way you want) and pour in all the remaining cream.
Put the dish/baking tray into the oven (around mid-shelf) and cook for 1 ¼ hour.
After 1 ¼ hour is up, increase the heat to 200oC and cook for a further 15 minutes until the top layer is golden. If you want it to be all the more sinful and yummier, you could add a bit of grated/shredded cheese on the top before you increase the heat to 200 oC. This will give it an awesome cheesy crust!
Take it out of the oven, let it cool for a bit and dig in!!!
And now on to the chicken. If you wanted to, you could prepare the potatoes first, and put it to one side while you start the preparation on the chicken. And when it’s all done, you could put it into the oven together! If this is the case, the chicken will go in the top shelf, and the potatoes will go in the middle (if it fits) or lower shelf. Don’t mix them up, otherwise you’ll end up with burnt potatoes and undercooked chicken!
Preheat the oven to 170oC.
Rub the chicken thighs with just a little bit of salt. Ensure the entire piece is coated very slightly. If the chicken looks obviously coated with a layer of salt (i.e. looks like there was a snowstorm), then you have obviously put too much. Remember too much salt is bad for you! Think hypertension, damaged kidneys, etc. you get my point.
Add the chicken and sliced red pepper onto a piece of foil, placed in a baking tray. Remember the foil has to be large enough to wrap all the ingredients up later.
Sprinkle some black pepper and dried parsley over each piece of chicken.
Place the quartered lemon slices onto the chicken (around 2 slices on each piece), and the remaining slices can just be scattered between the chicken.
Squeeze the lemon (the other half) over all the ingredients. Be sure to remove any seeds, otherwise they will make everything taste incredibly bitter (unless you’re into that sort of thing, and no judgements there).
It’s time to wrap it up (get it?) and place it into the oven for 30 minutes.
When the time’s up, take it out and make sure the chicken is thoroughly cooked. You can do this by cutting up a slice and see if the juices run clear. If it’s still bloody, then back into the oven for another 10 minutes. But this shouldn’t be the case, as this recipe has been tested by yours truly. So if you have followed all the instructions carefully, then everything should be cooked by the 30 minutes mark!
Well time to whip out your phones and take all the pictures you want. And when you’re done, it’s clobbering time! Well, clobber through this simple yet yummy feast. Ok you should get a move on before you miss your next lecture!
Bloody Mary Linguine
Well there’s no better way to end the day than with a uniquely tasty dish. You might be a huge fan of tomato based pastas like spaghetti Bolognese, marinara, etc. but eating them all the time is starting to get boring. Here is something refreshingly new. And for an added bonus, if you love vodka then you’ll definitely love this dish! Oh come on, I’m sure you have a bottle (or several bottles) of vodka lying around in your flat. This dish is called Bloody Mary Linguine, served with a side of a devilish chilli butter shrimps/chicken. And yes, it’s like the drink but only much, MUCH better.
Ingredients you will need:
2 tbsp Olive oil
1 red onion finely diced
3 garlic cloves finely chopped
1-2 tsp Tabasco sauce
1-2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
½ tsp salt (Or if you want it to be more similar to an actual Bloody Mary, you can use celery salt. However you can’t get that at the Surrey Shop. But fret not, it is available at Tesco which is just a 10 minutes’ walk away)
1 tbsp dried parsley
1 can of chopped tomatoes
Ground black pepper (to taste)
Grated cheese (optional)
Chilli butter shrimps
1 red chilli finely chopped
3 garlic cloves finely chopped
3 tbsp dried parsley
1 tsp salt
1/3 stick butter/margarine
Ground black pepper (to taste)
Prawns (or diced chicken, whichever you prefer) (quantity is, again, up to you)
I know the list of ingredients might be a bit lengthy but don’t get frightened, they don’t actually require that much preparation. Now let’s crack on!
Boil some water in a large pot, and sprinkle a pinch of salt.
When the water has boiled, add in the linguine. Cook till your preferred hardness. Usually this will take around 12 minutes, but then again that depends on the brand of pasta you get and your preference.
When it’s done, keep 2 cups of pasta water aside and drain the rest of it. Add some olive oil to the drained pasta and toss it to ensure every strand is coated with a thin layer of oil. This will prevent your pasta from clumping together as it cools, thus not ending up with a block of linguine.
Now, on to the long awaited Bloody Mary sauce! You go to a mirror and say Bloody Mary 3 times, and… Just kidding!
On the highest heat setting, heat up the olive oil till it is nice and hot. You can test it by dipping your finger in, but that’s highly NOT recommended! Actually, please don’t do that.
Add in the red onions and garlic and stir fry them. Season them with the Tabasco sauce, Worcestershire sauce, salt/celery salt, dried parsley and vodka. Continue stir frying them till the entire kitchen (or the flat, in fact) smells amazing. This will take a few short minutes.
Then add in the can of chopped tomatoes, and add some water to the can before adding it into the pan (in order to not waste any bit of tomato-ey goodness). Continue stirring the sauce in order to not let anything burn. This is not a paella, so a toast-ey flavour is not what you’re after!
Then turn the heat down to low and add the 2 cups of pasta water to the sauce and stir well. This will ensure that your pasta sauce is silky smooth. Let this boil and reduce until very little liquid remains and it becomes a very rich and thick sauce. This will take around 8-10 minutes. While you wait, move on to the chilli butter shrimps (or chicken).
In another pan, heat up the butter/margarine on a high heat. Then add in the chilli, garlic, dried parsley, salt and black pepper. Stir fry them for 2 to 3 minutes.
Add the meat in and continue stir frying until it is tender and thoroughly cooked. Remove from heat and dish onto a plate.
When the sauce has been reduced to a thick liquid, add in the linguine and mix well. When it’s done, you can remove from heat and serve it. You can season it with black pepper and grated cheese but as per normal, it is entirely your choice!
And, ladies and gentlemen, dinner is served.
Whilst you look at these 3 delicious recipes, you might think that we lied about being able to get all these ingredients from the Surrey Shop. But the Surrey Shop is indeed THAT magical and does carry them all! Talk about efficacy.
And on that note, we have reached the end of a long days’ worth of recipes (and article!). So thank you, and well done for having stayed with me right till the end! So I shall bid my fond farewell and retreat to a massive food coma. I mean off to do some revision. In the meantime, bon appétit!