[GUEST BLOG] Selina is Departmental Administrator and Equality Representative for the Department of Pharmacy and the Department of Forensic & Analytical Science. She loves cooking and is working on her own cookbook. Try out her Green Week recipes below!
You may already have heard of Meatless Monday, the campaign to try to get all us of to reduce our reliance on meat by encouraging consumption of at least one vegetable based meal each week. In addition there is also the Love Food Hate Waste campaign to try to get us to think more sensibly about the food we buy to reduce the amount we needlessly throw away. Why not celebrate Green Week at King’s with a 5 day menu of cheap and nutritional meals based on seasonal vegetables, love your leftovers and do your bit to reduce food waste and help the environment?
Simple, cheap and easy
All the recipes will feed at least two people but are easily adaptable for more by increasing the main ingredients. Read the hints and tips beneath each day if you are vegan, have dietary sensitivities or are more active and have larger appetites (note that these additions will increase the overall cost). All the required cooking is simple and quick, (you won’t need to be the next Master Chef hopefully) and you only need a minimum of implements (a couple of pans, a hand blender, a hob, an oven plus a thermos flask or leak proof plastic tub for the lunches).
The cost from the main four supermarkets is approximately £35 for two but you can reduce this further (and increase your green credentials) by shopping for the fresh ingredients at a local market. Breakfasts are not included but if you wish, porridge, yoghurt and seasonal or dried fruits are all good options which will add little to the overall costs. Similarly you may want to supplement the meals with some healthy snacks such as fruit, rice cakes or (unsalted) nuts. You will spend a little more time in the kitchen but enjoy it, make it social, involve your friends and family too. As well as providing fuel for our bodies, eating together is food for the soul.
Garlic, 1 bulb
Red chillies, 3-4
Butternut (or other) squash
Cherry tomatoes, small punnet
Red pepper, 1
Fresh rosemary or thyme
Wholemeal bread (get a decent loaf, not a bagged pre-sliced one)
|Parmesan (or other hard cheese)
Spaghetti, whole wheat
Macaroni, whole wheat
Rapeseed (or other vegetable) oil
Cream cheese, small tub
Wholemeal chapattis (or other flat bread)
Vegetable stock cubes (or powder)
Pumpkin seeds, small bag
Chick peas, 1 tin
Tahini, small jar
Only five days, give it a go!
Dinner: whole wheat spaghetti with kale pesto
Drain and rinse a tin of chick peas and place in a container that is suitable for a hand blender. Add 2-3 tablespoons (tbsp) of tahini, juice of half a lemon, 1-2 peeled cloves of garlic, 2-3 tbsp rapeseed oil and a little water. Blend until smooth, adding a little more water until you have a soft puree. Season with salt and pepper and drizzle a little more oil over the top. Serve with raw carrot sticks and rice cakes reserving half the hummus for lunch the following day.
Kale pesto spaghetti
This recipe is adapted from the original by Jack Monroe first published in the Guardian.
Place all of the kale into a container suitable for a hand blender (you may need to do this in batches) with one red chilli (de-seeded if you don’t like too much heat), juice from half a lemon, 3 tbsp rapeseed oil, a good handful of grated Parmesan (or other hard cheese) and some water. Blend until you have a thick green paste. Cook 150-180g spaghetti (whole wheat is better for you, is more filling and tastes great) in plenty of boiling water and whilst this is cooking grate one slice of bread into crumbs and add to a dry frying pan with a chopped chilli and squeeze of lemon juice. Toast the crumbs carefully, stirring frequently to ensure they don’t burn. When done set this to one side. Once the pasta is cooked, drain, and add 3-4 tbsp of cream cheese and 5-6 tbsp of the kale pesto (reserving the rest for later in the week). Stir together so that the cheese melts and the pesto covers the spaghetti. Serve the pasta in bowls covered with the crunchy spicy bread crumbs.
Hints and tips
If you are diary intolerant or vegan you can substitute the Parmesan for a soy alternative or cashew nuts. You can replace the cream cheese with silken tofu but blend this with the pesto before adding to the hot spaghetti. There are many good gluten free pastas available and the bread crumb topping can be substituted with mixed seeds, toasted in the same way. Any excess pesto will keep in the fridge for a few days or can be frozen.
Lunch: sandwiches with hummus, grated carrot and spinach
Dinner: roast butternut risotto
Make up a couple of doorstoppers with the remaining hummus, some grated carrot and fresh spinach for lunch.
Roast Butternut Risotto
Chop the squash into medium sized chunks and drizzle with a little oil and salt and pepper. Add some chopped rosemary or thyme and roast in a preheated oven at 180 degrees for 20-30 minutes or until just soft. Whilst this is cooking chop one onion and 2-3 sprigs of fresh rosemary or thyme and fry slowly with a little oil until soft, translucent and fragrant. Add the rice and stir to coat in the onion mixture. Add enough hot water to just cover the rice and crumble in a stock cube. Stir gently, adding a little more water as necessary until the rice is soft and all the liquid has been absorbed. Take off the heat and stir through half of the roasted squash (reserving the other half for tomorrow’s salad). Serve with a little Parmesan if liked (optional).
Hints and Tips
Kabocha or onion squash are very good alternatives to butternut, try one you have not had before. There are many good varieties of gluten free bread for the sandwiches. If you don’t want to add the cheese, you can always add some toasted crumbs or seeds as the night before.
Lunch: roast butternut and spinach salad served with rice cakes and any remaining cream cheese
Dinner: celeriac soup with kale pesto
Roast butternut squash and spinach salad
Combine the cooled leftover roasted squash with several large handfuls of raw spinach. Add a chopped chilli if you like some heat and a good handful of toasted pumpkin seeds. There should be enough oil on the squash to oil the salad but if not add a drizzle more just before eating. Take a wedge of lemon to squeeze over too. Use up the leftover cream cheese on a few rice cakes to supplement the salad.
Lots of chopping with this one! Chop an onion, the leek, one potato and the celeriac into small pieces and sweat in a little oil with any remaining rosemary/thyme until soft. Be careful not to let the leek colour, you don’t want it to become bitter. Top up with hot water until all the veg is covered and crumble in a stock cube. Simmer gently for 20-25 minutes until all the vegetables are cooked. Take the pan off the heat and blend with a hand blender. It’s nice to leave a little texture but it’s up to you if you prefer a smooth soup. Retain half for lunch tomorrow and serve with a swirl of the bright green kale pesto and a hunk of wholemeal bread.
Hints and tips
If you cannot locate a celeriac, use some celery or cauliflower and additional potatoes. Spread the rice cakes with some remaining tahini if you are vegan. If you have fancy a more substantial salad add some feta, paneer or some firm tofu (roast this with the butternut squash the night before). Alternatively add a small tin of drained cannellini beans and stir through to coat with the dressing.
Lunch: leftover celeriac soup and kale pesto
Dinner: carrot and lentil curry with chapatti
Take the leftover soup to university in a thermos or a suitable container to heat up in a microwave if you have access to one. Take the pesto in a separate container to add just before eating and bring a slice or two of any remaining bread or rice cakes.
Carrot and lentil curry
This is based on an original recipe published by Waitrose.
Heat 1-2 tbsp of rapeseed oil in a large pan and add one chopped onion, 1-2 cloves of garlic (crushed), 1-2 inches of fresh ginger (peeled and grated) and 4 large carrots (chopped) and cook on a medium heat for 5-6 minutes stirring frequently. Add half a teaspoon of ground turmeric, 1 teaspoon of ground cumin and 1tbsp of your favourite curry powder and cook for a further 1-2 minutes. Add 200g red lentils (rinsed under some cold water) and stir so that they are covered in the spiced onion and carrot mixture. Add 1 litre of water, seasoning to taste and crumble in a stock cube (optional). Bring to the boil then cover and reduce the heat and simmer until the lentils are cooked (about 20 minutes). Spoon out about a third into a separate container for lunch the following day then stir through the remaining fresh spinach from earlier in the week into the larger portion in the pan until the leaves have wilted. Serve with some wholemeal chapattis and a sprinkling of fresh coriander.
Lunch: lentil dhal soup with chapatti
Dinner: Spicy mac ’n’ cheese
Lentil dhal soup
Thin the reserved lentil curry with a little water until you have a soup like consistency. Take to university in either a thermos or container suitable for reheating in a microwave. Pack any remaining fresh coriander in some damp kitchen paper and cling film to add to the soup just before eating. Serve with a chapatti saved from the previous night.
Spicy mac ‘n’ cheese
Cook the macaroni in plenty of boiling water and pre heat the oven to 180 degrees. Grate any remaining bread (stale or otherwise) and combine with any remaining cheese. Gently fry a chopped onion and 1-2 cloves of garlic (crushed) in a little oil until soft. Add a chopped red pepper, the cherry tomatoes (halved) and a little fresh red chilli (optional) and cook until you have a thick sauce. Drain the macaroni and add to the sauce, stirring to coat the pasta then transfer to an oven proof dish and sprinkle over the crumb and cheese topping. Place the dish in the preheated oven and cook for 15-20 minutes or until the topping is golden and crunchy.
Hints and Tips
Swop the pasta for gluten free and use a seed or nut topping instead of the cheese and crumb mixture if preferred.
Enjoy, and let us know what you think below!