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Pasta science and brownie love

I thought I'd been studying hard before. I was so wrong.

With my end of year exams now a matter of weeks away, I'm closeting myself away and thrusting my nose ever deeper into the books. Happily, some of the stuff that I thought was super hard at the start of the year now seems simple, and other bits along the way have fallen into place. There's still more material to digest and memorise than I can possibly get around to, but I've three weeks without lectures to do what I can. I am, for now at least, feeling positive.

I'm already mentally making lists of things to do once the hellish exams are all over - friends I can see, exhibitions I can visit, new places I can eat, and all the cooking and blogging I can do once again.

In the meantime, food is pretty much fuel for me. Not that I was ever a gifted photographer, but this is going to be a pretty round-up of recent meals, folks. I'm sorry.

Still, it's not like it didn't have its highlights - check out this enormous pancake stack. Well, maybe it was more like a stack of dinky drop scones, but either was it was phenomenal. There was no maple syrup in the house, so the sugar content came from some golden syrup instead. I found some blackcurrants in the freezer that were so old they probably should get a telegram from the queen, but I chucked them in there anyway. No digestive emergency resulted, so I'm calling that a win.

And then there was pasta! What self-respecting student doesn't live on pasta?

I'm a firm believer that the shape of pasta affects the taste in some way. The more you like the layout of your pasta, the more you convince yourself it tastes good. I'm no exception - serve me pasta, and I'll turn my little snout up in disappointment. Serve me exactly the same meal but with a more elaborate pasta shape and I'll be all over it like a rash.

Case in point: here's some vegetables and some ajver combined with trottole pasta. Even better than trottole, it was multicoloured trottole! Seriously, it was the highlight of my day. Granted, the day didn't have a lot of promise to start with, but it was the highlight nonetheless.

Trottole, so my half-arsed Googling tells me, translates as 'spins', and came about after pasta dough was rolled around an umbrella handle. I dare say that's all a load of cobblers, but I like the story nonetheless. Who doesn't like a bit of food with history?

Not quite as steeped in history, but using almost as bright as palette, is this chirashi.

Chirashi is basically a sushi roll when you can't be arsed to make the sushi roll. You just put all the ingredients - veggies, sushi rice, what have you -  in a bowl and voila, you have your chirashi. (Feel free to call in scattered sushi or sushi salad if you're not feeling so grand.)

Mine had broad beans, carrot, and red pepper in, and my staple dressing of mirin, soy sauce, rice vinegar, and tahini. All the flavours of sushi (or close!) and none of the effort - that's my kind of food right now!

In keeping with my newfound love of convenience (found about the same time I decided I had to do twice as much revision a day!) I invested in some Follow Your Heart Casear dressing, and have been using it liberally since.

I even made a sort of vegan chicken caesar salad with Fry's chicken-style burgers cut up and, randomly, some broccoli added. Is a love of broccoli a universal thing? I swear I have a powerful craving for the little cruciferous gem some days that I never had as a pregan. I even did that thing you're meant to do and put the dressing in the bowl, then add the lettuce and swirl it around rather than pour it onto the leaves. Maybe I had some spare time that day or something...

And with the spare croutons, I topped this butternut squash soup. I swear this is the first time I made some croutons that were actually good. Chop up bread, add a bit of olive oil, onion powder, and salt, and then bake in a medium oven until crisp all over. It might not be rocket science, but I've still never managed it until now. The shame, the shame.

But what's the quickest and best form of food that there is for a student? The kind that arrives unbidden! Mr Flicking the Vs brought back the eighth known wonder of the world last time he ended up in Camden, from the lovely Cookies and Scream.

Said eighth wonder is a delight which is apparently known as a Ghoul. Great name, even better cake. I think it's a brownie topped with one of the biggest vegan marshmallows I've ever seen. I warmed it slightly in the oven, until it was meltingly, gooily, appealing, and then dived straight in. I honestly think this may be one of the best vegan desserts I've had in a while.

I can't wait til I'm free of exams and I can get up to Camden and dive into a never ending stream of ghouls!

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  1. Yes, it's true, pasta does taste better when it's a fun shape. :-) For a busy student, you seem to eat quite well. It certainly puts my meals during college to shame. Especially that giant marshmallow atop a brownie. WOW!

  2. Haaaaa, I am a SUCKER for pasta shapes and colours. I will, without hesitation, spend more money on funky coloured pasta.

  3. Good luck for the final exams Joey - I hope they all go well. I am impressed with your meals given how much studying you're doing. It looks like you've made some great meals and being delivered Cookies & Scream products sounds important for study morale!

  4. Ah Joey, for someone with no time to cook, you've certainly come up with a fair share of delicious-looking meals. I agree that curly pasta makes a pasta dish taste better!

  5. Good luck for the final exams. Soon you will be able to relax and cook and share more with us, I am still very impressed with what you share already.

  6. good luck with your exams - and if you have to be all student-like and eat pasta, I am so glad you have fancy coloured pasta. I am all for just chucking sushi into a salad rather than rolling but can never be bothered with croutons which just shows I am after the path of least resistance.

  7. I'm with you regarding broccoli cravings. Cannot get enough in my life! Also, I'll have to try FYH Caesar. I recently discovered that vegan Caesar dressing is delicious in ways the original could never touch, but I've only tried Hampton Creek's Just Caesar so far.


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