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What I cook when there's no one looking (or sharing!)

When you cook, do you cook just for yourself? Do you cook exactly what you want, when you want? Or do you cook for your other half, or you kids? Do you make a compromise of what you like, what they like, and what you have the time and energy to make? I'm guessing there's probably more people reading this that fall into the second camp than the first. 

For me, when I cook, it's for me and Mr Flicking the Vs. (We have a deal: I cook, he does the washing up. I think I got the better end of the deal there.) I make meals that we're both keen on, and ones he can take to work and heat up for work the next day. And because I'm making them after a long day on placement, more often than not, it's one pot fodder: curries, soups, stews, maybe a roast if I'm feeling superhuman. 

This last week, Mr FtVs has been away, and I've been home alone. My placement is over, and I'm home all day sweating over the books. But there is an upside to the lack of companionship and endless revision: I get to cook whatever I fancy, whenever I fancy. 

Here's a glimpse into my culinary psyche: here are the meals I cooked myself when I only had myself to please. 

First up, I paid a visit to one of the new vegan sections in Waitrose. Like most students, I don't spend a whole lot of time or money in Waitrose, but as soon as they start bigging up the vegans, I'm in there like a rat up a drain pipe. 

When I saw a Clive's Pies vegan tart on yellow-sticker (that's reduced, if you're not a regular reader of money saving sites), I snapped it up.

My past experience of Clive's Pies' stuff hasn't been a bit hit and miss, but the promise of a tomato and olive provencale tart was enough to persuade me give them another go. And I'm really glad I did - it was gorgeous. Clive's calls it a tart, but I reckon it's more like a quiche - a bit squidgy middle in a crisp pastry case. I made some asparagus, courgette and green bean salad to go with it. It was a grand meal, and I'd eat it again in a snap.

The tart wasn't the only thing I took home from the Waitrose vegan section. Did you know Linda McCartney does vegan scampi? I didn't, and now I very much do. I managed to get both portions out of a pack, and did the same thing with them: made some potato salad, made some coleslaw, and fried up a bit of samphire for good measure.

Mr Flicking the Vs doesn't like things that taste of fish, so I never bother cooking vegan fishless fingers, or fillets, or anything along those lines. I'm quite a fan of things that taste of the sea, including these scampi. I reckon VBites Fish-Free Fingers are my favourite thing of that type, but I'd eat Linda's scampi again. (As a side note: Waitrose's vegan section had lots of stuff in it that I'd not seen before, so if you're in the neighbourhood of one, it's worth a visit.)

You can probably tell from this next picture that I really like coleslaw. I had two cabbages in the fridge in need of a good home in my belly, and what with the good weather, I decided to make a metric truckload of it and serve it with everything. 

I also treated myself to some vegan nut cheese, and made some oatcakes to go with it (if you need a recipe for vegan oatcakes, here's mine).

Another point of difference between myself and Mr FtVs: what's the best vegan cheese out there. He'll eat anything you put in front of him, but he's a regular buyer of Sainsbury's standard issue vegan cheddar. Me, I'm fussy when I go to buy some cheese. It's got to be nut based or I'm not interested. Good nut cheese is a thing of beauty, and when you find one you like, all it needs is a couple of salady accompaniments - a couple of sharp radishes, a bit of vinegary coleslaw - and it's the best lunch. 

You know what else nut cheese is good for? Cracking toasties.

I used up a lot of the cheese making toasties for breakfast, with a couple of veggies that were rolling around the bottom of the crisper. Turns out if you slice up one weedy spring onion and a bendy asparagus spear and chuck it in the middle of a toastie, it makes the breakfast of vegan kings.

I've been eating cheese toasties, vegan and otherwise, for as long as I can remember. They remind me being a kid (though no asparagus and spring onions then, maybe some beans if we were feeling exotic). My next meal, though, is something that reminds me of holidays.

I present to you: the vegan Spanish omelette.

I remember being on a train somewhere in Spain once, and seeing Spanish omelette sandwiches for sale. I also remember thinking that that sounded the best sandwich filling I could wish for. I've had proper vegan Spanish omelette a couple of times in its homeland since - including at one sadly defunct Madrid takeaway, and at a very vegan friendly Spanish grocery chain.

But getting a good vegan Spanish omelette on English soil? That's a bit of a trickier beast. Sure, I've made some myself, but I've never quite nailed it. Luckily, there are people out there to make it for me. I picked some up from the Green Bay (entirely vegan!) supermarket and it was supreme. The omelette part was made of gram flour, though you wouldn't know it. Next time you want to impress your Spanish friends, this is the way to do it. That's if you can bring yourself to share, that is. 

All that eating rich, readymade food was fun, but after a while, I just started craving me some simplicity, and what's more simple than soup? A few vegetables, some herbs, a bit of broth, and a couple of slices of bread to mop it all up with: that's one of my favourite meals, whether I'm sharing it or not. 

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  1. Next time you're in Waitrose look for their own brand coconut chocolate, it's gorgeous and more like a milk than a dark choc.

  2. Often when I cook for myself it can be pretty boring esp if I have my attention elsewhere so I find you are very posh in what you serve yourself - samphire is a bit la-di-da. I am more of the cheese on toast (the melted kind) and soup end of the scale - though it is lovely to have time to make stuff and I have been a devotee of coleslaw lately. So the nut cheese, oat cakes and coleslaw looks pretty damn good. As does that green salad with the pie and the spanish omelette.

  3. Seriously impressive meals for one! If I'm cooking for myself, I can rarely muster much enthusiasm for presentation or even proper cooking. Basically, I'll throw everything in a pot, set it on fire, and eat it when it's hot enough. Haha!

  4. Ah you have the same deal at home as I do with my husband, I cook he washed.
    I have to agree with Hannah your meals are impressive for one. I tend to snack more when my husband is not around a bit similar to Johanna. I know though when I am away he eats fish - tuna sandwiches or fish and chips, otherwise he is good and eats what I make quite happily. I am impressed by the vegan Spanish tortilla I still haven't found a vegan recipe that has won me over. And I am still not sure about Clives Pies.


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