Image description: a plate of meatballs and spaghetti on a wooden table
The Sobell House Food and Kindness Cookbook brings together 30 recipes from a range of local chefs, restaurants, food writers and celebrities to raise money for the Sobell House hospice in Oxfordshire. This cookbook is not only in aid of a good cause, but is also crammed full of tasty recipes, featuring contributions from household names such as Stephen Fry’s hummus and Mary Berry’s Very Best Chocolate Cake. Food and Kindness retails at £15 and is available to buy on the Sobell House website via https://sobellhouse.org/shop/online-shop/food-kindness-the-sobell-house-cook-book/. Reading the following two students’ recipe reviews may well leave you very tempted to buy it.
Oli’s Thai Aubergine Curry Recipe- Jill Cushen
If you’re fed up with Tesco meal deals, then Oli’s adventurous aubergine curry recipe is for you. It’s a deliciously satisfying inventive twist on a veggie Thai dish, with a flavour combination that really packs a punch. It will certainly leave your taste buds tingling on a cold autumn evening.
However, it’s not a mid-week hunger quick fix as everything in it has to be made from scratch. Make sure you plan ahead for this dish, as sourcing some of the ingredients may prove to be a challenge in your nearest supermarket. A quick Google will give you substitutes, particularly if you find tracking down galangal a bit of a quest. Purchasing all the ingredients for this recipe may prove pricey, but your Clubcard points will grow exponentially! If you’re a regular student chef, then you may well have most of the basic items already.
This dish is a flavour feast so allot an hour to make this savoury indulgence. Making a curry paste from scratch may seem futile with an isle of Blue Dragon jars at your fingertips but making it yourself is definitely worth it. The spicy aromas are reward enough, never mind the feeling that you’ve mastered a major culinary challenge. You’ll more than likely leave the communal kitchen in a nightmarish state after tackling this dish, so best not to start cooking this one in the midst of an essay crisis! Your taste buds will be beyond satisfied which utterly makes up for the fact that you’ll have a line of dishes waiting for you.
The fusion of sweet curry with the slightly bitter taste of the aubergines and the earthy notes from the green beans means that this dish delivers all round. The bold chilli flavours and the tanginess of the veg is a strange but surprisingly impressive blend of flavours which works a treat. The slight chew of the aubergine skin adds a textual experience as does the crunch of the beans. Ramp up the chilli for an extra fiery kick and sprinkle the basil generously on top for a fresh peppery garnish.
This inventive twist on a veggie Thai red curry is certainly a commitment but unbelievably worthwhile. With every heavenly mouthful of this savoury treat, any essay worries will fade away!
Paul Chahidi’s Mediterranean Pork, Lemon and Parmesan Meatballs- Danielle Pero
At first glance this recipe seems simple enough. Requiring only a few ingredients, many of which you may already have at home, this quick meal does not disappoint. I was unable to find the orzo pasta that the recipe called for, so I opted for conchiglie. While this pasta did the job, since you’ll be adding broth to your bowl, I do recommend sticking to a pastina if you also are unable to find orzo, such as macaroni or star-shaped pasta. Additionally, the recommended fat percentage for the pork wasn’t mentioned in this recipe, so when doing my shopping I opted for the 20% fat pork. I figured that since pork can sometimes get quite dry when cooking, that the higher fat content would help with this; using the 20% pork resulted in very tender meatballs!
In preparation, I weighed and chopped all of the ingredients before adding the pork to the bowl to avoid any cross-contamination. I also boiled the chicken stock before I prepared the meatballs. All of the preparatory grating and chopping probably took me about ten minutes from start to finish, and the meatball formation to browning, another ten. Since the recipe calls for roughly chopped parsley, don’t be alarmed if you see lots of green bits of parsley sticking out from the meatball even after you’ve browned them. Maybe I’m a bit out of touch with golf and the size of golf balls, but with this recipe I was able to make eighteen ‘golf-ball sized’ meatballs rather than the suggested twelve. Perhaps you sports fanatics will be able to hit the dozen on par.
The rest of the preparation was very straightforward. With a 25-minute cook time there was enough time to open a bottle of red before boiling the pasta. Once the pasta was prepared, assembly was about as simple as making a bowl of cereal. As a cheese fiend, I added shards of parmesan on top, which added some creaminess to the dish. From preparation to presentation, this recipe took no longer than an hour.
As the recipe promises, the meatballs were full of Mediterranean flavours and left a rich, lemony aroma in the kitchen. Whilst pork can sometimes be a dry meat, by further cooking the meatballs in broth after browning, you end up with a smooth and creamy centre, enveloped by the savoury crust. If you’re looking for a new meal to add to your repertoire that’s quick and easy, this delicious and aromatic meal hits the nail on the head.
Image Credit: Jill Cushen and Danielle Perro