Ultimate Challenge: £10, one person, microwave (and hob), 20min decadent menu

Ultimate challenge: £10 student microwave (and hob) 20min menu 

I’m not sure you are technically allowed to review yourself when writing a blog but having addressed the ultimate  challenge for any student. You have finished a module of your exams, you want to treat yourself but all your friends are still busy. You can’t really afford (nor would you want to ) to eat alone in a restaurant and you only have a microwave. On top of that your fridge is the size of a shoebox and you can almost guarantee that anything left in it will go off before it has been worth the money you paid for it, plus you are trying to be relatively healthy but are pretty damn hungry. You also (in this woman’s case) have recently purchased a ridiculous amount of amazing bordeaux wine for only £3 a bottle,  what is the point of going out anywhere.

Yes I was lucky to find the £4 rump steak (reduced from £5) but otherwise….and it is £10.41 but who is counting!!!!

Ingredients

2x Mussels in white wine sauce (save one for later) – £2.99

4x bread rolls (3x lunches for the week) – £0.69

Rump steak 200g – £4

1x sweet potato (save half for later) – £0.49

Asparagus bunch (save half for later) – £0.49

1 muller light coconut and lime yoghurt – £0.69

4x lightest cream cheese individual packs (save 1 for later) – £1.00

6 large eggs (save 5 for later) – £1.15

1 snack pack Belvita breakfast biscuits – £0.50

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20:00 Whisk together 1 egg, yoghurt and cream cheese until smooth.

19:00 Pour into a microwave proof dish. Chop the sweet potato into thin strips (the thinner they are the better they work).

18:00 Chop the asparagus and place in a saucepan with a pinch of salt. Season a frying pan with salt, pepper and a very small drizzle of oil. Place on a high heat to heat up.

17:00 Meanwhile place the cheesecake in the microwave covered in a small piece of paper towel. Microwave on high for 1min, it should be mostly cooked. Microwave in 20sec bursts until cooked in the centre. Crush the biscuits into crumbs and sprinkle over the top, refrigerate.

16:00 Put the mussels in a saucepan to heat up (roughly 4 mins). Place the bread roll in the microwave on a low heat for about 45s    ec to warm up. Put the steak on to fry, roughly 2mins on each side for medium rare.

12:00 Cover the steak in foil and put aside to rest. Sprinkle the potatoes with salt, pepper a small drizzle of oil and smoked paprika. Put in the microwave on medium high for 10mins. Meanwhile eat your mussels and crusty warm bread.

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02:00 Boil water and cook the asparagus for about 2mins. Turn the microwave to high and cook the potatoes for a further 2mins.

00:00 Serve. Eat cheesecake after.

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Birthday Brownies

Birthday Brownies

My birthday this year was all about food (you are only 21 once). Eggs Royale, Pain au Raisin and a surprise slice of strawberries and cream gateaux (soo bad for you) with a candle in the top is quite a good way to start the day. (Thank you U8,U4, U7 and the soprano) I have to say Patisserie Valerie was surprising amazing – I wasn’t expecting a chain to come out so well but their patisserie (the pastry and cake) were the best I’d had outside of france, the poached eggs were lovely and runny, the hollondaise was nice and salty and the brioche was a surprise interesting addition to the eggs royal, if only i’d been able to fit in some macaroons…. http://www.patisserie-valerie.co.uk

This cake was absolutely amazing – the sponge was really light, the cream was also light (whipped and sweet and the nuts added crunch. The cream on top was possibly a bit much but the whole thing just floated away in the mouth, sugary creamy fluffiness.

Barely finished breakfast when I had to move into lunch. It’s surprisingly difficult to keep eating when you let yourself eat everything you want, it almost becomes an effort (I say almost). but when the comedy girl took me out for a champagne lunch at Harriet’s tea room I couldn’t refuse. Harriet’s was upmarket pub food. The sweet potato fries were lovely if a tad under seasoned, the salmon fishcakes were good if a little overcooked but peas were a little boring. It was tasty food, and my grandma would have loved it but the food wasn’t the most exciting I’ve tasted. Having said this the company was excellent (I mean the comedy girl not the other couples average age 70), the staff were amazing – they suggested champagne and brought out a candle in the lemon meringue pie we shared for dessert without asking! Plus the meringue pie was pretty tasty and the menu was affordable and the atmosphere was quiet enough to chat. I would take parents (or get them to take you) for champagne tea there sometime. http://harrietscafetearooms.co.uk/cambridge-city-centre-tearooms/

For the final cake of the day I had made myself exactly what I wanted Cheesecake Brownies. Pizza Express may seem like a basic restaurant for a massive foodie to go on their birthday but great service, free bottle of prosecco for the birthday girl and 25% off mains is a bit of an incentive. Plus I can confidently say the Calabrese pizza is the best pizza on the menu – there is a reason it is the most expensive. Spicy Calabrese sausage D.O.P, hot soft n’duja sausage, finely chopped red chillies, roquito peppers, red & yellow peppers, mozzarella, rocket, pesto, oregano, grana padano. I had panicked about these brownies because I had cooked them in S staircase which meant running back and forth as I failed to work out how to use the oven twice…. But turns out the combination of a classic Nigella brownie base with basic cheesecake topping is a good one

Cheesecake Brownies

Brownies
375 g soft unsalted butter
375 g best quality dark chocolate
6 large eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
500 g caster sugar
225 g plain flour
1 teaspoon salt

Cheesecake Topping
300g low fat cream cheese
150g sugar
1tbsp vanilla extract 
1 egg

1. Preheat the oven to 180°C.
2. Line your approximatley 33 x 23 x 5 1/2cm brownie pan with foil or baking paper.
3. Mix the cream cheese, sugar and vanilla extract till smooth, beat in an egg

4. Melt the butter and chocolate together in a large heavy based saucepan.
5. In a bowl beat the eggs with the sugar and vanilla.

6. Measure the flour into another bowl and add the salt.
7. When the chocolate mixture has melted, let it cool a bit before beating in the eggs and sugar mixture, and then the flour.
8. Beat to combine and then scrape out of the saucepan into the lined brownie pan.

9. Top with the cheesecake mix and using the base of a fork, swirl for a marble effect
10. Bake for about 25 minutes. (this can vary on the oven)
11. When its’s ready, the top should be dried to a paler brown speckle with white splattering  but the middle still dark and dense and gooey.
12. Keep checking the brownies as they cook; remember that they will continue to cook as they cool.\


They taste good warm from the oven or slightly cooled…. In fact they just taste very very good