My name is Hayley and I’m a fourth year international relations and history student for most of the year and an apprentice cook for the rest. I really believe everyone can make good food, so watch this space for student friendly recipes that will work even if you’ve only got faulty electric burners, a blunt knife, and a warped 3 Tesco Value saucepan that smells like burning plastic whenever you use it.
I’m a big fan of soup. They are generally easy, keep well, keep you warm, and feed a lot for very little. They are also one of those things restaurants make with a ridiculously high markup – most cost nothing to make but sell easily for £4 and higher per bowl. Spiced with whole cumin, chili, and ras el hanout, a North African blend of cinnamon and other spices, this soup tastes expensive but costs about 70p per serving. The following recipe is blatantly inspired by a dish called shakshuka that’s made of stewed tomatoes, peppers, and onions. Like shakshuka, I finish my soup by cracking in as many eggs as there are people eating, and serve with some warmed through flatbreads or baguette to dip with.
What to do:
Find a chopping board and your sharpest knife. If your chopping board slips on the counter, place it on top of a dampened tea towel as is done in restaurant kitchens, and you’ll find it won’t move. Slice off the top and tail of your onion, and peel off its weird papery shell. Slice in half through its equator and then into half moons about the thickness of a one pound coin. Top and tail your garlic, and lay the flat of your knife across the top and give it a smack- this will make it easy to peel. Chop up into bits. Warm enough olive oil to coat the bottom of your saucepan over medium high heat. Sprinkle in cumin and ras el hanout, whose flavor will be brought out by the hot oil. Add onions and garlic and cook for about 5 minutes. Next add the fresh tomatoes, roughly chopped, and the tin of tomatoes. Fill the now empty tin with water and add to the pan. Repeat. Stir in salt, chili sauce to taste, and the spinach, and let simmer for at least 5 minutes. Now taste and add whatever you feel it needs. Crack in the eggs, spacing them as best as you can, and put the lid on for 4 minutes. At this point the whites should be set but the yolk will still be soft. Carefully ladle into four bowls and bring the chili sauce to the table for anyone who wants more.
3 cloves garlic
1 tin chopped or whole tomatoes (if whole, hack them up in the tin with a butter knife)
3 handfuls spinach
1 spoonful cumin seeds
1 spoonful ras el hanout*
Chili sauce, like sriracha**
1 teaspoon sea salt (at least)
*If you can’t find it, or don’t feel like you’ll use it enough to justify owning a whole bottle, substitute pinches of cinnamon, coriander, crushed black pepper, and cardamom
**Sriracha is a really useful chili sauce because it’s no frills, super cheap, and comes in a squeezy bottle. Find it, as well as super cheap spices, at Matthew’s Foods in Dundee