Dark choc granola

My good friend Claire and I were talking breakfast yesterday morning, and by the end of it I was craving granola with dark chocolate! So, after dinner I set out to make some for breakfast tomorrow. I like granola with deep, smoky flavours and without fruit, so if that’s to your taste, then this recipe is for you! 

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Chorizo & spinach soup

I am quite into tomatoes. I love that there are so many varieties, colours, and tastes. Tomatoes are versatile and can be consumed raw or cooked, hot or cold. In my book, that's pretty amazing. Yesterday, I got a bunch of vine tomatoes which I used to make a chunky chorizo and spinach soup.

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2017 Year End

I'm really no good at keeping blogs up-to-date. I've just checked and my last post was in May (!), how terribly disappointing. Since then, I've submitted my PhD thesis, and started a new job. I am hoping that I will have a little bit more time for living now that I don't have a PhD to write. However, according to my Instagram...

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Proper comfort food in about half an hour

It's May, and it's still pretty cold in the UK. As if I needed an excuse to have comfort food for dinner... Anyway we had these beautiful sausages in the fridge and I thought it would be nice to make a little Catherine wheel sausage out of it. I took inspiration from Jamie Oliver's 30-minute meals. Not all meals take 30 minutes, but this is probably one that does! I love this book and I think all amateur cooks should have it in their (cook)bookshelf! I think he's got a slightly different apple salad to go with the sausages, and possibly mash instead of new potatoes. However, as I love texture and spice I felt like I had to make crispy potatoes (ultimate comfort if you ask me), and toss the crisp, sweet apple with peppery wild rocket.

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Bubbly, cheesy, meatballs... and more

Now before you get stroppy with me, I've been off the site forever as the PhD has taken over my life. Sorry about that, let's move on.

Thankfully, my lovely pal Tamara (instagram: @tamarapiranha - seriously nip over there now, her poetry and art are brilliant) asked me to send her my go-to meatball recipe that I've developed since my undergrad years. It's one of the first dishes I got creative with and I think it's pretty easy (and easy to eat hahaha). OK so I actually don't have photos of this dish, oops, but what I do have is a short clip of the finished product (thanks Boomerang) which you will see, if you keep reading... promise it's worth it!

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#meatfreemonday: veggie bol

To usher in the first #meatfreemonday of February 2017, I wanted to make something fresh yet 'meaty'; comforting yet light. As such I've decided to make a veggie spaghetti Bolognese, a dinner that's bound to become a staple in your home. This recipe serves approximately 5 (large pasta bowls are needed for this), and keeps well frozen for about 4 weeks.

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#meatfreemonday: creamy chopped salad

Happy happy happy New Year, everyone! Here is a quick and easy chopped salad that can be eaten on its own, with warm pita bread, or paired with grilled chicken or any white fish (for those not going meat free). I think after all the Christmas festivities this is a good way to get back into the grind without exerting too much effort...

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Pixie granola dust

Inspired by Jamie Oliver's Everyday Superfood, I am delighted to present to you my very own version of granola dust, which is extremely versatile, for use in smoothies, as overnight oats, as yogurt topping, or as flour for superfood pancakes!

 Before the big mix

Before the big mix

Ingredients:
200g rolled oats
30g linseeds
30g chia seeds
30g sunflower seeds
30g pumpkin seeds

 

Method:
Grind oats until mostly like dust. Tip into mason jar. Do the same with the sunflower and pumpkin seeds. Later on top of the oats. Grind linseed as fine as possible, and layer on top of the sunflower and pumpkin seeds. Finally, tip the chia seeds in to the mason jar. Seal it up and shake it up until combined!

ere's what it looks like as overnight oats (N.B. this is a photo from a batch without chia seeds so it's noticeably chunkier - adding chia seeds, or reducing the amount of milk you add to the dust will make this more pudding-like)...

 Chocolate overnight oats with banana, cinnamon, & maple syrup

Chocolate overnight oats with banana, cinnamon, & maple syrup

I simply combined about 5 heaped tablespoons of the dust with a heaped tablespoon of unsweetened cocoa, and soaked it in milk (of course please use your milk of choice) overnight. I topped it with more pumpkin seeds, sliced banana, a pinch of cinnamon and a teaspoon of maple syrup.

I'm excited to see what you'll come up with so please do share your own take on this beautiful base ingredient by using the hashtag #theacademicook on Insta or FB, or by commenting below! :-)

Hungry for more, 
The Academicook

#meatfree spicy roast tomato macaroni

You know when you've got more leftover veg than you know what to do with? Yeah, I often have days like that - cooking for one can be quite challenging! It is in these moments that I find myself most creative. A few weeks back I ended up with two large peppers and around three large vine tomatoes, and I thought to myself, why not roast them, and use it in soup or pasta? So off I went and chucked a load of veg together... 

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#meatfree mexicana

Why hello there! I've just come back from a brilliant holiday in Canada, and I thought, what better way to return to the grind by sharing a #meatfreemonday recipe? A few weeks ago (when it was still warm and sunny) I put together a Mexican inspired salad, which is super simple and easy to personalise! It is also quite therapeutic to make as there’s quite a bit of chopping, slicing and dicing, and mixing involved. 

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Hello there, hummus-ed you!

Gosh I would make a horrendous comedian. 

To be fair I have missed eating hummus as I haven't had it for months! Hummus is one of my all-time favourites and I have it with pretty much anything that I think might go well with it. This recipe is one of my oldest, which I think dates back to my undergraduate days in sunny Sydney, and I am delighted to be sharing it with you! The key here is to have really nice lemons, tahini and the highest grade of olive oil possible. 

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#Meatfreemonday: Paprika couscous salad two ways

Every time I make couscous, I remember an old friend of mine who came up with couscous as a nickname for me when we were at uni (Hi, Uncle B!). For this week's meat-free Monday, I've got a paprika couscous salad served two ways. The couscous makes up the bulk of the salad, and is perfect for these hot summer days! 

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Post-workout fuel

I find that after a workout, especially during the summer months, I always want something to cool me down. I can't say that this recipe is a completely balanced meal nutritionally (I'll look into it and update the post later on), but I think it's lush! It's essentially a vegetable bowl with fried eggs, but it is slightly spicy, nutty, and peppery and has both softness and crunch to it. 

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Stilton prawn spaghetti

This tiger prawn spaghetti bowl is one that pretty much ticks all the boxes for me. It's filling, simple (yes, it takes about 12-15 mins in total), and flavoursome all at once. This recipe serves one (fine, potentially two if you're not a prawn monster, and if you double the portion for all the ingredients except the prawns).

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Manchego, chorizo and asparagus tarts

A few weeks ago, Al's mum found mouth watering photos of flaky puff pastry topped with cheese and chorizo on a Tesco food magazine, which of course she shared with me. I did not think twice about saying I would make this for her one weekend, despite not having ever worked with puff pastry before. Unsurprisingly I did not make my own puff pastry - flashbacks of failed puff as seen on GBBO have scarred me for life. I adapted the recipe, which obviously means I made it more indulgent than recommended in the original.

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Father's Day special: Scottish loch trout with a colourful salad

Because I can't celebrate Father's Day with my dad this year, I've decided to put together a dish that reminds me of him - colourful, fiery, full of depth and life.

Dad, thank you for everything that you are and all that you do. Thank you for being behind me always - for teaching me that adventure is always in the palm of my hands; that being a girl and being brave go together; that time is a most precious commodity never to be wasted; that life is too short for regrets, hatred, and leaving any stone unturned. I know I am one of your life's greatest challenges, so thank you for your courage and resilience. I wouldn't be where I am today without you and Ma.

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