I tried four fun and easy recipes that can help you avoid lockdown revision

Please don’t burn down the house and give Cambridge more excuses not to give us ovens


Being in lockdown means I literally have no real excuse to avoid starting revision, so I have to be creative. Therefore, I have resorted to becoming the unofficial house chef and made my parents try seven thousand weird recipes I’ve found online. They were sort of scared at first since I am famously bad at following recipes and almost flooded my oven with a flourless ‘cake’ when I was 12 (in my defence, we had run out of flour). But cooking makes me feel productive for some reason and having dough stuck to my hands is a great excuse to justify not going anywhere near books, so I actually worked hard and made nice stuff to avoid being banned from the kitchen.

But don’t worry, I am by no means skilled at cooking. This article is Cambridge student-proof. You won’t burn down the house if you follow the instructions (I think?). In any case, get ready for a weird assortment of yummy things. And don’t tell my supervisors I’m procrastinating this bad.

1) Spanish Empanadillas

Pronounced em-pah-nah-dee-jas. Like a Cornish pasty but, in my (Spanish) opinion, better. I know, shocking.

My (Cornish) best friend will kill me. I am still right.

Ingredients
  • store-bought shortcrust pastry
  • 2 boiled eggs
  • 1 cup of tomato sauce
  • 1 can of tuna
How to make it

Roll the pastry very very thin and cut into circles of 10-12cm in diameter. Mix the (chopped) eggs, tomato sauce and tuna for the filling. Put 1.5 tsp of filling in each circle. Wet the edges of the circle with water (wash your hands!!!), fold in half and press the edges with a fork to make them pretty. It should look like the picture.

empanadilla

She’s gorgeous (Photo Credit: Marina Mateo)

I baked the empanadillas in a 200C oven for 15 minutes, until golden brown and crispy. Before baking I coated them with egg wash. You can also fry them in olive oil.

2) Easy sourdough bread

The hardest recipe of the bunch because it takes long BUT it’s homemade bread guys. It’s so worth it.

Ingredients

For the starter:

  • 50 g of water
  • 5 g of baker’s yeast
  • 1 tbsp of honey
  • 110 kg of bread flour

For the dough:

  • 300 g of water
  • 20 g of baker’s yeast
  • 540 g of bread flour
  • 2 tsp of salt
How to do it

Step 1: making the starter

For some reason we need to make a bread starter. I don’t know enough bread science to understand why but let’s follow the recipe for once. Just mix the water, yeast, honey and flour until you get a sticky ball. Dump that ball in a bowl of warm water for like 15 minutes until it magically floats and increases in size.

bread starter in a water bowl

Proof that it actually floats (Photo Credit: Marina Mateo)

Step 2: making the actual bread

Get the weird ball and mix it with the rest of the water, flour, yeast and salt. I used a stand mixer for five minutes, but you could also knead for 10 minutes by hand. This counts as part of your daily workout.

Let the dough rest for two hours in a large bowl. Make sure it has space to grow because it gets big. Like twice its size. Wild times. Then put it in whatever mould you are using, or make a bread-shaped ball if you are brave enough. Remember to grease the container or use baking paper if surfaces are not non-stick or you could end up very disappointed. Again, let the dough rest for 30 minutes until it grows again.

Bake the bread in a 220C oven for 20 minutes. Then lower the temperature to 190C and bake for another 20 minutes.

bread loaf

Perfect bread wow I did something useful for once (Photo Credit: Marina Mateo)

sliced bread

Proof that it is actual bread with bread texture and everything (Photo Credit: Marina Mateo)

3) Spanish Biscuits

Yes, I am Spanish, so you get another Spanish recipe. Get ready to make what we call ‘pastas’, and are actually just crumbly biscuits with a fancy name. AND they are almost sugar-free because I am adorable.

Ingredients
  • 250 g of flour
  • 7 dates (or 100 g of sugar, if you want to disappoint me)
  • 100 g of butter
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp of baking powder
  • 1 tbsp of vanilla extract
How to do it

Boil some water and put the dates in it for 5 minutes. I know this sounds disgusting, but I promise you the biscuits do not taste like dates, I’m just using them as a sweetener to avoid the 100 g of sugar. Then chop them up as finely as you can. Maybe blend them. You do you. Then just mix everything together. I used a stand mixer but you can use your hands if you are feeling adventurous. Now all that is left is to roll out the dough (the thinner you make it, the crunchier the biscuits will be), cut it in whatever shapes you want, and bake at 180C for 20 minutes.

biscuits

The stars were arguably better but harder to cut and I’m lazy (Photo Credit: Marina Mateo)

4) One-pan lazy shakshuka

My mum’s recipe book said this is shakshuka but I think calling it ‘sort of poached eggs in a nice tomato and onion sauce’ is more accurate because I googled shakshuka and we are missing a few things here.

Also, this is literally made in one pan, in under 15 minutes, so there is no excuse to not make this. It is SO easy. Perfect for lazy lockdown days or tiny college gyps if we ever go back.

Ingredients
  • 1 tbsp of olive oil
  • 1 onion
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 1/2 tsp of paprika and cumin
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 can of crushed tomatoes (or around 2 cups)
  • 1 or 2 eggs per person, depending on how hungry you are (I used 4)
How to make it

Chop the onion and garlic. Cook them in a pan with olive oil until they soften and become a bit more golden. Add the crushed tomatoes and the spices, let it simmer until the sauce thickens a bit and create wells for the eggs with a spoon. Then crack the eggs on a cup (because I don’t trust your ability to not get shell all over the place) and pour each of them on a well. Cover the pan and let the eggs cook. Take it off the heat when the egg whites decide to stop being runny and actually look edible, but the yolk is nice and runny. I served it with rice but at this point I am giving you the responsibility to choose how you are going to eat this thing.

kitchen

My gyp is a truly horrible place, so thank the lockdown for the nice pictures (Photo Credit: Marina Mateo)

Shakshuka

I decided to sprinkle oregano on top to be the fancy chef I deserve (Photo Credits: Marina Mateo)

I trust you to not burn down your house. Please don’t disappoint me. I managed to not do it and I actually started a fire with a toaster at some point in my life. If I can do this, you can too.