Silence of the Yams: VegSoc’s new cookbook

James turns veggie quicker than you can say ‘rap game Paul Bocuse’.

Animals might be to blame for Soccer Dog 2: European Cup (educate yourself) and like the taste of their own poo too much, but we probably shouldn’t be killing them in the grotesque numbers we are currently.

In the hope of encouraging us to cut down, UCL’s very own Vegetarian Society are soon (date forthcoming) to release their first cookbook, a collection of recipes tailored to the no-meat palate. Filled with tons of tasty ways to be nice to the super cute creatures which litter our parks and footpaths, it’s the ideal gift for those in your life who refuse to believe that they’ll exterminate us the moment they grow thumbs.

To celebrate the publication, they graciously offered to teach me how to cook one of the meals contained within. This was no small undertaking, however. I am good at many things (Football Manager 2012, being horrid, impersonating William H. Macy), and I’m normally okay with practical stuff (top tip – always carry an emergency/extra £20 in case you need to pay a tramp to fight someone), but the art of cooking has thus far eluded me. Luckily, Sejal was on hand to show me how to make Christopher Arnold’s recipe for Pasta with Tomato and Chickpeas – after thoroughly defumigating the kitchen I set to work. Photos of my ‘creative process’ are below, followed by Christopher’s original recipe.

Ingredients. Ignore the satsumas, they aren’t part of the recipe. I just wanted them while I was at the shop.

Mise en place.

The result of some remarkably dangerous knife-work.

Take that, food I am going to eat soon.

Yum alert!

Not-Out-of-a-Jar Pasta Sauce and Pasta with Chick Pea Salad – Christopher Arnold

Serves 3 (or 2 with some left over for lunch the next day)

1 aubergine
Olive oil
1 large brown onion
2 cloves of garlic
1½ tins of chopped tomatoes
200g dried rigatoni pasta
1 tin of chick peas
½ of a cucumber
30g fresh coriander
1 lime
Ground black pepper
30g fresh basil

Vegetable Knife
Plates and Storage Tub
2 Saucepans
Garlic Press

Slice the aubergine. Char grill it in the olive oil whilst dicing the onion (the best way to dice an onion is to cut off the ends, cut in half from one cut end to the other, lay a half flat with the flat ends top and bottom, cut horizontally, then vertically).

Put the char grilled aubergine and onion into a saucepan (no more oil needed) and cook on medium heat whilst peeling and pressing the garlic. Add the garlic and fry. Add the tinned tomatoes. Turn the heat to low and stir occasionally.

Boil the kettle and put the rigatoni into another saucepan. Add olive oil and salt to the saucepan. Pour in the boiled water and turn the heat to high.

Rinse the chick peas in a colander and leave them in there. Wash and dice the cucumber, then add to the colander. Pick the leaves off of the coriander, put into one hand and rinse under the tap. Chop and add to the colander. Cut the lime and squeeze into the colander. Grind black pepper into the colander. Mix and divide onto plates (and storage tub).

Boil the kettle. Pick the leaves off of the basil, put into one hand and rinse under the tap. Chop and stir into the sauce.

Drain the cooked pasta in the colander and rinse with the boiling water. Add to plates and storage tub and add sauce too. Serve.

Variations: For a sweeter sauce, exchange the aubergine for a yellow pepper, which need not be char grilled and just added with the chopped onion (with olive oil).