Cookery Corner

Since leaving college, I have had to learn to do things for myself, that I used to be able to leave to others. Cookery is one these. The days of going to the college dining hall at 12.30 and 6.15 are, unfortunately, long gone.

I would not say that I have learned to cook. I have merely learned how to prepare food in such a way as to make it edible, with the minimum amount of cooking, with the minimum amount of ingredients, and with the minimum possible amount of washing up afterwards.


The Ham Sandwich

This is the simplest of all the things I make. It is very quick, usually taking no more than a couple of minutes to prepare.

Washing Up:

Take two slices of bread (if you buy sliced bread you can save yourself some time here), and spread them both with butter or margerine on one side. Then take some slices of ham, and place them on one of the slices of bread. Then take the other slice and place it on top of the ham, with the butter side down.

Sausage Risotto

This is fairly simple to make, but can take a fair while to cook - sometimes up to half an hour! It is quite tasty, and it is quite easy to adapt it if you fancy a bit of a change.

Washing Up:

Put the kettle on. When the kettle has boiled, fill the saucepan to a depth of about one inch. Add about half a mug of rice, and cook, stir occasionally, for 7 to 10 minutes. While the rice is cooking, slice 3 or 4 frankfurters into short lengths. After the rice has been cooking for seven to ten minutes, it should start to swell as it begins to absorb the water. Add the tinned tomatos, and some tomato puree. stir for another five to ten minutes, until the rice is cooked. Add the frankfurters, and frozen sweetcorn/peas. Stir for another 5 minutes and then serve.

Notes: I use American long grain rice rather than Risotto rice, since it cooks more quickly. Be adventurous with your tin of chopped tomatos. For example, Sainsbury's sell tins of chopped tomatos with onion and peppers. I use frankfurters rather than proper sausages, because they're pre-cooked, and so only need to be reheated.

Spaghetti Bolognese

I very much doubt whether my variant of Spaghetti Bolognese bears any resemblance to "proper" Spaghetti Bolognese as made in Italy, but here it is anyway:

Washing Up:

Put the mince into a saucepan on a medium heat and stir it around until it goes brown. Then add the chopped tomatos. As with the sausage risotto, you can be adventurous with your tin of chopped tomatos. I use chopped tomatos with onions and peppers from Sainsbury's. Add some tomato purée if you like lots of tomato taste in your sauce, and add some cornflour to thicken the mixture. Leave to simmer for a bit.

While the bolognese sauce is simmering, start cooking the spaghetti in a saucepan of boiling water. Depending on which sort you get, spaghetti can take from 3 minutes to 20 minutes to cook. Read the packet for instructions.

About five minutes before the spaghetti is ready, add whatever assorted frozen vegetables you like to the bolognese. I tend to use peas, sweetcorn, and frozen peppers.

Finally when the spaghetti is cooked, strain it to get the water out, put it on a plate or in a bowl, and pour the bolognese sauce on top of it. If there is too much bolognese for your liking, freeze some of it for another day.

Paul Fidler <praf1@cam·ac·uk>