Friday, 29 May 2015

Tomato & Basil Fusilli

Last week, being the last week of the uni year, ended up being quite busy.  From the Student Leaders Awards and a friend's final year project screening on Wednesday evening to the BUSOM social to Nando's and the bowling alley on Thursday evening, to Party on the Amp throughout Friday, the only day that I managed to come home in time for tea last week was Monday (Tuesday was the BUSOM inventory).  Party on the Amp ended up being quite good.  As a non-drinker (personal choice as I don't really like the taste of the alcoholic drinks that I have tried, but as long as others are responsible, I don't mind them drinking around me) and someone who isn't always comfortable in large and noisy crowds, I'd expected to be overwhelmed by such an event.  The fact that I was quite busy during the day with helping with media coverage of the event could have been to contribute, but other than feeling a bit tired and like I'd talked far too much (because I had talked far too much), I didn't feel all that overwhelmed by having a few friends who had drunk too much.  Additionally, on my slightly longer breaks, I went to sit with a good friend who I don't think had drunk that much, so I felt comfortable and fairly safe.  I also interviewed most of the bands playing, including previous Coffee House Session acts Lew Rey and Samantha Durnan, as well as The Voice winner of 2014 Jermain Jackman and X Factor contestant Concept (who I have a picture with here).  Back to the food though ... Something I've noticed is that I don't post recipes for main meals often, so here's one I found while looking in a cupboard in the kitchen for some more marmalade (Paddington and marmalade toast fan here) when I stumbled across a carton of Napolina Tomato Passata with a recipe on the side.


3 tablespoons olive oil
2 finely chopped onions
1 crushed garlic clove
500g tomato passata
1 tablespoon tomato puree
handful of basil leaves
375g fusilli pasta
100ml dry white wine


  1. Heat the oil in a saucepan, add onion and garlic then saute until soft.
  2. Add the passata, tomato puree and wine and simmer until the mixture is thick and reduced.
  3. Add most of the basil leaves and seasoning to the sauce.
  4. Drain the cooked fusilli and serve into a dish.  Top with the tomato and basil sauce and serve adding the remaining basil leaves.

Friday, 22 May 2015

Healthy Green Smoothie

Today marks the official end of my 2nd year at uni with Party on the Amp, at which I'm helping with the media coverage as a runner.  That means that I'll be liaising with the technical crew about musical acts, posting on the university student union's social media accounts about what's going on, and hopefully interviewing a few bands.  With a little luck, the weather will be nice (I didn't go last year due to work, but it apparently rained a lot) and there'll be ice cream, candyfloss, popcorn, BBQ stuff, and smoothies.  Speaking of smoothies, today's healthy green treat was inspired by this smoothie from the wonderful agirlnamedally (a.k.a. Tie-Dye Girl or My Aussie Soul-Sister).  Imagine if I was sipping that at Party on the Amp - mmmmmmmm.

Ingredients (to fill a pint glass of smoothie)

3 bananas
3 dessert spoons spinach
a handful of cucumber sticks
a dash or two of cold water


  1. Cut bananas into slices.
  2. Blend banana slices a bit at a time, and add cucumber sticks, spinach and water gradually (i.e. add a bit of bananas, cucumber, spinach and water each time and blend).
  3. Pour into a pint glass/mug and enjoy!

Friday, 15 May 2015

Healthy Vegan Flapjacks

I've had a couple of weeks off for deadlines and exams and the just a bit of winding down, but now I'm back with a bit more energy and more recipe finds.  Don't get me wrong, I'm still winding down, but I'm having a go at doing both reading and watching DVDs each day and then sometimes a bit of designing bits and bobs.  At some point, I'll focus a bit more on design work, and perhaps start trying again to learn to drive.  Last Friday, the day after I finished exams and deadlines, my university's Amnesty International group held a concert to raise money to help with the aid efforts in Nepal following the recent earthquake, and my musical theatre group (BUSOM) joined in with an a capella set of songs from previous shows and concerts (plus Lean On Me, which we haven't done before, but vaguely knew the words already in our own time).  For a donation, we could choose from a range of chocolate brownies, white chocolate chip buns, a peanut butter thing, cookies, and vegan flapjacks.  As always, my interested was piqued by the vegan flapjacks, so I went to ask Elliot, the event's host, for the recipe.  He told me that he had adapted a flapjack recipe from the BBC Good Food website to have a vegan-friendly alternative to butter and then added some coconut oil.  I'm yet to try this recipe at home, but I'm sure it will be as delicious as the one I tasted last week!


250g porridge oats
125g vegan margarine (such as Pure)
125g brown sugar
2-3 tablespoons golden syrup (depends on how gooey you want it)
coconut oil (optional)


  1. Place all ingredients in a blender or food processor and pulse until fully mixed, but be careful not to overmix as the oats could lose their texture.
  2. Lightly grease the baking tray with margarine and use a spoon to transfer the flapjack mixture into the tray.
  3. Press into the corners of the tray with the back of a spoon to ensure that the mixture is flat.  Separate the mixture into 12 squares.
  4. Bake the mixture in a preheated oven at 180 degrees Celsius for about 20 minutes until golden brown.