Wednesday, 29 April 2009

Student Dinner: Home Made Baked Beans

Today was meant to be my last day at university. I had my final exam on Tuesday, and I was meant to pick up my dissertation mark today. Typically, the secretary was ill and the office was closed. I still had dinner planned though.

I had been thinking for a while what I should have. I toyed with the idea of recreating the food I ate in first year, when I lived in halls and ate in the canteen.

For starters, there would be vegetable soup. Only the soup has gone, and your bowl has some mushy vegetables in it. Once we got a serving so unsouplike that it could be scraped up in a heap on one side of the bowl.

Next up would be fish and spring vegetables. Excellent. A nice, healthy, tasty bit of fish. Yum. Here, the catch would be that I would give my flatmate the last piece of fish, and I would have a burrito filled with the mushy vegetables from the soup. No matter what time I got in the queue, the last portion of fish would always go to the person two or three places ahead of me in the line. If I was really lucky, I would treat myself with fried chicken. Except the kitchen has run out of breadcrumbs, so they used breakfast cereal. Not cornflakes though. Rice Krispies. Sweet!?

Finally, dessert would involve me considering a pot of fruit salad, but being put off by the excess of melon and not enough grapes. Over to the dessert specials! As there is that box of Rice Krispies that needs using up, why not make orange jelly, and top it with whipped cream and puffed rice? Why not indeed? *

Talking of Why Not? (a rather expensive and cheesy club favoured by public school types) I'd squeeze on to the dining table with one or two friends, while the rest of the seats were taken up by posh kids discussing whether to go to Why Not? or Opal Lounge. Plus Daddy and Pimsy are coming up on Saturday to watch the rugger. Tally Ho!

Instead I went for the student favourite of baked beans on toast.


I made the baked beans yesterday as they took 13 hours to make. You had to soak the haricots for 10 hours, boil for an hour, chop and brown onions, garlic and bacon, then simmer the ingredients in chopped tomatoes for an hour and half. I can't find the exact recipe online but there are loads on Google. I might give some of the others a go, as although mine we nice, they lacked a certain je ne s'ais quoi.

For the toast, I bought a sourdough loaf from Peter's Yard. I love the way the crust is really chewy but the inside is soft with a slight tang to it. (I got kicked out of there the other day as I had been in there for 3 hours studying and they wanted to close! I feel a bit embarassed about this but it is also a bit cool that the staff now recognise me as the person who can make coffee and a cake last half a day.)

On its own, I thought it looked a bit ascetic, so I added a side salad and a portabella mushroom stuffed with peppered cheddar and breadcrumbs. It was a pretty tasty dinner and good for my student budget too!

(*All this talk of the halls' canteen makes me want to go back and review it objectively. Maybe it wasn't so bad after all...)


Lorraine @NotQuiteNigella said...

That looks great and good on you for making your own baked beans! I've had home made ones before (at a cafe) and they were amazingly good :)

Jenny said...

Thanks! They were much better than beans from a tin, I will definitely give them another go as I think they could be tweaked slightly to be even better!