Tomato Sausage and Mushroom Pasta: Crafting a Good Story | www.emmaperegrine.com

Tomato, Sausage and Mushroom Pasta: Crafting a Great Story

It’s a basic and very frugal meal, but one that people so often get wrong. Pasta sauce should be thick and stick to the pasta, it should never be watery. If you can drink it, you’ve made it too thin!

Making a decent pasta sauce is much like crafting a great story. It needs time, care and plenty of attention.
If you are impatient and try to write the story before you’ve given it enough time to simmer and reduce down to its best bits, your plot, characters and message will be watery and diluted. The same is true of pasta sauce.

You need to give it time to reduce down so a large amount of the water evaporates from the tomatoes which will leave you with a deliciously rich and thick sauce. Give it at least an hour and stir frequently to ensure nothing sticks and burns on the bottom.

H.P. Lovecraft famously existed on little else which is no surprise since it’s one of the cheapest meals you can eat. He had his with beef mince, but times have changed and you can buy twenty frozen sausages for less than £1 where beef mince will set you back quite a bit more.

This is one of those comforting meals best enjoyed from a bowl with a fork (no knife—my grandmother would be horrified) while devouring a favourite paperback—I chose Emma by Jane Austen.

Serves 8
Total Cost (approx.): £6.74
Cost per Serving (approx.): £0.84

Ingredients:

6 tins chopped tomatoes
6 frozen sausages
1 pack (grams) mushrooms, chopped
1 onion, finely chopped
3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
1 tsp dried basil
A splash of balsamic vinegar
Salt & Pepper
Pasta
Cheese, grated

Method:

Cook the sausages in your oven according to the instructions on the packet.

While the sausages are cooking, put the chopped onions and a drizzle of vegetable oil in a pan with a heavy lid and cover on a medium heat. Let the onions sweat for around ten minutes.

Take the lid off and add the chopped mushrooms and let them fry for around ten minutes.

Add the chopped garlic and let it cook for a couple of minutes with the mushrooms and the onions.

Take out the sausages and leave them to cool.

Tip in the tins of chopped tomatoes, the splash of balsamic vinegar, 1 tsp of dried basil and season to taste. Stir and let it bubble away happily—not violently—on a medium heat.

Chop your sausages into pound coin sized discs and add it to the sauce.

Let the sauce reduce down for around an hour and stir around every ten minutes to ensure nothing sticks to the bottom. Lower the heat if the sauce is spitting a lot—you don’t want your kitchen to look like a murder scene.
Cook your pasta according to the instructions on the packet.

Serve your pasta and sauce in a bowl and top with the grated cheese. Grab a fork and a good book and enjoy.

Turns out there's high sugar in caramel/chocolate coffees. No shit. | www.emmaperegrine.com

High Sugar in your Coffee? No Shit.

I’ve read a lot in the media recently about how shocking it is that there is a lot of sugar in a large, full fat, caramel latte with extra whipped cream, an extra shot, an extra drizzle of caramel and extra caramel syrup.

No shit.

I can’t help but feel it is not too dissimilar from being eye-poppingly bewildered that beef contains meat. Or that eggs come from a chicken’s arse.

Of course there is a lot of sugar in it. Caramel is made from sugar and butter.

Instead of pointing the finger of blame at the outlets who cater to our sugar cravings, perhaps it is time we all took a good hard look at ourselves and actually have a little think about what we are putting in our mouths.

Seriously.

If anyone is still confused:

A filter coffee or an americano has very little sugar.

A super-duper, triple shot, extra cream, extra syrup, extra motherfucking super large dessert-parading-as-a-coffee, has fuckloads of sugar.

Obviously.

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Roasted Mediterranean vegetable risotto recipe | Emma Peregrine | www.emmaperegrine.com

Roasted Mediterranean Vegetable Risotto Recipe

The word risotto seems to bring even the baddest bitch out in a cold sweat, but you really don’t need to panic. The only difficult part of risotto is channelling some patience and not tipping all the stock in at once. Aside from that it’s just a case of stirring the thing. To help me pass the time while I’m stood at the stove, I prop my phone up and catch up on my TV programmes. You could read or – god forbid – clean. Personally, cooking is a time when I tune out the world, so a mindless activity like watching TV helps me to relax.

Roasted Mediterranean vegetable risotto recipe | Emma Peregrine | www.emmaperegrine.com

4 Servings

Ingredients:
250g Arborio rice – £0.55
1 courgette – £0.45
3 bell peppers – £0.99
1 red onion – £0.15
1 clove of garlic (finely chopped) – £0.03
500ml vegetable stock – £0.25
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar – £0.08
2 tbsp olive oil – £0.11
A sprinkle of sea salt – 0.02
20g grated parmesan or other italian hard cheese – £0.46

Total Cost = £3.03
Cost per serving = £0.76
Approx. kcal per serving = 344

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees celsius (fan).
  2. De-seed and chop peppers into bitesize chunks, and chop courgettes and red onion into similar sized chunks. Put them in a large baking tray, drizzle with 1 tbsp of olive oil and balsamic vinegar, sprinkle with sea salt and put in the oven for approximately thirty minutes (check to make sure they’re not burning after twenty).
  3. Put the arborio rice and the garlic in a large pan with 1 tbsp olive oil and stir with the heat on a low/medium setting. Leave to cook gently for around 5 minutes.
  4. Add one ladle of stock to the pot (approx 100ml) and stir. Let it simmer gently until most of the liquid is absorbed.
  5. Stir frequently to stop the rice sticking to the bottom of the pan.
  6. Keep adding 100ml stock and wait for it to absorb each time until all the stock is absorbed. Taste the rice to see if it’s done, if it’s still crunchy, add 100ml of hot water from the kettle and wait for it to absorb. Continue until the rice is cooked.
  7. Once cooked, take it off the heat, grate parmesan cheese into the pot and stir.
  8. Add the roasted vegetables to the pot and stir.

Eat your damn delicious dinner, you’ve earned it!

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The truth about antioxidants, free radicals and supplements | Emma Peregrine | www.emmaperegrine.com

Antioxidants, Free Radicals & Supplements: The Truth

I can’t be the only bitch around here who’s struggling to get her head around antioxidants and free radicals. Last year antioxidants were good for us, we needed more of them, they prevent cancer. This year so far, they’re bad for us. What exactly is the truth here?

The truth about antioxidants, free radicals & supplements | Emma Peregrine | www.emmaperegrine.com

I decided to do a little research on the subject and, turns out, the science is still not clear! Well there’s a shock.

In the Scientific American an article by Melinda Wenner Moyer traces the theory that free radicals cause ageing and cell damage back to a scientist called Denham Harman. He noted that X-rays and radioactive bombs sparked the production of free radicals in the body which caused all sorts of nasty shit to happen. Studies at the time suggested that antioxidants from food help to counteract the effects of the free radicals, so he fed a load of mice the antioxidants and demonstrated that they lived longer.

Sounds great, doesn’t it? But before you reach for your vitamin C tablets, more recent evidence seems to contradict this theory.

Arlan Richardson from the University of Texas set about genetically engineering mice to produce higher and lower levels of antioxidants than normal and, guess what, he found no difference in their lifespan.

A chap called Siegfried Hekimi from McGill University bred roundworms that overproduced a certain type of free radical (called superoxide) and found that the worms did not develop high levels of oxidative damage and lived, on average, 32% longer than normal worms. In fact, he found that treating them with vitamin C actually prevented the increase in lifespan.

In a recent BBC documentary, Dr Brandt found that when we take in a big dose of antioxidants – in this instance, from a smoothie – this actually makes our natural antioxidant levels plummet after around 4-5 hours. This is because our bodies stop producing natural antioxidants, and it takes around 24 hours for them to climb up to normal levels again. Essentially, our bodies get overloaded and try to balance shit out.

 

This is all well and good, but now what?

Since the evidence is not clear, scientists are unable to pinpoint exactly which free radicals are bad and which ones are good, our best bet is to eat a healthy, balanced diet and back away from the supplements. Our bodies are really great at creating balance and harmony, so introducing too much of anything will cause them to go out of whack.

The American Heart Association and American Diabetes Association advise against taking antioxidant supplements unless you are specifically diagnosed with a deficiency by your doctor. Cancer Research UK advise speaking to your doctor before taking antioxidants if you have been diagnosed with any form of cancer.

So eat your fruit and veg but there’s no need to go cray-cray, okay? Turns out you can have too much of a good thing.

 

Sources:

http://scienceblog.cancerresearchuk.org/2009/06/24/what-are-antioxidants-and-are-they-good-for-us-part-1/

http://www.ucl.ac.uk/~ucbtdag/Wenner_2013.pdf

http://scienceblog.cancerresearchuk.org/2015/10/16/antioxidants-free-radicals-and-melanoma-spread-whats-going-on/

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b04j9gny

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Roasted Carrot & Chilli Soup Recipe

Think it’s impossible to make a meal for four for less than £1.50? Read it and weep, bitches!

Roasted carrot and chilli soup recipe. Costs only £0.32 and contains only 157kcal per serving | Emma Peregrine - www.emmaperegrine.com

4 SERVINGS

Ingredients:

1kg Carrots – £0.57

100ml Elmlea single cream alternative – £0.33

500ml Vegetable stock (Knorr stock pot) – £0.25

1tsp dried crushed chillis – £0.07

1tbsp sunflower oil – £0.02

2 pinches of sea salt – £0.03

A bit of extra hot water from the kettle

Total cost = £1.27

Cost per serving = £0.32

Approx. kcal per serving = 157

Method:

Preheat oven to 180 degrees celsius (fan).

Peel carrots and chop into approx. thickness of three pound coins stacked on top of each other.

Put carrots into large baking tray, drizzle with oil, sprinkle over dried crushed chilli flakes, shake the tray so the carrots are coated and put into oven to roast for forty-five minutes to one hour.

When the carrots are done, spoon them into a blender, add the stock and whizz it up. Gradually add more water until it’s a nice soupy consistency (like runny baby food).

Add the cream to the blender and whizz until it’s all incorporated.

Reheat on the stove or in the microwave and enjoy.

If you want it to look posh, drizzle single cream in a swirl pattern in the bowl just before serving.

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