Valentine’s Day approaches and you find yourself socially obligated to do something for your significant other, but what exactly? And how did we get here?
You left your sleepy fishing village/ stifling London Borough/ dependable regional capital and came to Cambridge University (delete as appropriate). Fallaciously, you convinced the admissions tutors that your ‘love’ for your subject was long-standing, unshakeable, and not wholly conditional on getting into university. One week into Michaelmas, however, you failed to do the same with your DoS. The ‘passion’ you had for anthropology/ medicine/ historic geological formations had to find a new outlet. In the heady atmosphere of Wednesday Cindies, shortly after dribbling a fluorescent orange VK down your front, you bumped into the woman/ man/ neither of your dreams. With a magnetism akin to moths gyrating around a light feature, your specious desire for learning translated itself into romance.
Fast forward an indeterminately expansive amount of time, and Valentine’s Day approaches. The object of your affections contacts you re: Valentine’s plans, either in the form of a text, briefly worded Facebook message, or, in special cases, a fax. Your stomach drops. You think about going out for a movie and a meal, which back home would only you set you back £5/£8/£12. Subsequently, you remember that a visit to that favourite Cambridge haunt, The Picturehouse Cinema, will give you only 20p change from £20 note. Ever a hustler, you decide you will hack your brother’s Netflix account and rustle something up in your crummy college gyp.
The following recipes require only a fridge, a hob, and a microwave.
STARTER: CAPRESE SALAD
- 4 large salad tomatoes
- 1 mozzarella ball
- tbsp. olive oil
- Basil leaves
- Chop up the tomatoes into equal slices.
- Chop up a mozzeralla ball into slices, ideally of similar width to the tomato.
- Layer one tomato slice on a mozzeralla slice and repeat in a circular fashion.
- Crack black pepper on top, a drizzle of olive oil, and a few leaves of basil to taste.
MAIN: GARLIC MUSHROOM PASTA
- 2 Servings of pasta (linguine or spaghetti)
- 2 Cloves of garlic
- 250g Mushrooms
- 25g Parmesan
- 2 tablespoons crème fraiche
- 1/2 tbsp. olive oil
- Cook the pasta in salted water according to the instructions. Retain a mugful of pasta water.
- Peel and finely slice the garlic. Fry it on a medium high heat with the olive oil. Add the mushrooms after a minute.
- Season with salt and pepper. Cook the garlic and mushrooms for 8 minutes, tossing regularly.
- Off the heat, toss the pasta into the mushrooms, add the crème fraiche and finely grate the parmesan in. Stir together and serve hot.
DESSERT: CHOCOLATE FRIDGE CAKE
- 250g Digestive biscuits
- 300g Milk Chocolate
- 100g Butter
- 150g Golden Syrup
- 50g Marshmallows
- Grease or line a shallow square shaped tin.
- Bash the biscuits into pieces. Put them in a plastic bag and hit them with a rolling pin. Be careful to make sure there is no trapped air in the bag or it will burst when you hit it.
- Melt the chocolate, butter and golden syrup in a bain-marie (Bring a pan of water to boil and then leave to simmer. Melt the chocolate etc in a heatproof bowl above the water but not touching it). Stir occasionally.
- Remove the bowl from the heat. Stir in the biscuits and marshmallows.
- Spoon the mixture into a tin. Level the surface by pressing down with a potato masher.
- Leave it to cool, then put it in the fridge for 1-2 hours to set.
- Cut the cake into 12 squares after it has set.