It is always great to find a cook book that’s both affordable and contains simple, yet tasty, recipes. The Savvy Cook by Izy Hossack encompasses all of these characteristics as well as making me inspired and excited to head into my kitchen and begin a new foodie adventure.
As soon as the book arrived I was itching to get going, however, sadly, as a student, I was slightly low on money and therefore I had to wait for my student loan to arrive. Like usual, I created a meal plan for 7 days and wrote myself a shopping list.
Everyone knows my love for Aldi, however on this occasion I was really disappointed. The aisles were almost empty, and I could really only get the basics. Due to this, I had to return the following morning to try and complete the rest of my shop. This shopping came to only £20, however I do still have some ingredients that I will have to source elsewhere, for example tahini and breadcrumbs.
Due to my grump at Aldi I didn’t actually get around to taking a food haul pic (sorry), but my shop included halloumi, butternut squash, spinach, courgettes, mango and orzo pasta amongst many more.
Due to uni and the current student stresses I am facing, I won’t be as strict with this 7 day plan, so I may not be posting every day, but I will do my best to keep my blog updated and share lots of pics along the way.
So, onto my first meal…
Izy’s tagline is maximum flavour for minimum effort which is one of the reasons her book really appealed to me- the first recipe didn’t disappoint. It was hard to choose just 7 recipes from this cookbook, full to the brim of vegetarian and vegan delights, however the halloumi tacos with mango salsa really jumped out at me.
Like her tagline states, this recipe was super simple, and didn’t take much time to assemble at all. The base ingredients were:
- Brown rice
- Mini tortilla wraps
I added my own twist slightly, substituting some flavours for others, and adding a few of my own touches. These included:
- Red onion
- Mixed herbs
- Red chilli
I started off by cooking the brown rice. I was cooking with Ellen this evening and she was very helpful- my glamorous assistant. She measured out two portions of rice and began to boil for 25 mins. I must admit this amount of rice was massive, however, it is great for leftovers and I may incorporate it into my lunch or ever dinner today- I’m thinking a yummy veggie egg fried rice!
After the rice was onto the boil it was time to prep the mango salsa. I used one whole mango, which was perfectly ripe and sweet. It was so easy to slice and dice which was a relief, as I did have to use my massive knife which always worries me.
After chopping the mango into small chunks, I set it aside in a bowl, and also cut ½ a red onion. This too was in small chunks. I combined the two with a glug of oil and seasoned well. I gave salsa a taste, and although flavoursome, it was really missing something. I decided this was a hearty squeeze of lime (1/2 to be precise) and ½ red chilli. The chilli added a lovely amount of heat, not overbearing the subtle mango.
At the same time, Ellen sliced and pan fried the halloumi in an empty pan. The halloumi produces a lot of natural juice when being cooked and therefore there’s no need to add oil at all. Once one side had begun to golden, we flipped the slices to ensure an even cooking. At this point I also warmed the tortillas in the oven for around 5 minutes.
Once all of our ingredients were prepped it was time to build our soft-shell tacos.
Onto my warm, and slightly crispy, wrap I added a big portion of tzatziki, a real favourite of mine, and a few spoons of brown rice. On top of this I piled a heap of spicy mango salsa and a few strips of halloumi. A squeeze of lime and a few pomegranate seeds finished off my wrap; it was bursting with colours and smells.
Overall the dish was really tasty, but it need require a lot of seasoning, and I think the tzatziki really lifted it too. Maybe some sweet chilli sauce would have worked as well, as it may have been slightly dry without.
As the ingredients were a bit of an amalgamation, from different shops, and different trips creating a price is a bit tricky. However, per portion, I would estimate that the dish cost around £2.10 per serving. To boost this dish even more you could even add chicken or prawns too.