Writing Food is so difficult when you don’t have anyone suggesting “maybe you want to write about that?”, or when you just don’t feel inspired to write about their suggestions. So, while I struggled with finding a topic for this page, I realised that I did not say “Hi!” to you this year. So, here I am! So good to see you again this year! Oh, you missed me? That’s so nice of you. Of course, I missed you too. But we don’t want to talk about me too much straight from the beginning, do we? I mean, I think you are here to enjoy your first term back at uni. Yey – very enthusiastic ‘yey’ – just so it’s clear I am not sarcastic here.

So, for all of you returning, it’s nice to be back, isn’t it? So many friends you haven’t seen over the summer! So many exotic souvenirs and gifts brought from… exotic places. You get me. But you’re also back to: oh, shit, I have to cook again (finally, after spending your first weeks eating instant noodles)! Yes, you’ve cooked over the summer too (unless you went home and your mommy did it for you, you lucky bastard), but now you don’t really have the time you need to try and fail at one recipe three times.

For the ones here for the first time, welcome to the freak show! It’s time you actually read this section – I know you ignored it the first weeks because you thought you don’t need food advice. But I also know you haven’t boiled an egg in your life, and maybe you don’t even know how to use a microwave. If that’s the case, please ask for help before you blow anything up. Yes, your journey will be slow and painful, but in the end you will manage to actually gain weight, rather than die of starvation. Trust me on this one.

No matter the case, I know you all miss something, especially now that all the Freshers’ week excitement is gone; maybe you miss your warm cosy bed or your soft teddy bear, even if you don’t admit it; maybe you miss food that actually tastes of things; maybe you miss your mom’s pyrogy (I might have a weakness for these, you see) or your father’s instant noodles. Damn, maybe you miss your cactus. No matter how much you protest, you miss something.

Here’s how to cure this feeling, in a faster, cheaper way than taking a train/plane/boat/magic carpet back home: soup! Yes, you’ve heard me right. Soup is just magic enough to help cure things – from fresher’s flu to loneliness. Soup is definitely not the most popular food among students, but it’s nice and not that complicated. You might actually make a tasty one on your first try. And it’s quick enough that you can still go to all the parties/society meeting/dance classes you planned.

Oh, look at me talking so much. You’ll get used to that too. Eventually. Let’s cut the suspense and jump straight into the recipe, shall we?


Beef Ramen

As you’ve probably imagined already, this is more of a ramen than an English (or, rather, European) soup, but it’s still very nice and definitely tastes great.

You will need…

  • 5-6 cups of water (very basic, but just in case you expected it to materialise in your pot)
  • Stock cube (preferably beef) – or replace it and the equivalent water with 3 cups of beef stock
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • Dash of chilli powder
  • 2-3 slices of ginger
  • 2-3 tbsp soy sauce
  • 3-4 garlic cloves
  • 300g ramen noodles
  • 300g diced beef (or any meat you want
  • 1 big carrot
  • ½ parsley root
  • 4 asparagus spears
  • 1 egg, hard boiled
  • Sliced green spring onions
  1. Bring the noodles to a boil in plain water, with no added salt.
  2. While that’s cooking, cut the carrot and the parsley root in fine sticks and boil them for up to 5 minutes.
  3. Try to multitask and fry the diced beef with the soy sauce, olive oil, and 1 finely chopped garlic clove.
  4. In a separate stockpot, place the remaining garlic cloves, soy sauce, and olive oil. Add the slices of ginger, chilli powder, and the beef stock (or the water with the stock cube). Bring to the boil, then reduce to simmer for 5 minutes.
  5. In a soup bowl, arrange the noodles . On top of it arrange the beef and the veggies, along with half a boiled egg. Add the stock in the bowl and finally sprinkle with spring onions on top.
  6. Now you can call your mom and tell her you’ve made the best soup in the world (or acknowledge that you are a failure who cannot even make a simple soup).