healthy eating on a student budget: part 2

see! i promised you another of these posts and i delivered!
this part two is kind of a winter edition, because soooooup features, and, i don’t know, the freezing temperatures in dunedin lately aren’t terribly conducive to ice block making or whatever it is i do in summer (i’ve forgotten already, it feels like forever ago).
Processed with VSCOcam with c1 preset
^^^ok, not soup, but my yummy lunch today! kumara i roasted over the weekend, spinach and feta. I poured over an egg beaten with a little milk and had myself the fanciest, yummiest spin on a spanish omelette^^^
so without further ado, here are 3 more tips and tricks:
1. Soup! Basically the perfect food, so many different options, so filling and warming but so good for you at the same time!! even if you supplement with a mountain of cheese on toast (not that i would ever do that or anything…) or cheese rolls! southern sushi hehe.
Vegetables are so affordable as long as you buy them in season and shop around a little – i walk past veggie boys (a dunedin fruit and vegetable grocer) every day on my way to uni so i have my finger on the pulse of fruit and vegetable pricing (yes, i have a very exciting life, couldn’t you tell ;)
Here are some of my favourites:
lentil soup with carrot and tomatoes and chorizo
saute onions and garlic, add chunks of carrot, chorizo and brown lentils. Pour in a can of tomatoes and chicken stock and allow to simmer until lentils cooked.
pumpkin soup
saute onion and garlic, add chopped up pumpkin and chicken stock. Simmer until pumpkin is cooked and then puree. I like to add chopped up crispy bacon and grated cheese to top – takes me back to my childhood. my mum used to put creamed corn in too which i am very partial to.
leek and potato
saute onion and garlic, add finely sliced leeks and let soften. add chopped up potato and chicken stock and simmer until potato cooked. Puree. I like to add frozen or fresh spinach to up the vege content.
carrot soup
saute onion and garlic, add dried coriander, paprika and fresh ginger. add chopped up carrot and chicken stock. Simmer until carrot is tender. Puree and top with fresh coriander.
healthy vege soup 
– simmer red lentils and barley, add onions, parsnips, leeks, celery, carrots and pumpkin. puree when cooked.
ps- feel free to ask me for amounts in the comments – but the beauty of soup is that there is no need to measure things specifically! approximate amounts will do just fine, and you will feel fancy and very chef-like, just tossing things in the pot with gay abandon!
pps – soup is the one thing i absolutely INSIST upon seasoning. If you taste the soup and it’s not quite right, 99 times out of ten (see what i did there) it’ll be because it needs salt. I am very proud of my low sodium intake (generally), but those vegetables need salt, i’m telling you. it doesn’t even make the soup taste more salty, it just brings out the flavours of the vegetables.
2. keep raw almonds in your bag at all times for when hunger strikes! this might be just me, but while i don’t dislike plain almonds, i don’t crave them or necessarily want to just mindlessly snack on them (french vanilla almonds, on the other hand…), which eliminates the possiblity of me just nibbling on them at every opportunity. they are fantastic when you are feeling peckish but are out of the house and know you won’t be eating for a bit longer/want to put off buying anything. a handful of them will satisfy me for a good 30 mins and mean i don’t make silly food choices like buying baking or lunch from a cafe- aiming for a fat bank balance and lean hips, not the other way around!
3. ditto number 2 but for teabags! if you don’t have access to a kettle or hot water dispenser, most cafes will let you have a cup of hot water for 50c or less – and will even add milk or sugar for nothing! i’ve taken to bringing chai teabags with me, and getting my own keep cup filled up with hot water, a dash of milk and vanilla syrup for only 50c in total. a delicious and comforting beverage which is so much cheaper and healthier than buying a hot chocolate or chai and even nicer in my opinion!
I just got home from my chinese cinema paper’s film screening – we watched Suzhou Road which i actually really enjoyed – i often find the films quite hard going, as i’m more of a romcom gal myself, plus my attention span is so bad these days. anyway, it was about love and loss, very tragic, and i walked home feeling very deep and of awe for this world of ours. it’s so easy to get distracted by study and lectures and petty random things and just go days lost in my little world of work and uni and repeat. but there is this big wide world out there that i will experience – the good and the bad, the love and the loss, just as soon as i get out of this lovely comfortable bubble of being a student in dunedin. raw almonds to chai tea to deep thoughts – what kind of hippy blog is this? don’t worry, i’ll be back to mediocre yarns soon enough.
and just a couple of photos from my birthday to tide you over:
IMG_0712   IMG_0775
cheers to that!

fragrant asian broth

I recently got back from ten days at home and I was just as happy as larry! it has been wonderful to just stop for a minute and have a break – and the fact that school holidays coincided with uni was just wonderful as i actually get to see my family and not just try fruitlessly persaude my little sister to pull a sickie and hang out with me (spoiler alert – it never works!) I’ve read 3 books, baked, cooked dinner, been for numerous cafe dates, went to Cinderella (sooo good!) and the Woman in Gold (even better!) and done so much lazing in my pyjamas over multiple cups of coffee.
my sister Sarah is the greatest cook and cooks dinner almost every night which blows my track record when i still lived at home out of the water. the one night i managed to wrest the kitchen off her i decided to make this fragrant asian broth, with vermicelli noodles and chicken coriander balls – it’s so good! it is one of our family’s faves and aways feels like such a treat. i figured that after hot cross buns pudding and profiteroles, it was high time that i posted a savoury, healthy recipe – and this ticks all the boxes.
we have grown up on asian food – my mum has always cooked us stirfries, curries and more and we have gone through many rice cookers over the years. since we grew up eating spicy food and there was not much room for fussiness in our house, we all have extremely tolerant palates and were amazed at the thought of people NOT enjoying spicy food! i’ll never forget making butter chicken in home economics in year 7 – as you can imagine, this being Christchurch, NZ, it was the mildest mixture with just a hint of spice – half the students couldn’t eat it they found it so hot, and here was 11 year old Anna disgusted by the lack of flavour!!
don’t worry, this soup isn’t hot unless you want it to be – i like to let people stir through their chosen amount of chilli through their soup, which eliminates the chances of the home ec situation repeating itself! it is light and filling at the same time – the flavours are all super light and fragrant, but since there is tons of liquid it’s very satisfying. the yummiest thing for winter time, when you need a break from the heavy ‘comfort food’ like potatoes and roasts and casseroles. this is just as comforting, but less food coma inducing! and note – with dunedin’s polar blast we are currently experiencing (snow in april, it’s no joke) this would be the most ideal way to thaw out!
next time – i need to chat about my birthday! it was on wednesday and I had the happiest day – goodness gracious how did I get such wonderful people in my life? my family, friends and flatmates were so so good to me and my heart was overflowing.
fragrant chicken coriander broth 
adapted from ray mcvinnie’s numerous asian soup recipes
2 litres chicken stock (the real stuff, not just chicken stock powder)
a bunch of coriander
1 kg chicken breasts, cubed
5 cloves garlic, crushed
3 tbsp crushed ginger (or as much as you want, really)
10 thin slices of ginger
4 carrots, julienned
4 bunches bok choy, sliced in think ribbons
6 button mushrooms, very finely sliced
a packet of vermicelli noodles
minced chilli, to taste
blitz the chicken breasts, garlic, crushed ginger and coriander stems (not the leaf/frond part, save those for the end) in the food processor until all combined and chicken minced.
heat chicken stock in a big stock pot to a simmer and add ginger slices. use a teaspoon to make walnut sized balls of chicken, and plop them in as you go. they are cooked when they rise to the top. add carrot, mushrooms and bok choy. let simmer for 5 – 10 mins or until carrot is cooked. rehydrate the vermicelli in boiling water and drain.
Place vermicelli in bowls and ladle over the broth. add minced chilli to taste and top with coriander leaves. Enjoy!