Student-Friendly Pesto Tagliattele with Porcini “Bacon”

As a student,

No scrap that.

As a human, nothing better satisfies those salty cravings like some crispy bacon piled high on a plate of pasta. Nothing.

This vegan-friendly recipe uses meaty porcini mushrooms as “bacon” and uses whatever else you have left in the cupboard. Better still, it can be whipped up in around 20 minutes. This dish is what’s been what’s getting me through these dark January evenings back at Uni and in the past week alone I must have had it at least 3 times. That’s a lot of cravings satiated.


Ingredients (serves 1)

75g of dry tagliatelle pasta

A big tbl scoop of pesto (use “free from” if vegan)

One large porcini mushroom

30g of pine nuts (about a small handful)

1/4 tsp sea salt

1/8 tsp smoked salt (or replace with regular salt if you have none if you have none)

1 tbs extra virgin olive oil

Black pepper



  1. Preheat the oven to 200℃
  2. Wash and dry the porcini mushroom and slice thinly, around 1cm, but the thinner the better.
  3. Toss the slices in a bowl with the olive oil and salt and then arrange pieces on baking parchment.
  4. Roast the mushrooms in the oven for 20 minutes, watching carefully throughout to make sure they don’t burn.
  5. Meanwhile, bring a pan of water to the boil (no need to add salt; the “bacon” is salty enough). With 6 minutes to spare add the tagliatelle, stirring periodically to make sure the strands don’t stick together.
  6. At the same time add the pine nuts to the baking parchment. After 5 minutes they should be nicely brown and toasted and flavoursome.
  7. Drain the pasta and stir through your pesto, topping with mushrooms and pine nuts.
  8. Grab a fork and chow down.



Marrow Jam

We have a problem.

Marrow overload.

At this point I should explain that the family is currently in its 5th year of tending for (a very overgrown) vegetable patch, and in that time it has become apparent that one vegetable proliferates and grows like it is on steroids. You guessed it: the marrow.

Since going to University Dad has taken full control of our little plot and has decided to turn our garden into a haven for these monster squashes. On returning home I was greeted by about two dozen vegetables, each over 5kg. Scary.

So how to use up these Frankensteins? Make them into jam of course!

This may sound quite strange but just bear with me. When people use the word “interesting” to describe a taste, they normally say it while crinkling their noses. But this jam is a good “interesting.” It tastes sickly sweet yet has a quite rounded flavour and a really lovely butter-soft texture. Perfect on rye bread and washed down with a cup of English Breakfast tea.

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Ingredients (makes about 2 kg)

2 kg marrow flesh

Rind and juice of 2 lemons

2 kg sugar


  1. Peel your marrow (approx 2.5kg to start off with) and remove pith and seeds. The flesh should weigh 2kg.
  2. Dice the marrow. I like my jam pretty chunky so I do 3cm cubes.
  3. Put a steamer and cook for 5-10 mins depending on size of pieces, until just tender.
  4. Leave the cooked marrow in a bowl together with the sugar and lemon juice. Cover and leave for 24 hours.
  5. Boil mixture over a gentle heat till sugar has dissolved and then continue till the marrow is translucent and the syrup is thick. Takes 30-40 minutes.
  6. Carefully pour/spoon into hot, sterilised jars and leave to cool completely before slathering onto toast.


The Best Bircher Muesli

I love Bircher Muesli.

Screen Shot 2015-09-04 at 00.59.59So easy to make the night before if you know you’re going to be tight for time the following morning and perfect for munching on the go. If you’re really tight for time it’s also fine to multiply this recipe and then it’ll keep for about 4 days in the fridge for your breakfasts that week.

Originally created by a Swiss Physician Maximillian Bircher-Benner as a healthy breakfast alternative for patients in his hospital, this is the epitome of health in a bowl!

Ingredients (serves 1):

1 medium apple (red works best)

1/2 a cup of rolled oats

1/2 a cup of yoghurt (or yoghurt alternative eg. soy yoghurt)

1/2 a cup of milk (my favourite to use is almond milk)

1/2 a handful of sultanas

1/2 a handful of dried cranberries

optional: 1 tbs of honey for sweetness

Grate the apple into a large bowl, discarding the core and pips. If you want you can peel it but the skin is the most nutritious part and contains most of the fibre!

Add the oats, dried fruit, milk, yoghurt and honey if using. Mix together really well, cover and put int eh fridge to chill overnight. That’s it; what could be easier?

In the morning I usually microwave mine for ten second to take the chill out of it. Top it with nuts, dried and/or fresh fruit and sweetener. My personal favourites are dried cranberries, almond slivers, blackberries, blueberries and honey.