Packing my bags – a week in the south-west

Next week I’m disappearing off on a little British adventure to go and visit some friends from university, just because I can (and I’m bored!). First things first, I’m heading back to Cardiff for a few days, my beautiful home from home, then going into the unknown and visiting Devon and Bristol for the rest of the week. It’s safe to say I’m super-duper excited for this, mainly because a) I get to hang with all my uni buddies I haven’t seen since we graduated in July and were released into the big bad world, and b) I get to go to places I’ve never been to before. Just to show how excited I am, I’ve already packed my bag. This is coming from a girl who went to live in France for a month and packed that morning. I’m that excited.

I thought I’d share what I’ve packed for a week of adventuring, just because I like snooping at other people’s stuff so I assume you’re the same, right?

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(Apologies for the awful photo quality! I’m using a broken camera lead/cheap pos camera/pure laziness/dark bedroom floor kind of excuse)

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Welshcakes

British food often gets a bad rap, and in my opinion it is an entirely undeserved reputation. My gran has lots of old recipe books from the Milk Marketing Board celebrating the great range and variety of local produce from different regions of the country, complete with some rather unappetizing 70’s era food photography!

I went to university in Cardiff, the capital of Wales, and was very gladly introduced to the local speciality, welshcakes. They are essentially a flat scone, studded with sultanas before being cooked on a hot griddle and liberally sprinkled with sugar. They can be eaten hot or cold, on their own or split and filled with jam, even with lemon curd (although I’m not sure what the traditional Welsh purists will have to say about that!) It goes without saying that the best place to get them is at the Cardiff Bakestone in the indoor market, where stacks of cakes are constantly being churned out from an enormous hot griddle bigger than the average table, then sold at a charming 30p a pop.

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Decadent Chocolate Brownies

Now, I know that chocolate brownies don’t exactly scream frugal student living, but bear with me. At university, birthdays seem to occur on an almost weekly basis, squeezing that already tight budget. With the absence of parents, cake can often go overlooked, so these brownies are a great alternative, as well as being much cheaper that the average shop-bought offering. I like to cut them into squares, pile them high on a plate and liberally cover them with icing sugar and candles – party ready!

Brownies are a brilliant starter for a baking novice. They’re meant to be a bit on the squidgy side so it takes off the pressure of baking something perfectly! You can also personalise them however you like. I’ve added mixed chopped nuts, but you can substitute them for chocolate chips, other nuts or even cherries – get creative!

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Thrifty Sausage Casserole

This recipe was an absolute godsend at university. Aside from the slightly time-consuming process of chopping a ton of veg (which is a lot easier if you club together), this is an easy one pot wonder that can feed a crowd and provide a vitamin hit while remaining on a tight budget. Because it bubbles away for a while, it means that if you’ve got some sorry looking veg at the bottom of your fridge it’s so easy to use up those last bits and adapt to whatever you’ve got in.

It’s important that you use some half-decent fat sausages in this, Wall’s just won’t do. For spending that little extra bit of cash, you’ll get such a meaty and herby flavour that makes this that little bit special.

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Technical Difficulties!

Like the complete and utter klutz I am, I have managed to both lose to USB cable to connect my camera to my laptop and break my card reader, boo! Consequently, I have a backlog of recipe photos but no ability to use them, which is very frustrating!

However, I’m just going to go old-fashioned (well only kind of, considering this is being written via the internet) and publish all the recipes and leave the finished images up to the imagine. Anyway, I love reading my mum and gran’s old recipe books, before the ages of immaculately styled photographs and step-by-step stages. I like being able to imagine what the finished product should look like just from a description after all, and it’s always good to channel our creative side every so often!

Once I (finally) get a grip and invest in some half decent technology I’ll update the posts with photos, promise!