Deputy Culture Editor (Food & Drink)
If you’re new to cooking for yourself or feeling averse to switching on a Murano oven, then I think simple one-pot recipes are the way to go. I love these because they make for minimum washing up and won’t take up your whole evening — everything is cooked in one dish, so they work really well in a halls kitchen where space can be limited. A lot of my favourite one-pot meals are languorous, slow cooked stews which bubble contentedly to themselves for hours, but these recipes don’t take much longer than thirty minutes and don’t involve a huge list of ingredients. Both make around two servings, depending on how hungry you are, and the quantities can easily be doubled or tripled if you’re cooking for your flatmates.
Spiced chicken, cauliflower and chickpeas
I realise harissa might seem like a slightly niche ingredient here but hear me out: it’s super tasty, easy to find, and saves the hassle of having to buy a load of different spices. Various brands differ quite a lot in terms of heat, though, so have a little taste (from the pan, not the jar) before you add too much and burn your mouth off.
4 chicken thighs
1 cauliflower, broken into florets
1 can chickpeas, drained
4 tsp harissa paste, alter according to how hot it is
Turn your oven to 190॰C. Put the chicken, cauliflower and harissa in an ovenproof dish along with a good pinch of salt and a generous glug of oil. Shoogle everything around until the harissa evenly coats the other ingredients, then cook in the oven for 10 minutes. Add the chickpeas and cook for around another 20 minutes, until the chicken is cooked through.
Sausage and Bean Casserole
This is one of those meals that’s even tastier the next day. Cover a bowl loosely with cling-film and blast in the microwave for a few minutes to reheat until it’s piping hot throughout.
1 red pepper, sliced
1 small red onion, sliced
8(ish) cherry tomatoes
1 can butter beans
1 tsp smoked paprika
¾ tsp dried oregano
Put a wide pan on a medium-high heat and add a splash of oil. Fry the sausages, turning them often, until they take on some colour.
Add the pepper, onion and a generous pinch of salt and cook until the vegetables start to soften. Pour in a good splash of water, around 100ml, and give everything a stir. Turn the heat down to medium-low.
Put in the tomatoes, then drain the beans and add those along with the paprika and oregano. Stir everything together, put the lid on the pan, and let everything bubble for around 15 minutes. Check occasionally to make sure it doesn’t boil dry, adding a splash of water if needed.
The tomatoes should turn mushy and start to disintegrate, their juice oozing into the sauce, but if they don’t cooperate, squishing them against the side of the pan will help them along. If the sauce looks too thin, let the casserole simmer for a few minutes with the lid off and it will thicken.