Dec 52014

The guys are back, and this time, they’re proving (kitchen) size really doesn’t matter! You don’t have a leg to stand on if you’re still blaming the size of your kitchen as to the reason why you’re not getting cracking with the cooking! Trust me, at Liberty Living you have absolutely everything you need to make even the grandest of dishes – ingredients sadly not included! Why not give this Zingy Crab Spaghetti recipe a go? Packed full of life & zest, this flavourful dish is deceivingly easy, despite its crabby goodness which wouldn’t look out of place in a restaurant. Ways to impress your flatmates – SORTED.

Ingredients:
• Fistful of dried spaghetti (100g, 1 p piece diameter or 116 strands)
• 1 clove of garlic
• 1 small red chili
• Couple of springs of fresh parsley
• 3 tbsp lemon juices
• 4 tbsp olive oil
• 1 tin of crab, drained
• Salt and pepper

How to cook:
• Boil a large pan of salty water
• Add the spaghetti into the pan and stir to make sure the strands don’t stick together, then allow to simmer for 8 minutes
• Dice the good stuff – that’s the chili, grated garlic and chopped parsley, adding all to a mug with the oil, lemon juice and plenty of salt and pepper. Yummy!
• Drain the pasta and return to the dry, but hot pan.
• Stir through the crab meat and splash over the oil dressing.
• Mix well and serve straight away.

Serves 1.

Top Tip: Stash leftovers in the fridge for round two the next day!

Liberty Living provides student accommodation in 17 university cities across the UK, including student accommodation in London, student accommodation in Newcastle, student accommodation in Preston plus many more.

Posted on 5th December 2014 by Claire L.

Claire Louise Sheridan lives and works in Peterborough. She recently graduated with a degree in English and Communication Studies from the University of Liverpool.

Nov 212014

Ahhh. Winter is here. Love it or hate it, it’s the time of year for wrapping up, hot drinks and – of course – comfort food. This doesn’t mean you should up the antics of the fast food chain persuasion and practically move in there, however – in actual fact it’s the PERFECT time to learn to rustle up some hearty, tasty dishes which pack a punch. Take that, cold weather!

The trusty Sorted Chefs are back for Liberty Living to show you how you can turn the classic crumble on its head with Sausage and Mushrooms. No, they’re not here to glorify a dessert by adding bits of sausage – that would be disgusting! Instead, they’ve prepared a tasty, savoury alternative to the crumbles you might be used to, which will make a comforting winter warmer to stave off all those winter blues.

With a cheap overall portion cost, and a vegetarian option (using veggie sausages) to boot, you might soon find that this becomes an all-time favourite. As a perfect mid-week dinner to relax with after a long day in University, we can’t guarantee you won’t be reaching for seconds… or even thirds! You have been warned…

Ingredients:
• 1 red onion
• 1 clove of garlic
• Shot of olive oil
• 4 field mushrooms, peeled
• 1 tin of tomatoes
• 8 pork sausages, spicy ones are good
• Plain flour (100g)
• Cold butter, diced (50g)
• Sprinkle of mixed dried herbs

How to cook:
• Line up the sausages on a grill rack and place under a medium heated grill to cook for 5-6 minutes, turning occasionally.
• It’s time to get chopping! Peel and slice the onion and garlic, then fry in a saucepan in a shot of oil for 3-4 minutes. You’ll know it’s going well when when it softens and starts to go a lovely golden brown.
• Give the mushrooms a bit of a wash and roughly chop, leaving them chunky. Then, add them to the pan and fry for another 3-4 minutes.
• Cut the cooked and golden sausages into bit-sized pieces and add to the onion and mushroom mix, along with the tin of tomatoes.
• Bring to a simmer and cook for 10 minutes so all the flavours combine before dumping into an oven-proof dish.
• Preheat the oven to 180°C. Note we said preheat (so it might be worth thinking about this whilst you’re preparing the mix!)
• Rub the butter into the flour until it resembles breadcrumbs and then stir in plenty of salt, pepper and dried herbs of your choosing (oregano or mixed Provencal are great).
• Scatter over the mushroom and sausage base so that you can no longer see the tomato.
• Bake for 15-20 minutes until golden and crumbly on top but bubbling underneath.
• Serve with some fresh greens.

Serves 4 people.

Liberty Living provides student accommodation in 17 university cities across the UK, including student accommodation in Liverpool, student accommodation in London, student accommodation in Preston plus many more.

Posted on 21st November 2014 by Claire L.

Claire Louise Sheridan lives and works in Peterborough. She recently graduated with a degree in English and Communication Studies from the University of Liverpool.

Nov 122014

When there are loads of people coming around for dinner, it can be a bit daunting to say the least! Will they all get food poisoning? Will they laugh in my face? Oh, god… they’re not going to go through my bedroom like they do on ‘Come Dine With Me’… are they?! There’s no need to panic, however, as the dilemma can easily be solved with a little help from the Sorted Chefs and the Spanish!

Continental Europeans always have it just right, with that classic mix of a laid back attitude and style. Their signature dining approach, tapas, can act as a great idea for students which can double both as party food or something a little more elegant – it’s unpretentious whilst secretly still looking a bit posh!

Don’t worry – there are lots of steps here, but break them down, and they’re actually easy-peasy. Simple to prepare, but bound to impress, the Sorted Chefs for Liberty Living show you how it’s done…

Dishes:
Chilli goats cheese stuffed mushrooms
Chorizo braised in white wine
Patatas bravas
Lemon and cilantro sardines
Tostada garlic rubbed, tomato and manchego
Spanish rice

Ingredients:
A dozen button mushrooms
A small round of goats cheese (100g)
1 red chilli
4-5 sardines, gutted and cleaned
Bunch of fresh coriander
Large lemon, quartered
Piece of thick chorizo sausage (150g)
Glass of red wine, rioja is great
3 fresh plum tomatoes
Chunk of mangego cheese, or whatever you prefer (150g)
1 ciabatta loaves
3 cloves of garlic
Mug of rice (200g)
1 vegetable stock cube
Pinch of saffron (or turmeric)
Handful of black olives, pitted
1 red pepper
Bunch of fresh parsley
Bowl of new potatoes
1 small onion
Tin of chopped tomatoes or passata
1 tsp smoked paprika
1 tsp cayenne pepper
Good glug of olive oil
Salt and pepper

How to cook:
• Preheat the oven to 200°C.
• Halve the new potatoes and bring to the boil in cold salted water, then simmer for 12-15 minutes until just cooked.
• Drain the potatoes and allow to steam dry for a few minutes.
• Peel and dice the onion as fine as possible and fry in a saucepan with a dash of oil for 5 minutes.
• Add two crushed cloves of garlic, the cayenne and paprika to the onions and fry for another minute.
• Tip in the tomatoes, bubble for 5 minutes before blending to a smooth sauce (optional).
• Dissolve the vegetable stock cube in a litre of water with the saffron.
• Cook the rice for 8-10 minutes in the stock, then drain when done.
• Chop up the pepper, olives and parsley and leave to one side to stir through the rice when cooked.
• Score (slash) the sardines with a knife on both sides then lay in an ovenproof dish.
• Season the fish with salt, pepper and a handful of ripped coriander before squeezing over the lemon juice and finishing with a splash of oil. Tasty!
• Pop the stems out from the mushrooms and push goats’ cheese into the gap.
• Top each stuffed mushroom with a slice of red chilli, arrange in an ovenproof dish and drizzle with oil.
• Slice the chorizo diagonally and toss them into an ovenproof dish with the glass of wine.
• Put the mushrooms, sardines and chorizo into the oven to cook for 10 minutes.
• Fry the cooked potatoes in a frying pan with a little oil for about 6-8 mins until golden all over.
• Half the ciabatta lengthwise and cut into portions.
• Drizzle the bread with olive oil then place into the oven to toast for 5 minutes.
• Quarter the tomatoes and discard the middles.
• Dice the rest of the tomato and the manchego cheese before mixing together with a sprinkle of salt and pepper.
• Scrape a clove of garlic over the toasted bread and then top with the tomato and cheese mix before serving.
• Mix the drained rice with the chopped pepper, olives and parsley and serve.
• Tip the fried potato onto a plate or bowl and top with the smoky and spicy tomato sauce, garnish with fresh parsley and serve.
• Remove the three dishes from the oven and serve as the final additions to your tapas feast!

Serves 6-8 people.

Liberty Living provides student accommodation in 17 university cities across the UK, including student accommodation in Liverpool, student accommodation in London, student accommodation in Preston plus many more.

Posted on 12th November 2014 by Claire L.

Claire Louise Sheridan lives and works in Peterborough. She recently graduated with a degree in English and Communication Studies from the University of Liverpool.

Oct 242014

Can’t cook? Won’t cook? We’ve got you SORTED! The Sorted Chefs want to bring a little more fun into your kitchen at Liberty Living, teaching you the basics whilst you have fun along the way.

Say hello to Ben and Barry, who run the UK’s biggest student cooking channel, with the help of a few of their friends. They decided to help you out, so you can cook for your mates, too. Within no time at all, they aim to prove that you and your flatmates can enjoy good quality, home cooked food without spending much at all.

Feast your eyes on their exclusive videos – which they actually made before they blew up massively. You’ll be getting taught everything you need to know from some guys who are now practically celebrity chefs, so you’ll have some bragging rights there for sure.

The good news is that you don’t need to be a rocket scientist to get on board, as they’ll be making the whole thing super simple. They’ve got loads of ideas for some fun recipes which they’ll be serving up over the coming weeks, so keep your eyes (and the veggies!) peeled for details.

Liberty Living provides student accommodation in 17 university cities across the UK, including student accommodation in Liverpool, student accommodation in London, student accommodation in Preston plus many more.

Posted on 24th October 2014 by Claire L.

Claire Louise Sheridan lives and works in Peterborough. She recently graduated with a degree in English and Communication Studies from the University of Liverpool.

Can't cook, Won't cook?

Posted at 11:18 AM
Oct 212014

Can't cook, Won't cook?

What if I told you that the reason you have a kitchen in your student accommodation isn’t just to gather for pre drinks with friends or sit and enjoy noodles and takeaway pizza? I know… mind blown, right?

Okay, I will level with you. I know that not all students are terrible at cooking for themselves, but so many are, no matter whether it’s a case of “Can’t cook” or “Won’t cook”. During my brief stint at the University of Leeds, I fell into the latter camp (it’s sometimes just SO much easier to stick in some chicken nuggets when you’ve got a night out planned…), but fortunately, by the time I’d grown up a bit and moved on to Liverpool, I had sorted out my eating habits and was cooking most days. Based on that little bit of insight, I reckon I’m qualified to give advice in this area. Well, sort of!

Some people who definitely CAN give you a little bit of a hand with this stuff are the Sorted Chefs. A while back, Liberty Living commissioned them to produce some videos in their London residences to give you an idea of what can be achieved with just a basic bit of knowledge and some low cost ingredients.

That’s why, over the next few weeks, we’ll be releasing some simple videos and recipes showing you how to get all independent in the kitchen.

Each video is three to four minutes long and involves Ben Ebbrell, the group’s chef, getting one or two members of the Sorted crew, and a few stduents, to help him create a dish. All the recipes are relatively simple, mainly using store-cupboard ingredients and designed to appeal to those who want to make an impressive-looking dish with the minimum fuss.

These five friends met at school in Hertfordshire, but went their separate ways in 2008 to attend various colleges. When Ben Ebbrell, who was studying culinary arts management at University College Birmingham, returned home in the holidays he was horrified to discover what his friends had been eating. Did you know there’s such a thing as a frozen doner kebab? He started writing simple, cheap recipes on the back of beer mats for them to try. A lot of them would cost less than £1 each, so they were cheaper than buying takeaways.

In 2010 they self-published their first book, Sorted: a recipe for student survival… and things have progressed from there. They have their own YouTube channel, SortedFood, and with more hits on YouTube than Jamie Oliver and Gordon Ramsay combined, SortedFood’s online cookery videos and recipes are consigning the era of the TV chef to the kitchen bin.

Now everyone’s got to start somewhere, and so seeing other young people give it a go might just be all the inspiration you need. Not only is home cooking typically healthier, it can also be tastier too (trust me!). I love making everything from casseroles, to soups, to fancy side dishes and all kinds. It’s definitely won me brownie points with my boyfriend, too – plus it gives me something to do! Once you’ve got the hang of it, it can even be your party trick – showing off your culinary skills can be entertaining to your new flatmates for sure, just ask the producers of every cooking show on TV, like, ever. You can even cook as a group, because it can be a right laugh. You’ve got great cooking facilities here at Liberty Living, so make the most of them!

Of course, if you are going to get into making your own food from scratch, you’ll want to be savvy about it. Don’t cook when drunk, for example, because it’s all going to end in tears! At worst, you’ll do yourself some serious harm, but based upon my old flatmate’s experience (that girl just keeps on coming up…), at best, you’ll inexplicably throw some chicken into the kettle, much to everyone’s dismay when it’s found, completely rotten, about two weeks later. Gross. You also shouldn’t cook when super tired (I’ve been there… waking up four hours later to a blackened casserole dish isn’t ideal, and I was lucky it wasn’t a lot worse!).

Finally, don’t ever, ever leave the food unattended, particularly when it’s on the hob. A girl I once lived with clearly thought she was the exception to this rule and left her wok (a big no-no in student accommodation anyway) by itself and it caused a genuine, legitimate fire. We couldn’t live there for weeks, our sofa was melted along with everything else, and we’re so fortunate that nobody got hurt. If there’s ever a story to remind you to be vigilant when cooking as a student, it’s that one.

No matter whether you’re a newbie in the kitchen and your idea of cooking is microwaving tinned soup, we hope that the four videos we’ve got coming up for you will give you some insight and inspiration. Good luck, and remember to upload some of your creations to our residence Facebook page and don’t forget to invite us over for dinner sometime soon!

Liberty Living provides student accommodation in 17 university cities across the UK, including student accommodation in Medway, student accommodation in Newcastle, student accommodation in Preston plus many more.

Posted on 21st October 2014 by Claire L.

Claire Louise Sheridan lives and works in Peterborough. She recently graduated with a degree in English and Communication Studies from the University of Liverpool.

© 2012 Liberty Living