Wednesday, 25 November 2009

Rewind 1 year ago. My Baby Days in UK

wrote this when I was in Uni. never fail to drag me back to memory lane. oh pardon my ignorance, and unsophistacation (though, I am still ignorant and unsophistacated but at least i got a bit more to share forward 1 year on). Anyways enjoy.

The Tesco Diet.

Or Asda, or Morrissons, or whichever is your preference of the Super 4.

I aim to present the simplest diet plan and the cheapest, as both adjectives is very specific to allowance-limited students like me. Simple and Cheap- fairly easy. Simple, Cheap, and Healthy. That’s what I had been up to instead of courseworks. Discovering the market trends, the five forces of my personal economics and my demand to be able to discover the best mix of products that fits those three adjective and that would actually be edible, at least to my 20-year old palate.

The Tesco Diet
Its simple because it is assumed that everything in here was outsourced from the very best, the finest, and the most convenient shelves of the top UK supermarkets. Easy to access, as my vertically-challenged self had come across it despite the fact that most of the good ones in the groceries are above my reach level(with even tiptoeing)

Its simple enough to be discovered by an international student with just a year of England. Cheap enough to be afforded by my home currency that was delivered, and devalued by Western Union. Spare me the royals of the Far East, I think they have curry or nasi lamak delivered by courier everyday to their dorm rooms. But for commoners like me, college is a culinary adventure.

Why am I doing this.

Feeding yourself was once upon a time a quick decision.
Supposedly it’s a quick decision.

Half your allowance went to booze, party, and a stock portfolio of Aspirin afterwards. A quarter of which you seclude for the Chinese buffet, Chinese delivery, and your Chinese girls; or boy for my instance. Then all you are left are some pennies that could afford you 4 course dinner of microwavable, or the products which are the result of the Super 4 narcissism. Self-labelled generics are always the cheapest one and most of the time the shi**est as well. But then you actually get some salvation at times. Yet 10 months and 3 stones later, you found yourself clamouring for gym membership, or a quick fix to the college fat that comes with your diploma.
Cheap and Good. Win Win. Cheap, Good, and Healthy- Miracle.

We have to start from the beginning. Clean Slate. Imaine you arrive at uni for the first time. Jetlagged, Lucid, Lost, and uber hungry. My first meal was a Walker Crisp and a pint of milk to soothe my complaining ulcer. Not exactly a welcoming feast. Then for the next 10 months I gorge on every sausage pizza, chocolate, Walker crisps I could find. Its cheap and easy, and filling. I fell in love with the Full English Breakfast, had a quick affair with the pizza and curly fries, haven’t gotten over Fish and Chips, and I think I will be marrying Wines for the rest of my life. 2 extra stones later, I think I must have gone into a sort of culture shock, British culinary for me is too refreshing liberated and new , and I just set my eye-and-culture apetite and curiosity to prison break. I love British cuisine, and this is not an insult to the culture but an insult to my ignorance. That is why I am doing it. Because after all, I found the British grocery and the British lifestylye more fairly easier to get along with if you’re trying to live healthy- and when you’re really trying. Really Really trying.

So there is no quick fix. Just a good start.

First Trip to Asda. Or Tesco or whatever

Things I should have bought:
1. Water Filter – Drinking from Tap is zero-maintenance BUT it does taste weird at times, and £5 of taking extra care of the most important liquid coming into your body is WORTH it. Do the math, its just 2 smirnoff ice in exchange for Clean water for the rest of the year.

2. Set of Decent Cooking Pan- 1 Casserole, 1 Frying Pan, and probably an extra tefal pan if you could spare the extra pounds.

3. Microwavable Plastic Containers- so you could store pre-made soup, marinated veggies and meat, and where you could hide all those leftovers chic and turkey that could be reincarnated into a sandwhich filler in their next life.

4. Invest in a Rice Cooker(All Asians are nodding in chorus with me)- its good to keep homesickness blues down as rice feels more homely than chips, also it is good for STEAMBOAT(SHABU SHABU) or steaming vegetables. Talk about Healthy. But there’s always the microwave or there’s always starving yourself to death.

5. Roasting Pan- cost u less than £1(Morrisons). Baking roasting or whatever, as long as u put it in the oven, and reserve the oil and butter for those Comfort Food 911 Nights, it sets you to a healthier method of cooking. Ultra Easy as well. Pop in a chicken marinated with lemon chilli sauce, salt, and pepper. Watch an Episode of Friends (20 mins) and its all good. You could even sequel it with homemade baked baby potatoes with herbs as a 2nd course in between Ross and Rachel then Rachel and Joey.

Other equipment worth acknowledging for. The Oscars goes to…
Toasters- best and quickest. Ciabbata, Pita. Or good ole bread. Do your heart a favour and stick with wholemeal. THERE IS A WORLD OUTSIDE WHITE BREAD. Wholemeal malted, seeded, half brown, drunked, and taken for granted. And the best place to get bread? Market place. Wednesdays and Saturdays, freshly baked

Microwave - did they ever gave Mr. Microwave a Pulitzer? I sure hope they did. Cos this had absolutely been my best mate. Not all microwaved food are appaling. It depends on what you put into it. If you had plonk a ready to go sausage and mash, DO NOT expect caviar to come out after 7 minutes. Microwave is a tool, not a lifestyle. Take advantage of its ability to cook fast without oil. I normally cook white eggs in it (there is such a thing as an egg microvable plastic cooker 99p Morrissons), I steam veggies in it. I thaw my rock frozen meat, and I rejuvenate my past with it- past chicken, 2 day old tomato soup, way past curry, and past-a. Trying to be funny here. It would take a lot of humor to get through this huge advocacy.

Oven – oven is the most taken for granted siblings in the kitchen family at least for uni students. It is always overshadowed by Big Brother Hob. What most didn’t realize is it is far easier to cook in oven than in anything within 2 mile radius. It is also more flavourful, as goes with the convention of slow cooking.

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