Let’s face it. You’re not a uni house if you don’t argue constantly over whose cooking is best. Every mealtime becomes a territorial display as you finesse your microwave cottage pie with a sprig of coriander and look judgingly towards the doughy pancakes your flatmate has decided to call Yorkshire puddings. Well, the four of us are no different. We decided, after considerable months of argument, to finally sit down and discover whose cooking would triumph in an evening we’re calling Come Dine with Me, mainly because we can’t think of anything more original.
Kate Fawcett played bartender for the evening and welcomed us upon arrival with a sunny concoction, served beautifully from a microwaveable plastic jug. Her homemade Bellinis proved simple, but delicious, combining the tart flavour of refrigerated peach juice with a sparkling prosecco that both quenched our thirst and boosted our spirits.
Next, came Holly Ktorou’s starter. Her Greek family roots came out to play as she created a sort of mezze board or platter. The hummus was creamy and packed with garlic and fresh tzatziki kept the flavours light and refreshing. However, this course was let down by the revelation that the flatbreads had not been handmade by the contestant as assured. They were in fact created by her flatmate. A tasty, scandalous opener.
The main course was Catrin Stewart’s Mediterranean vegetable lasagne which was accompanied by greens cooked in mint and lemon. Both aspects of this course were irritatingly delicious, making it no competition as to who the winner was. The lasagne was crisp on the outside and creamy on the inside, packed full of Mediterranean vegetables and a whole lot of cheese. The greens were the perfect side dish. Deliciously crunchy and zesty, they almost overshadowed the main itself. Almost.
For dessert, we were faced with what seemed like a make-shift student creation of a classic chocolate brownie by Helena Young. Yet, the salted caramel flavour with a generous topping of salted pretzels meant this was no ordinary brownie. From first glance, we were dubious, thinking that the baker had surely walked down quite the wrong aisle in Sainsbury’s when picking up this pretzel topping. But we can now report that no other topping will do. Plain old chocolate brownies just won’t make the cut at a dinner party any more. Yes, even a student one. This course even gets added points for its insta-worthiness!
Our express Come Dine With Me evening was; although we may say so ourselves, a huge success. Despite a few hiccups, each contestant blew it out of the park with their creations. We crushed the stereotype that students can’t cook.
If you want to try it out yourselves, we recommend combining it into one evening. As we all know, it can be difficult to find one free evening at busy points in the term, let alone four or five to run a come dine with me competition. The single evening also meant less pressure on each cook and less money spent overall. By the end of the night, instead of drunkenly arguing over who should have won and insulting each other – we were gushing over our cooking skills. What a wonderful evening. There’s nothing left to say, other than ‘Enjoy the money, Jane, we hope it makes you happy’.