If there’s one thing students need help with, it’s cooking. No offence but many of us are guilty of it; having stir-fries three times a week and take-aways the other nights. And let’s not forget pasta, that oh-so easy yet filling student favourite.
One thing we’re sure about is that the reason we students are so lazy when it comes to cooking is because cooking for one is actually quite difficult, and with fresh ingredients for complex recipes the weekly shop starts to add up. That’s where Very Lazy come in with their pre-prepared and handily packaged cooking ingredients. We were fortunate enough to be sent a few samples to see what we thought, and were pleasantly surprised.
Very Lazy’s product range includes herbs and spices such as chilli and garlic in handy jars or tubes, ready to cook. They’re a really easy way to add flavor to the usual student favourites, as well as offering the chance to be more experimental with your diet. After all, you’re not very likely to buy fresh lemongrass (because who on Earth knows how to use that?) but when it comes in a squeezy tube it makes adding the unusual flavor into your cooking way easier.
We were sent samples of the lemongrass paste, smoked chilli, garlic and smoked garlic. We love the inclusion of smoky flavours into the range, as it’s something that’s difficult to achieve at home without forking out for fancy products. The best thing about them is that once they’re opened you can keep them in the fridge for 6 weeks (unlike a bulb of garlic which can go soft after a couple of weeks) so even if you don’t use them regularly they’ll stay good to go.
We added the products to recipes we already make and we found that the smoked chilli and smoked garlic worked wonderfully in a simple bean chilli (which can then be frozen for later meals) and the lemongrass livened up stir fries and noodles beautifully.
For the healthier ones among us, sautéing the smoked garlic with fresh kale makes a delicious side, although we don’t recommend using the garlic if you’re roasting vegetables, as it doesn’t quite work as well as the fresh stuff (the only downside of these products).
Very Lazy also do cooking concentrates for dishes such as Chilli Con Carne and Green Thai Curry, which make varying your diet easier than ever. You can buy their products at most major supermarkets (except Aldi, unfortunately).
We were also sent a couple of recipes to try the products in, and here’s our favourite for anyone who’s feeling like something other than pizza tonight:
Smoked Garlic and Butternut Squash Risotto
Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 20 minutes
1tablespoon olive oil
1 onion, chopped
3 teaspoons Very Lazy Smoked Garlic
½ medium sized butternut squash or small pumpkin, peeled, deseeded and cut into 1cm cubes (about 375g)
1 litre hot vegetable or chicken stock
325g risotto rice
150ml dry white wine
2 x 100g rounds goats’ cheese
125g baby leaf spinach
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- In a large saucepan, melt the butter with the oil, then stir in the onion and garlic and cook for 2-3 minutes, until the onion has softened.
- Stir in the butternut squash and cook for a further 3-4 minutes, until starting to brown. Add 4 tablespoons of the stock, cover the pan and sweat the vegetables for 5 minutes.
- Add the rice and cook for 2 minutes, then pour in the wine and cook for 2-3 minutes until absorbed. Stir in the stock 125ml at a time, stirring constantly, until most of the liquid has been absorbed.
- Roughly chop 1 of the rounds of cheese and slice the other into 4 rounds. Stir in the chopped cheese and season well. If more liquid is required stir in hot water. The risotto is ready, when the butternut squash and rice grains are tender.
- Remove from the heat and stir in the spinach. Cover and allow it to wilt with the heat from the risotto. Serve immediately in bowls, topped with a round of cheese, freshly ground black pepper and a drizzle of olive oil.
Let us know your thoughts on Very Lazy products in the comments! More recipes and info about their products can be found on their website.
By Alice Hudson