My alarm usually went off at 7.30 a.m. but there were a lot of times that I remember making great use of the snooze button, and waking up at 8.30; never mind that I had an 8.45 class. I would run around trying to get ready, miss breakfast and sit in 3 hour classes with my stomach noisily grumbling about all the meals it had been denied in its lifetime.
Before I knew it, it was 4 p.m. and a coke was the only thing I had to ‘eat’ the whole day. That was life for me when I moved to the self-catering hostels of our campus and realized that cooking for myself and juggling my busy schedule would be quite a challenge. I had to learn the art of cooking simple but yummy meals. The ‘smokie stew’ was something of a delicacy for the residents of the self-catering hostels. It wasn’t really a stew, but the name stuck anyway.
It is quite easy to make and will come in handy many times. All you need is pasta (spaghetti, macaroni or whichever type you prefer), two smokies, an onion, two cloves of garlic (optional), two green peppers (pilipili hoho) two tomatoes, and whatever kind of seasoning you like whether it’s black pepper or tumeric or rosemary, the choice is yours. Seasoning is also optional though.
Usually I placed my sufuria on the gas cooker, poured a little cooking oil then turned the music on while I waited for it to heat up. At this point I had chopped up the onions, garlic, peppers, tomatoes and smokies into little pieces and placed the pasta in boiling water in a separate sufuria.
Bobbing my head to the blaring music from my phone, I fried the onions, garlic, and green peppers for five minutes before adding the tomatoes, and the smokies three or so minutes later. Every time I added a new ingredient, I would mix it up with the rest. Salt and seasoning followed and I let the smokies cook for three to four minutes.
I would then drain water from the now cooked pasta then pour into the smokie mixture. After this, all that is required is mixing everything up with the pasta and letting it cook for two to three minutes and voila, you have a very tasty meal in less than twenty minutes.
I would always have this exquisite meal with spinach. You may make a face and turn up your nose but green vegetables are very essential in your diet. Also, your mom will be impressed that you’re eating your greens. Spinach is very tasty when well cooked. I would buy it already washed and cut up (remember we’re trying to save time). Fry onions for two minutes and add the spinach and a little salt. Mix them up and cook for five to six minutes and you have a little more health and colour in your meal.
To make the meal tastier, you could grate cheese on it, add some ketchup, or add fresh avocado to it. The cooking experience can be made more interesting by dancing, and singing along to your favourite music with the wooden spoon as your ‘mic’.
1. Any other type of processed meat (brawn, sausage etc) can be used in place of the smokie.
2. This meal serves one. You can increase the proportions as you see fit if you’re cooking for more people.
3. My book ‘Quick, simple meals for the busy campus student, the guy who just moved out, and the girl who…uh…has better stuff to do?’ is in selected stores. Hurry, while stocks last. Comes with free DVD, music CD of fun songs to listen to while cooking, and a free wooden spoon. I will be having a book signing….Ok none of that stuff is true. I wish! : D