The University of Essex Bucket list

At the end of the day, you probably only have three or four years at the University of Essex so you need to make the most of it! There’s loads of stuff to do at University and you might struggle to do absolutely everything whilst you’re here. But to get started, here’s 50 things that you should to before you graduate…

  1. Try out the Frisbee golf coursefrisbee golf
  2. Have a BBQ by the lakes to celebrate finishing your examsuniversityofessex_thelake
  3. Find the secret garden!secret garden
  4. Go to ‘Milk It’ on a Monday evening and pretend you’re a child again – even if it’s just once!
  5. Join a society or a sports team or start one up – the more random the better!
  6. Go to a Just Play session – again the more random the better!21651569209_8a5ebda22f_h
  7. Do a languages for all course
  8. Get a job on campus
  9. Push yourself to do something new
  10. Find campus cat – petting and feeding is optional campus cat
  11. See a film at our on campus cinema, Cine 10
  12. Walk to Wivenhoe along the Wivenhoe trail wivenhoe
  13. Take part in the Holi festival holi paint festival
  14. Experience another culture
  15. Learn how to be an “adult” – learn how to do boring stuff like washing and cleaning.
  16. Have Christmas dinner with your housemates meal
  17. Get lost in a random corridor trying to find your lecture in room 5.S685 or whatever. Find out later that you should have just used the find your way app! smartphone
  18. Go on tour with a sports team or society prague trip
  19. Learn how to manage your student loan and not spend it all in the first few weeks!
  20. Get your friends from back home to visit you!
  21. Go to a lecture that has nothing to do with your subject
  22. Go to the THINK lectures and challenge your opinions rter
  23. See a show at the Lakeside Theatre WhyILoveMyCourse3
  24. Get a pie on the No. 64 bus outside the student centre PlacesToEat5
  25. Get driven to insanity by the amount of deadlines you have
  26. Stay up all night to watch all the big moments of the year with your friends: Eurovision, the UK elections, the US elections, the Superbowl etc.
  27. Go to Fresher’s Fair – get as much free stuff as you can! Oh and join a few societies and sports teams as well of course! Freshers Fair
  28. Go to the Winter Fayre – get a picture in the photobooth! winter friends
  29. Spend a silly amount on posters at the start of the year – your room will thank you later! Posters at Uni
  30. Get a cake from the Thursday market on the squares
  31. Hand in an essay early – or not…
  32. Work in every computer lab on campus – #labsontour
  33. Cheer on the blades at Derby day derby day netball
  34. Visit the Employability and Careers centre for really helpful stuff about getting a job Employability and Careers
  35. Consider doing a year abroad/placement year
  36. Raid the free bar at your department’s Christmas party and be amazed by your lecturers dance moves whilst you watch from afar…
  37. Dress up all fancy and have afternoon tea at Wivenhoe House 8485376475_fe05818bcf_o
  38. Dress up all fancy and have a sneaky Frango’s
  39. Take part in a protest Screen Shot 2016-01-12 at 16.21.39
  40. Become a peer mentor
  41. Prank a housemate
  42. Go to the End
  43. Go to Summer Ball
  44. Get your SU heirloom at the start of the year!
  45. Have something to eat at all of the catering outlets on campus – there’s a lot of them…
  46. Take part in a psychology experiment – it’s very quick and easy money!
  47. Place a lock on the life lock wall outside of LTB!
  48. Make use of your student discount!
  49. Make your own unique memories
  50. Make your own bucket list and try and do it!

Good luck in completing your Essex bucket list! I’m sure I’ve missed a few things off so if you think I should add something then leave a comment below

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cheap and Easy Brain Food Recipes!

Yep, it’s here. Those essay deadlines and exams are catching up with us, that revision can no longer be avoided and, despite all the stress and sleep deprivation, we somehow have to keep ourselves together and try to do well! Unfortunately, I can’t help you speed up time until its all over, but I  can offer you some healthy recipes that will hopefully help boost your energy levels and  improve your concentration – great for essay writing and revision!

Breakfast – Berry Banana Smoothie with Toast

Ingredients (serves 1):

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  • 230ml fat-free milk
  • ½ c frozen berries
  • ½ banana, sliced and divided
  • 1 Tbsp ground flaxseed (optional)
  • ⅓ c high-fiber cereal
  • 1 slice whole wheat bread

 

Method:

  1. Blend the fat-free milk, frozen berries, banana and cereal together in a blender.
  2. Toast the bread and have with a healthy topping of your choice.

Start the day right by getting some all important fruit, as well as some energy to burn (speed walk to the library anyone?!) Ok, so we’d probably all prefer a big greasy fry up, but breakfast is the most important meal of the day and a healthy mind needs a healthy body!

Lunch – Tuna Melt

Ingredients (serves 1):

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  • 1 160g can chunk tuna in spring water, drained
  • 1 tablespoon low-fat mayonnaise
  • Salt, to taste
  • Pepper, to taste
  • 2 slices whole wheat bread, toasted
  • 1 tomato, sliced
  • 1/4 cup shredded mature Cheddar cheese

 

Method:

  1. Combine tuna, mayonnaise, salt and pepper in a medium bowl.
  2. Spread 1/2 of the tuna mixture on each slice of toast
  3. Top with tomato slices and cheese.
  4. Place sandwiches on a baking sheet and grill until the cheese is bubbling and golden brown, 3 to 5 minutes.

Since school we’ve all heard that fish is meant to be great brain food, but that doesn’t mean we can’t mix it in with some other delicious ingredients. If you already like cheese on toast, then why not add some brain power to it to help you along?!

Dinner – Pasta with Tomato and Hidden Veg Sauce

Ingredients (serves 4):

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  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 carrots, chopped
  • 1 leek, chopped
  • 2 peppers, deseeded and chopped
  • 2 x 400g cans chopped tomatoes with garlic
  • 1 tbsp each caster sugar and balsamic vinegar (optional)
  • 300g dried pasta shapes
  • Parmesan, shaved to serve (optional)

 

Method:

  1.  Heat the oil in a large non-stick saucepan and gently cook the onion, carrots and leek until soft, about 20 mins.
  2. Add the peppers and cook for 10 mins more.
  3. Tip in the tomatoes, sugar and vinegar. Simmer for at least 20 mins (the longer the better).
  4. Cook the pasta following pack instructions. Meanwhile, blitz the sauce with a hand blender until smooth, season and return to the heat to keep warm while the pasta cooks.
  5. Drain the pasta and toss through the sauce. Serve in bowls topped with shaved Parmesan, if you like.

Got a late night of revision ahead? Help keep up your energy levels up with this warming meal. Whilst you’ve got the treat of having pasta, you’re also getting the benefits of healthy vegetables in a really delicious and filling meal.

I hope you try these brain food recipes out and enjoy! 🙂

 

 

A typical meal plan for a student on a budget

Hello! I am back with another post and this time its on how a day typically looks for me in terms of food.

As a final-year student, it can be quite hard sometimes to be able to eat healthily but also save some cash. I hope you can take some inspiration from these meal suggestions and remember you do not have to use the exact ingredients that I have. The great thing about food and cooking is that you can always make it your own and it will just taste just as delicious.

Breakfast: I am not a health expert, but I do notice when I eat well for breakfast that I have more energy throughout the day and that I am not completely starved until lunch time.  For me, a piece of fruit and some porridge is enough to fill me up and start the day on the right foot.

Porridge and Fruit

Snack: Usually around 11am I get in the mood for something sweet. For a quick snack, some fruit and a bit of dark chocolate satisfies my sweet cravings for the day.Blueberries and Raspberries

Lunch:  Most of the time, a quick salad is something that I go for, because  it takes a few minutes to prepare and I can just use any leftovers that I may have laying around the fridge to add to it. For a simple antipasti salad you will need:

  • salad leaves
  • 5-6 mini tomatoes
  • 1 red pepper
  • black olives (alternatives: roasted peppers, marinated artichokes)
  • feta cheese (mozarella or tofu also works)
  • crunch factor: 1 toasted slice of bread cut in cubes (or toasted pine nuts)
  • 2 prosciutto slices (alternatives: smoked salmon, any leftover grilled chicken, tofu etc. )
  • 1/4 red onion thinly sliced
  • 1/2 can of rinsed kidney beans (chickpeas or any other beans also work)

Place all of the ingredients in a bowl and give them a quick mix. For a yummy dressing: 2 tbsp of olive oil, 1/2 lemon juice, salt and pepper all mixed together. Add the dressing on the salad and serve.Antipasti Salad

Snack: In the afternoon, sometimes I get a little bit hungry again, but I don’t feel like having an entire meal. My top suggestion is to have some toast with perhaps a smashed avocado on top, or a little bit of hummus and as many veggies as you like.

Avocado on Toast

Dinner: The following recipe that I am going to share with you is so delicious and yet so easy to make. What I like to do is make a big batch on Sunday for instance and then I do not have to worry about what to make for at least a couple of days, because I am sorted with either lunch or dinner.

Filled Pastry Boats

  • 1 pack of rolled pastry
  • 1 pack of mozzarella (or any other cheese that you like)
  • veggies (peppers, zucchini, red onions, some olives)
  • protein factor (leftover grilled chicken breast, smoked salmon slices etc)

For these filled pastry boats, at least that is what I like to call them, all you need to do is cut your pastry into squares. I found that cutting the pastry into 6 squares makes for the perfect pastry boat.

Next, you have to cut your vegetables into bite size pieces and start to cook your chicken/fish. The next step is to fill each one of the squares with all of the remaining ingredients and add the cheese on top (this acts like a binding agent to keep everything together).  I took a picture while I was preparing mine just so that it is easier to see the whole process:

Process of filling the Pastry BoatsAfter you have pinched the edges together for each square together, place them in the oven at 180 ° C for about 22-25 minutes, or until golden brown.

Remember that eating well during your studies is very important – it does not need to be overly complicated. You can prepare some things in advance like the filled pastry boats and that will help you save time and money.

Bon Appétit!

Best things about student life

Being a student at University is great. It’s a unique time in your life where you’re considered to be an adult, but with less responsibility. It’s also a time to discover yourself; what you like and what you don’t and to try a range of different things. Throughout my time at University, I’ve definitely found these things to be true! Here’s a few of my favourite things about being a student…

Student discount

These are absolutely everywhere, which is very useful for when you don’t necessarily have that much money to your name! From a cheaper Spotify subscription, to free food at McDonald’s, you never know what deals you might get just for being a student! Normally shops publicise if they offer a discount or not, but there is no harm in just asking shops if they offer one or not. You never know how much you could get off, so it’s always worth having your student card in your wallet!

A good way to keep a track of the deals available is by signing up to UNiDAYS for free! You can also pay £12 a year to get an NUS extra card to unlock even more discounts! Whilst I’ve not got an NUS extra card, I use the UNiDAYS app on my phone all the time to check out the discounts and it’s great!

nus extra card

(Source: http://www.nus.org.uk/en/nus-extra/how-to-buy-nus-extra/)

Freedom

Often as a student at University, you have the freedom to do whatever you want, whenever you want to. Of course, this varies from person to person and your classes and lectures should be a priority, but this often only covers around 12 hours of your week. With the rest of your time, it’s totally up to you when you study, go to work, cook your dinner etc. The way that you live your life at University is totally up to you. Your parents are not going to be there to wake you up or go to your lectures!

Also, whilst you get a month off for Easter and Christmas, as well as almost 4 months off for summer, it doesn’t mean that you’ll have nothing to do! Lecturers expect you to write essays, get some work experience and still do stuff for your course when you’re on your break! It’s not all play and no work! Well… for most of the time it isn’t 😉

freedom

(Source: http://giphy.com/gifs/braveheart-QDDnQybLTHPC8)

Social aspect

At University, you get the opportunity to meet a number of different people. Whether they’re from the complete other side of the world, or have the exact same interests as you, you’re bound to meet loads of people and make bundles of friends at University. There’s also loads of places to socialise as well, whether it be the SU bar quiz on a Thursday evening, or a range of social events run by sports clubs and societies, there’s loads of chances to meet lots of people and get involved in loads of stuff.

I lived in the Towers in my first year and it was great for its social atmosphere!  I lived with 15 other people in my flat and I got to know people from Lithuania, Japan and Romania, as well as the UK. We held a Secret Santa at Christmas, held  Curry Nights and went to comedy nights at the Lakeside Theatre. It was really enjoyable to spend the year in such a sociable environment and it meant that I got to know the people who I live with now in my second year!

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A picture of me and some of my flatmates at the SU bar in my first year at the weekly cheesy music and karaoke night “Milk it”

Opportunities

The world is literally your oyster at University as there is so much to do. Alongside the many sports and societies that you can get involved in, there is loads of stuff available to you which you that you might never have considered doing before University. Whether it be volunteering, getting a Frontrunner placement, or going on a year abroad, there are countless opportunities to make your experience amazing.

An example of this is when I played an active part in the broadcaster ITN’s team for the 2015 general election. Along with a team from the University of Essex, I was one of many telephone operators on election night, taking results over the telephone from constituencies across the country before in putting them onto a system. The actions that we made had an instant effect, as the results that we inputted onto the system were broadcasted instantly on ITV television and Twitter. It was such an amazing thing to get involved with. Something which I would have never have done, if it were not for the University!

itn

A selection of the team from the University of Essex outside ITN’s London HQ

 

Hopefully, this has given you a bit of an insight into some of the best things about student life and inspired you to make the most out of being a student whilst you can!

Part time jobs off campus

Following on from my blog post about the types of part time work available on campus I thought it would be useful to also write about the jobs that are available off campus. As it would be impossible for me to write about every single off campus job, I have categorised them into type of work.

Retail assistant

If you would like to work in retail, then the best place to start looking is in town. Larger department stores generally advertise their vacancies on their websites, whereas smaller shops often advertise vacancies in their shop windows. It is worth taking a folder of CVs to town and handing these out (take a look at the Essex CV pack first to make sure your CV is up to scratch). I used to work in Superdry in town and applied for my job online through the Superdry website. Other retail work can be found at out-of-town shopping areas such as Tollgate, but these are harder to travel to on public transport.

clothing-store-984396_1920.jpg

Supermarket assistant

There are lots of supermarkets in Colchester that employ students, so these are a great place to apply to jobs.

  • Town: Small Sainsburys and Tesco Express
  • Near University: Tesco ( 15 minute walk/5 minute bus journey) and Waitrose (30 minute walk/10 minute drive)
  • Wivenhoe: Co-op

There are other supermarkets in Colchester, but these are the ones I think most students would live near enough to work at.

My first part time job was in Waitrose and I would really recommend looking for a supermarket job if you don’t have much work experience. As far as I am aware, all of these supermarkets advertise their job vacancies online.

bananas-698608_1920.jpg

Waiter/Waitressing

Colchester has a large number of restaurants in town and so working as a waiter/waitress is a popular job. Some shifts may include late hours, so it is worth checking if you would have a means of transport to get home if you’re likely to be working late into the night.

Some perks of working in a restaurant can include free meals and tips! There are some out-of-town restaurants in Colchester, but these are mainly in Tollgate. Large chain restaurants will hire online, whereas smaller independent restaurants will be more likely to expect you to drop in a CV.

restaurant-690569_1280

Bartender

If you don’t mind late hours, then working in a pub or bar could be the job for you. If you have a local pub then head in with your CV, as pubs are very unlikely to hire online. If you live off campus then you might have a pub down the road from you so that could make a short commute to work. There are pubs and bars in town that you could also apply for, but bear in mind that buses usually stop at around midnight at the weekend.

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There are lots more jobs available in Colchester, for example: working at the Zoo, or at Rollerworld, or at the Castle! My advice is to apply to as many jobs online as you can and then print out some CVs and head to the places you would love to work, but haven’t seen vacancies for online. Keep in mind that some shops won’t accept CVs if they advertise their roles online, as they will want you to use the online application process. That said, looking keen won’t damage your chances of getting a job!

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I would also recommend looking on the website indeed, as they often signpost you to shop roles advertised online. You can browse by area, so you can search for all of the part time jobs advertised in Colchester.

Good luck!

Why choose Essex if you are an EU/International student

Essex is a very diverse university with students from over 130 different countries. Here are some facts about the university which explain why international students choose Essex as a place to study.

  • It is ranked 2nd in the UK for student satisfaction.
  • Ranked 21st overall in THE’s list of the top 200 most international universities in the world.
  • In the top 5 for social science research in the UK.
  • There is award-winning accommodation guaranteed to international students.
  • A range of notable alumni – a president, Members of Parliament, the first Mexican astronaut, film directors and two Nobel Prize winners.
  • Great employment prospects with 91.9% of international graduates in employment or further study within six months.
  • International students make up 40% of the university.

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Here are some further points as to why EU/International students should study at Essex in my opinion.

  • Great location! All three campuses are close to London. The main campus in Colchester is an hours train ride away.

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  • Campus accommodation is very social and a fun place to live. However, if you prefer to rent a place off campus, the university has a great facility on campus called ‘Student Lets’ to help you find a place that you are looking for.

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  • There are nearly as many international students as home students, so there will be many other people in your position to talk to and make friends with.
  • There are around 165 sports clubs and societies to join through the Student Union, a great way to make friends!
  • Sports clubs are all free to join and you can join as many as you want.
  • You can start your own society if you feel passionate about something and the university doesn’t already offer it.

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The University of Essex is a great place to study! I am currently on my year abroad in Australia and will be returning to Essex for my final year towards the end of this year. I would totally recommend doing either your whole degree or a term/year abroad, it really is a great experience!

The best thing about leaving home to come to Uni

Making the leap from living full time at home to then going to live at uni is both terrifying and exciting at the same time. Many of you may be considering whether it is worth leaving home to come to uni, so I thought I’d share with you all what has been for me, one of the best things about moving away from my home in Surrey, to come to the University of Essex.

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For me, the best thing about leaving home to come to university has been the independence. Don’t get me wrong, it is not easy at times, and if ever I am curled up in bed with a cold I am wishing I was back home being pampered by my mother! However, on the whole, the independence that university gives you is amazing.  It has allowed me to grow as a person and learn a range of different skills, the most fun skill being learning how to cook!

The second most important thing I have learnt while at uni is managing my money. Before I came to uni, I had no concept of the value of money, I didn’t think before spending at all. You may think that doesn’t sound like a bad thing, but since I started at uni I’ve learnt how to balance my spending and I use my loan for rent and the essentials, and the money I earn from my part-time jobs to treat myself! I have found this works really well, as I don’t feel guilty buying something nice for myself because I know that I’m paying for it with the money I have earned. That might not sound like much fun, but when you come to owning your own house/car etc. when you’re older, money management is essential!

Finally, the third best thing about coming to uni is learning how brave I can be. No matter how scary that first day feels when your family have left and its just you on your own, it is so satisfying knowing that I have been able to make friends, look after myself, and survive without anyone doing stuff for me or running around after me! It is a brave move to make, but knowing that these three years are all yours to make the most of is a great confidence boost.

The independence and life skills I have learned during my three years living away from home at uni has been invaluable and, for me, it is the best thing about leaving home to come to uni. It has been a challenge at times, but most definitely one of the most rewarding things I’ve done!

What’s the point in attending UCAS fairs?

As a student, I have attended UCAS fairs and also worked at HE fairs, so I have seen the event from both sides.  I personally think it’s great to attend UCAS fairs to ask questions, get a feel for different uni’s, plus it allows you to consider Universities you didn’t even know existed!

As an AS level student attending a UCAS fair, I had no idea of what to expect, I assumed it would be similar to a job fair (which it was in some ways), but what I didn’t expect was the number of universities that were there.  I am the first in my family to attend university, so I’d never really had anyone to talk to that had experienced university first hand apart from my teachers.  As I attended a fair in Sheffield, I was expecting it to be all of the standard universities I’d heard of from around my area of the country, so I was so shocked to see that there were so many more universities from all around the UK there.  It was at this UCAS fair that I first found out about the University of Essex, which was not a university I’d previously considered.19258546865_1429316654_n

After obtaining numberous prospectuses, I explored my many options and realised that narrowing my UCAS choice to 5 choices was going to be a much harder decision than first anticipated.  I’d been unleashed to so many possibilities, I’m so glad that I attended – without this I would not be in the position I am in today and may not even have know about all of the other universities around the country!16393015759_c19cb477cf_n

As an ambassador that has worked at a HE fair (higher education fair), it was nice to be able to talk to students about university life, as well as informing them about my university and the courses we offer.

However, whilst I was there I noticed that some students were much more prepared than others and I realised that the key to enjoying a UCAS fair and getting the most from the experience is to have some pre-prepared questions and know what subject areas you are interested in (more than one is fine).

The kinds of questions that are good to ask are: Do you do the course I want?(quite often this is displayed on banners so it may save you time by being observant, but remember not all courses may be displayed); What are the entry requirements? What is the student life like? Although these are basic questions, by asking them you will be engaging with the member of staff and they’ll be able to give you lots of helpful information about things you may not even have considered.25979358996_6f533d5465_h

I hope you find this post useful and feel free to leave any comments you have about UCAS fairs 🙂

Sweet Easter treats

Whilst we’re all relaxing over the Easter holidays, I thought I would share some recipes that are fun and easy to make. I always enjoy baking over Easter weekend and some of these recipes even use up left over chocolate (if that even exists).

Chocolate ‘bark’

A great use for the illusive left over chocolate and can even be given as a gift. It’s easy to make and fun to decorate, so great for children to join in with too.

Ingredients:

  • 600g milk chocolate
  • 1 bag of mini chocolate eggs
  • 1 bag of Maltesers
  • Mini marshmallows (or any other chocolate/sweets you like)

Cost: £4.00

Serves: 10

  1. Break the chocolate into a large glass bowl. Get a large pan of water boiling, then bring it down to a simmer. Sit the bowl on top of the pan but make sure the water doesn’t touch the bottom of the bowl. Let the chocolate slowly melt, stirring now and again with a spatula.
  2. Meanwhile, lightly grease your tins and line them with baking parchment. Put your mini eggs, Maltesers and any other chocolate of your choice into a food bag. Bash them with a rolling pin until broken up a little (this is a great way to release some revision stress).
  3. When the chocolate is melted and smooth, pour it into the tin. Tip the tin from side to side to make sure that the chocolate goes into the corners and levels out. Scatter with the smashed up chocolate and then the marshmallows. I put on quite a lot of toppings so had to push them gently into the chocolate so they wouldn’t just fall off.
  4. Leave to set, I left mine out of the fridge until they reached room temperature and then put them in the fridge so they set firmly.
  5. When they are set remove them from the parchment and snap into shards. You can pack them in boxes or bags and they make great presents.

Chocolate bark can be made all year round, just switch the toppings!

Chocolate and nougat semi-freddo

It may sound hard to make, and I will admit that I had no idea what a semi-freddo was (was it a small chocolate frog?) but actually it was a lot easier than expected. Semi-freddo is basically a delicious frozen chocolate mousse!

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Ingredients:

  • Butter for the tin
  • 75g golden caster sugar
  • 4 medium eggs
  • 250g dark chocolate
  • 450ml double cream
  • 140g nougat or torrone, chopped into ½ cm chunks (I used pink and white nougat but hard nougat is recommended)

Cost: £4.10

Serves: 10

  1. Butter and line a loaf tin with cling film.
  2. Bring a pan of water to a gentle simmer. Put the sugar and eggs in a glass bowl, then place over the water and whisk until pale, thick and doubled in volume. Make sure the bottom of the bowl does not touch the water. Remove the bowl from the heat, plunge the bottom of the bowl into cold water and continue whisking until the mixture has cooled.
  3. Melt the chocolate in the microwave on a low setting (be careful not to burn it), stir, then fold gently into the egg mixture.
  4. Cut the nougat into ½ cm pieces, this is quite tricky so take your time.
  5. Whip the cream to soft peaks (I recommend using an electric whisk) and fold into the chocolate and egg mixture with the nougat.
  6. Pour the mixture into the loaf tin, smooth the surface with a spoon, then cover and freeze until firm.

To serve the semi-freddo, turn out onto a plate, remove the cling film and leave in the fridge for 15 mins to soften slightly before slicing.

You can add nuts like pistachios, or even freeze dried raspberries to this recipe, simply add them at the same time as the nougat. If you don’t like nougat you can miss this step entirely.

 

Chocolate nests

I remember making chocolate ‘nests’ like this every Easter when I was younger and feeling like a Michelin star chef. An easy recipe that again, is great as an activity with kids.

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Ingredients:

  • 225g milk chocolate
  • 2 tbsp golden syrup
  • 50g butter
  • 75g cornflakes or rice krispies
  • 1 bag of mini chocolate eggs

Cost: £3.90

Serves: 12

  1. Fill a cupcake tray with cupcake cases.
  2. Place the chocolate, butter and syrup into a glass bowl and exactly the same as in the chocolate bark recipe melt the mixture over a pan of simmering water.
  3. Take the bowl off the heat and stir in the cereal until it is all combined.
  4. Spoon into the cupcake cases and add mini eggs to the top for decoration.
  5. Place in the fridge to set.

 

Gooey brownies

I cannot resist a gooey brownie and these certainly fulfil that criteria. You can bake them all year round, but I added some mini eggs to the top to make them a little more seasonal. They do take the longest to make out of all of the recipes but I would definitely say they are worth it.

Ingredients:

  • 185g unsalted butter
  • 185g dark chocolate
  • 85g plain flour
  • 40g cocoa powder
  • 50g white chocolate
  • 50g milk chocolate
  • 3 large eggs
  • 275g golden caster sugar

Cost: £3.40

Serves: 16

  1. Cut the unsalted butter into small cubes and break the dark chocolate into small pieces and put both into a glass bowl. Melt the chocolate and butter over a pan of water as in the chocolate bark recipe. Remove the bowl from the pan and leave the melted mixture to cool to room temperature.
  2. Turn on the oven to fan 160°C, conventional 180°C or gas mark 4.
  3. Using a shallow 20cm square tin, cut out a square of non-stick baking parchment to line the base.
  4. Sieve the plain flour and cocoa powder into a bowl.
  5. Chop the white chocolate and milk chocolate into chunks.
  6. Break the eggs into a large bowl and tip in the golden caster sugar. Using an electric mixer whisk the eggs and sugar until they look thick and creamy, like a milk shake. You’ll know it’s ready when the mixture becomes really pale and about double its original volume.
  7. Pour the cooled chocolate mixture over the eggy mousse, then gently fold together with a rubber spatula, you don’t want to knock out all the air!
  8. Resift the cocoa and flour mixture into the egg mixture. Gently fold in this powder. The mixture will look dry at first, but if you keep going very it will end up looking fudgy. Stop just before you think you should, as you don’t want to overdo this mixing.
  9. Stir in the white and milk chocolate chunks until they’re dotted throughout.
  10. Pour the mixture into the prepared tin. Gently ease the mixture into the corners of the tin.
  11. Put in the oven and set your timer for 25 minutes. When the timer goes, open the oven, pull the shelf out a bit and gently shake the tin. If the brownie wobbles in the middle, it’s not quite done, so bake for another 5 minutes until the top has a shiny, papery crust and the sides are just beginning to come away from the tin (my brownie took over 30 minutes). Then take it out of the oven.
  12. Decorate with mini eggs or other chocolates if you want to.

Leave the whole brownie in the tin until completely cold, then you can cut them into whatever serving size you like. It’s useful to know that they’ll keep in an airtight container for two weeks and in the freezer for up to a month.

Let me know if you make any of these recipes, I would love to see pictures!

Recipes were adapted from BBC Good Food.

7 tips to a better Easter Break

Hi, everyone! So it is the Easter holiday and the last thing on your mind is work or revision. I have prepared for you some quick ways to have fun during the break, but also how to start a bit early with any of the work you may have to do before the start of exams.

  1. If you are staying on campus during the break, have a look at the activities that are put up on the Student’s Union What’s On web page. It is a great opportunity to try a new sport/activity and meet other students that are staying on campus during the break as well.
  2.  No need to worry for those that have gone home because I have got another good tip. My best advice is to organize a quick trip with friends. This is the best way to reconnect with them but also to see some new things. It does not need to be too far away or too expensive in order to have a lot fun and de-stress.  Here is picture from one of my trips around South Germany that may serve as inspiration.Germany first trip
  3. Now I have a suggestion that you may not want to hear because it is related to something that we need to do, but perhaps don’t want to do during the holidays, and that is revision.  The best thing is obviously to start revising early so that you are definitely prepared for the exams. But if you really can’t bring yourself to do that yet, then the best you can do is to write down when and where your exams are going to take place. You can then start to organize the materials that you are going to need for revising. If you are feeling extra productive then make yourself a revision schedule to help you conquer those exams.
  4. Relax! Why not read a new book or listen to a new series? My top 2 recommendations are a book and a podcast: Influx by Daniel Suarez (imagine a world where new technology inventions are kept away from the citizens in order to “protect” them, rather interesting I thought so) and Serial Season 1 (an analysis over a murder case that you will keep completely hooked for the entire length of the series).  Serial CoverInflux Cover
  5. Set yourself a challenge. This could be to start learning a new language, or do more exercise. Going to the gym can be a great option, but if you are on a tight budget then why not try some quick exercises at home? During the break of your favourite TV series, try a minute of jumping rope, or jogging on the spot. This will get your heart rate up a bit and make your feel more energized. I have written down some of the exercises that I would like to do on some sticky notes and after I finish one I just simply remove it from my notebook.1 minute exercises
  6. Try cooking a nice meal and invite over some friends/family. Holidays are the perfect excuse to dive into something indulgent and reward yourself for all the hard work. Tom's gif
  7. If you always wanted to learn more about a certain topic, but not necessarily feel pressured by taking a test or exam at the very end, then completing a free online course during the break could be the perfect thing to try.  Have a look at the following two websites and see if there is anything that you like: Coursera and Udemy.

I hope these tips inspire you to try out some of the things that I have mentioned and remember to make the most out of your Easter Break!