Sun and mandarins in Sheffield

Eight weeks in and I still don’t quite believe I am an actual master’s student at Sheffield. True to form, I’m suddenly busy again – don’t be fooled by my 3.5 hours contact time every week!

Busy is how I like things, but it doesn’t mean I don’t still take the time to appreciate things. Here’s some gorgeous berries that brightened up my morning on the way to the IC the other day :


I also refuse to let it stop me from cooking most of my meals myself. Beautiful weather helps with this goal too. Who would have expected such lovely weather at the end of September and into October and still making appearances towards the end of November, in Sheffield!?

I have a habit of walking into all the supermarkets on my way home to see what they’ve reduced that evening. The results are rewarding more often than not.

Sell by dates are just a guideline that supermarkets have to stick to to cover their backs. With a little common sense and some basic human survival instinct sell by dates are a great advantage to students on a budget.

  • Who doesn’t like a bargain?
  • The randomness of what is reduced helps inspire meals and stops me getting stuck in a rut.
  • I feel an odd sense of achievement on finding good reduced food.

I felt this sense of achievement coupled with childish excitement a few days ago when I came across a whole crate of mandarins reduced to 4p each! 4p! I felt a few up and they were as they should be, firm but not hard. I bought as many as I could manage.

2 (1)

I now needed to think of how to eat all these mandarins… The wonderful weather had me craving a fresh and crisp meal. To go with my mandarins I got some fresh spinach and cress and a log of goat’s cheese.

After a lovely walk home I got to making my salad. I had something sweet and juicy. I had something fresh and leafy. I had something strong and creamy. I just needed something delicate and crunchy. I found the answer in the form of almonds.


I mixed it all up, added some chopped chillies for an extra kick and that was it!

Here’s the breakdown of ingredients and how to make it.


  • Mandarins – 5
  • Spinach and cress – 150g
  • Goat’s cheese – 200g
  • Red chillies – 2
  • Almonds – a handful


  • Peel the mandarins. If you want, peel the segments too (I like them unpeeled)
  • Wash the spinach and cress
  • Roughly chop the goat’s cheese and almonds
  • Finely chop the chilles
  • Mix the ingredients and season with salt and pepper.


Had it been cold and wet I would probably have adapted my spiced orange cake recipe. That’s one to look forward to over the next few months.


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