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Adventures In Student Cooking: Vege-try-ian

<p>The Chef — Really can’t cook, but tries hard — Would have already died in apocalyptic scenario — Good at picking My Kitchen Rules winners — Irrationally dislikes onion The Setup — One small fridge with freezer compartment — Three gas stove burners (one is broken) — One microwave that burns the outside of frozen meals while failing to defrost the center I [&hellip;]</p>

The Chef
— Really can’t cook, but tries hard
— Would have already died in apocalyptic scenario
— Good at picking My Kitchen Rules winners
— Irrationally dislikes onion

The Setup
— One small fridge with freezer compartment
— Three gas stove burners (one is broken)
— One microwave that burns the outside of frozen meals while failing to defrost
the center

I frequently have meat-eater guilt.

Ethically, financially, and ecologically, I should be vegetarian. But as someone with persistently low iron levels and poor impulse control, I haven’t figured out a way to make it work for me. However, I can at least reduce my meat consumption. So this week I set out to make three vegetarian recipes.

(P.S. It wasn’t until my editor pointed it out that I realised these recipes barely have any veggies because I’m basically a five year old).

Attempt One: Herbie Fully Loaded

My first dinner for the week was a herb and mushroom omelette, which used  Chanterelle mushrooms and a variety of different herbs.

I want to say I made this recipe, but I encountered some problems. Firstly, Woolies had no chanterelle mushrooms. I don’t even know where there nearest green grocer is, so I settled for a tub of wild mushrooms. Secondly, the original recipe called for tarragon, parsley, chives and chervil. There’s no way I was going to buy a ton of expensive herbs, use a teaspoon of each and then let the rest slowly wilt in my fridge, forgotten. Instead, I bought a packet of mixed semi dried herbs. I also substituted olive oil for the suggested grapeseed oil because as far as I’m concerned oil is oil.

My ingredient list ended up being:

1 large egg
1 tablespoon sour cream
1 tsp herbs
Handful of mixed wild mushrooms
Salt and pepper to taste
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp unsalted butter

This was probably the most complicated recipe I’ve made yet for this series. I fried the mushrooms in oil then added the butter to the pan. I then added the mixture of egg and sour cream, then tossed the herbs over the top. The recipe I semi-followed (does it still count if you substitute the two arguably most important ingredients?) said to not fold it, so I precariously transferred it to my plate in one piece.

The omelette was surprisingly filling given it only had one egg, and was actually really tasty. I would suggest using a smaller pan if you have one; my omelette was a bit fragmented because of how far the mixture had to spread. The sour cream added a great flavour, and I was surprised at how much of a difference the herbs made. It’s a good option for a quick one-person meal, but make sure you’re actually in the mood to cook because I imagine this could be rather tedious otherwise.

Rating: 8.5/10

Attempt Two: Taco Tuesday

Okay, I know this is super basic, so I won’t spend ages on it.  

I made my tacos with a standard Old El Paso kit, which meant the only ‘cooking’ I had to do was chop up veggies and cook the beans. My ingredients were:

1 packet taco mix
500g mixed tinned beans
Taco shells
Sour cream
Grated cheese
1 bag lettuce
1 tomato
1 jalapeno

I shared this with a friend as it’s definitely not a one-person meal. Two important realisations came from this process. One, if you try hard enough, you can cook beans in a fry pan. It didn’t click that you’re supposed to boil or microwave them until after I’d put all the beans into the pan, because I’m an idiot and directly followed the cooking instructions for beef on the packet. After burning them a little, I just added some water before the seasoning and they turned out okay. Secondly, the ‘not suitable for microwave’ thing is a crock of shit, at least in terms of heating up taco shells. They turned out fine! (Maybe a little chewy if we’re being 100% honest).

This was yummy but even sharing between two I think I’m still going to have leftovers in my tiny fridge for the next ten months.

Rating: 7/10

Attempt Three: The Crown (not starring Claire Foy)

Okay first off, don’t make fun of my attempts at cute recipe names.

Secondly, this may be a cheese toastie, but I don’t CARE, it’s great and fancy and it’s Jamie Oliver so it counts as a meal. I’ve made this a few times and I love it.

The actual recipe calls for fancy bread, better cheese, and cayenne pepper, but I just made it with what I had. So my ingredients were:

2 slices bread
cheese – tasty and parmesan

As Jamie instructed, I first made a normal cheese toastie. Then the fun part started: I grated some cheese into the pan and let it cook, then after about two minutes lifted the toastie above the pan and held it in mid-air, cheese dangling down the sides and eventually hardening into a ‘crown’ shape (seen below). Mine never actually looks like a crown but I still love it.

This photo, from the first time I made this toastie, accurately displays my feelings about this recipe:

Me and my crown–I’m basically a cooking queen now!

Jamie Oliver says he’d serve this to the queen so it’s good enough for me.

Rating: 9.5/10

This has been my most successful week so far–all of my recipes were actually successful! Maybe this is a sign from God, Trixie Mattel, or some other deity that I should be a full time vegetarian. But, full disclosure, I did break my streak by eating a sausage roll after eight days. I don’t know how I’m going to maintain this standard: tune in next time for your regularly scheduled failure!

Farrago's magazine cover - Edition Three 2021


Our final editions for the year are jam packed full of news, culture, photography, poetry, art, fiction and more...

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