This isn’t a fancily prepared dish, and it doesn’t require much thought to be put into it either, it uses simple seasoning and simple ingredients too – but at the end of the day, its a wholesome, healthy dish that comes together in just 15 minutes, including prep time. If the chorizo seems a bit too on the edge of health for you, then some halved black olives fit in nicely.
Through this dish I realised the importance of having a well rounded dish to look forward to at the end of the day. As a student, luxuries such as sea bass are often scoffed at in exchange for cheaper meats, fishes, or simply carbs. I’m constantly picked at for eating foods that aren’t ‘student foods’ – ‘how on earth can you afford to eat that??’. And yes, I appreciate it does hurt a little when comparing the prices of just one fresh fillet of fish to a whole pack of sausages.
But do I care about being particularly hungry for those bargain basement sausages? For the frozen chicken pieces? Do I really look forward to them, and take time for them? Yes – If I spend hours making a nice stew, or bolognese out of them. But not otherwise. Which means I don’t care about having a couple cookies before dinner, or overindulging in lunch. I’m not fussed about the idea of rushing through eating those sausages, to get to the more exciting dessert.
Now, there’s nothing wrong with being excited for dessert. But eventually this lack of bother affects my wallet, my weight, and my inner balance.
The act of spending a little more on a nice fillet of sea-bass (from Waitrose, even fancier!), choosing some delectable tender stem broccoli instead of canned veg, and some Spanish chorizo instead of well, ham that probably contains more plastic than meat, means I look forward to this dinner all day. It literally brightens my mood throughout the day. I forgo the muffin offered to me by a classmate. I don’t grab a hot chocolate on the way back from uni. And when I sit down to eat, I sit down to eat. Nothing else. My phone is put away, and I can focus on every bite of this (for a student) luxurious meal. In this hectic world we live in, we need that peace, that quiet moment whilst we nourish our bodies.
Even better, it only took 15 minutes, because real, quality, fresh ingredients don’t take a long time or an expert chef to become brilliant.
So to conclude, I think its worth it to spend a little more on a beautiful meal. Prioritise your budget! In the process of not eating ‘student food’, I save money through not buying snacks and sticking to my weekly budget (£25 a week, I may add – it can be done if you’re mindful about your shop!!), and am a much healthier person, physically and mentally.
If you’re STILL skeptical about me eating meals like this as a student, this meal cost the same as an average pint in SE London where I live – so if you’re willing to prioritise, look at it that way!
I’ll shut up now – here’s the recipe
Ingredients (For 1, simply times the ingredients appropriately for more hungry mouths)
- 1 Fillet of sea bass, skin on
- Handful of cherry tomatoes, halved
- 1/2 Red onion, diced
- 40g chorizo, diced
- 80g tenderstem broccoli
- Olive oil
- Sea Salt and Black Pepper
- Drizzle a tablespoon of olive oil on a pan and heat, then adding the red onion. Sauté for 3/4 minutes, and then add the cherry tomatoes and chorizo. You may want to add some black pepper, but salt shouldn’t be necessary due to the chorizo.
- Meanwhile, steam the broccoli in the microwave (obviously if you can steam them outside the microwave then by all means do!) by placing the broccoli in a bowl covered with a plate, for 2 minutes.
- After taking out the broccoli, (and with the onion mix still sautéing on a lower heat at the same time) start with the sea bass. Rub a little salt and pepper all over the sea bass, and place, skin side down, on a hot olive-oiled pan. Flip after a couple minutes, and after another minute add the broccoli to the pan.
- You may need to flip the sea bass again till cooked throughout depending on the size of your fillet, but otherwise after a couple minutes of the broccoli being in the pan, it should be done! The onion mix (which has been cooking throughout) should also be done at the same time.