COLUMN: The Berfooda Triangle: Fresh from the Pensieve

If I were a wizard, one of my fave office possessions would undoubtedly be the pensieve, as I very much like the idea of depositing silvery beardy strands into a pot. I would most likely also endeavour to create a pocket-sized, invisible, indestructible, turbo 4000 version that you could sneak into exams and recall pages of textbook in a morally dodgy yet successfully revision-shattering way. Unfortunately, this would be an unrealistic goal for me, as DT has never been my forté.

Coupled with the fact that my childhood dream was to become the inventor of the already-existing electric toothbrush, I would probably be better off selling the concept of the mini-pensieve to a wizarding manufacturing company who could do the soldering for me, as I shall never be competent enough to make it myself, even if it is entirely fictional…

Anyway, if I ever did manage to make this pensieve, and if I were to cast back to this week a whopping two years ago, I would see myself as a fresher, thinking about whether I was going to be accepted as a normal, fellow human being if I wore my “peculiar” outfit.

I have been thus inspired to provide an Essential Freshers’ Triangle, which I can guarantee shall not be at all essential, or particularly fresh, or indeed that triangular, given that it is an abstract piece of writing, not a 2D polygon.

Nevertheless, it may help you out on a dark evening of unharmonious loose end -ness, when you have seen The Copper Rooms 14 days in a row and just want a meal, a song and a book to soothe away the thought of another 9am welcome speech in another mysterious location (by the way, L3 is in the science concourse. It is also VAST. If you have anything there, turn up at least three days early to avoid embarrassment of clambering/tripping down stairs).

The University of Warwick is unique* in its exclusively self-catered halls, so you better be prepared for the slog to Tesco and the fight for oven space. If you are reading this, it’s probably too late to be prepared, as you are already here, but I’m going to storm ahead with my advisory tone anyway because it makes me feel wise. I grabbed a bargainous tripartite theory of kitchenality which provided me with a wonderful wok, a fantastic frying pan, and a sad excuse for a saucepan that couldn’t even cook one bean in it, but still looked good as part of the collection in my cupboard. I would recommend doing likewise, as one can never have too many metal pots.

So, to fill this array of culinary paraphernalia with nourishment, here is a recipe that will put the FUL(L) back in HELPFUL**. I call this ‘Nice Stew’ because it is really quite nice and also a stew. This should last you for two or three meals provided you store it properly (Mama Gregz drills this in on a termly basis – air tight container, straight into fridge, freeze only once etc), which makes it cheap and space-effective too. If you don’t want to become known as Chickpea McBeanson for eating the same thing three times, then freeze two portions and keep them for later.


4-6 chicken thighs, bones an’all – much cheaper than breast meat and nicer if cooked longenough

1 tin of chickpeas

a good serving of chorizo, chopped up small like

2 tins of tomatoes

some optional tomato purée, use only if you are going to be that person

1 red onion, chopped up equally smallish like

1 tin of sweetcorn

1 tin of baked beans

1 teaspoon of paprika, to be affectionately referred to as ‘paps’

half a teaspoon chilli powder


1) Preheat the oven to 180 degrees

2) Fry the chicken thighs in a little olive oil in your frying pan of choice until the skin is golden and slightly crispy

3) Sizzle off the onion and chorizo in one of your many gloriously assembled saucepans. I say saucepan and not frying pan because sauce is about to be added and so this receptacle is needed. No need to add extra olive oil as the chorizo oozes its own cooking juice (in the word chorizo lies one of the world’s greatest conflict of pronunciation – choritzo or choritho? To be English and risk sounding ignorant, or to be Spanish and risk sounding like a knob?)

3) Add everything that is in a tin, plus our good friend paps and the chilli

4) Add the fried chicken thighs

5) Place in oven for a decent hour and a half

6) Remove from oven when the chicken comes away from the bone very easily

By this stage, your stomach will be full, but your ears will still be empty cavities yearning for attention. No amount of saucepans can satiate this, so one must turn to the thing we call music.

This time two years ago I was into my breaks, and once I actually got told to turn my music down by the warden (oh gosh and blimey how naughty), so I bring to you my three part freshers’ playlist of the tunes I was having a right jolly old skank to in my ensuite room. Raspberry Dub by Ed Solo & Skool of Thought will give you one of the most pleasant headaches ever, Night by Benga will banish this ache away, and Cornish Acid by Aphex Twin, which is technically defined under the genre ‘braindance’, will make you forget you ever had a headache that needed banishing in the first place. My brain does indeed dance a little bit when I listen to it, and I hope yours does too.

So your stomach and your ears have now been satisfied, but your eyes are crying out for their lucky break from staring at endless timetable chaos (What?! Why would they clash two compulsory modules?! Five 9ams?! How do I get from Milburn House to the ACCR in under five minutes?! Where even IS the ACCR?!). We solve this, oh brothers***, with Anthony Burgess’ _Clockwork Orange_. After reading this perfectly addictive and pointed novel you shall feel a compulsive need to sneak in bits of Nadsat to everyday speech, which shall no doubt help you attract the friends that will stay with you for the next three years. Don’t be tempted towards any campus-style gang warfare though, as Bluebell will always have the unfair advantage and it shall only end badly.

Hopefully, as promised, this has been an averagely-helpful, semi-fresh, multi-angular guide on how to spend one evening of your many to come at Warwick. WELCOME EVERYONE, hope you have a great time here, even if we are 83rd in the Student Sex League 2012.

*Probably not true

** Don’t worry, my strap lines aren’t usually this unbelievably great

***Literary in-joke. Ahem.


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