I enjoy cooking. It’s an unbelievably useful skill that absolutely anybody can learn, because as long as you follow the instructions it’s more or less impossible to fuck up. Unfortunately, somehow I still manage to be completely terrible at it. It’s almost impressive, really. But I’m trying to get better – my impending move away from home and my job in central London necessitates figuring out how to make lots of food with not a lot of money. Today, I tried making some boxed lunches for work by adapting this recipe, and got so frustrated at some points that I had to put down the knife and have a little internal scream. By the end of it, though, I actually managed to cook something pretty peng, so here’s how you can do the same.
Chicken breasts (however many you want)
Peppers (same as above. Pick your colour as well. Green peppers are rank imo so I gave those a miss)
Butternut squash (my new mortal enemy)
Whatever you want to add that’s in your spice cupboard. I went for some chives because they instantly make your food look fancier.
1) Preheat the oven to 200ºC/fan 180ºC/gas mark 6.
2) Put the chicken in a baking tray. You can cut it into pieces beforehand, or not, do whatever you want. I’m not your boss.
3) Slice up the peppers and bang them in the tray as well.
4) Realise you have no idea how to cut up a butternut squash.
5) Curse your parents for not owning a knife bigger than a paring knife, for reasons that are beyond you.
6) Spend half an hour struggling to cut through the squash with a 4″ long blade. Be on the verge of tears several times.
7) Finally remove the ends and slice the squash in two, only to gaze in horror as you suddenly remember that butternut squashes have a pukey, seed-riddled centre.
8) Do a half-arsed job of seeding the squash and getting rid of the yucky innards.
9) Think ‘fuck this shit’ and slice the squash into shapes vaguely resembling wedges, then chuck those bitches into the tray.
10) Remember you forgot to buy garlic, so forage for garlic powder in the cupboard.
11) Mix 4 tbsp soy sauce, 2 tbsp olive oil and however much garlic powder you deem appropriate into a bowl.
12) Pour over the contents of the tray.
13) Think ‘that doesn’t look like enough’ as if you know better than the original recipe. Repeat steps 11 and 12.
14) Generously coat everything in pepper and chives.
15) Refrain from despairing that 5 minutes of supposed prep time took you almost 40 minutes.
16) Bang this bane of your existence into the oven and leave for 30 – 40 minutes, until the chicken is cooked and the squash is soft.
17) Slice the lemon in two and cut up the parsley, with the enthusiasm of a middle-aged housewife looking vacantly out the window wondering where it all went wrong.
18) Stare into the void for several minutes when your mother comes home and shows you where she keeps the large knives.
19) Pass the passage of time, trying to refrain from dwelling upon its meaninglessness.
20) Remove tray from oven, despondently sprinkling parsley and squeezing half a lemon over it.
21) Weep. It’s finally, finally over. You’re free. It can’t hurt you any more. Shh, now.
22) Box that shit up into two portions, or eat it all then and there, I can’t stop you.
You can tell cutting up parsley was the last thing I did.