Sunday, 22 February 2015


Sweet Potato Salad

Time taken: Half an hour
Ingredients: A sweet potato, salad leaves, salad dressing, a tomato, a third of a cucumber, 4 spring onions, oil, salt & pepper.

Hi readers,
As I write this, I hope that you are having a wonderful weekend wherever you are. Today in Newcastle it’s a bright and clear morning, although it’s wicked cold outside! It’s freezing! Luckily, I am safely inside for now. Most warm. Today it’s Sunday and it’s the Day of Rest – so I am having a lazy morning in at home. Sunday Brunch is on TV and there is banana bread baking in the oven!

This afternoon I DO have to go to work and add some money to the holiday fund that I’m saving up. But the prospect of work isn’t filling me with dread today (for once) because at least I’m not headed for the university library. This is a blessing! Tomorrow will mark the start of the final week of crazed typing for geographers in Newcastle, as we finish writing up our dissertations. Gah.

This means that me and all of my friends are going to spend a hell of lot of time in the library this week. Then more time. And more. Soooooooooo much time. All of our time. Every waking moment. AAAARGH. The library has become my prison right now, and my dissertation is my absolute mortal enemy!!

So, anyway, things are a little emotional among the geographers up here. Everyone is anxious and tired, and wired from caffeine, and stressed to breaking point over word counts and analytical content. It’s awful. It’s so shit.

HOWEVER we’re near to the end. WE ARE. I’m taking a break from the library this weekend so that I can earn a living, but I will be back there on Monday! To cheer everyone up I hope. I will raise some spirits and offer a shoulder to cry on for all. Bringing POSITIVITY.

Honestly, I think everyone there needs to stop working into the night and just try to get a decent rest. This will improve everyone’s work SO MUCH. And people need to stop eating shit. Everywhere I look in the library people have sweets and snacks and they’re all sauntering off into town for some crisis food whenever they have a panic. THIS ISN’T HELPING. IT’S WASTING TIME.

So, I’m no angel. This week I have definitely eaten more carbs than my time spent sitting on my bum in the library has justified me eating. BUT I’M TRYING. Everyone, we need to feed our minds. A lot of treat foods, they taste nice, but they don’t make you feel good in an hour’s time. Not one bit. Give it an hour and you find yourself back at the vending machine. Or your head’s down on the desk. Or you’re at home in bed. AND THIS ISN’T GOOD ENOUGH, PEOPLE.

I will demonstrate this (a bit blurrily) in a format that many geography students right now will relate with. In figures.

Figure One – Selection of unhealthy snacks that many students in the library presently feast upon.

Figure Two – Selection of healthy snacks which I want to see more of in the library!

Basically, everything in Figure Two is generally cheaper, healthier and lower calorie than everything in Figure One. And it’s all still tasty, treat food! So why not make the switch??

Whether you’re a student here at uni or you’re a person anywhere in the world! Regardless, if you’re a person who snacks then this applies to you. Don’t wait until you’re stressed midday – be prepared with snacks and take some with you when you leave the house, in case they’re needed later on. In the morning, pack yourself up some cheap, healthy grub… and you’ll feel really good for it. I swear!

Even if all I eat this week is dates, they’re still a fruit. So they’re healthy. I’ll be healthy. Dates promise not to make me crash after I eat them! And I SERIOUSLY can’t afford to crash this week. No one can. We really need to power on.

And, after smashing it throughout a day in the library (or powering through a terrific day at work maybe), then here’s an idea for a tea you could head home and prepare that will continue your healthy streak on into the evening! This is a plate of food which is warm, green and tasty, and provides A LOT of brainpower. I ate this last night… and can report that I feel good.

Here’s how to rustle up a plateful of Sweet Potato Salad, readers, in ten easy steps…
1. Heat your oven to 200˚C.
2. Take your sweet potato and, with a sharp knife, CHANNEL YOUR RAGE and stab it thoroughly. Seriously, stab the shit out of that potato. You want to pierce it all over. Pierce it good.
3. Sit the remains of your potato upon a piece of kitchen towel and pop it in the microwave to heat on full power for ten minutes.
4. Take ten. Have a lie down and chill. Or I took a shower and sang along with Shakira, very badly.
5. Once your potato is done, whip it out of the microwave and chop it into cubes.
ChefBeHere Top Tip: Unless you have a phobia of potato skin, leave this on! There’s a lot of goodness in the skin.
6. Sit your potato cubes on a baking tray. Drizzle a little oil over them, and season with salt and pepper.
7. Pop your tray into the oven so that your potato can bake for quarter of an hour.
8. Meanwhile, prepare your salad veg! Chop your tomato into bite-sized chunks. Finely chop your spring onion into little pieces. Slice your cucumber and then cut each slice into quarters.
9. Arrange your salad leaves on a dinner plate and then dish up your salad veg over the top. Drizzle this all with some salad dressing.
ChefBeHere Top Tip: At the moment I have an ASDA 70% less-fat Honey & Mustard Dressing. I highly recommend this because it tastes like THE BOMB.
10. Safely transport your sweet potato cubes out of the oven and tip over your plate of salad. Voila!

And you should have yourself a plate of salad that looks something like this :)

This is a big plate of food and it’s waaaarm. This salad is colourful and varied and flavoursome. So there you go! What’s not to love? It’s simple, easy and quick to make. No expensive ingredients required. All of your 5-a-day on one plate. Top marks for health. Bish bash bosh.

This is feel good food, people! And I really hope that this does make you feel good and positive and happy. Because everyone deserves to feel content with themselves, and their life and their work. Even while we’re passing the time until Spring and Summer. Let’s feel good.

Also, just in case the salad isn't enough, I've put together an hour-long playlist of upbeat tracks to cheer you up, too. Check it out HERE.

Stab safely,


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