Cooking for one

Words by Katie BeswickPhotography by Victoria Harley

After an extended period of living alone I can report that relationships are over. In fact, I’ll go so far as to say that I think the contemporary singles-boom is a fabulous indication of a move towards emancipation from The Man (though I’m something of an armchair revolutionary, so I’ll understand if you disagree).

The only drawback to living all alone, so far as I can tell, is the fact that cooking for one is not much fun. Especially on a Wednesday night, when you’re late home from work, and weak with fatigue, and the temptation to log onto and stuff your face with grease and chemicals is overwhelming.

I, however, am determined not to give in to the lure of the one-click takeaway, and my advice to anyone who feels the same is simple: make sure your cupboards are always stocked with at least three fresh food staples you can work up into a quick, nutritious hot meal. My staples are potatoes, tomatoes and courgettes. I truly believe that so long as you have these three foodstuffs in your kitchen you will be able to dine like Queen of the World every night, and still get the essential vitamins that will help you to look and feel as perky and smug as most of your coupled acquaintances.

Of course, part of the reason any respectable singleton chooses to live alone is so she can eat a massive lump of brie for dinner, with her hands, standing in her underwear in front of an open fridge, with nobody around to judge her. And that’s fine with me. But even the singleton can’t eat cheese every night without seriously endangering her long-term health and beauty. So below, I offer you one of my tried and tested, most easy to cook recipes. Perfect for eating alone, or – when you’re forced to socialise – sharing with friends.




Steamed Fennel and Courgette



Olive oil
1x small fennel
1 ½ x courgettes
1 x large onion
Salt and pepper


Wash the vegetables. Remove the thick outer layer of skin on the fennel, along with the green tops and the root and discard. Slice the remaining fennel and the onion very thinly. Chop the courgette into chunks. Place a large sauté pan (a frying pan will do if that’s all you have) over medium/low heat and add a teeny splash of olive oil. Throw in the onion and fennel and cover with a lid so that a steam is created inside the pan. Steam for five to seven minutes, stirring if necessary, and then add the courgette and parsley and steam for a further seven minutes, or until the fennel is soft and the courgette is cooked through. Stir, and season with salt and pepper to taste.

Serve immediately with salad and sardines for lunch or dinner.

Cooking for one was created by Food&_ community members:

Katie Beswick

Katie Beswick


Victoria Harley

Victoria Harley