By Esther Malkinson
Here are my Top 15 Tips for cooking for yourself and surviving in University. If you promise to follow these, and pledge that you won’t panic, overspend, or fall back on pot noodle every day, you WILL SURVIVE.
1) Everything, and I really mean EVERYTHING, is improved with cheese. (Unless you’re a vegan) But if you’re not, make sure you always have some cheese in your fridge.
2) Adding nuts, or seeds will boost protein and fibre levels of any dish. They work with sweet and savoury, sprinkle some toasted seeds on yoghurt, or a curry, and see how your dish is transformed!
3) Save your food money for the FRESH ingredients; fruit, veg, salmon, meat, and NOT junk food. You will ultimately feel both money-wise and healthy.
4) ALWAYS keep ahead of your milk. Black coffee and dry cereal sucks.
5) Invest in cereal bars, they are wonderful if you wake up too late for a proper breakfast.
6) Buy Tupperware. The extra expense will pay itself back when you are storing your left-overs and using them as lunch the next day. This saves you money on buying a sandwich from the Union, delicious, but a waste of money in comparison to that leftover pasta, chicken, curry. Additionally, there’s no better feeling than looking in the fridge and finding that food from last night to eat. It’s like finding a gift for you, from you.
7) On that curry note. Curry is fantastic.
8) Breaded and lightly fried vegetables are a yummy way to get your oil kick – every student needs an oil kick every now and then, usually after a heavy night. This method is delicious and healthier than a kebab.
9) Keep your bread in the freezer. It stays forever this way, and only needs an extra 30s in the toaster.
10) Make extra sauce or stews/curry, keep in Tupperware in the freezer, and voila! You’ve made a meal for next week!
11) Cous-cous is the easiest and quickest meal. Simply add hot water, and while it hydrates, chop some red onion, or vegetables, or swirl in some pesto, and there you go.
12) When buying a jar of sauce, remember to REMEMBER it. If you leave it in the fridge nearly finished, it will simply rot, until you next clear your fridge. Which as a student, could be never.
13) Fresh vegetables go off quicker than you can say ‘cheesy chips’. Eat them goddammit, eat them!
14) Remember, food lasts a week at most. So can cheap utensils and cooking equipment. Don’t waste money, make sure you have proper kitchen stuff!!
15) Budget your food shop. To do this, do a test run, buying the bare essentials whilst still eating enough for a week, and then you know the least amount of money you will need. Try aim for that amount every week, and that way you know what to spend, save, and splurge!!
Good Luck! Keep an eye out for our “Great nosh for little dosh” articles, providing you with some student- friendly meal ideas!