For Freshers, September brings huge change. There is anxiety, and excitement and you’re living independently for the first time. Perhaps you’re living in self-catered halls or private accommodation, or maybe you’re a second-year student who never quite finessed kitchen skills the first time around. Here are some fail-proof cooking tips that I wish somebody had told me at the beginning of my first year!
Know where to shop
Getting sucked into the (very valid) struggle of empty cupboards and surviving from takeaways every night is easy. Whilst it’s good to treat yourself, delivery companies capitalise on unprepared students so knowing the right places to shop can save you money. If you’re living with flatmates, doing an online grocery shop together is a good idea. You can deliver your cupboard essentials straight to your door and divide the delivery fee.
If you prefer to do your food shops in person, make a list and stick to it to avoid excessive spending. Budget stores like Iceland and Aldi can be found in and around the city centre. Most supermarkets also have reward cards: Asda, Tesco, and Marks and Spencer’s to name a few. Bargains are everywhere if you look hard enough!
It can be overwhelming shopping for yourself for the first time. You may be tempted towards ready meals but having cupboard essentials makes it easy to cook for yourself, especially in batches. Dry foods like pasta, spaghetti and rice keep for a long time whilst tinned foods will become the staples of your diet. Think soups, tomato sauces and even some classic spaghetti hoops! Make room for nutritious cheap snacks in your fridge like apples, yoghurts and carrot sticks.
You will get fresher’s flu
Most new students find clarity after experiencing Fresher’s flu for the first time after the highs of clubbing and socialising. Like having cupboard essentials, it’s a good idea to have some quick and nourishing comfort meals for when you’re hungover or caught with a bad case of the flu.
Don’t be afraid of the spice rack
Some student houses criminally refrain from using fundamental seasonings like salt and pepper. It’s easy to cook cheap but tasty dishes at home if you invest in a few essential spices. Your flat might have a communal spice rack to experiment with, if not mixed herbs and chilli powder will be a simple weapon to add flavour to otherwise boring dishes.
Have at least two fail-proof recipes
Long-time student favourite Spaghetti Bolognese is easy to master and can be taken a step further with parmesan cheese. I’d also recommend investing in a toastie maker for grilled sandwiches: they’re budget-friendly, tasty and highly customisable. My highly guarded, personal favourite recipe is a pepperoni pizza toastie. Here’s what you’ll need if you want to make one!
Ingredients-wise, you will need bread, butter or mayonnaise, mixed cheese (or a dairy-free alternative), pepperoni (or a meat-free alternative) and Nando’s Peri Peri salt (optional).
- Switch on your toastie maker to heat up.
- Grab two slices of bread and spread butter or mayonnaise on the outside of your toastie.
- Add your cheese and evenly spread toppings on the inside of the sandwich and add a little Nando’s salt for an extra kick of flavour.
- Add your sandwich to the toastie maker for 2-3 minutes or longer depending on how crispy want it to be.
- Slice and enjoy your failproof toastie!