Student Food: There’s more to life than Pot Noodle

August 1st, 2011 → 2:55 pm @ // No Comments

Steaming Pot

We all know the stereotypes regarding students and their dietary intake. The beans on toast and the Pot Noodle…bla, bla, blahh. I think it’s a little unfair. While students will tighten their belts in the harder times, most students I know enjoy a good meal. The majority of them can certainly cook.

After all, it’s not hard to whip-up a decent meal and if you use the old economies of scale and group together or plan your meals for the next week or more, you can eat very well for very little money.

It’s best to get a few standard meals learnt before you head off to University to fend for yourself. Especially if you’re not confident in the kitchen. Offer to cook the family meal one night a week and get you mum (or another watchful eye) to give you a little guidance. Soon enough you’ll be creating your own compositions.

It was eye-opening moving into halls for the first time and seeing the complete range of kitchen skills from one flatmate to another. Some would effortlessly put together the most amazing meals when others couldn’t even cook pasta. Some even had the budget to eat steak twice a week. I know I certainly didn’t, even with two part-time jobs.

To make sure you’re not one of the fools asking for help to make water boil, there’s a handful of meals you might want to master before you leave the nest.

Spaghetti Bolognase. This is an absolute classic that’ll go a long way and uses cheap, basic ingredients. It doesn’t take much here to get some amazing taste going on.

Sticking with the minced meat, and If you like a bit of spice, Chilli Con Carne is another meal that is hearty and will keep you going cheaply. You can also go veggie, just throw in a few more varieties of bean if you like.

The all-important Sunday Roast is the real challenge for any cook. Get this right and you’re a true master. It’s perfect for a hangover and the leftovers can keep you going for days. This is best done in a group. Suggest it to your housemates and get all the ingredients between you. You’ll be glad you did.

One of my favourites is Corned Beef Hash. It’s so simple an idiot could make it (you know, the ones who can’t cook pasta). It’s incredibly filling and works well in the winter. Comfort food that, done to your taste, will go down a treat.

If corned beef isn’t your thing, make a giant pot of Stew. Get some cheap cuts of meat (or not, if you’re veggie), plenty of root veg, onions, leeks etc, throw in some stock and seasoning with plenty of water and simmer until everything is tender…Done. It’s a great winter-warmer which will keep up the nutrition when trying to avoid colds an the flu.

A simple Stir Fry is a great way of getting a whole load of veg into an exciting dish. You don’t have to be a genius to make a great stir fry. All you need to do is throw your meat and veg into a pan, add some seasoning and spice, some water and stock for a sauce and serve with rice or noodles. Once you’ve got it you can tweak it to your liking.

Being a poor student doesn’t mean you have to go without proper food. You just have to be more resourceful, inventive and thrifty. Use the power of numbers and buy in bulk, cook for the next week or two. Freeze your meals, reuse leftovers, and cut back on waste. Use your brain, that’s why you’re at University!


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