Wednesday 8 October 2014

The Virtual Student Cook Book // An Introduction

As a student, I found it hard during my first year to make quick and easy meals that are both healthy and don't break the bank; by the end of the year I'd almost mastered it, so I'm going into second year with confidence and hopefully a better diet than literally living off Pot Noodles and chicken nuggets. And the occasional takeaway.

In my first year I lived in a house of 18 people, with one big kitchen. Even though it had 3 ovens, this made meal times difficult; but that's an extraordinary situation, and most typical "halls" have kitchens suited for 3-6 people. This makes it a lot easier to get things done. You could make a cooking rota in pairs, where one of you cooks while the other does dishes, taking it in turns to swap roles. Chipping in for a big weekly shop if you all like the same things would be a good idea too.

There are some basic things you need to know about cooking as a student:

1 // Freezer Space - If you're lucky enough to have a lot of freezer space, USE IT. Things like frozen veg are amazing, especially the mixed bags, because they last forever and don't go off. You can also buy things like ready-cooked frozen chicken breasts which are so easy to make a meal with. Not all frozen food is unhealthy!

2 // Sell By Dates - It's so boring but you've got to check sell by dates when you're shopping, because if you buy bread and it goes off the next day, especially when it's only you who's using it, then that's a lot of wasted bread. Same goes for things like cheese and sandwich meats.

3 // Planning Ahead - Try not to buy things if you're not sure whether it'll be eaten or not; as I said above, wasting food just isn't an option when you're on a budget - plus I always feel bad throwing food away!

Those are just a few things I learnt while I was in my first year, and I'm going to try and put out weekly recipes throughout the year. Hopefully I'll keep this up, as I've grown to love cooking for myself (and my boyfriend, most of the time!), and I know how hard it can be. Be warned; there'll be a lot of Aldi products featured here...

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