With the new academic year nearly upon us, Impact’s Hannah Grindrod gives her five top tips for a student culinary experience that goes beyond the general stereotype of beans on toast…
1. Never shop when you’re hungry – not only will you waste money buying things you don’t need to satisfy that rumble, you’ll miss out all the things you will need for later in the week.
2. Don’t be a label snob – you can save lots of money by buying own brand and value tinned and dried food. Nine times out of ten you won’t notice any difference.
3. Never scrimp on meat – often there are good value deals on meat and fish, such as 3 for £10. You will taste the difference between savers 30% pork sausages and decent 80% pork sausages. Remember to check sell by dates and freeze anything that you aren’t using straight away – to be super clever you can zippy bag or cling film meat into individual portions.
4. It’s cheaper to buy in bulk – try cooking with your friends/housemates, a different person could cook each night. Alternatively you can cook larger portions of dishes such as lasagne and curry, freezing individual sized portions in takeaways style containers. These containers are readily available from large supermarkets and Wilkinson, the plastic varieties are even reusable.
5. Invest in a decent cookbook – it’s always handy to have for when you fancy trying something new as well as referencing cooking times for meat and fish.
My top suggestions for student cookbooks are:
• The Student Cookbook – Various Authors – £4.19
• The Virgin University Survival Guide by Karla Fitzhugh – £5.31
• Get Cooking by Sam Stern – £6.71
If you fancy yourself as something of a pro in the kitchen you might prefer the following books:
• The Great British Bake Off: How to Cook by Linda Collister, £10
• Jamie’s 30 Minute Meals by Jamie Oliver, £13 ( be wary of this book, although it has fab recipes it relies heavily on having the right kit, such as a blender. However you can round most of his shortcuts the old fashioned way, it just takes time, a sharp knife and a steady hand).
• Real Food by Nigel Slater, £11.72 (this book and it’s recipes require the best quality ingredients which are often outside the student budget parameters, however he has some great tips on cooking staples such as chicken and potatoes).
All prices are based on www.amazon.co.uk.
If you are feeling hi tech and eco-friendly, check out: