Students get a bad rep for cooking skills and general dietary habits. However, one of my fave things about our house is our cooking abilities and it’s time to put this ‘students eat terribly’ myth away! This year, 4 out of the 6 of us made the (possibly brave, risky) decision to all cook together. Nicole and I did this in first year and found it very easy but we were a bit sceptical about combining 4 of us with various tastes/weird food hang-ups – but we needn’t have worried! It works really well and it means that we get to eat really good, proper meals: no chicken nuggets for us! (Apart from mine and Sophie’s hungover binge on Saturday, that is…)
It also works out really cheaply. We’ve worked out a routine of sorts where we do a shop to be delivered with about 2 weeks worth of meals, and before we do each shop we sit down and plan out these meals so we know exactly what we need to buy. We use Tesco, and it usually works out at about £25 each (generally including 2 litres of alcohol). Then we sort ourselves out for breakfast & lunch, which is where my very favourite place, Waitrose, steps in.
Anyway, all this means that we eat possibly the best food of any student I know. None of us are particularly experienced in the kitchen, but we have a vast collection of recipe books and with a slow cooker and the whole internet at our fingertips, there’s nothing we can’t do! Here are some of our favourite recipes:
This is one we thank the slowcooker and study abroad Gods for. We got the recipe from my mum so I don’t know where it’s from but you can find very similar ones online. Basically, we just chuck a bit of pork (shoulder, I believe) in the slowcooker along with a can of coke. Leave it for 6 hours or so, and then 45 minutes before you want to eat it, pour in a whole bottle of BBQ sauce (so maybe this one isn’t the most healthy) and shred the meat. By this point that should be very easy – it should basically be falling apart. Leave it for 45 minutes-ish, and then serve on buns (unfortunately our budget doesn’t stretch, but brioche/other more hardy bread works better than your average white roll!) and whatever sides your little heart desires. If we’re feeling super adventurous we usually make sweet potato “fries,” which are actually baked, to go with ours.
Jamie’s Chicken Tikka Salad (Fifteen Minute Meals)
We’ve never done this in fifteen minutes, but really, it doesn’t matter. This is one of our favourites, not least because it’s the easiest to make it it looks exactly how it does in the picture. Sadly I can’t find the recipe online anywhere – copyright I assume – but basically it’s spinach, carrot, cucumber, lentils, and chicken cooked in curry paste, with a yoghurt-y-tikka-y dressing. I’m not actually a fan of the yoghurt aspect of the dressing so we put this on the side when we make it and I just keep it light but it’s such a good salad. Serve with naan bread (and mango chutney, obviously) – perfection!
Asian Glazed Drumsticks (Skinnytaste)
These are a new experiment of ours and have already become a favourite! You can find the recipe here. We were sceptical at first that the glaze would thicken like it should and thought we must have done something wrong or oversimplified something but it was fine, it thickened up perfectly into a delicious glaze! We ate it with longstem broccoli and couscous and it was so good, super easy and so healthy! We have a few others from Skinnytaste on our list for this round of meals and will definitely be putting more on the next few shops.
Hairy Bikers’ Salmon (Hairy Dieters’ Cookbook)
This one is a rare treat because a) salmon is not the cheapest (although it’s not as expensive as you might imagine) and b) one of my housemates is not a salmon kinda girl, so we can only have it when she’s not here. It was recommended to us by both my mum and Kate’s mum, which means it must be good, and they were right! I have to confess that we’ve only actually made this once and I wasn’t there for the preparation but I don’t think it was too difficult. It did involve sourcing some strange ingredients (ginger in syrup – check Chinese supermarkets!) and had one of my very favourite ingredients of all time: a “well scrubbed orange” (what?!). Again, it’s super healthy. We ate it with green beans, broccoli and rice and now that asparagus is in season, that’ll be on the menu for next time!
I’ll just leave it at those 4 for now. All of these are healthy (ish), easy, generally fast, and taste REALLY GOOD. Jamie (our hero) better watch out – the Submarine are coming for him!