These aren’t the microwave meals you are looking for

One part of university that people often overlook is food. Obviously for catered accommodation, it’s less of an issue (I myself always opt for self-catered, as fussy as I am). But for those who have decided to venture into the world of cooking it can be quite a shock suddenly having to make your own food.

I have been an avid dweller of the kitchen for years, so I found it less of a problem than some of my flatmates. For the first few weeks of first term the microwave certainly got plenty of use, and the smell of oven pizza became a daily occurrence in the kitchen. As much as I like to say I’ve never had a microwave meal in my life, I must admit that I came dangerously close a handful of times, after having lectures and labs from 9.30 to 6.30 and coming home to cook dinner was the last thing I wanted to do.

Google was my saviour when I wanted something easy and quick to do (I’ll pop some of my favourite links below). What I also found useful was to base my weekly shop around set meals, rather than just buying things and figuring out what to do with them once I was stood at the stove. This means you always have the ingredients to make a meal and won’t end up a tomato short of putanseca. Another good side-effect is that it saves money, as you won’t find yourself buying something only to put it in the bin weeks later when it starts growing mould.

My mum was a superhero when it came to not starving in my first term. She emailed me recipes for all the meals I liked from home, which was a godsend before I found recipes online and from friends to expand my repertoire. Most recipes feed 2 or 4 (or just one if you’re hungry or it’s just been a bad day, no one is judging you). A brilliant tip from my mum was that making the full amount and freezing the rest in portions means that on those ‘I don’t want to cook I just want to nap’ days, you have something that you can pop in the microwave or oven to warm up that’s arguably a lot better for you than a chicken tikka from Tesco.

I guess what I want to say here is that even if you’ve never cooked a meal in your life, university is a great place to ease into cooking for yourself. All it takes is a little planning and next thing you know you’ll be the next Gordon Ramsey (or maybe not, but at least you won’t starve).

My favourite recipes

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I'm a second year Computer Science student originally from way down south in Hemel Hempstead. When I'm not spending hours trying to figure out where the missing semi-colon is, I enjoy running, baking and travelling as much as I can on a student budget (15 countries and counting!)