Student-friendly cooking

chef_hatYou get the shock of your life when you no longer have Chef Mum dishing up your dinner every night after school, but the classic combination takeaways, instant noodles and coffee is not the diet of kings.

Cooking is a pretty handy skill to have – and, as Jamie Oliver once said, anyone can learn how to do it. Not only will it be really impressive when you whip up a shellfish-packed paella for your mum next Mother’s day, but it’s good for your health too. Fresh, home-made food is the way forward – look at the likes of Millie Mackintosh, blogger Deliciously Ella and Davina McCall, who all champion good food for a happier, healthier life.

Following a recipe might seem daunting, but really, once you get started, anyone can do it. So whether you’re still at home with your parents and keen to impress, you’re heading off to live in student halls after the summer or you’re already away from home and dismayed by your skills in the kitchen, it’s never too early (or late) to get to grips with your cooker. We’ve picked out some of our favourite easy recipes from the web to get you started.

Bacon and pea pasta (Jamie Oliver)

Jamie Oliver’s Ministry of Food recipe book is jam-packed with straightforward recipes which use really accessible everyday ingredients – and this simple pasta dish is among the best – it’s fast, simple and delicious. Bacon, peas and cream are a great combo, so give this a whirl.

Turkey chilli jacket potatoes (BBC Good Food)

If you can bake a potato, my friend, you won’t go hungry. As long as you have some tatties in the cupboard. Jacket potatoes make for a filling and cheap dinner – and you can heap whatever you’ve got lurking in the fridge on top! This turkey chilli recipe from the BBC Good Food site (aka the holy land of recipes) is simple, tasty and budget-friendly – turkey is so much cheaper than beef, so it always makes a good alternative!

Posh beans on toast (Lorraine Pascal via BBC Food)

Beans on toast – the student staple. But did you know your average tin of beans is surprisingly high in sugar? Follow TV chef Lorraine Pascal’s lead and make your own version. This recipe replaces beans with chickpeas, teamed with chorizo and chopped tomatoes – the perfect topping for piping hot toast.

The ultimate cheese toastie (Sunday Brunch)

Channel 4’s Sunday Brunch isn’t just how we spend a leisurely weekend morning – it’s great for gastronomic inspiration. Toasties are easy, cheap to make and leave you feeling like you’ve had a hot meal when really you’ve just had, er, a sandwich. This extravagant take on the classic, featuring cheese, bacon and, believe it or not, maple syrup is amazing, and all you have to do it stick in a frying pan for four minutes on each side.

Veggie moussaka (Food Network)

Even if you’re not vegetarian, it’s a good idea to have a meat-free night now and then – for your budget and in the name of good health. This Food Network moussaka recipe is easy and it’ll impress your parents. Featuring carrots, onions, lentils, aubergine, onions and tomatoes, it’s also packed with loads of ‘good’ stuff that’ll count towards your five a day.

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