Freshers’ food: mastering the basics of the kitchen

Moving away from home for college or uni means you’ll be learning a lot of more than introduction to psychologic and molecular biology. There’s a lot of ‘life skills’ you’ll have to master too. Sorting your washing, contemplating ironing (then realising it’s easier to just hang things up carefully), making your own doctors appointments, remembering to lock the front door and – perhaps most terrifying – feeding yourself.

Chicken dippers, Super Noodles and two for Tuesday seems like the logical (easy) answer to sustenance, but your bank balance and your waist line will not thank you for it.

So here are a few things you should master to make sure you don’t starve or die of scurvy.

Scrambled eggs

Breaksfast. Lunch. Dinner. You can’t go wrong with scrambled eggs. Even better, it’s super cheap! Jamie Oliver has three different ways to scramble, depending on your preferences.


Pasta, like eggs, is a student store cupboard essential. Top it with pesto, a jar of sauce from the supermarket, some roast veggies if you’re feeling flash, or the day-before-SAAS favourite butter, and you’ve got a hearty meal. Follow Gordon’s instructions above and you’ll be sorted.


Cracking open a tin of Heinz tin of tomato is fine, but there’s nothing quite like home-made soup to warm you between lectures. Pretty much everyone’s mum has their own secret recipe for the perfect soup, but if you haven’t managed to prise that information from her before you packed up, check out the easy three-ingredient tomato soup above. The best thing about soup is you can make a massive batch and freeze it in portions. Just stick it in the fridge to defrost the night before and you can warm it up the following day.

Bolognese sauce

Another dinner of champions. Again, you can make a huge pot of this and freeze and left overs – or share it with your flatmates if you’re feeling generous. Switch out the beef for Quorn mince if you’re catering for veggies.

Stir fry

A classic ‘what’s in the fridge’ type dinner. If you’ve got some veg and a form of protein, you can generally turn it into a stir fry in no time with the help of a few store cupboard basics like soy sauce, honey, ginger and garlic. Serve it up with noodles or rice (you can get magic wee single-portion microwave packs that work a treat), and if there’s leftovers? Have it for lunch the next day! Quick, easy and healthy – your mum would be so proud.

Tortilla pizza

Too skint for Domino’s? We feel you. You can do it yourself though with a shop-bought tortilla, pasata, some cheese and the toppings of your choice! Much lighter than a traditional pizza too.


This is a great flat meal – and so easy. Especially if you’ve got the help of a fajita kit from the supermarket.


Wow your flatmates with your mad cooking skills, thanks to this super easy recipe from Bake Off supremo Nadiya Hussain. This easy chicken tikka masala includes a tin of soup – sounds crazy, but it’s delicious. Stocking up on spices will be pricey, but once you’ve got them, they’ll last ages. This is another great one to freeze for later.

Baked potatoes

Whether you’re fancy and can afford those microwaveable frozen spuds or you’re back to basics and baking a tattie in the oven for an hour, the humble baked potato makes for a great dinner or lunch. You’ve got loads of toppings to choose from too – your pre-made bolognese or chicken curry would be brilliant. Or you could try the four toppings from Tasty, featured above.

With these basic skills and recipes mastered, you’re going to be the most popular student in your block. Just make sure all your tasty grub’s carefully labeled in the fridge to avoid things going missing in the night…

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