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Surviving as a student: Learning to cook before university Watch

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    Welcome to the latest Food and drink forum project!

    As university approaches or you're moving into the new school year, a lot of people are probably thinking about food and having a bit more independence. Cooking regularly can seem daunting at first, but it can also be easy and this project is here to help with that.

    Each week (or more!) we'll be posting a new thread with a sample recipe to try. These will be quick, cheap and simple to make- as well as nutritious- for you to adapt as you like and try before you go. Remember to let us know how you got on! The more mishaps, the funnier for the rest of us- practice makes perfect after all. I'll be doing it too!

    Any suggestions of things to make or if you want to create a challenge thread yourself let me know. Funny stories, general chatter and whatever else too. Let's go!
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    Sounds great! Let's get cooking
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    I was lucky and unlucky enough to live in a single-parent household, which meant that I had a lot of the cooking responsibilities for me and my siblings when my mum was at work. So I learned to cook from a very young age and I began to love it. There's nothing better than preparing some food and seeing the smiles on people's faces once they tuck in to it, especially when it's family!

    It absolutely stunned me when I went to university and met people that did not even know how to boil pasta or prepare even the most basic dinners!
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    (Original post by Cubone-r)
    I was lucky and unlucky enough to live in a single-parent household, which meant that I had a lot of the cooking responsibilities for me and my siblings when my mum was at work. So I learned to cook from a very young age and I began to love it. There's nothing better than preparing some food and seeing the smiles on people's faces once they tuck in to it, especially when it's family!

    It absolutely stunned me when I went to university and met people that did not even know how to boil pasta or prepare even the most basic dinners!
    Totally get that. I started cooking with my dad when I was 8 and then had to take on more responsibilities (including cooking) when I was 9, so it's very much second nature to me. And then there's my 18 year old brother who can't even heat something in the microwave :eek:
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    I usually made something at the weekend and reheated it. Ok, it did mean having something like mince meat and some form of carb (rice, pasta, etc) 2-3 nights in a row. But I had 2 evenings where I finished at 6.30pm and really could not be arsed to cook and didn't want to order take away. (not a money thing; just didn't want it)
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    I like working out ways to do "proper" meals quickly and simply. Most of my inspiration comes from Pinterest which is great for finding and saving ideas.

    One of my "fancy" dishes is a gnocchi salad. It's super basic and quick, but looks all healthy and fancy so it's great for when parents visit to make it look like you actually take care of yourself.
    Oh and the best part- it's really cheap too! It costs about £4 buying your ingredients from Tesco for one to two portions. Totally do-able on a student budget.

    So how super simple and quick do I mean? All you need is 4 ingredients, a knife, a pan and about 10 minuets:
    Shove some gnocchi in a pan with some water and while its cooking prepare some tomato, avocado and mozzarella. When the gnocchi is cooked (only takes like 10 mins), drain any extra water and pile on the other stuff. Done.

    You can alter amounts however you like. I usually end up with a bit of leftover tomato- great for a more fancy cheese sandwich for lunch the next day. For the tomato I suggest cherry or plum cut in half (or just stabbed to release the juices) and for the mozzarella I suggest you tear it instead of cutting it (gives a nicer texture). I like to put the tomato in with the gnocchi just before it's done cooking so the flavour spreads and the tomato isn't too cold.
    You can also improvise with any other stuff you like. Maybe some rocket to fancy it up more, a side of fancy bread or some chicken cos you just can't not have meat.

    Spoiler:
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    furryface12 here's a recipe idea
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    How can older teenagers not know how to cook?
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    (Original post by Nirvana1989-1994)
    How can older teenagers not know how to cook?
    No one taught them??
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    (Original post by Sammylou40)
    No one taught them??
    No-one taught me but I learnt.

    Also this was more of a rhetorical question.
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    Thank God I know how to cook.
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    (Original post by Nirvana1989-1994)
    How can older teenagers not know how to cook?
    If they've never really had to, I guess
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    big tip i used when at uni. if you are making something like a stir fry, curry, spag bol etc, make a big batch then freeze what you don't want to eat. i was able to have at least one dinner from the freezer a week this way and saved so much money
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    (Original post by metalheadgooner)
    big tip i used when at uni. if you are making something like a stir fry, curry, spag bol etc, make a big batch then freeze what you don't want to eat. i was able to have at least one dinner from the freezer a week this way and saved so much money
    Brilliant idea!
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    (Original post by metalheadgooner)
    big tip i used when at uni. if you are making something like a stir fry, curry, spag bol etc, make a big batch then freeze what you don't want to eat. i was able to have at least one dinner from the freezer a week this way and saved so much money
    And if you have Chinese, save the tubs! These are perfect for freezing food in.
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    (Original post by metalheadgooner)
    big tip i used when at uni. if you are making something like a stir fry, curry, spag bol etc, make a big batch then freeze what you don't want to eat. i was able to have at least one dinner from the freezer a week this way and saved so much money
    This is great advice! Especially combined with tiger rag's. My sister makes meals twice a week I think and eats them until the next time, I probably won't be that organised but it's still a great system. Good for nights you get back late and stuff too
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    Okay one more recipe (I promise not to take over the whole thread).

    Stir fry is great cos you can alter it loads to your own taste. It's also good for using up any odd bits of meat and veg hanging around in your fridge.
    The basic concept behind stir fry is a base, meat, veg and flavour. You shove all that in a pan and cook it.
    The thing to remember is to put any meats in first so they can be cooked fully without over-cooking the veg.

    To cook stir fry... Cut and prepare all your ingredients. Put a large pan or a high-ish heat and throw in your meat with some soy or hosin sauce. Wait for the meat to cook then chuck in your base and veg. Mix everything around and add flavours to taste as you go. Once everything looks cooked (usually 15ish mins) serve it up and enjoy.
    I'll give some options for each category below (spoiler for length) and tell you my favourite combination...

    Spoiler:
    Show



    Base:
    Noodles (these can be found pre-cooked in the ethnic isle)
    Rice (you need to pre-cook this yourself)

    Meat:
    Chicken
    Beef
    Quorn (veggie alternative)

    Veg (also fruit or other extras):
    Stir fry mix (I often use the tesco one)
    Broccoli
    Sweetcorn
    Peas
    Baby corn
    Onion
    Peppers
    Beans (runner, soy etc)
    Mango
    Pineapple
    Coconut

    Flavour:
    You usually use soy or hosin sauce as a base flavour then add anything else.
    Plum
    Ginger
    Sweet chilli
    Mango
    Pineapple
    Honey
    Onion





    My favourite stir fry is a tropical mix.I use noodles, quorn chicken chunks, tesco stir fry veg (mini broccoli, baby corn and runner beans), soy sauce and mango based juice. Sometimes I'll add a bit of sweet chilli sauce too and if i'm feeling extra fancy I will add mango and pineapple chunks.
    Quorn chicken cooks really quickly so I just throw it all in at once, drizzel some soy sauce on, add a splash of mango juice then see how it goes, tasting it as I go and adding whatever flavour I need. I don't measure quantities, but I would guess it's about two portions of noodles (a full pack of what I buy), a pack of veg mix, up to a whole mango, a couple strips of pineapple, a couple table spoons of soy sauce and a cup or two of mango juice with a few drops of sweet chilli. That gives me a nice big portion and lunch for the next day.
    (I'll see if I can find a picture of one I've made to add, but right now my laptop is acting dumb).

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    (Original post by metalheadgooner)
    big tip i used when at uni. if you are making something like a stir fry, curry, spag bol etc, make a big batch then freeze what you don't want to eat. i was able to have at least one dinner from the freezer a week this way and saved so much money
    isn't this common sense lol?
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    (Original post by TSR Mustafa)
    isn't this common sense lol?
    you'd be surprised. i lived in 3 different places whilst at uni and not one of my flatmates did this. in fact when i was in halls my flatmates moaned at me for leaving the food out to cool down before i put it in the freezer.
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    There's no excuse to not knowing how to cook. Boiling vegetables and potato is the easiest and quickest thing in the world.
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    (Original post by Kindred)
    My favourite stir fry is a tropical mix.I use noodles, quorn chicken chunks, tesco stir fry veg (mini broccoli, baby corn and runner beans), soy sauce and mango based juice. Sometimes I'll add a bit of sweet chilli sauce too and if i'm feeling extra fancy I will add mango and pineapple chunks.
    Quorn chicken cooks really quickly so I just throw it all in at once, drizzel some soy sauce on, add a splash of mango juice then see how it goes, tasting it as I go and adding whatever flavour I need. I don't measure quantities, but I would guess it's about two portions of noodles (a full pack of what I buy), a pack of veg mix, up to a whole mango, a couple strips of pineapple, a couple table spoons of soy sauce and a cup or two of mango juice with a few drops of sweet chilli. That gives me a nice big portion and lunch for the next day.
    (I'll see if I can find a picture of one I've made to add, but right now my laptop is acting dumb).
    My wife hates mixing sweet and savory but I really enjoy it. This recipe sounds delicious! And so simple too! Might give it a go :yy:

    The problem I find with stir-fry is that it's always kind of soggy the next day. I'm not sure if that's me putting too much sauce on (it's fine day of cooking), so I usually end up wasting some just because it doesn't look/taste too good later.
 
 
 
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