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Cooking advice for first timers

Tuesday 2 September 2014 Student lifestyle

More and more students are arriving at university as accomplished chefs in the kitchen. But if your signature dish is instant noodles or ready meals, this is the perfect time to learn great cooking skills.

Thousands of students are living on their own for the first time with little idea of how to cook for themselves, and little money to splash out on takeaways or restaurant meals. It's important that you give cooking a try - the more you cook the better you'll be at it.

Use the Internet and cookbooks

To start with, get the hang of a few basic meals and leave the complicated stuff until you’ve gained more confidence. There are many websites and cookery books specifically for students with varying degrees of difficulty.

Don’t be afraid to vary recipes to suit your tastes and what’s available in your local shops, and feel free to experiment – a lot of classic food combinations were discovered by accident.

Tips for eating well on a budget

Make a large pan of chilli or curry and freeze portions of leftovers for days when you haven’t got time to cook from scratch. It is generally cheaper buying and cooking in bulk compared to buying meals day-to-day.

Take advantage of buy one, get one free offers at the supermarket, especially for staple foods like pasta and rice.

If you’re sharing a kitchen, it may be better to spend less on crockery or glasses. Accidents can happen, and your food will taste just as good on a cheaper plate anyway.

A lot of food gets wasted with any planning your food shopping. Check sell-by dates and don’t buy more than you can use when it comes to foods with a limited shelf life.

If you’re vegetarian, make sure you get enough protein in your diet. Beans, lentils and other pulses are cheap and healthy alternatives to meat.

Plan and prepare as much as possible!

Finally, you’ll probably want to impress your friends with your newfound culinary skills. The key to stress-free entertaining is to plan and prepare as much as possible beforehand so you can relax with your guests.

Remember the meal doesn’t have to be perfect, but meals can definitely be fun!