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'Do not buy grated cheese': scholar cooking ideas by high cooks | Schooling

September 2, 2020
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"First get a handful of ingredients from the pantry"

Ben Lebus is the founder of MOB Kitchen, the bestseller and online cooking platform that enables students to prepare high quality meals on a budget.

My dad had an Italian restaurant so I grew up eating and cooking, but when I got to university I quickly saw that my friends didn't share the same enthusiasm. A lot of my friends had no idea about the basics of the kitchen, which meant it was repetitive, with pesto pasta and bacon sarnies five nights a week.

If there was one thing I could endorse when you arrive it would be to go to a supermarket and get a handful of ingredients from the pantry to prepare. Get nice spices, chilli flakes, smoked paprika, cumin, oregano, salt, pepper, and olive oil.

To get started, it's good to nail down the simple things like cooking rice. It's affordable and you can stir it through toasted vegetables, make fried rice with eggs, or serve it with leftover chilies. Also, learn to make pasta and some simple sauces like tomato sauce with a few cloves of garlic and canned tomatoes.

I try to avoid the idea of ​​sticking to a recipe. We want to convey the mob with confidence, which means you feel like you can deviate from a recipe. If a recipe calls for chili flakes and you have powder, for example, it doesn't make a difference.

To save money, you can share ingredients with people in shared flats - this means the chances of something going wrong are much lower. You could have the "outgoing shelf". Just hit it there and say anyone can use it to prevent it from going to waste.

There is an idea that batch cooking is boring, but I (think) it is exciting. You get nicer dishes and tastes, and it's a great way to save money. After all, you don't go to a store on an empty stomach. You will be spending three times more than you should.

Miguel Barclay. Photo: Dan Jones

"Don't buy prepared foods like grated cheese or sliced ​​carrots."

Miguel Barclay, who describes himself as an "anti-cook" rather than a cook, is the author of four One Pound Meal books as well as the successful Instagram account and the YouTube channel.

When I went to college I didn't know much about cooking and it was scary trying to get a handle on it for the first time. However, once you've tackled a few recipes and they come out well, your confidence will increase.

One of the first things I learned was a simple Bolognese. Then I took that to the next level to make a lasagna. Then mushroom tagliatelle - cream, mushrooms and pasta. They were the main ones I cooked. I thought lasagna was out of my reach and too difficult for me, but I did and my confidence just soared afterwards.

A pound of meals was a game I played. I worked in London and spent my days doing spreadsheets researching and recording ingredient prices. It was a way to slip off work and do something that I really got myself into.

One of the things I learned was not to complicate recipes. Simplify them, make your life easier, and make them cheaper. There's no need for side dishes or the need to prepare the recipe yourself by adding blue cheese to a lasagna. Just do it as you normally would.

It's about having three or four recipes that you can cook from scratch. Then you can learn more or cycle through them. They are a good basis for cooking. I would recommend a simple potato curry, bolognese, and risotto - then you can tweak them with what you have.

To save money, plan meals out and remember that regular ingredients like a cheddar cheese are fine. Don't buy prepared items like grated cheese or sliced ​​carrots. Outside the city, supermarkets are cheaper than local supermarkets. Cook with less meat and throw in more vegetables. You can get rid of things with potatoes.

Make life easy for yourself. Don't peel potatoes, just throw them in with their skin. Make use of the puff pastry bought in the store. Cutting corners is fine. People pre-cook potatoes, but you can just cut them smaller. It's okay to take steps.

Rukmini Iyer.

Rukmini Iyer. Photo: Ula Soltys

"You are very good at buying ingredients in large quantities"

Rukmini Iyer is a writer, recipe writer and food stylist, best known for her popular and best-selling cookbook series The Roasting Tin.

I learned to cook at home, but it was my third or fourth year in Edinburgh moving to a student house with my pals, all girls, when I really got into it. We'd take turns cooking things. It makes sense to play together when some of you are eating at the same time.

You can pretty well buy bulk ingredients. You can buy big bags of rice or lentils and it will be a lot cheaper than your staple food. You can have them with fresh vegetables that will get cheaper if you go to a nice shop in the corner.

When you cook from scratch, it's pretty hard to be unhealthy. My favorite was baking trays with vegetables, some protein, and some carbohydrates; tape it on a tray and let the oven do the job. They really limit how unhealthy it can be.

It's good to have some basic ingredients around the house. I would recommend cooking oil, table salt, lemons in the fridge, garlic, onions in the basket and ginger. Having these is really good seasoning for you. You always want a balance between acid and salt in your food.

Experimenting in the kitchen can usually fix problems. If you panic, you are in trouble. Check out your equipment, familiarize yourself with the heat of your hob, and familiarize yourself with the kit you have. You will make fewer mistakes.

Nomalanga Nyamayaro.

Nomalanga Nyamayaro. Photo: David Kwaw Mensah

"Finding out what to cook cannot be done at the last minute"

Nomalanga Nyamayaro (Noma Creates) was a BBC Masterchef quarterfinalist who holds a BSc Hons degree in Food and Nutrition and is now a chef, inspirational speaker and lifestyle coach.

My love for cooking goes back to my childhood. Cooking food is like a love affair; it goes from your heart to your hand and into the spoon.

Just as we go to university to get a professional certificate, we can also learn to cook, which is an important life skill. Your body is your boss. In order for you to function optimally, you need to be careful what you type.

Figuring out what to cook can't be a last minute thing like a last minute revision the day before your exam. You have to consider what you will be eating on Saturday or Sunday for the week to prepare the meal.

I know what student life is like because I'm a student myself (Masters in Project Management). Sometimes the lectures end too late, but once you've organized yourself, there are healthy options to choose from. It can help to cut just a short amount of carrots and onions in advance. So when you get to a pan cooking, everything is ready for you.

I want healthy eating on a budget. My favorite ingredients are lentils, quinoa, and frozen spinach. Get canned tomatoes and coconut milk and you can do a variety of things. Bulk purchases are key to budget shopping.

Rachel Phipps.

Rachel Phipps. Photo: Nicole Lev

"Cooking is not as stressful as it should be"

Rachel Phipps is a graduate and author of the popular student cookbook, Student Eats: The Best Proven Recipes for Students.

When I first went to university, I thought I couldn't afford to cook. I started with a student cookbook and wrote a list of what I thought was cheap and went from there. It was trial and error.

Cooking as a college student can be difficult because you often have a small kitchen. In our dorm kitchen, there were four burners at the hub. Two didn't work and the others timed out after an hour for security reasons. They also share a refrigerator. So the key is to just start.

When it comes to equipment, I'd say start with as little as possible. You will need a good, sharp knife, cutting boards, saucepan, pan, and baking sheet. Got the basics.

Plan ahead because then you can see what you will be using and when. Creating a plan will save you time and money. Start with things that you already know and that others have cooked for you.

The most important thing is to keep it simple and not be afraid to experiment. Relax when something goes wrong. Cooking is not as stressful as it should be.

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