Good morning everyone! Today we have a wonderful guest blog from one of our students, Deepthi who has put together an extensive guide for anyone struggling to cook for themselves while studying at the University.
To start off, the first thing to have is the right equipment in and around the kitchen to make things easier in the process of cooking. Here are a few of my basic kitchen essentials which you could have in your arsenal. I was able to find all these things quite easily at Wilko.
Measuring cups and spoons
Tupperware/ glass food containers
Serving: plates, bowl, mug, glasses
Cutlery: spoon, fork, knife, chopsticks
Electricals: kettle, toaster
Some other optional kitchen equipment you could have are:
Large pot – great for meal prepping large portions
Wok – excellent for stir-fry recipes and fired rice
Blender – for making smoothies, juices and spice pastes
Rubber spatula – a versatile tool in baking and using with non-stick pans
Roasting tray – can be used for anything from roasting vegetables and meats to baking cookies
Baking dish – an oven proof dish for pasta bakes, casseroles and sometimes cake
Now that we have all the right tools to cook with, it is time find the ingredients to cook with. I typically like to start by stocking up on primary pantry staples at the beginning of every month and have weekly or biweekly shops for fresh produce. It is great to bulk buy ingredients you use on a regular basis to save money on a budget. Some places to start off with food shopping are
These three are the places I go to on a regular basis for my food shops mainly based on the location, convenience and availability of items. If I do not find something I am looking for in Tesco, it is probably in Sainsbury’s and vice versa. Iceland has some great deals and my go to for frozen stuff. The delivery service for orders above £40 is excellent for ordering in groups together to stock up on pantry ingredients when you do not have the time and energy carry bulky items.
Cooking and hacks
It is finally time to get cooking! Find inspiration from various platforms such as Pinterest, blogs and YouTube videos. Use your creativity to create something new or recreate favourite nostalgic recipes from your childhood and experiment in the kitchen.
Here are a few tips and tricks to ease your way into cooking:
- Planning meals in advance- Preparing a few things ahead always comes in handy. Pin and save those recipe ideas and find all the ingredients to have at your ready .
- Meal prepping for the week ahead – Meal prepping has saved me tons of time in the kitchen and helps me focus on other things when I always know there is food made in advance in the fridge. It is simply the best solution of decision fatigue save your energy throughout the week. Cook an array of meals and store them in the fridge or freezer to grab anytime you are feeling hungry.
- Stock up on pantry items – Rice, pasta, potatoes, canned goods and frozen veg are must have essential that last a very long time. Then you can add other stuff whenever you need them for various meal ideas.
- Prepare for lunch the night before – if you struggle to pack your lunch in the mornings for classes, prep some ingredients in advance to make it easier in the morning such as making The night before is also a great time to make overnight oats for mornings, soak dried grains and thaw frozen meat for the next day
There you go, plan, prep, cook and enjoy. These are a couple things I follow to make cooking a little easier for me and I hope these ideas help anyone to have a much easier experience in the kitchen!