HOP | HOP to Freshers- Top tips on being a Wizz in the kitchen
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HOP to Freshers- Top tips on being a Wizz in the kitchen

The thought of suddenly having to cook for yourself for the first time at University can be super daunting. It takes time to learn, get in the groove and feel confident about it.

You’re not going to become a Michelin star chef over night but with out top tips we think we can help give you the best start so you can enjoy cooking healthy meals (no takeaway and pot noodles here) and learn how to cut down the costs.

On your marks…get set…. BAKE…I mean COOK.

  • Before you start University stock up on some herbs and spices. Feels like a luxury however having these is going to make cooking way more exciting and having something to hand makes cooking more accessible. Think of how you could make a £12 can of beans way more tasty! If you can’t afford to get a full spice rack we’d recommend you get these;
  • Red pepper flakes
  • Garlic powder
  • Ground cinnamon
  • Paprika
  • Cajun spice
  • Ground cumin
  • Onion Powder
  • Dried Oregano
  • Dried bay leaves
  • Dried Basil

And don’t forget that salt and pepper are your besties. Seriously though guys spice up your life before you get to Uni!

  • Get your cupboard basics! Its too easy to get Just Eat up on your phone and even though takeaway can be cheap and you get cheeky discounts popping in your inbox tempting you, cooking is still way cheaper and healthier. These cupboard classics may seem like a lot to fork out for but they will last a long time.
  • Salt and Pepper- get the one's you grind! Trust us it helps the food taste better and you feel fancy using them.
  • Cooking oil- get some olive oil for recipes that need it but for a healthy alternative grab the one calorie spray.
  • Pasta- It’s cheap and you can jazz it up so quickly. We recommend getting whole meal pasta as it’s a lot better for you and doesn’t cost any more.
  • Rice- Same as it’s sister pasta- it’s cheap and goes with loads of different recipes. Brown rice is a great healthy alternative.
  • Tinned chopped tomatoes- it’s a staple ingredient for so many recipes. We’re talking Chill Con Carne, Bolognese, Stews…this list goes on. You can get a tin for a little as 12p.
  • Tea, coffee and sugar- Let’s be honest these are some of the most important cupboard basics you can get. Everyone needs a pick me up coffee in the morning.
  • Tinned beans, lentils and chickpeas- These are a really good way of bulking up meals you are making and they don’t go off quickly like a piece of meat would.
  • Onions and garlic- remember the classic tinned tomatoes we mentioned... well you will also need these for most recipes you make. Again, you can get these cheap as chips. Just remember to chop the onion fast (but safely) to avoid crying.
  • Ketchup (tommy k)- Because well it’s obvious isn’t it.
  • Freeze your food. The most economical student tip! Make up batches of food and freeze them. There are literally so may things you can freeze and in our humble opinion some meals taste better after they have been frozen. The biggest kitchen controversy you can have at Uni is freezer space, seriously wars have started over this. So, a big tip we have is to get freezer bags rather than Tupper Wear as it fits way easier in a freezer. Remember getting frozen fruit and veg is also a great way to keep costs down, it’s also frozen when it’s fresh so it’s still healthy!
  • Learn to cook from family and friends. Use the summer to become the sous chef at home and train up. This is a great way of not just learning the basics but to see what peoples cooking styles are like and who knows it might broaden your culinary delights horizon. Be open minded everyone has their own way of cooking and some people are Gordan Ramsey obsessed with there kitchen but you might learn some new stuff like a crazy new chopping technique. When you get to University you can have come dine with me style nights, a great way of meeting new people whilst still practicing.
  • Go shopping with mates. Okay we know some people like to go alone, it’s a personal preference HOWEVER going with mates means that you can take advantage of offers like BOGOFF or multibuys which can be more expensive when individually buying something. You can also share a car ride or taxi with them and spilt the cost. Look out for supermarkets being sneaky with deals they- aren’t always as good as they seem. Do the math’s before you part with your cash.

We hope we have given you some helpful top tips! Go forth and cook!