A Guide To Cooking On Your Student Finance

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By Jamie Oliver

Arriving at my halls of residence, I had to go through the charade I have endured whenever meeting new people. Yes, my name is Jamie Oliver, and there is always one question that follows swiftly after introducing myself; so… can you cook? And I suppose, to be honest, that I can. So from that day in mid-September I was condemned as the flat chef.

One of the greatest misconceptions that students make when arriving at University, is that, under the frankly inadequate student finance budget, you cannot cook and eat well. But this is simply not true. With a bit of savvy shopping and planning, your whole flat can eat just as well as you do at home.

Learn to cook without breaking the bank: there are plenty of ways to get all the tasty and healthy ingredients you need. Buying in bulk is one way of planning your meals in advance, and supermarkets like Aldi, Lidl and even Tesco provide large packets of pasta, lentils and other dry ingredients. If you want to find an even better deal, there are plenty of speciality shops such as Asian markets that provide bulk bags of rice at an unbelievable price.

Make cooking interesting and save money: stay away from the boring meal routine and keep things exciting at the same time as saving money. Why not try splitting the bill and doing a Come Dine With Me week with your roommates? Each day one roommate cooks a meal, and you rate them out of ten. Then whoever wins doesn’t have to pay their share (should you choose to accept it).

Break away from blandness: there’s nothing worse than preparing a meal to discover it tastes like grey sludge. Try buying a selection of dried herbs that will keep for the year and add them to your favourite recipes. This should maximise the flavour in your recipes and blow the dreaded blandness out of the water.

Rescue your bank account with ‘Reduced’ foods: If you are buying food to eat that day, hold out until later on. You can pick up some amazing deals for food that would otherwise be thrown away.

Here is a recipe you might enjoy trying:

Roast Pork Chops with fennel and potatoes

Make a value pack of pork chops last a little bit longer with this delicious recipe

Serves 4

·       2 potatoes, cut into 8 wedges

·       1 fennel bulb, cut into 8 wedges

·       1 red pepper, halved, deseeded and cut into 8

·       4 fresh thyme sprigs

·       4 garlic cloves, unpeeled

·       1 tbsp tomato puree

·       300ml hot chicken stock

·       4 bone-in pork loin chops

1.     Preheat oven to 200C/180C fan. Put the potatoes, fennel, pepper, thyme and garlic in a large roasting tin. Mix together the tomato puree and stock, the pour into the pan. Tightly cover with foil and cook for 30 mins. Take out of the oven and increase the temperature to 220C/200C fan.

2.     Remove the foil and put the pork in the roasting tin, nestling among the veg. Season well and put back in the oven for 15-20 minutes more or until the pork is golden brown and cooked through.

Serve with the pan juices drizzled over, your favourite veg and enjoy!

Jamie is currently studying Multimedia Journalism at MMU. He aspires to work in the media industry though not exclusively in journalism.

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aAh! Magazine is Manchester Metropolitan University's arts and culture magazine.

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