Now I’m no James Martin but I can find my way around a kitchen. Most of what I know has been acquired from my parents and grandparents over the years. I think most people can say that nothing quite beats their home cooking – especially that traditional Sunday Roast.
I’m sure by now you’re sick to death of the few dishes you know how to cook but even if you can only make a pasta dish or a stir-fry, you can jazz it up by adding a few ingredients. It doesn’t have to cost a lot to take a dish to the next level.
1. Salt and Pepper. Seasoning can make any meal tastier so this is a must. It’s the fundamental starting point for adding our food.
2. Herbs and spices. When you make that pasta bowl, add some oregano or basil (if you’ve got any) to take your dish to the next level. Fresh herbs are better and more flavoursome but if you don’t have any, dried will do.
3. Sauces and condiments can add instant flavour to your dishes – whether that be tomato sauce, mustard or soy sauce. Condiments are small investments that will last a while and will give you an instant flavour.
4. Cheese. Adding cheese to pasta dishes can add another level to your dish. Try different cheeses to see which ones you like, not just cheddar.
5. Buying yourself something different, or something that you wouldn’t normally make will be a real treat for you. Try cooking different meats or vegetables, as there’s not a lot of room for error.
6. Wine or alcohol. Fitting with the stereotypical student image here. Wine, especially red, in gravy can add a rich flavour to your meal. You can always drink some with your meal too!
7. Oil and butter. Really healthy I know, but if you watch some of the top chefs cook, they tend to use oil and butter to add flavour and caramelise food (not burn).
8. Packet seasoning. I swear by these. Last year, if I cooked a chicken breast, I would add some packet peri peri seasoning and I almost had a Nando’s. It is worth investing in some packets of these, as they can change your ordinary chicken breast into different flavoured meals.
9. Invest in a recipe book. When you are bored with the same meals and you have free time, you can always try something new from the book. You will be developing your cooking skills, which will be useful in later life.
10. BE ADVENTUROUS AND HAVE FUN. Just because you’re on a budget, doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice good tasting food. Cooking as a flat/house can be a fun social activity to do. Chuck on some good music, put some comfy clothes on and channel your inner Jamie Oliver with a well deserved drink!