Yo. We’re all moved into our new flat (waheeey), put up lots of Ikea furniture (ok, Daniel did, but I was probably really helpful!), started uni and most importantly (for this blogpost anyway) have done our big food shop. You know, that shop you have to do at the beginning of the year (as a student anyway), when you move into a new place, and there’s literally nothing to eat, so you have to get all the essentials.
So, I thought I’d blog about what I think
everyone students should always have in their cupboards. What are your essentials?
- Basics for Cooking:
- Olive Oil. I like to have one for cooking (which can be a pretty cheap one) and a nice one to use in salad dressings or to finish off soups.- Spices. Spices can transform something really boring and cheap into something at least a little exiting (if not very). I like to at least have: Salt (buy in bulk, because you’ll need lots when cooking pasta and rice), Pepper (to grind), Curry Powder, Paprika, Chili Flakes, Cayenne Pepper, Dried Oregano, Dried Thyme, Cinnamon, Garlic Powder, Onion Powder and Nutmeg.- Good Quality Vegetable Stock. You know it. It makes all the difference.
- Rice, Pasta and Quinoa. Obv.
- Lentils. This is a bit specific for not mentioning every single thing I like to have huh. Buuuuuut there’s a reason for this. I like to keep a jar of red lentils by the hob, so I can just put in a handful into pasta sauces, stews, curries, anything really. Lentils are super healthy and what’s more important: absolutely delicious. As to making a meal out of them, they’re great as a vegetarian alternative to a classic bolognese sauce, so use with the tinned tomatoes, and maybe some of that red wine that you have left from the other night?
(If you do do the same, make sure you read the instructions, most red lentils still need rinsing and if you’re using regular lentils, they often need to get soaked before cooking with them!)
- Things to put a dinner together out of nothing
- Curry Paste. Yes, of course it’s better to make your own, but pre-made curry pastes aren’t usually that bad, what’s bad are pre-made sauces. So if you always have a jar of curry paste in the cupboard, you can use it to make dinner out of any other bits of food you might have left over. You can make a normal curry or you can use it to marinate fish, vegetables or Halloumi before frying. Delicious.- Tins. Tins can actually be really helpful and not all that bad. I like to have a couple of tins of chopped tomatoes, chickpeas and coconut milk. If you have these, there’s no excuse to buy ready-made pasta sauce, because you can just quickly make your own with the chopped tomatoes. Or you could use the chickpeas to add to a stew or curry (along with the coconut milk and the curry paste). Coconut Milk is also great in smoothies.
- Other Stuff
- Tea. I’m not a big coffee drinker, and we all know that big quantities of the black stuff aren’t all that good for us anyway. I’m currently testing my way through a sample box of teapigs tea (how exiting), so I’ll let you know how that goes, but as well as tea to drink during the day, I like to have one to drink before I go to bed to help tune off (which isn’t always that easy). I really really like this night time tea from Pukka. It tastes nice and it’s really calming.- The Food Doctor Wholesome Pots. I was surprised how good these actually taste. They’re instant meals (you just have to add boiling water), but contrary to most instant meals out there, these are healthy and I love them! They’re made from either bulgur wheat and quinoa or couscous and lentils and come in three flavours. My favourite is Asparagus, Leek and Mint, but they’re all great! Try the Tomatoes, Red Pepper and Cumin one, if you like it spicy.
They’re great if you don’t have time to prepare a proper lunch between lectures, or can’t risk to give up your seat in the library. They’re also pretty filling and will release energy more slowly, so you can actually focus on work (because I know we all like to work and hate procastinating!)
The wholesome pots are available online, or you can get them at Tesco. How convenient.
P.S. Just so you know, I did some work experience at the food doctor. This is my honest opinion, I just simply think it’s a great product from a great company!
- But enough healthy, you’ll obviously also need chocolate. It’s a must. If you can, try to go for the stuff with the high percentages, but I’m not gonna lie to you. I like regular chocolate. A lot. Sometimes even a whole 100g bar at a time.
P.S. Green and Black’s = Delicious!
P.P.S. Cadbury’s or Galaxy will do too, I guess.