When it comes to cooking, most people think students will always take the easy option. And by that I mean avoiding actual cooking if it involves more than boiling a pan of water or warming up a tin in the microwave. However, while this may be the case every now and again (sometimes you genuinely do just crave beans on toast), realistically, there are a lot of us who genuinely do enjoy developing our culinary skills and whipping up tasty meals.
And then there's the issue of cost. Trying to be the next Heston or Nigella is all very well, but often their recipes aren't the most student-friendly. The two recipes below are student faves for a reason: not only are they both utterly delicious, but they're cheap, easy and student-friendly, in terms of both ingredients and the equipment you need. One for a main, and one for a pudding - perfect for an impressive (but easy) dinner party. Enjoy!
Chicken, sweet potato and coconut curry
This serves three-four people (depending on how hungry you are!), is really easy to make, and always goes down a treat with everyone. I've been told it rivals chicken korma curries from Indian takeaways, but is much healthier and cheaper.
2 tbsp Korma paste
3 large boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite-size pieces
2 medium-sized sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into bite-size pieces
2 red peppers, cut into little pieces
Handful of green beans, chopped into small pieces
400ml can coconut milk
200ml vegetable or chicken stock
175g frozen peas
A handful of raisins or sultanas
Flour to thicken
1. Heat the korma paste in a large pan and toss in the sweet potatoes and chicken until the meat is starting to brown. Add the peppers and beans and fry them for a few minutes.
2. Pour in the coconut milk and stock then cook on a lower heat for about 15-20 mins or until the sweet potato is tender. Tip in the peas and sultanas and simmer for four to five minutes. Add flour to thicken the sauce if you like. Serve with rice and/or naan bread.
Chocolate peanut butter biscuit cake
This is incredibly easy to make, and is a good twist on a classic chocolate fridge cake. Most people are amazed at how delicious it is considering how little effort is involved in making it. Obviously, supermarkets' own brands of ingredients make the recipe student-friendly, and you can't even tell the difference when they're all together in the cake. If you don't have these exact ingredients it doesn't matter - try using other biscuits, chocolate bars, dried fruits, marshmallows or honeycomb pieces.
150g chocolate, broken into squares (I use milk chocolate - it depends on your tastes)
3tbsp golden syrup
150g smooth peanut butter
150g oaty biscuits (like Hobnobs)
135g Malteasers (the size of one of their large bags)
1. Line your tin with foil - I use a square one that's 18cm x 18cm and about 3cm deep, but it doesn't really matter.
2. Melt the butter, chocolate, syrup and peanut butter together in a large bowl (which will eventually contain all the mixture) over a low heat, stirring frequently (and trying not to eat it all as you go) until it's really smooth. Let this mixture cool for about five minutes, and while you wait, prepare the rest by measuring out the biscuits, Malteasers and raisins into another bowl.
3. Add the biscuit mix to the chocolate mix and stir until they're well combined. Then spoon it into your tin, spreading as evenly as you can.
4. Leave to cool until room temperature, then transfer to the fridge to chill for a few hours until set hard. Lift the cake out by the foil and cut into chunks/fingers/bites/whatever shape you like.