Are you a university student — or will you be, come September?

One of the most rewarding things about moving away for uni is learning to become more self-sufficient (that’s the plan, anyway). However, the prospect of taking full responsibility for looking after yourself can be daunting.

For us, eating delicious food is the ultimate form of self-care. But if it’s your first time cooking for yourself — or anyone, for that matter! — the thought of doing so can pile on to those pre-freshers nerves.

That’s why we recommend taking the time to brush up on some of the basic cooking skills before you go. Get ready to embark on your life as a student fully equipped to tackle home cooking like a pro…

Start your day on an eggcellent note

We’ve all heard it before: breakfast is the most important meal of the day. But it’s easy to get stuck in a rut when it comes to breakfast food.

So, what’s the first thing that comes to mind when you think about breakfast? It must be eggs.

The simple egg has so much to offer, from the enigmatic perfectly-poached to the silkiest scrambled or a cheesy, golden omelette. Not only are eggs inexpensive, but they’re also versatile! Whether you dress it up with bacon or some leftover veggies from the fridge or just bring out its natural deliciousness with some seasoning, it’s hard to get bored of eggs.

But say you fancy something a bit different on a lazy weekend morning. Maybe you’ve got some friends staying over, or you want to do something nice for your flatmates. If so, what better than the smell of a huge stack of fluffy pancakes wafting down the halls? Made of simple ingredients you probably already have in the cupboards, and with a wide variety of topping choices available, there’s no better way to indulge without needing to splash out.

All you need is lunch

When you’re spending all day studying at home or in the library, you need something delicious to look forward to at lunchtime. Tempting though it may be just to grab a packet of crisps (or worse, skip lunch altogether), taking the time to prepare yourself something filling and nutritious is essential to fuel your brain and keep up your energy to avoid a mid-afternoon slump.

Soup is a firm favourite of ours when it comes to lunch. Easy to make and convenient to take with you in a flask or Tupperware, it’s a great skill to know how to make a good soup. Affordable and adaptable to your preference, soup is a great way to use up all the odds and ends in the fridge! All you need is a good blender — so if you’re looking for something to invest in before setting off to uni, this is a handy tool to have.

Alternatively, you may want to bring something in to share with your coursemates as a study-break pick-me-up. If you can make some rich, gooey and delicious chocolate brownies on-demand, you’ll be very popular indeed! Deceptively quick and straightforward to make, it’s never a bad idea to have a good dessert recipe in your arsenal.

The main event…

Communal meals can be a real opportunity for bonding at uni. You’ll often find yourself busy studying or working throughout the day; setting aside one evening a week to get together over some homecooked food could become a social occasion to rival any night out.

Whether you’re taking it in turns to cook a house meal or inviting friends over for dinner and entertainment Come Dine With Me style, being able to make something that’s cost-effective as well as delicious is vital when cooking for a group.

So, it’s your turn to cook, and you want to impress. Why not stick to the classics? Crisp, fluffy potatoes. Rich and warming cauliflower cheese. Fresh, crunchy vegetables and succulent roasted chicken. A roast dinner is the ultimate comfort food, and if you can knock one up in a uni kitchen, you can consider yourself an officially qualified adult.

Still in need of some inspiration? Done right, a dish like a rich beef mince bolognese with spaghetti — familiar, hearty and nutritious — is always guaranteed to satisfy hungry housemates. Or, if you fancy something a little spicier, how about a chilli con carne with fluffy rice? Another tried-and-tested, stress-free dish that’s easily adaptable for different dietary requirements.

And don’t forget: you can eat the leftovers for lunch the next day — if there are any!

In need of some help before going it alone? Our Chalet Cooks Course and two-day cookery basics classes are ideal for students looking to gain confidence in the kitchen.