Thursday, 21 May 2009

So what did you cook when you were a student?

My publisher Absolute Press released details of our new student book yesterday which is called The Ultimate Student Cookbook. It's a big claim but we make it because it combines my 6 years experience of writing for students in the Beyond Baked Beans books and website with that of three current students who have been contributing videos, recipes and tips to our Facebook page this year.

As a bit of fun I thought I'd ask my fellow tweeters on Twitter what they used to cook at uni and got a flood of fantastic replies. There were all the usual suspects such as spag bol (or Slag Bol) as Oliver Thring rather nicely put it), cheese on toast and tuna pasta but also some surprisingly sophisticated dishes such as Helen of World Foodie Guide's tonkatsu and Japanese curry, Lorna Yee's boeuf bourguignon and Catlily's French onion soup

There were also some really weird ones - to me at any rate such as sophiemostly's husband's preference for sweet and sour sausages, Kavey Eats' Sausage Curry and Kerri of Dinner_Diary's tinned Oxtail Soup together with Matt of Absolute's odd weakness for boiled rice and salad cream (ugh).

I loved Becky of Girl Interrupted Eating's lentil fetish, Jessica of Lovely Chaos's Mustard Mash "with sausages when rich" and The Dieter who 'ate a lot of feta cheese' and 'made a jar of pesto last a month' (no need to diet then I would have thought)

The most appealing-sounding one came from an old friend Deb, an eternal student who has gone back to uni at the age of . . . no I won't let on. "Thinly sliced potatoes layered with onions and lashings cheese sauce. Baked. Chuck in mushrooms, bacon etc if feeling flush"

Sounds good to me

So what was your favourite dish when you were a student or just starting to cook. Fabulous or otherwise.

23 comments:

Anonymous said...

I was totally broke! I used to make "jook" or Chinese rice gruel - one part rice to 5 parts water, which makes a soupy gruel that I would eat with some salty bits (peanuts with soy sauce, pickles, an anchovy, a few leaves of Kim chee, stuff like that.)

Karen said...

My housemates and I lived off tomato soup, tinned spaghetti and baked beans. All were combined with bread, eggs and cheese into a variety of forms. We bought the food from a nearby indian supermarket and paid no attention at all to the huge, cheap bags of lentils and rice. I so wish I'd known how to cook dahl then.

On a special occasion we cooked a roast chicken dinner for the five of us and it was a total frugal revelation. Because our mothers only served it on Sundays we'd assumed it was an expensive treat. Whereas we thought of take-away pizza as cheap. We priced the whole meal at less than £3 a head and we were all stunned.

recipes2share said...

As a student of Home Ec which included a Cordon Blue module we ate rather well and were always invited to parties - food in hand, of course. I forget now but we were allowed to buy our cooking for a tiny percentage cost...perhaps not that frugal and our waistlines were none the better for it either!!?

Oliver Thring said...

Congratulations on your new book, Fiona. As for 'slag bol', blame the iPhone dictionary!

Fiona Beckett said...

Hmmm. Not sure I'd be too tempted by that, anonymous.

You're so right about chicken being cheaper than pizza, Karen - even free-range chicken. And how it takes you a while to realise that.

I bet you were popular recipes2share. Students who can cook always are. Main motivation for learning to cook we always say . . . What sort of things did you cook?

And thanks for the good wishes Oliver. I know what you mean about iphone. It comes up with the wierdest spellings

Marcia@Frugalhomekeeping said...

I have fond memories of all the girls on my dorm floor eating saltine crackers from a box and slathering peanut butter and jelly on them for a meal! It was "dead week"(the week before finals) and the cooks were off, so we had to "make do".

Fiona Beckett said...

We Brits have never really got peanut butter and jelly, I don't think Marcia - although others may chip in and prove me wrong. Peanut butter alone or with carrot slaw, now that's not bad student food!

Kavey said...

Heh, the sausage curry was much tastier than it sounds! I used individual spices rather than a cheap curry mix (following my mum's recipe that I'd usually use for lamb or chicken pieces or minced lamb or beef) but used good-quality sausages for the meat. Tasted fantastic, though the sausages, cut into segments before cooking, looked a little xxx-rated, with the meat pushing out from each end of the skin! I often found myself with friends staying for dinner after they'd popped in just for a few minutes when I was making it! :)
Good luck with the book!

Fiona Beckett said...

I think I'm going to have to give that a whirl Kavey! I can certainly imagine it being pretty good with my 'cheat's' meatball mix (mashing up skinned sausages with mince. Saves the need for breadcrumbs . . . )

Alex said...

Oooh, good old pasta (penne, natch) with pesto and cheddar cheese. Or a baked potato with tuna. So basic but I didn't care about food then...

I remember shopping with my mother for things to take away with me and buying salt and pepper cellars and minature bottles of olive oil and balsamic vinegar though...

Fiona Beckett said...

Pesto's really become a student staple, hasn't it? Not mad keen on the bottled variety myself - or at least the green one. The red one works better, I think

Anne said...

I was a short term student as dropped out of the course, however the only dish I remember making frequently was risotto..though not as we know it! Consisted of long grain rice, tinned ham chopped up and peas and cheese...

Another cheap bought in dish I remember was tinned potato wedges with tuna and cheese sauce...

will said...

I just ate kebabs - my mum never knew any recipes to pass on!

verity said...

You're right, it's weird how tomato pesto is much nicer than the green one. It's always far less oily.

Fiona Beckett said...

Aaargh, early risottos. My mum used to make an unspeakable one with leftover sausages and a squirt of tomato paste! They're not bad student food actually (real ones, that is). Once you've got the knack of them they're easy and not expensive as you can see from previous posts

meemalee said...

Congrats on your book!

When I was at uni, our guilty pleasure was hot spaghetti mixed quickly with ketchup and grated cheese.

Sometimes with a bit of chopped ham on top if we were feeling flush.

Don't knock it till you've tried it.

Andrea said...

I made a fair few risottos in my student days as well - my favourite is a roasted sweet potato and spinach risotto with parsley and, if you're feeling flush, strips of parma ham laid over the top - divine!

fran39 said...

Ah, student days...did anyone else cook on a Baby Belling? Yep, spag bol aplenty, and apparently one group of friends made it with dog food. Not sure if this was because of poverty or masochism. My fave recipe was for thinly sliced brussel sprouts, fried up with cooked brown rice and soy sauce. My bad.

Fiona Beckett said...

meemalee - might just have to postpone that pleasure ;-) Not sure I wouldn't rather have Andrea's roast sweet potato and spinach risotto (that does sound good actually)

I hope you jest about dog food fran! Not in spag bol anyway. Could conceive of it in a pie . . . Aaargh, no I couldn't. But stir-fried sprouts are seriously good. I like them now.

meemalee said...

Fiona, seriously you're missing out. I haven't actually eaten it for about a decade but I might have to recreate the recipe for my blog :-p

fran, I agree with Fiona, thin-sliced stirfried sprouts are the business!

Nora said...

I lived in quite a food obsessed student house - I think we were the only student house in the world where everyone used to sit down every Sunday afternoon for tea and cake! Apart from that, lots of pasta with tomato sauce. I also discovered the wonder of fishfinger sandwiches. Oh, those were the days...

Fiona Beckett said...

Ahhhh. Fishfinger sandwiches. Legendary! I confess I actually made some the other day for our new student cookbook. My husband absolutely loved them!

Emma Ferguson-Coleman said...

Fried beansprout sandwiches were our favourite!

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