How to Not Starve as a Fresher at Uni…
Hello and welcome to my Ted Talk about my favourite topic (apart from Computer Science, obviously…) – food. No matter who you are, it is essential to have a couple of easy-to-make recipes to hand that don’t take hours to prepare for or break your bank account. This is even more crucial for university students at Warwick – where there is no catered accommodation option (I can’t decide if this is a blessing or a curse yet though!).
Having begun Term 1 with little to no idea about the who, what, when, where, why and how about cooking to having picked up a couple of go-to recipes, I can definitely say that the food you eat can affect both your mental and physical wellbeing – so it’s useful to have a variety of healthy, quick and cheap recipes you can make as and when you want.
To keep this blog short and sweet, I have given a couple of rough ideas for what you could make at university, although if you’d like the recipes for any of these (with exact measurements) feel free to message me. All of these dishes are vegan (as am I) so can be made by a large proportion of you and they generally use the same low-cost ingredients – so no need to worry about price.
Vegetable Pasta – make a separate portion of pasta (I add a bit of turmeric and salt to mine as it’s boiling) and pasta sauce. In the sauce be sure to include a variety of vegetables such as peppers, onions and tomatoes. For flavour, add spices such as chilli powder, turmeric, whole and ground cumin and one or two green chillies along with some grated ginger. Add some supermarket pasta sauce for a smoother consistency and boiled water to thin the sauce out a bit. Once the pasta has cooked, mix the two together and if you want, top with grated cheddar.
Beans Curry – Add oil, chopped chillies (optional), cumin and carom seeds (if you have them) to a pan. Then stir and add chopped onions, tomatoes, peppers and finely chopped garlic. As this is boiling, add spices such as chili powder, turmeric, crushed cumin, salt (to taste) and masala powder (optional – but can be found in any local supermarket). Once this has been mixed add a couple of tablespoons of pasta sauce / passata. Finally, drain and add a tin of beans (can be mixed, black beans, kidney beans – anything) to the pan. Add a bit of water to thin out the sauce if it’s too thick, then stir and boil for bit. This can be served with a portion of rice or eaten with a pitta bread, chapatti or tortilla.
Vegan Fajitas – Add oil, sliced peppers and chopped onions to a pan, then add chili powder, salt, turmeric, masala powder, and crushed cumin to taste (of course – with the optional chopped chillies!). Add finely chopped or grated garlic and grated ginger to taste before adding a can of black beans to the pan. Continue stirring until the vegetables look golden brown. Heat up the tortillas in a microwave, then stuff with the beans and wrap. You can eat this with some sweet chilli sauce or (dairy free) yoghurt.
Finally, here are some tips I found useful for maintaining your food budget!
- Freeze food! Always freeze whatever leftover food you can to ensure it lasts you as long as possible – opposed to storing it in the fridge.
- Try to buy ‘own-brand’ versions of food – I’m sure you won’t notice the difference when you’re stress-eating that last fajita while you’re busy submitting your coursework at 11:59am.
- Try to ‘water-down’ the sauces you make to increase their quantity – so you can have them later.
- If you have the time, try to plan your meals for the week in advance to avoid wasting time on deciding what to cook before every meal. This can also help you decide what ingredients you need to buy on your next grocery shop.
That’s all from me for now but I’ll see you soon! In the meantime, don’t hesitate to ask me anything related to food, Computer Science or university in general! ☺️