OpinionChristy Spring

Student Kitchen Hacks

OpinionChristy Spring
Student Kitchen Hacks

Top tips:

  • Make your own toasties or paninis without a toastie maker using an iron. Wrap your sandwich in tin foil and press the iron on top for 5 minutes, flip it and repeat on the other side, and you have a warm, toasty, golden-brown panini in no time.

  • Wrap your leaves (like lettuce) in a damp kitchen cloth to make them last days longer without going floppy and soggy.

  • If you cook in bulk, portion up the food straight after its done and pop it in Tupperware’s. Leave it in the pan and somehow by the end of the evening you’ll find you’ve picked at the thing for hours and eaten about 3 portions. This sort of defeats the economic incentive of bulk cooking.

  •  Don’t forget to wash your tea towels every so often. Something easy to forget, but when you’re drying clean dishes with a bit of fabric which hasn’t seen the wash in 2 months it gets a bit gross.

  • Put a wooden spoon over a pan of boiling water to stop it boiling over and making a mess.

  •  If you’re thinking of saving money cooking for yourself at uni, going veggie is a great way of saving some dough whilst also not having to worry about meat going off in your fridge 24/7. Compare paying just £1 for a 6 pack of eggs vs £2.40 for 2 chicken breasts or £2.50 for 500g of bacon (Sainsbury’s,)- it makes a lot of sense.

    •  Some of our veggie recipe ideas:

 Kale pesto, orzo and mozzarella salad

Kale pesto, orzo and mozzarella salad

  •  Another tip to saving the pounds if you don’t fancy going veggie is freezing your meat as soon as you buy it. That way it goes a lot further without having to worry about it its expiration date . Chicken breast, prawns and salmon all freeze great.

  • About to pre and realise your drink is off-puttingly room temp? Grab an ice cube tray and fill it with whatever your classic drink is (wine, cider etc.) Once they’re frozen add them to your drink to cool it without diluting it!

  •  Don’t have those fiddly Ikea clips to seal a packet? Just use a hair clip or bobby pin.

  •  Make a plastic bag full of plastic bags and never have to splash 5p on new ones by bringing these old ones on your shop. 

  •  Don’t leave your olive oil out and about in the kitchen. Naturally, all your house mates will just rinse it.

  • When you’re making rice, pop in a stock cube- makes it taste 40x less bland 

  •  Microwave lemons or limes for 10 seconds before juicing them, you’ll manage to get way more out of it when its warmer.


Microwave hacks

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  •  Scrambled eggs:

    •  Beat eggs and a little milk in a mug with a fork. Microwave for 45 seconds then stop and stir, followed by another 45 seconds

  • Stale bread

    •  Bread stale and can’t be bothered to walk to Tesco to get some more? Just wrap the bread in damp kitchen towel and microwave in 10 second intervals until it becomes moist.

  • Peeled garlic

    •  Pop a bulb of garlic in the microwave for 20. Once its done the cloves will slide out of its skin

  • Make your own dried herbs (which last way longer than fresh)

    •  Wash the herbs and put them on some kitchen roll. Microwave for a total of 4 minutes, stopping every 30 seconds to flip them over

  •  Soaking lentils or beans

    •  Recipe says soak overnight but you’ve only just noticed and want dinner right now? No problem. Just pop the beans or lentils in a bowl of water with a little bicarbonate of soda and microwave for 10 minutes. Then leave them to stand for half an hour.

Kitchen utensils and gadgets- what’s worth investing in and what’s not?

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Worth it

  • Hand held blender. You can buy a budget one for around £12 and they’re super versatile. Use for making any dips, soups, sauces or salsas

  • Garlic crusher lets you squish the garlic with its skin on. Worth an investment- saves you a lot of faff

  • Hot mats- something everyone forgets to bring to uni but is super useful if you want to save on washing up and pop the pan straight on the table

  • A collapsible silicon colander- you can buy them in Ikea and they fold into themselves saving you loads of space

  • Measuring jug- sometimes not seen as an essential but a necessity if you’re going to whip up any cake or gravy

  • Silicon pot lids- again an Ikea essential coming in 3 sizes and you can pop them on top of any pan to speed up cooking 

  •  Bring one cake tin to uni, you never know when you might have to make a last minute birthday cake when the overdraft can’t finance them a pricey present

    A cafetiere- makes way better coffee than instant without breaking the bank for a coffee machine

  •  A grater which grates into a container which you can then seal. Buy them from Ikea and then save you the mess of grating on a plate

  • A decent speaker or radio to play tunes when you’re cooking is a bit of an essential unless you enjoy cooking in silence

  • A kettle in your room- you never know when you’ll not fancy embarking on the trek all the way to the kitchen to knock up a cuppa

Not worth it

  • Pricey cutlery- by the end of the year everyone will have each other’s fork in each other’s draws or you’ll get too lazy and chuck them out so you don’t have to wash them up 

  • Fancy blenders, the reality is as much as you think you’ll wake up and make smoothies every morning in one, you probably won’t. Much better off just getting a cheaper hand held blender instead

  • Niche gadgets you think will make your life easier but in reality will never use such as egg poachers, yolk separators

  • Kitchen roll- in reality you and your flat will use it all up within a day and isn’t really worth the p

  •  Don’t bother buying fancy glasses, you’re much better off with the reusable plastic ones because it reality the likelihood you’re going to drop one is pretty high 

Cupboard essentials:

Staple spices:

  • Paprika 

  • Cumin 

  • Chilli flakes

  •  Mustard (grainy)

  •  Italian Seasoning

  • Curry powder 

  • Cajun seasoning

Things to stock up on:

  • Chickpeas

  • Lazy Garlic (paste or granules)

  • Frozen peas and spinach

  • Lentils 

  • Chopped tomato’s/ Tomato passata 

  • Pesto 

  • Sweet Chilli sauce 

  • Onions (they keep for ages)

  • Stock cubes

  • Soy sauce

  • Bottled lemon juice

  • Olive Oil