Image: Unsplash
Image: Unsplash

Seven of the best cookbooks for freshers

One of the biggest challenges for many freshers is cooking for themselves every night. Not only do you have to learn how to cook, but one of the biggest challenges in my experience is thinking of new recipes. I’m going into my fourth year and I still struggle to add variety to my meal plans each week.

The Hungry Student by Charlotte Pike

This was the first cookbook I took with me in freshers. It contains very simple recipes, all of which can be achieved within a tight budget. The front pages also go through the basics of what you need in your equipment and food cupboards. My personal favourite were the pages on ‘how not to poison your friends’ – or yourself – because I knew nothing. The chapters include: pasta, stir-fries, jacket potatoes, easy dinners and the morning after, all very fitting for a student lifestyle.

My favourite part of this cookbook was the ‘In Bread and On Toast’ section, which stopped me from just eating boring lunches. If you’re living on campus in first year, make the most of being able to go back to your flat for lunch because this isn’t possible living in Leamington or Coventry in second year.

The Nosh for Students range is excellent because it focuses on students’ tight budgets

Vegetarian Nosh for Students by Joy May

The Nosh for Students range is excellent because it focuses on students’ tight budgets and contains great and simple recipes.

The Vegetarian Nosh for Students book contains several testimonials from students. One said: “This was the first cookbook I ever bought and I have to say I was impressed. The recipes were simple and delicious and there was a great range from 5 minute snacks to more complicated dishes.” While another said: “It’s just fantastic! The meals are not only quick and easy to cook, but are also tasty, healthy and filling. It sticks to simple ingredients unlike many vegetarian cook books.”

The different chapters are very helpful for students. ‘Fast food’ is good for those days when lectures finish a little later while ‘One-pot dishes’ is useful for days when you really don’t want to wash up. ‘Something mum might cook’ is great for battling the initial homesickness of the first few weeks as it brings a piece of home to the kitchen.

It’s no secret pasta is a step meal in a student’s diet, but there’s really only so much pesto pasta you can eat

The Savvy Shopper’s Cookbook by Amy Sheppard

As the title would suggest, this cookbook focuses on shopping on a budget, with the front pages including a guide to discount shopping lists. It is split into soups and snacks, sides and salads, fish, vegetarian, chicken, beef and pork and sweet treats. I like that this cookbook has a separate section for vegetarian dishes with recipes using Quorn meats as well as recipes which don’t use meat alternatives. It contains three different ways to use tinned tuna, including loaded tuna potato skins and meatballs.

Gennaro’s Fast Cook Italian by Gennaro Contaldo

It’s no secret pasta is a staple meal in a student’s diet, but there’s really only so much pesto pasta you can eat. Contaldo shares enticing recipes which can be made in 40 minutes or less, perfect for students on a tight time schedule. You’ll definitely be able to change up your pasta toppings and save that pesto for another day.  It contains a guide of what to keep stocked in your cupboard and splits its recipes into nine categories: soup, salad, pasta, rice, meat, fish, vegetables, sauces and desserts. It’s enough to keep you going with the three-kilogram bag of fusilli from Tesco.

It starts with a two-week vegan meal plan, which is so helpful when thinking of meals to cook

5 Ingredients: Quick & Easy Food by Jamie Oliver

Whenever I think of cooking and cookbooks, I think of Jamie Oliver. Labelled as Jamie’s most straightforward cookbook yet, it’s perfect for students who are yet to delve into the world of cooking. Split into salads, pasta, eggs, chicken, fish, veg, beef, pork, lamb, rice and noodles, and sweet treats, each recipe focuses on five ingredients which work together to give great flavour but without the fuss. Not only does this minimize time, but it also makes the meals cheap.

Vegan Cookbook for Beginners: The Essential Vegan Cookbook to Get Started by Rockridge Press

This vegan cookbook contains hundreds of easy recipes, either for someone who has just decided to start the plant-based diet or someone who is new to cooking. It starts with a two-week vegan meal plan, which is so helpful when thinking of meals to cook. The further categories are: smoothies and juices; breakfast; dressings, condiments and sauces; salads; side dishes and appetizers; soups and stews; main dishes; desserts and snacks. There is something for every meal and a wide range of main dishes, from a quick and easy veggie wrap to vegan chili to caramelised onion barbecue quesadillas.

Deliciously Ella The Plant-Based Cookbook by Ella Mills

Another option for a vegan diet, Ella Mills is the founder of popular blog, Deliciously Ella. The cookbook explores recipes for breakfast, salads, falafel, burgers, dips, soups, stews, curries, desserts, gatherings and supper clubs. It contains over 100 simple, everyday recipes and claims to be perfect for those exploring veganism for the first time.

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