We all know that starting uni can be daunting even for those with masses of confidence. Just one of the many things to consider is the prospect of cooking your own meals because that student loan will shrink fast with continuous phone calls to Domino’s Pizza, no matter how many times you had carrier bags and vouchers thrust into your hands during Fresher’s Week. A lucky few students will be able to cook confidently already when they arrive at uni for the first time but for those who haven’t been trained up in preparation, the internet or one of the many student recipes books may be turned to once the Pot Noodles lose their appeal. But which one?
Recently I was lucky enough to be sent a copy of The Hungry Student Cookbook by Charlotte Pike to have a nosey through and offer up my opinions on. I love to read recipe books like a normal person reads fictions books so I was very excited when I knew it was on it’s way to me and the day it arrived I got in and got comfy with my new book straight away.
Every recipe book I own is a source of inspiration to me and I know this is going to prove to be a good one. The author has really channelled everything she learned at uni herself into this book and I suspect the same can be said for the other two books in the series, Easy Baking and Vegetarian Cookbook. I’ve read quite a view recipe books aimed at students and this is one of the better ones being full of tasty, easy and affordable food. There is a good amount of choice covered by the sections ranging from toasted meals through comforting stews, soups and curries right to baking and catering for the mornings when you might be feeling somewhat rough. The classics of pasta and baked potato options are also in there and for when you get a little more confident there is a whole section of suggestions for feeding friends. What I particularly liked was despite the diversity there were enough similarities between some fo the recipes to encourage users to adapt and create their own meals. There is no greater satisfaction than creating something delicious, something you want to not stop eating, from your own ideas.
Some of the other things I loved about the book were the introduction and the photography. The intro was fun, not patronising and brief enough to take notice of while still covering all the necessities including important kitchen tools and cupboard staples, food hygiene for beginners and encouragement to get creative with alternatives. With the photography, the pictures dispersed throughout the book are bright and rumbly-tummy inducing even with dishes I’ve never tasted before. There will soon be some more things I’ve experimented with thanks to these pictures!
As much as I hate to criticise somebody’s hard work there were a couple of things I thought could have been a little better. The baking section might have enough chocolate recipes in to keep me satisfied but I still would’ve like to have seen the section expanded in general. I think it could complement the cooking for friends section too seeing as something sweet is what most people crave to finish off a meal. The other thing I would’ve liked to have seen was a small section on suggestions for alternative diets such as gluten or lactose free. A general cookbook can’t cater for everyone but a few short notes explaining alternatives to use in the recipes would have been good. Despite these minor points I still thought the book was well written and considered the student market perfectly. I definitley think it is worth the money and I’m currently looking for an excuse to buy the Easy Baking book from the series. In the meantime, my favourite recipes from this one are:
Super Tasty Mac and Cheese with Bacon and Leeks – it really was super tasty and contained lots of my favourite ingredients.Creamy Honey and Mustard Pork Chops – Honey and mustard are on of my favourite combinations – perfect for homely chops.
Homemade Tortillas – I never realised before testing this recipe how easy they were. I doubt I’ll buy them from the shops again.
Banoffee Pie – Decadent and easy are practically oxymoronic words yet this is a recipe they describe perfectly while containing all things good.
Now come on, what are you waiting for? Go shopping, get your ingredients and get in the kitchen!
The Hungry Student by Charlotte Pike is published by Quercus at £7.99 and is available from all good booksellers. There are three books in the series: The Hungry Student, The Hingry Student Vegetarian Cookbook and The Hungry Student Easy Baking.