10 things you can actually make in your gyp
It is possible to eat properly!
One hob, one kettle, one toaster, one microwave, and 2.5 per cent of a fridge – aka, the standard gyp equipment most Cambridge students have to work with. It doesn’t sound that hard to cook actual meals, does it?
Clearly, the people in my gyp feel somewhat differently. I’ve lost count of how many expressions of disbelief I’ve heard that I’m “actually cooking”, or that I own herbs (one £2.30 Mixed Italian Herbs grinder and you’re Delia Smith, clearly), or even that I brought a pan with me to uni. Two, in fact.
Admittedly, the gyps aren’t great. I miss my oven at home like it's my long lost sibling. But, as someone who has been told she “could eat two more spuds than a pig”, I deeply appreciate the control over portion size that making my own food allows me – forget the paltry offerings at Buttery.
I’ll be honest, doing all this cooking has given me a somewhat inflated sense of my own culinary prowess. In my new role as the second coming of Nigella, I would like to share some of my tips and "recipes" with you, so that you too can shock your gyp with your cooking skill.
Better known as becoming a 1950s housewife for three hours.
Every Saturday my friends and I make a massive meal and split the cost between the 10 of us, which works out brilliantly. For under two pounds each we all get massive portions (take that buttery), and have the lovely bonus of socialising whilst we cook and eat. Communal cooking can significantly reduce costs, especially for those that eat meat; meat is one of the most expensive things for students, and sharing the cost can help cut your spending.
Also, cooking for people you love is probably scientifically proven to be good for your mental and physical health. Long live the Saturday Night Dinner.
Sausages and mash
As it gets colder, you’re likely going to want food of the variety your mum will undoubtedly be making at home. Sadly, the buttery will not provide this. With the help of this recipe, you, however, can.
One pack of eight sausages can last across four meals. Out of just one packet, you can make two different dinners, the aforementioned sausages and mash, or a simple sausage pasta. For lunch or dinner, a sausage sandwich is ideal. If you are so inclined, you could even make a sausage salad – live your best life. With so many food options out of just one purchase, you’re quite frankly losing money if you’re not getting into this.
For my personal sausage and mash recipe, sweat a red onion with some thyme and Worcester sauce, slice your sausages up, and cook through while you boil potatoes. Make some powdered gravy in a mug and add onions or any herbs that you can scrounge. I can guarantee you will feel better after making this meal – sort of accomplished, adult, and full. So full.
I have no idea what socioeconomic devilry has combined to make baked potatoes as cheap as they are, but I'm not one to question greatness.
Baked potatoes make for good stress relief too. Prick your potato as vigorously as you need to expel all your anger and pop it in the microwave for five minutes. Then, turn it over and zap it for another two. Done.
As anyone in my gyp can attest, this is pretty much all I eat.
First, fry onions and garlic in a pan. Secondly, add chopped tomatoes, herbs, and half a teaspoon of sugar, and let it all simmer. After these are cooked through, add a drained can of tuna and leave it to heat up whilst you drain the pasta. Grated cheddar or mozzarella to top it all off is a must.
As with the tuna pasta, fry some onions and garlic in your pan, and then add bacon lardons and cook. After these are done, add mince, Worcester sauce and some red wine. The bacon and wine isn't an essential, but adding them just feels fancy. After its cooked through, add passata, Italian herbs, and some chopped tomatoes and let it all simmer.
Voilá. Bella Italia has nothing on you.
Chilli con carne
Onions! Garlic! Mince! Worcester sauce! Chopped tomatoes and passata! Kidney beans! Chopped red peppers! Chilli, paprika, Cajun spices! These things, added to a pan and cooked in that order! You can't go wrong with this one.
(Can you see a theme with these ingredients?)
You know what’s going in the pan first (the iconic duo, garlic and onions).
Add chicken or Quorn chicken pieces to your pan, along with some chopped bell peppers. Season it all with various spices (I recommend a cajun mix or some paprika). Fry it all on a high heat whilst you microwave your tortillas and you’re done.
Invest in some pre-made guacamole and salsa (or test your culinary might and make your own) for some lovely extras for your wrap. You can even give Nanna Mex a run for their money by adding some grated cheese and sour cream.
Posh cheese on toast
An absolutely excellent way of using up bread (does anyone else get left over bread guilt?)
Spread soft goat's cheese on toast for a much less sickly option than cheddar. Garnish with your trusty Italian mixed herbs and a drizzle of Sainsbury's finest balsamic glaze, which at just £2 improves every savoury food ever (no I am not a secret Tory).
For absolutely no effort at all, you're basically in a Jamie's Italian.
I do not make couscous the right way as I am deeply lazy. For those like me, I recommend that you make stock, add it to your couscous and cover the dish whilst you chop up some pepper/onion/feta/other cheeses/meats/veg. Add to the couscous with flavourings should you so wish
55p from Mainsbury's for eight lovely pockets of goodness. Perhaps the best trade deal in history. As you may be able to tell, I have become a pita bread devotee in recent weeks. So cheap! So versatile! They make the Sainsbury's cashiers think you’ve got your shit together!
For lunch, eat them with your favourite dip, or try your hand at making a DIY panini (current favourite: discount firecracker chicken, mayo, grated cheddar, sweet chilli sauce. An absolute game changer.) They also make an excellent stand in for pasta when you can’t be bothered to spend twenty minutes waiting for it to cook.
And, most importantly, you can make garlic bread with them.
Without an oven.
Crush up a few cloves of garlic, melt salted butter, and cook them together in a frying pan. Rip up your pitas and fry them in the oil. Granted, it’s not the most aesthetically pleasing, but it’s cheaper than ordering Domino's (and, sacrilegiously, nicer.)
Thus endeth the (very obvious and probably not new to most people) lesson, from the New Nigella. Now, you too can impress your gyp mates with your endless knowledge of all the cuisine available to make with all four appliances college supplies you with.