The Newcastle Tab’s guide to cooking at uni

With our help, you’ll be Gino by the end of the year

After a lifetime of having each and every meal cooked by your mam, learning how to cook at uni can seem scary and it can feel a lot easier to survive on a diet of Deliveroo and frozen pizza.

However, it’s actually much easier than it seems and is an essential skill to learn for future life – this is The Tab Newcastle’s guide to cooking at uni, for those of you who only just learned how to put the oven on.

Stock up

If you’re going to start cooking, you’re going to need the tools.

Herbs and spices such as garlic, oregano, paprika and chilli flakes are a must because let’s face it, no impressive meal was ever made with salt and pepper alone.

Every good uni chef’s cupboard is also stocked with an array of sauces to pep up their efforts – think soy sauce, sriracha, mayo, basically anything that you feel like you’ll use a lot and will improve any dish.

Ingredients such as honey, oil, tinned tomatoes and lemon juice are also essentials, as well as grains like rice, pasta and couscous.

Start with the basics

Newcastle wasn’t built in a day and neither will your cooking skills be.

The key to becoming a top chef is perfecting the basics first. We’re talking spag bol, curry, stir fry – pretty much anything your mam might make for a weeknight tea. Once you’ve got dishes like this nailed, you can move on to more difficult culinary adventures.

Get a recipe book

Student recipe books are perfect for if you’re feeling a bit uninspired because let’s face it, it is HARD coming up with something different to have for tea each night.

Books such as “Nosh for Students” and “One Pound Meals” have recipes that are not only easy but affordable too, perfect for the inevitable times that you run out of loan and starting burning a big hole in your overdraft.

Use a recipe box service

Although they may be a bit pricier than getting your ingredients, recipe box services such as HelloFresh are ideal for beginners in the kitchen.

With loads of different step by step recipes to choose from and the ingredients delivered to your door, they make it super easy to learn how to cook.

Plus, they do student discounts on Uni Days. It’s a win-win.

Cook with your flatmates

Cooking with your flatmates turns something that might seem a bit boring into a fun bonding experience.

You can even host themed nights or dinner parties. For example, why not host a Mexican night – make fajitas and margaritas and don sombreros for a night in that differs from the usual boring film and a takeaway.

Plus, cooking in a group often works out cheaper and creates less waste, which is good news for not just your bank but the planet too.


Although recipes can be a necessity when first learning how to cook, don’t be afraid to experiment and differ from them. If you don’t like an ingredient, why not swap it for something else or add more to the recipe if you feel it’s a bit bland?

The worst that can happen is that you don’t like it but mistakes are also important when learning to cook so that you can make changes in the future.

We promise, once you get into the swing of cooking at uni you’ll be ready to apply for Masterchef. Or at least you’ll be able to make a decent macaroni cheese.

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