Tips and Tricks for Cooking for Yourself at University

The ominous task of cooking for yourself at University is a thought that crosses every fresher’s mind in September.  The days are overtaken by countless emails and excursions to Brudenell or Old Bar.  Step away from the takeaway menus and pot noodles and use these simple life hacks to convince your parents, despite what they believe, that you can survive on your own…maybe…

  • Pasta is a staple of any University diet but occasionally you feel that mid-meal crunch of undercooked, solid pasta.  If you add a splash of oil to your boiling water before adding the spaghetti it will fall apart, leaving perfectly separated strands to “season” with as much pesto as your heart desires.
“Drained pasta” Credit: Laura Thompson
  • Bell peppers feel like they contain as many seeds as pieces of sand in the Sahara Desert.  To speed up your preparation time, cut a circle around the top of the pepper stalk and pull upwards.  This allows you to slice the peppers, without a chance of the occasional seed ruining your meal.
  • If your bread is beginning to go stale or hard run the loaf under water and place it in the oven for 10-15 minutes.  This will return your bread to its freshly baked state.
“Cutting an onion” Credit: Laura Thompson
  • This simple trick will stop you from crying whilst cutting onions, without the need for eccentric goggles! Remove the top and cut through the roots remaining on the onion.  Peel the skin off both the sections and slice horizontally through most of the onion section.  Slice the section, from left to right, at a right angle to this horizontal slice.  Cut these long strips into diced squares.  Make sure not to cut the top of the onion as this will make your eyes tear up!
  • If you decide to make a sauce to accompany the spaghetti, there are some simple quick fixes to improve your culinary creation.  If the sauce becomes too salty, after being boiled down, add a piece of raw potato as this reduces and absorbs the salt content.  Remember to remove the potato as it will not be fully cooked!
  • Crack an egg on a flat, smooth surface to prevent shell going into the food.  If this does occur use the eggshell to remove the small pieces.  If you need to separate an egg white from the yolk use an old water bottle.  Place the rim over the egg yolk and squeeze, this will detach the yolk and leave the white in the bowl.

Header image credit: The Guardian