5 cooking staples every student needs

With Waitrose promoting an elite student storecupboard list they reckon we all need, I thought you might appreciate a new list with a few more realistic alternatives to their suggestions of swiss vegetable bouillon powder and organic tamari soya sauce. Here is a short and simple selection 5 cooking staples that I feel have been useful to me as a student and which you can get cheaply at most supermarkets!

1) Stock cubes

Working along the same lines as bouillon powder, stock cubes have the power to add instant flavour to any dish. Cooking up a bolognese? Sprinkle a beef (or veg) stock cube over for a quick solution to create that extra depth to a simple yet statement meal. They’re also great for making sauces and broths (think chicken noodle soup). Cheap, adaptable and easy to store, stock cubes are a must-have.

2) Mixed Herbs

A little pinch of mixed herbs has the power to turn a plate of spaghetti into an Italian masterpiece. Seriously, do not underestimate herbs such as oregano, basil and sage – they add flavour and sparkle to your daily dishes.

3) Eggs

The best thing about eggs is that they can be used in so many different dishes. Not only can you have them poached, scrambled, fried or as omelettes, but you also need them for baking cakes and goodies for those occasional celebrations. For those wishing to be more experimental, they are good as binding agents for burgers and veg alternatives. You can easily have eggs in different shape and form for breakfast, lunch and dinner! For all you party animals our there, eggs are great to consume to avoid a hangover.

4) Frozen Veg

They’re a quick and simple way to bulk up your meals (and nutrition)! Frozen veg is a gift as not only do you have to worry about fridge space or best before dates (you can just whack them in the freezer), but they literally can be used in just about any meal. Curry? Make it a veg curry. Chicken and chips? Put some veg on to contribute to one of your five a day. If you get bored, you can get big variety packs with lots of different veg in: carrots or broccoli, what will you get? Oh, the suspense!

5) Yoghurt

Yoghurt is an ingredient that is constantly useful. Not only can it be used for an afternoon snack and late-night cravings, but it can also thicken up sauces to make curries and fajitas less spicy. You can also just mix it with some spices and lemon juice to make a dip for tortillas or veg crudites (depending on how healthy you are feeling).

It’s not quite your Waitrose Essentials organic harissa paste or tamarind soya sauce, but definitely a few cooking staple ingredients to make your dishes a bit more Jamie Oliver and a bit less hungry and confused student.

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