8 Foods That Really Are: “Cheap and Cheerful”

We’ve all heard of  “hero ingredients”: the things that every student needs in their kitchen cabinets for a rainy day. Pasta, casserole veg, a tin of beans…


Yawn. Could it get any more boring? Well, luckily the world of food is wide and varied. You can easily afford to eat delicious meals every night on your loan, as long as you know what to look out for. By the time you’ve finished with this article, you’ve never look at another pot noodle again.


Unless you’re drunk of course, in which case we’ll forgive you.


  1. Nut Oils

Condiments have been brightening up stodgy staples like rice and potatoes for centuries. You’re no doubt familiar with ketchup, mustard, horseradish and olive oil but have you ever heard of a nut oil? Hazelnut syrup in your latte does not count… No? Well, you’re missing out because they’re the perfect way to enrich simple dishes and add an extra little bit of elegance to even the most basic of carbs. Even a boring bit of iceberg lettuce tastes great with a walnut oil dressing.


  1. Chickpeas

Normally associated with the kind of middle class, middle aged numpties who wear socks and sandals without the faintest hint of irony,  humble chickpeas get a bit of a bad rap here. They’re delicious, filling and incredibly versatile. You can crush them into a paste to form incredible veggie burgers, you can cook them in a curry to add some extra texture. You can even just eat them on their own with a little sprinkling of salt and, if you’re feeling fancy, a splash of lemon. Better still, they’re incredibly cheap and can be purchased in bulk. Simply get a big bag of dried ones, soak as many as you’ll need the night before and there you have it. Cheap and delicious.


  1. Pork Belly and Shoulder

Meat is expensive, which is why these two cuts are the only example of it on this list. Succulent, fatty and baffling reasonable, either one of these joints will set you back as much for an entire roast as you would normally spend on a packet of mince. Their richness makes them the perfect pairing for less exciting ingredients, meaning that you can easily turn a kilo of pork shoulder, a bag of potatoes and a few little extras into enough food to get you satisfied for days.


  1. Roux sauce

You might be having flashbacks to Food Technology classes right now. Stop. The roux isn’t your enemy, it’s just a poor French victim of classroom tyranny. Simple to make with a little bit of practice, there really is no excuse for ever buying jars of cheese or white sauce once you learnt that all you need to make your own is a little butter, some flour and some milk.


  1. Real baked beans

We might have been a bit mean about beans earlier, but that’s because homemade beans cost less, taste better and you can be as inventive as you like with them. Love the idea of BBQ beans but hate the sickly sweet ketchupy mix you get in a can? Always wondered what beans would be like with a tomato tangier sauce? Well, now you can find out.


  1. Tagines

Tagines are still a bit of a mystery to most. Cooked in a special pot, a proper tagine is a mouthwatering, aromatic bowl of heaven that will instantly transport you to the markets of Marrakesh. A cheap tagine pot won’t set you back a lot, and once you have it you’ll quickly find that making bold, adventurous dishes is as easy as chucking it all in and coming back in a few hours. Be aware, friends may become suspicious of your newfound culinary prowess and attempt to steal you shiny new toy. Keep it secret, keep it safe.


  1. Pizza

Ever wonder why the big chains seem to make so much money when even a supermarket pizza costs a few quid? We’ll let you in a closely guarded secret from the upper echelons of the food industry: er, it’s a scam. A pizza costs very little to make and very little time to prepare. If you’re skipping the meat, you can easily produce a pair of amazing pizzas for under a pound. Hell, you can feed a whole group of friends for not a lot more than that.  


  1. Bananas

They’re cheap, they’re delicious, they’re healthy and when they start to go off you can bake them into an awesome cake that’s sugary enough to keep you energised through even the most yawn worthy lecture.


January 11, 2018


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