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The basics
THE UK: Destination Guides

How to Cook in the UK

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Relying on takeaways? Follow my simple guide to cooking healthy meals for students

Living in Malaysia, I've always been accustomed to eating out, as Malaysia is a food haven, offering delicious food at devilishly cheap prices. Of course, living at home also meant that I had food prepared and served for me every day. Needless to day, cooking is a non-existent skill whilst a visit to the kitchen is just to check what's cooking. If I had to name something that I have prepared, instant noodles are probably the closest I have come to cooking!

As embarrassing as it sounds, many of us are guilty for not knowing how to cook. Many students who have left home and stayed on their own, end up surviving on takeaways or ready meals. This is unhealthy and uneconomical. Besides, how long can you stand eating these before you start feel bored and sick? If you want a simple guide on how to prepare cheap, simple and tasty student meals, read my account and I gurantee that you will be enjoying lovely meals after this.

Mind-boggling food questions:

Where to buy groceries?
There are many supermarkets that sell affordable groceries. Some of them include Tescos, Morrisons, Asda and Sainsbury's. A little tip - look out for promotions such as buy one free one deals and if you are not fussy, go for the supermarket brands because they tend to be cheaper. To compare supermarket prices for your groceries, visit this site 

What to cook?
Now you've got your groceries, the all important question crops up. What do I cook? Do not be overwhelmed by the recipe books you see in the bookstores. Save yourself some money and look up recipes on the internet instead. For example, if you are thinking of having a big fat steak for dinner, google 'steak recipes' and you will have loads of results to choose from. If you are an amateur, just pick the simplest recipe available. Another option is to watch cooking shows on TV. Watch 'Ready steady cook' or ' Jamie Oliver's meal in 30 minutes' to learn how to prepare quick non-messy meals. Here are some websites for more recipes:

• Student recipes for simple food that fit your tight budgets

• All British Food for anyone who wants to learn to cook everything British including the famous roasts

• Nigella Lawson for mouth-watering desserts

• Jamie Oliver for quick healthy meals

How much to cook?
It is tricky when you are only cooking for yourself. You don't want to cook too little, neither do you want to cook too much that will end up going into the bin. But, don't worry! Cooking more is brilliant because you can save it for other meals or even pack food to university. You save money, time and effort. The question is, what if you cooked spaghetti Bolognese and do not want to eat it continuously for 4 whole days? There are ways you can modify the dish by adding a little something so that it becomes a whole different dish!

• Add new ingredients
So you have already spaghetti Bolognese for a day and decide you do not want to have the same the next day. Add a little chilli powder, kidney beans and baked beans and voila - you've got chilli con carne! Be inventive and you might discover some new culinary gift.

• Use the oven
The oven makes cooking even simpler. With the chilli con carne, now put it in a dish, layer lasagne over it and you've got a simple baked dish of tasty homemade lasagne.

• Make soup
By the 4th day, you probably have leftovers which would not be enough for a meal. Do not waste it, do not throw it away. Take the leftovers, open a can of chopped tomatoes or anything that you could find, and blend them. Put them into a big pot and you've made yourself some hot soup, perfect to keep you nice and warm in the cold English weather. Serve your soup with toast.

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