(134MC – extra curricular activity – learning to cook)
Students are renowned for being truly terrible in the kitchen, not being able to cook and living off of takeaways and ready meals. I must admit when I started university I was that stereotypical student but after the first term of too many Nandos & Dominos, a dwindling bank balance and an incident with some dodgy looking and smelling chicken in a tin, I made it my New Years resolution to start learning to cook some ‘proper’ meals.
I can safely say now that I’m in my last term, during my first year, that cooking is not that hard. From Spaghetti Bolognese to Chicken Korma I’ve tried making quick and simple dishes that not only taste better than ready meals but usually worked out cheaper than buying the meals already made up. I was mostly scared about things like cooking meats and making sure that I didn’t end up with food poisoning and with many phone calls to my mother and sometimes over cooking the chicken it hasn’t happened yet, touch wood. I’ve also realised the health benefits of cooking using fresh ingredients as in my first term I was constantly feeling run down and ill but during term two and three I feel much more alive and I do genuinely think it is from cooking my own meals rather than defrosting and re-heating.
One of my favourite things that I’ve only started cooking recently are noodles. I didn’t realise that they are so easy to cook and really quick as well which I know, as a student, you don’t want to be waiting around cooking food for ages. So here is my recipe for Chicken & Mushroom Black Bean Noodles:
– a chicken breast fillet
– a noodle nest (Sharwood’s do a pack of 8, usually for around £1)
– Sharwood’s Black Bean Sauce
– 4 medium sized mushrooms
1. Dice the chicken breast and cook on the hob until white on both sides checking there are no pink bits in the middle, that way you know it’s completely cooked. (usually takes around 10 minutes)
2. Boil water in a saucepan and add the noodle nest, leave for 3 minutes and then drain
3. Dice the mushrooms and add to the chicken
4. Add half a jar of sauce to the chicken and leave to simmer for a few minutes
5. Add the noodles to the chicken and sauce and stir all together
6. serve in a bowl and enjoy
The time you can cook this meal is around 15 minutes which you’ll agree tastes a lot nicer than a ready meal. The total cost of this meal works out at about £1.70 which, unless you’re buying your food at pound land, is one of the cheapest meals you could cook. The great thing about using sauce jars is that you can cook the same thing but change the flavour, another thing I’ve tried is taking away the mushroom and using a Kung Pow Szechuan sauce for a spicier taste.
(Left: black bean noodles, Right: Spicy Szechuan noodles)