My sister has just left home for the first time, off to university in another country. She left with a store cupboard of 15 simply essential ingredients from Marks & Spencer Simply range that will allow her to cook a wide range of dishes from staple good quality products, of remarkable value.
A larder should always be filled with ingredients that can be used in several ways, so that there is a instant meal right at a student's or anyone elses fingertips.
- Risotto Rice – risottos are soothing to make and are a flling meal, leftovers can be cooked in a variety of ways
- Plum Tomatoes – the basis of endless sauces, delicious on toast, or with scrambled eggs
- Spaghetti – an ingredient with an unlimited number of recipe possibilities, is there anything more pleasing than a plate of spaghetti
- Olive Oil – essential for nearly every type of cookery used for frying, roasting, baking, dressing and so much more
- Penne – a staple pasta that can be used in pasta bakes, or served with any number of sauce
- Cous Cous – a filling carb that’s brilliant with curries, in salads and as a snack
- Basmati Rice - Can be served as an accompaniment to other dishes, as a meal in itself or cooked into a rich pudding
- Fine egg noodles – fantastic in stir fries and broths
- Baked Beans – full of protein & a filling meal in themselves or cooked into a pie
- Blossom Honey - perfect to add sweetness to cooking, wonderful stirred through porridge or on bread
- Strawberry Jam - is there anything more pleasurable to spread on toast or stirred through rice pudding
- Red Lentils - a fantastic source of protein, brilliant in soups, dips and curries
- Choc Chip Cookies - essential for the essay crisis and as a base for cheesecake
- Chickpeas - the core ingredient in humus, and a great source of protein in stews and soups
- Porridge Oats - the best breakfast known to man, and wonderful in oatcakes and flapjacks
The key to having a good storecupboard is to buy good quality ingredients - the best you can afford, because the value comes not only in a monetary form, but also in terms of the idea that we are what we eat.
Leaving home often for the first time, fending for yourself isn't easy. There is a lot to deal with, budgeting, flatmates, living in a new city/country, making friends, taking classes, exercising, cooking, getting enough rest balanced with parties and socilaising, being responsible, putting in the study hours, and getting a part time job, the list is endless. Cooking sometimes gets a short shuv to the back of the line when there are so many other often more immediately pressing things to deal with.
Yet, it is cooking and proper nutrition that will ensure success in every other aspect of life. Eating is a non-negotiable for students, but eating unhealthily isn't. Students who learn to cook, and budget properly when they first leave home, will learn to cook and eat well for life.
Students often think buying cheap food is the only way to feed themselves, but in doing this they often compromise food provenance, quality and their own health.
Certainly students need to look for value when they are shopping for food, but they also need to buy quality produce, which will provide them with good nutrition, to allow them to live life fully.
The Simply range at Marks & Spencer isn't just for students, but it is a range that students would benefit from filling their storecupboard with.
The Simply range offers over 800 products right across the Marks & Spencer range - frozen, fresh, packaged, ready made, diary, storecupboards - and having tasted a large majority of them, as well as regularly buying them in my own weekly shopping, I can talk about the Simply range at Marks & Spencer with a genuine authority, because I eat them!
All the ingredients are reasonably priced, but they stand out against their competitors because they do not compromise on quality, these aren't the chaff or leftovers prettily packaged. These are good quality ingredients that have been properly made, with sufficient care put into their production and sourcing. All the eggs are freerange, the sausages and bacon British produce, and the coffee Fairtrade.
Over the course of the next few months, I will be sharing recipes and photographs with you, based on these Student Storecupboard in Simply 15 items - that I have written specifically for my sister. These recipes while written for my sister are dishes that anyone would enjoy cooking and serving, they aren't exclusively student recipes.
You can read my first recipe for Red Risotto here.
The lessons we learn about food, both buying and cooking it as students will last lifetime. I'd love to hear what you still cook today, that you made reguarly when you were a student?
Don't forget to keep an eye on my guest posts this week for the Northern Ireland Tourist Board 2012 blog
That's it for now ...
Salt & Sparkle = Life Remarkable