Everything You Wanted To Know About Spag Bol But Were Afraid To Ask

6 Conversations

To all you studenty-type people out there who live on pot noodles and beer. Yes, you! You know who you are.

When your Mum phones you and asks if you are feeding yourself sensibly do you cross your fingers behind your back and swear you are eating the regulation five portions of fruit and veg a day?

When she asks you if you make sure to eat breakfast and you reassure her you always have porridge or weetabix, do you feel a twinge of guilt that you started your day with half a tube of Pringles washed down with the dregs of last night's beer?

Would you like a guide on how to eat cheaply without too much faffing
around with fancy, expensive ingredients?

Do you secretly yearn for a bit of homemade bread pud or some comforting cheesy mashed potato? Maybe an easy, cheap but lush sauce to dollop on your plain old pasta? A quick, easy, but good-looking pudding? Come on, you know you love pudding!

Ah, but do you know the difference between a desert spoon and a table
spoon? Do you know the average weight of an egg? How long to boil potatoes? How many beans make... a chilli...?

Would you like to discover the secrets of the kitchen previously unknown to you because you were always hunched over your PC at home or off raving in the woods at weekends when your Mum offered to pass on the hints and tips you would need in order to achieve a healthy, balanced diet on a budget?

Ok, sign up here for a week by week guide on shopping cheaply, understanding the mysteries of cooking and unlock the power to impress
your friends with such culinary delights as:

  • Spicey wedges
  • Roast vegetables and cous cous
  • Simple pasta sauce
  • Home made pizza toasts
  • Lentil Curry sauce
  • Bread pudding
  • Easy biscuits
  • Vegetarian lasagne
  • Apple crumble
  • Bapple!!!!!
  • Sausage and bean cobbler
  • All sorts of 'splodge' (one pan delights)
  • A couple of specials...'Tarmac pie' and 'Muck' - yummy sticky choccie delights
  • How to cook all the basics from potatoes to roast dinner
  • Where to buy the cheapest ingredients.
  • What you need in your cupboard to create quick but impressive late night snacks (even when you are drunk!)

Your Store Cupboard

When you are moving into student digs or a flat of your own for the first time get someone to gift a box with all these essentials to you as a moving-in present or buy a couple a week until you have all the basics to work with.

  • Soy sauce
  • Balsamic vinegar (or at least a small bottle of white wine or apple cider vinegar)
  • Tube of tomato puree
  • Dried basil (or mixed herbs)
  • Black pepper
  • Salt (preferably a good sea salt)
  • Vegetable stock cubes
  • Bottle of cooking oil (virgin olive oil is best but a good vegetable oil if you can't run to olive)
  • Curry powder or paste
  • Powdered ginger

Make Sure You Always Have

  • Dried pasta
  • Flour (self raising)
  • Rice (brown rice is easier to cook then you think and nicer to eat)
  • Couscous
  • Lentils (red ones cook quickly, green ones more slowly but taste better)
  • Sugar
  • Margarine, which is suitable for baking with
  • Raisins
  • Dried soups (good for quick pasta sauce)
  • Eggs


  • Baked beans
  • Chopped tomatoes
  • Chickpeas
  • Sweetcorn
  • Tuna and ham (if you are not veggie)
  • Potatoes


If you can, make sure you have at least:

  • Two saucepans
  • A frying pan (wok is great if you have one)
  • A sieve
  • A meat tin
  • A couple of flat baking tins
  • A large bowl
  • A good, sharp vegetable knife
  • A tablespoon (that's the large one, not the one you eat your pudding with)
  • A flat, 'spatula' type thingy for flipping eggs and burgers

Next Time: Watch out for the recipes


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