If you really haven't a clue in the kitchen, here are some easy basics to rustle up quickly when you're starving.
These recipes have been chosen because they're fairly simple, cheap, and they can be doubled up to feed a mate. They're also reasonably healthy, so long as you don't add too much oil when cooking or use rich fillings.
An omelette (serves 1)
- Two large eggs
- Pinch of salt, a shake of black pepper
- A little oil or butter for frying (or use a non-stick pan)
- Optional: tablespoon of milk or water, and maybe a filling such as ham or pre-cooked vegetables
1. Break the eggs into a bowl and beat them with a pinch of salt and a little pepper. You may wish to add a tablespoon of milk or cold water to make the mixture go further. You can stir pre-cooked vegetables into the mix after you've beaten the eggs.
2. Unless your frying pan is non-stick, add a few drops of oil or a teaspoon of butter to the pan and place over a medium heat.
3. Add the egg mixture to the pan, swirling it around so the bottom of the pan is covered. Cook gently until the top of the omelette stops looking runny (it will be firmer and lose the shiny appearance). If you're worried about the top not being well-cooked enough, finish it off under the grill: the omelette should have a slightly golden colour.
4. Serve with bread and a salad to make a light meal.
A baked spud (serves 1)
- One large potato, scrubbed clean
- Optional: a little butter or margarine
- Any filling you like: chilli, beans, cheese, meat, vegetables
1. Preheat the oven to 220C/400F/Gas mark 6.
2. Prick the skin of the potato a few times with a sharp knife and put it directly on the oven shelf. Some people like to rub the potato skin with oil or salt.
3. Bake for around an hour, and check them. When they're properly cooked they should lose their rock-hard texture and be slightly squeezable. If in doubt give them another 10 minutes and check them again.
4. Cut them open, add butter or magarine if you like, and then add your chosen hot or cold filling.
Cheese on toast (serves 1)
- One block of mature cheddar cheese
- A couple of slices of big chunky bread
- Optional: Worcestershire sauce
1. Cut the cheese into thin-ish square slices.
2. Turn on the grill and leave it to heat up for a couple of minutes. Place your chucky bread in the middle of a baking tray and put directly under the grill.
3. After a couple of minutes the bread should turn a nice golden brown. This is your cue to take them out.
4. Turn the bread over to the other side, cover them with the cheese slices (add a few drops of Worcestershire sauce if you like), and pop them back in.
5. Keep an eye on them as the cheese starts to bubble and go brown. Take them out when the cheese is fully melted. Et voila!
Easy stir-fry (serves 2)
- Vegetable oil (or olive oil if you have some)
- A bag of mixed stir-fry vegetables
- One chicken breast (boneless)
- Optional: soy sauce
1. Cut the chicken up into small strips.
2. Heat your wok or large frying pan for a couple of minutes and pour two table spoons of oil in.
3. Whack in the strips of chicken and cook for 3-4 minutes until the chicken is cooked all the way through.
4. Add the mixed stir fry vegetables and stir for a couple of minutes.
5. Add about half a small glass (50ml) of water and cook until evaporated. Add the soy sauce and cook for a few more seconds. Serve this tasty dish with some boiled rice.
Grilled vegetable pasta (serves two)
- One small red onion
- One yellow pepper
- One courgette
- 100g/4 ounces dried pasta such as fusilli
- Vegetable oil (olive oil is nicest)
- Mixed herbs
- Grated cheese
- Optional: drained canned kidney beans or tuna, or cooked bacon
1. Slice the onion thinly, about 0.5 cm thick. Cut the pepper and courgettes into 1cm thick slices and mix with the onion in a bowl 2 tsp of oil.
2. Arrange vegetables on a grill pan and cook under a hot grill for about six minutes, then turn them over and cook for another 6 minutes or so.
3. While the veggies are under the grill, cook dried pasta in plenty of boiling water according to instructions on the packet.
4. Drain pasta and mix with the cooked vegetables and herbs. At this point you may want to add optional extras like beans or tinned fish.
5. Serve topped with cheese.
Bon appetit. And good luck.
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