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Student survival: recipes for freshers on a budget

Ideal for those heading to university in September or anyone looking to make easy meals on the go, this book serves up a tasty and convenient menu, finds Ella Walker

Cheese and onion potato waffles
Cheese and onion potato waffles
365 Student Cookbook by Jo McAuley is published by Hamlyn, £9.99

By Ella Walker

There's a fear that teens off to university for the first time will have to survive solely on cheap student union beer, takeout, Super Noodles and frozen pizzas.

And while the chances of this are quite high (it's a right of passage), you can still tuck a cookbook into their kitchen supplies box hoping they stumble across it - and 365 Student Cookbook by Jo McAuley might just be that book.

If all else fails, you can always send your budding adult off laden with dishes of lasagne, in bulk.

The book:

365 Student Cookbook by Jo McAuley

Who will love it? First off, parents of budding freshers - you'll feel as though you've armed your youngster with the skills to feed themselves until at least the Christmas break (or until their big food shop - that you paid for - runs out). Second, (give it a few weeks...) once the buzz of being out in the world and having got through the stress and drama of making new friends, the young adult in receipt of the book might just open it. And then, bar the odd order of cheesy chips on a night out, they might just start working their way through it.

What is it trying to get us to cook?

Quick meals that take 10, 20 or 30 minutes to whip together. It covers the likes of '12 ways with poultry', 'brain boosters' and 'cheap eats', and has a fair amount of veggie ideas too. They're largely designed to be healthy and nourishing, although there's still a pudding section (the chocolate orange cheesecake looks good).

How easy is it to use?

Very, as you'd hope, seeing as it's designed for cooking newbies. The ingredients lists are nice and short, and the instructions to the point - there's also a picture of every dish, so you know what you're aiming for.

The best recipe is...

Cheese and onion potato waffles - these are such a good idea, we can't believe we've never thought of them before. Perfect hangover cure, brunch option and late night snack all rolled into one.

The recipe that we are most likely to post pictures of on Instagram is...

The classic cheese fondue - because then you can pretend you're in a Swiss chalet, rather than eating your body weight in cheese to avoid an essay deadline.

The dish we're least likely to try is...

Berry-full baskets - realistically, who among us - especially students - is going to know where to find brandy snap baskets in the supermarket? And why would you go to the bother when you could just have a bowl of berries and cream on their own?

Overall rating: 7/10

A few of the recipes feel quite dated (eg warm sardine, bean and potato salad; cranberry poached pears; bacon wrapped pesto chicken) but for those who are new to basics like soups, stews and tray bakes, it's ideal.

365 Student Cookbook by Jo McAuley is published by Hamlyn, £9.99

Cheese and onion potato waffles

What you'll need

(Serves 2)

4 frozen potato waffles

2 tablespoons vegetable or olive oil

4 spring onions, sliced

1 tbsp dried thyme (optional)

125g grated mature cheese (such as Cheddar cheese, red Leicester or double Gloucester)

Pepper

Green salad, to serve

Method:

Arrange the potato waffles on a grill rack and cook under a grill pre-heated to a medium setting for six to eight minutes, turning once, or according to the packet instructions, until hot and golden.

Meanwhile, heat the oil in a medium-sized frying pan and cook the spring onion over a medium heat for three to four minutes until softened. Stir in the dried thyme and set aside to cool slightly before mixing with the grated cheese and plenty of pepper.

Leaving the waffles on the grill tray, scatter over the cheese mixture, then return the tray to the grill for a further minute until the cheese has melted. Serve with green salad.

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