Its hard to tell with my youthful complexion and juvenile taste in jewellery but it has been over 5 years since I was a student. I remember my first day in halls like it was yesterday. I was the first of my student flat to move in and spent the whole day finding excuses to go into the kitchen to try and catch a glimpse of my mysterious housemates.
The day before I moved in, my Mum took me to Ikea to buy the essentials; which is my mind were scatter cushions and candles, but in hers were pots, pans and cutlery. (She was right, of course)
She also bought me a little student cookbook, it was the most valuable present ever. Many meals were prepared from that little book. It helped me plan meals, save money and win over my housemates with my awesome cooking skills.
I have no idea what happened to that little book, it is probably sat in a box in a cupboard somewhere, but if you have a child/friend/relative heading off to Uni in September and want to get them a little going away gift a cookbook is the thing I would recommend. There are heaps available but the "Hungry Student" series by Charlotte Pike is a particularly good one, with over 150 recipes in each book! They are a great starting point for someone moving away from home for the first time (or even a non-student who is not a natural-cook).
It is basic enough that even the most inexperienced cook would be able to follow the recipes, but also has a lot to choose from to keep a more adventurous palate happy. I decided to try a couple of basic recipes to see how they turned out. I opted for a nice fruit scone recipe and a loaf of artisan bread.
The recipes were really easy to follow and wielded great results! As a more experienced baker there were things I would of changed or added (or over-complicated) but for a basic scone/bread recipe it was perfect really.
I decided to try something from the Vegetarian book so turned my homemade bread into a wonderful bruschetta. Bruschetta is one of those things I always tend to order in restuarants but never make at home. I really need to start seeing it as a nice lunch option rather than an appetiser.
I watched Julie and Julia a few months back and in one of the scenes Julie and her husband were eating bruschetta for dinner and it looked so wonderfully fresh and vibrant. It is easy to get stuck in food ruts, eating the same meals over and over again. This recipe reminded me that I should branch out and try different things.
These three books are a wonderful addition to any parental care package, or a nice leaving gift to anyone you know going off to University this September. They are a bit of a bargain at 7.99 each, although I hear a few supermarkets are dropping the prices in the run up to September!
Thank you to Charlotte and Quercus for the review copies of the books