There's no denying that London is a magical city in which to write the ‘uni’ chapter of your life. You’ve made peace with the idea of not living minutes away from your lecture theatres and have accepted that your rush hour tube journeys will be a war.
It’s not long before the rent, travel costs, and getting a little too trigger-happy with the contactless here and there, all punish your bank account.
But we’re young and resourceful – for sure, we bounce back. Often, in an all-out campaign to live frugally, the first place we look to shave costs with is our food: and while instant ramen for your three square meals may save some cash, munching through something like 130% of your daily recommended sodium intake will, just as certainly, have you feeling terrible.
So, do away with the noise of low-carb and keto literature. The shape (and taste) of things to come take the form of four killer recipes that are all flavour-packed, nourishing, and can save you a penny or two.
RECIPES IN ORDER:
Aglio E Olio
Teriyaki Udon Noodle Soup
AGLIO E OLIO
We’ve sought out a much-adored Italian classic for our number one spot, Spaghetti Aglio e Olio.
With just five basic ingredients, this pasta dish can serve as the dictionary definition of something being greater than the sum of its parts.
It’s also had its stint (ba-dum-tssss) with Hollywood, having been featured in the film Chef.
So, bring out your best impression of a flirty John Favreau and crank up The Specials – we're going in on this one.
To cook this for two, you’ll need:
200g of Spaghetti
Half a bulb of Garlic, cloves separated, peeled and thinly sliced
1 bunch of Parsley, rinsed and finely chopped
1 teaspoon of red Pepper Flakes
Bring a litre of water to the boil, salt heavily.
Throw in your pasta, which should cook until soft on the outside yet still have a firm-chewiness, or bite, in the middle.
Whilst this is going on, add your olive oil into a pan and heat over a medium flame.
Add your sliced garlic, stirring to avoid excessive toasting. Don’t let the garlic brown in the pan, as this impart a bitter taste to the dish.
Chuck in the finely chopped parsley, the pepper flakes into the pan and remove from the heat.
Add in a dash of pasta water, the starchiness of which will help that oil adhere to the spaghetti.
Toss the spaghetti in the pan, allowing for the sauce to coat it evenly.
Season to taste, plate up, and enjoy!
TERIYAKI UDON NOODLE SOUP
Next on our list is a sumptuous Udon broth that draws its inspiration from Japan. With a prep time of barely fifteen minutes, this nourishing recipe saves on time as much as it does on the pennies.
To rustle this dish up for four, you will need:
1 Vegetable Stock Cube
50ml of Teriyaki Sauce
1 tablespoon of Vegetable Oil
140g of Chestnut Mushroom, sliced
Half a bunch of Spring Onions, thinly sliced
140g of Udon Noodle
200g of Spinach
Add one litre of water into a large pan. Dissolve your stock cube and stir in the teriyaki sauce. This will come to the boil, forming the soup base.
As the soup base boils, add a dash of oil to a frying pan and cook your mushrooms over a high heat until they take on a golden colour.
Add in the spring onions and cook for a further minute, setting the pan aside after this.
Once the soup base is bubbling nicely, add your noodles and cook for four minutes.
Throw in the spinach, letting everything simmer until the spinach has wilted.
Add in the contents of your frying pan, season to taste, and plate up!
Taking the number three spot is the quintessential Roman pasta dish, Carbonara.
Keep the creams, oils, and butter at a distance - we’re sticking with an authentic Carbonara recipe belonging to the great Antonio Carluccio -
- btw, extra brownie points if you can switch the Parmesan out with Pecorino and the Pancetta with Guanciale, although this make the dish considerably more expensive!
If cooking this timeless classic for two, you will need:
220g of Spaghetti
25g of Pancetta
First, fill a pot with water, bringing it to the boil.
Salt generously, boiling dried spaghetti for roughly six minutes. By the time it’s cooked, your pasta should be soft with a bit of a firmness, or bite, at the centre.
As this is happening, dice your pancetta, adding it to a hot pan.
Let the pancetta cook slowly and release the oils from the fat into the pan.
In a separate bowl, crack two eggs - add extra yolk or two for a creamier sauce.
Grate your parmesan into the bowl, add in some pepper, and stir until the until you’re left with a rich, yellow sauce.
Let’s bring it all together. Stir your cooked pasta into the pan. By doing so, you’ll be both coating the pasta with the oils from the pancetta as well as cooling the pan for the recipe’s next, crucial step.
Pour the sauce from your bowl into the pan, stirring vigorously so that the eggs do not cook, but rather coat the pasta. Add a dash of pasta water to tie the dish’s fats and starchy elements together.
Plate up, garnish with some more grated parmesan and pepper – done.
Pho, a traditional Vietnamese rice noodle broth emblematises the idea of labour-of-love cooking; a traditional Pho demands insane levels of precision and saintly patience, too.
And let's be honest, neither one of those attributes score to highly in the student lifestyle Top Trumps.
Fortunately, Pho expert Andrea Nguyen has concocted a recipe that hits heavy on flavour and skips on prep time – 45 mins start to finish.
To give this a shot, you’ll need:
1 small piece of Ginger, peeled, sliced into fifths, and crushed.
2 Green Onions, thinly sliced.
15 g of Coriander, coarsely chopped for garnishing.
1 and a half teaspoons of Coriander Seeds
1 whole clove of Garlic
840 ml of Low-Sodium Chicken Broth
480 ml of Water
225g boneless Chicken, breast or thigh
Half a teaspoon of Salt
150g of Dried Rice Noodles
2-3 teaspoons of Fish Sauce
Half a teaspoon of Sugar
Toast the coriander seeds and cloves over a medium heat for roughly a minute or two. The aroma should fill the room.
Chuck in the ginger, garlic, and green onions, stirring for a further thirty seconds.
Take the pot off the heat just long enough so that everything cools a little – roughly fifteen seconds, and pour in the chicken broth.
Return to pot on the heat, adding the coriander, the chicken, and salt. Let it boil, and then lower the broth to a light simmer.
After five to ten minutes of simmering, your chicken should be firm and cooked through, at this point fish it out and let the boil simmer for another fifteen to twenty minutes.
In a separate bowl, shred the chicken into bite-size pieces.
After this, soak your rice noodles in hot water until they’re pliable and opaque. Rinse, and keep them ready.
When the broth is ready, run the liquid through a strainer, discarding the solids you catch. Add your sugar and fish sauce to bring out the dish’s sweet-savoury notes.
Bring your, now strained, broth to a high heat. Add in the noodles leaving them in the broth for barely a minute. Take them out and divide between two bowls.
Now’s the time to get artsy. Assemble the chicken on top of your noodles, and garnish with chopped green onion, your coriander, and a dusting of red pepper.
Delicately pour the broth whilst keeping your chicken-noodle structures intact – and you're done.
If this article champions anything, it’s that you should rethink the noodle. There’s something almost rose-tinted about the simplicity of unleavened dough that’s been pulled, salted and boiled. Still, don’t let that deceive you.
Through various forms, the noodle boasts a four-thousand-year history in which it has carved out its spot in South-East Asian, Middle Eastern, Mediterranean and Eastern European Cuisine. And, seeing as we’re so suddenly laying hyperbole on so thick- let's say that the noodle has nourished the great empires of the past, and now, it’s here to fuel your degree.
Written by Nigel