Midweek Munch: What every student needs in their cupboard


New to the kitchen? Never fear: Ellen Stirling has made a simple and easy list of the essentials that you should stock up your food cupboards with to make even the newest of chefs give Gordon Ramsay something to rave about…

Edited by Imi Byers

Every student knows this situation – going to make some dinner and finding nothing but a bit of stale bread and some cheese that you can’t even remember buying.

Not ideal.

Cooking for yourself for the first time can be a bit daunting, but not to fear. Here is a list of staple cupboard foods that will give you some really easy and tasty meals.

  • Salt and pepper

    – although this might seem an obvious option, there have been many times when I have needed to give a meal that extra bit of taste and haven’t had these two in my cupboard. Such a small amount can make a massive difference to the taste of your food, so make sure you always have some in!

Simple but delicious…

  • Eggs

    – another obvious staple, but eggs are so easy and quick to cook. More importantly, they have a lot of key nutrients. Just one egg is packed with vital proteins, vitamins, minerals and good fats – Perfect for when you’re trying to fight off the flu or a  hangover. One really simple way to make them is egg muffins. To do this, just melt a bit of butter in the microwave for about ten seconds, add and egg and beat it, then a sprinkle of cheese and back in the microwave for 1 minute. So easy, and even better, it leaves virtually no mess – a lot easier than cleaning a pan after scrambled eggs!

  • Spice it up :)

    Spices and mixed herbs

– having some simple spices and mixed herbs are great for adding a bit more flavour to your meals. You can pick them up really cheaply from most supermarkets and corner shops. My two favourite are chilli powder and mixed spices, as adding them to some chicken or a sauce to make a curry is so good. That being said, experiment with others as well! Cumin and paprika are also a tasty alternative.

  • Season and shake bags

    – my mum sent me off with a couple of these before I went to Uni. They have literally been a life saver when I am bored of pasta. All you do is chuck all of the ingredients in a bag, add the seasoning, seal it and shake, then put it in the oven. I normally chuck anything in I have leftover:  chicken, potatoes, broccoli, peppers, onions, mushrooms… A few brands do them and they normally cost around £1, but they can last up to four meals depending on how much you put in – then you can just freeze the leftovers for another time. Easiest meal ever.

    Immediate flavour :)

    Immediate flavour :)

    The lifesaver that is chopped tomatoes

    The lifesaver that is chopped tomatoes

  • Tinned tomatoes

    – tinned tomatoes are so versatile, from making sauces and soups, to chilli and spag bol, so it’s something I always make sure I have in.

I cannot go with hot drinks in my student house, they’re so good to warm up when the heating isn’t on

  • Tea/coffee/hot chocolate

    – I cannot go with hot drinks in my student house. They’re so good to warm up when the heating isn’t on. If you’re like me and have a lot of milk and sugar, try some healthier alternatives in as well like peppermint tea, green tea or fruit teas.

  • Biscuits/chocolate/cakes

– pretty self-explanatory! They’re important to have in for study fuel, or just when you need some comfort food. And they just go so well with tea.

Any more ideas? We would love to hear what other simple cupboard essentials you have hidden away… Tweet @Nerveonline with your suggestions!