Tesco executive chef shares his top recipes and tips for students starting out in the kitchen this term

Tesco executive chef shares his top recipes and tips for students starting out in the kitchen this term

With students settling into university life, the thought of having to cook entirely for themselves can be a daunting prospect. New data* from Tesco has found that a third (30%) of children aged 18-21 only cook a meal once a month when at home, and 5% admit to never having cooked a meal at home at all.

Cooking healthy recipes is not only important to help avoid freshers’ flu but it’s also been proven to support concentration and give students the energy they need to help thrive in their first term at university. However, 15% of parents believe their children would struggle to cook a nutritious meal and a fifth (20%) admit they worry this newfound freedom will lead to them eating more fast food than when at home.

In fact, when it comes to cheffing up culinary delights, just a quarter (26%) of parents with children aged 18 to 21 say they believe they can cook a shepherd’s pie and 28% a classic combination of roast chicken and veg, and only 38% think they could master a stir fry.

Tesco is here to help  new students with an array of delicious, nutritional, and budget friendly recipes available online at Tesco Real Food. There are plenty of easy options to try from, helping students to stay healthy, alert and energised as they get stuck into their studies.

What’s more, to help kickstart freshers into the world of cooking, Tesco executive xhef, Jamie Robinson has revealed some top tips and useful hacks to master some of his favourite recipes for anyone looking for a simple and delicious meal to make at home.

Jamie Robinson, Executive Chef at Tesco said:

“As the new term begins, mastering a few key recipes sets up a springboard for hundreds of delicious meals. After a few weeks, you’ll become a pro, adding your own flavours and twists to meals.

“Being a good chef amongst student friends is a great skill to have and the perfect way for friendships to blossom.”

Robinson’s top cooking tips:

Halloumi Fajitas

These quick, easy and budget-friendly fajitas are the perfect recipe for a dinner night in with flatmates. Made with halloumi, you can involve everyone whether they eat meat or not.

Robinson’s top tip: “The best part about cooking fajitas is that you can tailor them to all taste buds with little to no fuss. When meeting new friends, it’s likely you don’t know their taste, some might like spice, some might not. To wow your new friends, be sure to offer a range of different sauces from spice to yoghurt allowing them to tailor the fajita to their own palate. That way, you’ll be everyone’s favourite chef.”

Cost per head: £1.62

Sardine arrabbiata

Pasta – a student staple and perfect for meal prepping throughout the week, something that’s key when busy. By adding sardines to the recipe, you’re getting the brain benefits provided by fish, while also cooking a sustainable yet tasty option.

Robinson’s top tip: “When it comes to cooking a simple pasta like this, it’s all about getting the basic elements right to really elevate the flavours. When cooking garlic, it can be easy to let it burn, leaving a not so nice taste throughout the dish. My top tip is to cook the garlic over a medium heat for just thirty seconds, this is just enough time to cook off the rawness and release the flavour. If you smell the garlic and your mouth starts watering, tip in the tomatoes! “

Cost per head: £0.57

Sticky hoisin meatball traybake

Asian cooking is becoming super popular due to great tasting dishes and the health benefits they provide. This meatball traybake is simple, affordable yet impressive to friends.

Robinson’s top tip: “Traybakes are a university staple and the perfect way to save money on food shopping. When cooking a recipe like this my main tip would be to plan your meals ahead. When cooking for one, it’s easy for the leftovers to get left in the fridge due to spontaneous plans. With a recipe as delicious as this, you can eat it over four evenings and never get bored. You’ll also save the cash for other exciting plans that you might have!”

Cost per head: £2.02

Fish Finger Tacos

Fish fingers are a student staple but are most commonly served between two slices of white bread. These fish finger tacos allow you to elevate a classic freezer item to the next level.

Robinson’s top tip: “When it comes to fish fingers, it’s all about the crunch. My top tip for this recipe would be to trust the process and allow the fish fingers to go nice and golden before serving up. Sometimes in uni kitchens, cookers have been used year after year by different students so it’s likely they’ll need a little longer than pack instructions.

“Like the fajitas, this is the perfect recipe for a communal meal, letting everyone serve their taco their own way. Be sure to give everyone an option of sauces and sides from sweet to spicy!”