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Making the most of student cooking

Beans on toastAre you a budding Jamie Oliver, or are beans on toast the height of your culinary powers? For many students, university is the first time for being solely responsible for their own food, without mum or dad to lay on meals.

It won't work for everyone, but if your housemates are happy to share meals together, it can be great fun, as well as saving time and money for you all. When I was a student, me and my housemates shared our food and cooking. There were five of us, so we each took turns on a weekday, and did our own thing on the weekend (good time for takeaway… yum).

It was good fun, because we all had different dishes that we liked cooking. It also saved plenty of money, because we could buy in larger quantities. It also saved time because we didn’t all have to cook individually every day. There was the occasional duff meal, but for the most part it worked out pretty well. And it meant we were far less likely to resort to daily beans on toast!

To make sure it was fair money-wise, we had a plastic folder pinned up in the kitchen. We put all our receipts in there, and at the end of the month, we added them all up and divided the cost between us. (Well, I say monthly… sometimes it ended up being somewhat less regular than that).

Of course, that won’t work for everyone. If your schedules are very different, finding a time that suits everyone to eat might not be possible. And your dietary requirements and preferences might not fit – pleasing both a vegetarian and a red-toothed meat-lover every day might not be possible!

If you each decide to do your own thing, you’ll have to find ways of working round each other. If your housemates are all fans of Neighbours, and you don’t watch it (or caught the lunchtime showing!), then 5.30pm could be a good time to fit in your cooking.

Whether you plan to share cooking or do your own thing may also influence your choice of house. If you’re sharing, it’s a lot easier to get away with a smaller kitchen. But if several of you might be trying to use the kitchen at the same time, then you might need a slightly bigger kitchen. When choosing student accommodation in Cardiff, make sure to choose a property that suits your lifestyle!

How about you? What are your favourite meals and top tips for student cooking? Let us know on Twitter or Facebook!

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