Da­rina Allen

Irish Examiner - Weekend - - Inside - Da­rina Allen www.cooking­is­fun.ie dari­naallen.blogspot.ie

We are a few weeks into the col­lege year now and for many, it’s been a shock to the sys­tem, a mo­ment of re­al­i­sa­tion when the penny drops that you are ab­so­lutely on your own — to get up on time, feed your­self, do your wash­ing and the gizil­lion other lit­tle things we’ve be­come ac­cus­tomed to others do­ing for us.

It’s a won­der­ful ad­ven­ture but def­i­nitely takes a bit of get­ting used to and ad­just­ment. I’ve had lots of re­quests for a kit of recipes for col­lege kids cheap, cheer­ful, nour­ish­ing foods that are quick to put to­gether.

So this week, I’m go­ing to keep blurb to the min­i­mum so that I can fit in as many recipes as pos­si­ble.

Let’s start with break­fast, make a fine pot of por­ridge, Mac­room oat­meal is the best but Kil­beg­gan and Fla­ha­vans rolled oats are also de­lec­ta­ble and can be if cov­ered and re­frig­er­ated, and re­heated next day, if you have some left over. You can add all sorts of top­pings – jam, berries, trea­cle, maple syrup, hon­ey­comb – but my ab­so­lute favourite is soft dark brown sugar and cream or at least whole milk – cer­tainly no low fat, you’ll need nour­ish­ment to help you con­cen­trate and achieve. It’s noth­ing fancy but it’s to­tally de­li­cious and you won’t feel like reach­ing for a dough­nut at 11am. Bircher muesli is an­other bril­liant oat-based ce­real made in min­utes and su­per de­li­cious.

Fresh eggs also give so much bang for your buck. A cou­ple of scram­bled eggs with a few added bits and pieces from the fridge can make a nu­tri­tious and tasty brekkie, brunch, lunch or sup­per. An omelette is a 30-sec­ond job, a frit­tata takes a bit longer but it’s a bril­liant and ver­sa­tile recipe to feed a crowd of pals.

Once again there are nu­mer­ous vari­a­tions but for col­lege kids, I sug­gest adding diced cooked potato and maybe some leek or pump­kin and a few cubes of chorizo which will add more nour­ish­ment and lots of flavour.

A cab­bage is also an­other great buy, go along to Caro­line Robin­son on the Coal Quay Mar­ket on Satur­day and buy a fine chem­i­cal-free Savoy cab­bage. It’ll keep you go­ing for days and is so ver­sa­tile. Here’s one of the many cab­bage salad recipe we en­joy.

I also love dahls, this is a su­per sim­ple one that we love and can also be made in big­ger quan­ti­ties. It’s re­ally worth in­vest­ing in a few jars of spices and some chilli flakes, they’ll add zing to even the sim­plest pasta dish. How about Asian let­tuce leaves cups with pork or chicken, easy nib­bles that are quick to make and give you a host of pro­teins.

Many bed­sits or stu­dent ac­com­mo­da­tion don’t have an oven so how about pan­cakes or crepe? There is so much, I al­most feel an­other book com­ing on!

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