Adventures in Student Cooking

Adventures In Student Cooking: Prepared for the Apocalypse

28 May 2018

The Chef
— Really can’t cook, but tries hard
— Would have already died in apocalyptic scenario
— Good at picking My Kitchen Rules winners
— Irrationally dislikes onion

The Setup
— One small fridge with freezer compartment
— Three gas stove burners (one is broken)
— One microwave that burns the outside of frozen meals while failing to defrost
the center

Sometimes, my pantry looks like a doomsday hoarder’s bomb shelter: cans everywhere. I’m honestly so ready for when the water wars start – Cormac McCarthy would be proud of my collection.

Having moved four times in the last three months, there’s been a lot of food transported and, tragically, lost. Canned food has been my savior through this arduous process: it doesn’t go off, it’s easy to transport, and easy to cook when you haven’t unpacked half of your kitchen stuff. So here are a few tin-based recipes!

Attempt One: Hot Chicks (I AM SO SORRY FOR THIS TITLE)

Disclaimer: I detest when men refer to women as chicks. But I’m a woman, so I think I can reclaim this for humour purposes.  

By the way, only one ingredient in this recipe is actually from a tin. Take from that what you will.

— 2 tins tinned chickpeas

Curry simmer sauce (you can use anything you like – my favourite is this one)

1 bag spinach (optional)

Leftover pumpkin (also optional)

Honestly, I have made this curry with just the chickpeas before and it was still great because the pre made sauce is actually decent. This is a good meal if you want to feel like you’ve cooked something but can’t be bothered properly cooking. The steps are:

  1. Put chickpeas in pot
  2. Add sauce
  3. Add spinach
  4. Eventually add some of that pumpkin that’s at the back of the fridge because you have been trying to use it for a week and it seems like it’s been there forever because pumpkins are HUGE and how am I supposed to use it all when I’m only feeding myself????

That’s it really. I tend to eat it with whatever leftover rice I have in my fridge and it’s pretty good, especially when the weather’s getting cold. This is something that you can really throw anything into, obviously.

Attempt Two: Chili Sans Carne

1 tin Mexican beans

1 tin regular mixed beans

1 tin crushed tomatoes

Chili con carne flavouring pack

Greek yogurt (because I forgot to buy sour cream but honestly, not that bad)

LOOK. I know that lately my recipes have been lazy. But this is what I’ve been eating between my assignments and my new job. I’m just trying to survive thanks.

To make this:

  1. Dump everything in the pot and let it heat up.

This is the major advantage of tinned foods: you can just heat them up rather than doing any substantial cooking.

However, there can still be mishaps. When I made this in my tiny studio apartment with only one partially opening window and a broken induction fan, I set off my smoke alarm. Maybe I shouldn’t have added any oil (which in retrospect was probably not needed). Honestly, this is like the third time this has happened and no one has checked if I’m being burned alive–my building’s biggest concern seems to be that I do not open the door to my apartment so I don’t set off the main alarm. So I can’t tell if this is more a symptom of a) bad cooking or b) bad landlords.


Regardless: this dish was pretty fab. The extra flavour in the Mexican beans was super delicious, while the normal beans were great as usual (and also about half the price of the Mexican beans). Fair warning: you’ll have leftovers for about a week.

Bonus recipe: That Horrendous Overfilled Toastie Every Food Blogger Posts At Some Point

My sandwich press is the most expensive thing in my kitchen. It was gifted to me for Christmas. To get it here, I made my dad bring it down as his only piece of luggage when he was staying for an overnight business trip. It is deeply, deeply precious to me.

So, when it came to both the night of the Eurovision Song Contest and a night on which it was really critical to start my assignments, I made this monstrosity.


2 slices of bread



Greek yogurt (to dip)

Honestly? This was GREAT. My mum always said that baked bean toasties were ‘sometimes food’ but technically this isn’t a baked bean toastie and also I am an adult which means I have the capacity to eat five crunchie bars for dinner if I want. (There’s a reason I’ve gained about ten kilos since moving out of home).  This would probably be better with fancy bread, but I digress. I’d genuinely recommend this.

(Side note: am I technically a food blogger now? So bougie.)

So as predicted, I’ve definitely taken a step down from my previous culinary efforts. I think I’m still struggling to figure out how to balance my time/energy between cooking and everything else in my life. But I’m still surviving and I’m not feeling absolutely dead yet–overall a win! See you next week for more culinary mishaps!

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