BOOK REVIEW: The Ultimate Student Cookbook by Fiona Beckett (with student cooks)

by - September 28, 2009

Remember those penniless days in your awkwardly furnished room, all your crockery under your bed, your toothbrush in the front garden and having no idea how to use the cooker? I remember them vividly as I am living those days right this very second.

Sadly, my actual student days are long gone and my misplaced possessions, hectic life and frugal existence are the result of a house move, a new (but dodgy) cooker and a blood sucking solicitor rather than too many school nights out on the sauce.

The Ultimate Student Cookbook, written by Fiona Beckett, author of the bestselling student cookbook series Beyond Baked Beans and forwarded by an interestingly chosen Heston Blumenthal, is intended for those off to uni whether they are a total cooking novice.

Happily void of anything that requires a crushed crisp topping, The Ultimate Student Cookbook did however contain my arch-nemesis, the (deep breath in) spaghetti bolog-bloody-naise, although they (who are they?) tell me that many people do actually eat and enjoy this wrong, wrong, wrong pasta and sauce combination. I stared at my "think of a happy place" poster and I got over it.

Far from a gastronomic extravaganza, this book is just great for wallet friendly, superbly nutritious food with lots of pulses, pastas, one-pots and veggies. Perfect mid-week meals for all. Some of the recipes that caught my eye were Sad Unloved Vegetable Soup (one of my end of week use-upper staples), Broccoli Chilli and Garlic Pasta, Spiced Sweet Potato Pepper and Aubergine Bake and something rather interesting involving hair drying, yes hair drying, a duck.

Also handy is that the book is peppered throughout with lots of tips and a good section at the front with information on how to set up a kitchen and the equipment you’ll need, where to shop and on a budget, healthy eating and a fab section on “how not to poison your mates”. For those interested in honing in on their cookery skills there are mini-masterclasses on achieving the perfect mash, cooking a steak and making pizza bases and ice cream.

The book is sectioned into quick and easy meals for 1 or 2, cheap and tasty meals for 3, 4 & more, flashy, show-off recipes and finally, yummy puds, cakes and cocktails.

This cookbook is what it is and it does it well. Whilst it may not appeal directly to the discerning foodies reading this blog (ahem), it would make a good gift for the young whipper snappers in your life off to uni this year.

Of course as this is targeted to an audience of which 99.9%* will belong to a social networking site of some sort, the book also has portals in Facebook, Twitter @studentscancook as well as the (desperatly in need of a redesign and rebuild) website

Available from at £7 (RRP £10).

This copy was kindly send to my by the nice folk at Absolute Press to review.
*ok, I made that up but it's something like that isn't it? You want stats - go Google.

You May Also Like