Student cooking doesn't have to stop at spag bol. A few key tools will ensure the most basic student digs can cater a decent dinner.
When it comes to cooking, students don't always get the best press. Aren't they all munching on toasties in front of Homes Under the Hammer? But let's face it, a cupboard full of broken pots and pans and a couple of electric rings would leave the most experienced of cooks feeling uninspired.
Being packed off to uni with the right kit is bound to raise spirits as well as keep the scurvy at bay. Communal cooking is a great way of finding a sense of home as well as saving money. Here's what we couldn't live without…
Stir-fries are a bit of a lifeline for the student posse; they are fast, cheap and tend to contain a few vegetables too. Invest in a big enough wok and they are a great way of feeding a crowd. You should be able to find a good deal on woks at most major supermarkets.
Non-stick frying pan
Treat it well and a non-stick pan can be a friend for life, it's brilliant for cheap, speedy dishes like omelette and pancakes and should lessen cooking disasters for the new chef. That said, if a helpful housemate takes to your new pan with a wire brush things could turn ugly, so it might be worth keeping it under lock and key.
Standard frying pan
A standard pan should see you through university life (and beyond) in one piece. Use a bit of extra oil and any potential sticky situations should be avoided. If you buy a reasonably-sized pan you can also use it in place of a wok.
Slow cookers might seem a bit more The Good Life than The Young Ones but they're a great way of eating well on a budget. With a slow cooker by your side you'll be able to turn the cheapest cuts of meat into something spectacular, and with minimum preparation time too.
There are lots of pros to buying a slow cooker, for starters they are energy efficient (read bill-saving) and if you set your timer before leaving the house, you can arrive home from lectures to a freshly cooked hot meal, it'll feel just like home. Our product round up, Holly Brooke-Smith found that medium and small cookers provided a more reliable heat distribution, while you should be able to pick up a good-sized model for around £50.
You can pick up a small slow cooker for as cheap as £19.99, but if that's too much you can simply use a heavy based stew or casserole pot. We'd really recommend scouring your local charity shops too as there are some fantastic cooking pot bargains to be had.
One good knife - will make the world of difference to your cooking experience if you can invest or 'borrow' one from home.
Chopping board - a cheap and colourful selection of plastic boards is a good idea for hygiene, as it makes it very easy to differentiate between meat/fish/vegetable boards.
Fish slices - brilliant when it comes to the art of keeping an omelette in one piece, as well as transporting fish of course.
Double-sided oven glove - because it is best to be on the safe side (especially if you are operating in a hung over daze).
Can opener - savers brands of beans etc tend to still be lacking the pull ring tab, so if you are shopping on a budget one of these is essential.
Microwave - it may not be the stuff of Masterchef, but when it comes to cheap and a fast meals, like porridge and jacket potatoes, the microwave definitely has its uses.
Tupperware container - great for helping you store leftover food safely, as well as transporting money-saving packed lunches.
Hand blender - you should be able to pick up a supermarket economy one of these for about £6 - fantastic for whizzing together a quick smoothie or soup for one.
Bottle opener - goes without saying.
That's the equipment sorted. Now you just need to work out what to cook!
What kitchen equipment could you not have lived without? We'd love to hear your thoughts…