Quick and Easy Cooking for Students
Finally in my occasional series reviewing Bods’s Cookbook Collection, a ludicrous money making scam by yours truly, here’s a book that I’m going to rake so much money from cos, err, it’s actually very difficult to buy…
Of all the books on my cooking bookshelf, this is the one that you’ll struggle to buy, and the one that I most distinctly remember buying – or at least, getting my mum to buy it,
Quick and Easy Cooking for Students was written by that Delia of student cooking, Cas Clarke and published by Sainsburys in the late 1990s, and was bought in the Sainsburys store in Denton. It might have even been the afternoon of a sunny day, however that I’m not quite so sure of.
Like her more famous book, Grub on a Grant, Quick and Easy Cooking for Students offers a plethora of simple but tasty meals. Its more recent publication date means it has a greater emphasis on those staples of modern living like pasta and rice, but also takes the opportunity to introduce people to other grains like bulgar wheat and cous-cous.
Although a rather slender tome, the book contains many recipes, most accompanied by some lovely food photography. It’s split into several sections, including a near compulsory section of “things on toast”, which must be a student staple if there ever was one.
The recipes themselves feature Cas Clarke’s trademark simplicity – everything is kept easy to follow and there’s even a selection of “one pot dishes”. Whilst keeping costs low isn’t a specifically stated aim of the book (after all, this was published and sold in Sainsburys, so we can probably make some slightly rash assumptions on the target audience), there’s never anything particularly expensive. In fact the most extravagant ingredients are probably things like pesto and curry pastes to add some nice flavours.
Indeed it’s the flavour of the food that keeps me using this book to this day. Naturally it contains many meat based recipes which don’t get cooked, however it does feature many lovely vegetarian options.
Chick pea pilaf – made with bulgar wheat – is a firm favourite in our household, and the leek and mushroom pasta with a sauce made from soft cheese is incredibly easy to rustle up, and tasty to boot. In fact many of the veggie pasta recipes are still used, and my (veggie) bolognaise is firmly based on this recipe. However the ultimate crown must go to a tortilla chip topped chilli bean casserole, topped with sour cream.
It’s a shame that this book didn’t have a particularly wide distribution, and will be near impossible to buy these days. After 12 years, my copy is looking well thumbed, and no doubt will be even more so in another twleve years time.