Advice from The Grumpy Chef

So, you might know a bit about The Grumpy Chef from his ‘Bio’ Guest Blog – here he shares his advice for you cash-strapped students (as well as young budding chefs!) on how to make your money stretch far with food and some simple cooking tips so you still have time and money to have fun!

‘Nowadays it’s tough being a student: tuition fees, accommodation…and have you seen the cost of highlighters and the humble Bic pen? Truly beggars’ belief at times and if you try the cheapo ‘5 for a quid’ option they last about a day before they crumble or run out.

Anyway, I am not here to discuss stationery – I’m here to help you get better at cooking…or at least start! (And yes you do have time to cook, so don’t give that excuse either!) After trawling through the wonderful concept that is I have found some fantastic recipes and videos that are inspiring and also heart-warming at times.

Cooking is…

…Let’s go through what it’s not. It’s not pouring boiling water onto a collection of worm like shoelaces, adding a plastic sachet of MSG (Mono Sodium Glutamate) and stirring a couple of times before devouring the contents in 10 seconds after a night on the beer. It’s not opening the door of the dial or button infested box, throwing in a plastic container of ‘mush’ and hoping the instructions on the back of the box are right for the wattage of said box…

It’s about passion and play! Pure and simple. We all like food, we have to and it’s part of our survival as I’m sure all the budding related grads will agree. It’s also about friends and having fun cooking together!

Let’s get started!
If you know the basics then you can do pretty much anything you want! I’m not saying be a Heston, steal from the chemistry lab and blow your room or shared house up. Funnily enough you can actually play with food without chemicals and Nitro!

Cooking: the basics:
• First and foremost is obviously COST: You guys and girls ain’t got much of a budget to play with as I recently found out. As a Chef, neither do I, although it’s a great deal more than you have, but I’m cooking for a few hundred people a week.

• One of the main things the majority of people forget about is SEASONALITY: If it’s in season then it’s cheaper as there is an abundance of produce so check out Eat the Seasons website, it changes weekly and gives you an insight into what to buy, what to avoid and the sustainability factor which is hugely important as it means it’s available for longer – very informative site!

• For meat and fish, always try and use LOCAL butchers and fishmongers if you can. Not only is the product of a higher quality it means you will get a good price for larger quantities. Which brings me to my next point…

BE CREATIVE I know if I buy a 2.5k horseshoe gammon joint for about 12 quid, I can get 4-5 meals out of it: Croque Monsieur, Ham and Leek Pie, Pea and Ham Soup, sandwiches for lunch and a couple of 8oz gammon steaks. Yeah, it’s all from one piece of pork but it can also be frozen…as can soup, pastry, pies and the raw joint itself! It doesn’t limit you to just pork though as it goes for most meat and fish!

THE FREEZER IS YOUR FRIEND…never forget that! Leftovers and the basic ingredients of dishes (like pastry) can be frozen as long as they are wrapped properly!’


Check out The Grumpy Chef blog.
Read his shortcrust pastry recipe to get you started, too!

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