Monday, 21 September 2009

The Ultimate Student Cookbook (and bonus bake of the week)

When I stopped being a student and started living by myself and working, I had to start cooking. Luckily, I had an excellent vegetarian student cookbook which I'd acquired as a student but never had the opportunity to use (3 course formal dining 6 nights a week in Oxford for £1.60 (this was 5 years ago!) made the need/desire to cook a little superfluous), called Beyond Baked Beans Green by Fiona Beckett. This is part of a series of books aimed at students (or those wanting easy to follow recipes that don't involve complicated ingredients/procedures/equipment) called Beyond Baked Beans.

Beyond Baked Beans has an excellent website, which is worth checking out at the moment as they are running a series of articles under the theme "Students can cook" which includes a number of recipes donated by celebrities (I'm particularly looking forward to trying the River Cafe Tomato soup). And they also have a page on Facebook involving debate about cooking and where students (and others, such as myself!) can post pictures of recipes made. It is an excellent resource for seeking advice on cooking, sharing recipes and talking to others about food!

As a result of my involvement with the Facebook page I was sent a copy of The ultimate student cookbook. This takes recipes from the three Beyond Baked beans books and puts them together with new ones and loads of advice on how to cook to produce what is literally the Ultimate Student Cookbook.

I was pleased to see that some of my favourite recipes from Beyond Baked Beans reappeared such as the Moroccan spiced chickpea recipe and the Sad Unloved Vegetable soup, and not owning the other books, many of the other recipes were new to me. I'm particularly looking forward to trying the Spiced sweet potato, pepper and aubergine bake.

The author, Fiona Beckett, is an established food writer, and this really comes through in the book. The book also incorporates the recipes and advice of three student co-authors, James, Sig and Guy, and I love the way that each recipe has a comment by another one of the authors, suggesting ways to serve it or vary the recipe or including a tip for successful cooking.

Anyway, given that my favourite sort of cooking is baking, I figured that I should start with a recipe from that category. I made the Chewy Chocolate Cookies (pictured on the left of the tin) and I also made the variation of the recipe, which involved adding a spoonful of cocoa and replacing the dark chocolate chips with white chocolate chips. I think I cooked them a bit too long as they weren't exactly chewy, but more biscuity, but I dispatched them with Ken to his work on his birthday and apparently they'd all gone by 10:30 and everyone was very complimentary. I next plan to make the Chocolate and raspberry brownies....mmm...I'll post pics when I've given them a go!


  1. Well you can't post that and not give us the recipe Verity! I want the recipe chocolate and raspberry brownies too please! They sound amazing!

  2. Me too, Me too! I MUST have the recipe for chocolate and raspberry brownies if you post a picture...and even if you don't. That's one of my favorite combinations! I'll have to try your cookie variation with my chocolate chip recipe. They look good, too.

  3. I've forwarded the website on to my daughter at Uni, hopefully she's inspired! Spiced sweet potato...yum!

  4. Hi, I'm not sure about the copyright of sharing recipes from books (sorry as a librarian I'm quite an*l about this) - if they were on the internet then I'd share links - sorry guys!!

  5. Yes, please post the recipe for raspberry brownies! And how come the other cookies came out looking very purple?

    Student cookbooks are great! I still have mine though I've had it for years. It's great for basics.

  6. I think that is my camera - they weren't purple really!

  7. Thanks for a great review, Verity and glad Ken (and his workmates) enjoyed the cookies. (Possibly cook them a little less next time and they'll be chewier!) The sweet potato bake is one of my favourites so do try that. And - who knows - we MIGHT just post Sig's chocolate and raspberry brownies one of these days . . . ;-)

  8. Thanks Fiona. I got a copy of your Frugal cook the other day and am looking forward to trying a few of the sweet things from that. Have included frozen raspberries and cocoa in my next Sainsburys order so hopefully brownies will be made soon :)


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