Whether you're looking to impress at breakfast or create a feast worthy of a queen, these top 10 recipes that everyone should know will let you take charge of any culinary situation!
"End of The Month" chickpea curry
What, it's still a whole week until payday? And all you have is a fiver and a loose button in your wallet? This economical curry is perfect for hungry-but-broke days, and you might already have the ingredients in the cupboard. Chop 1 onion (or broccoli stem) and soften in a frying pan with some oil or butter. Add a tin of chickpeas and a tin of chopped tomatoes, and be liberal with red spices (paprika, turmeric, cumin, chilli - whatever you have). Add two cubes of frozen spinach and stir until hot.
"Oh Man, It's a Bake Sale Today!" oatmeal cookies
It seemed like such a good idea when you agreed to help with the bake sale. It would have been a better idea to write it on your calendar though... but don't panic, you can be smugly charitable again in only 20 minutes with this recipe. Oh, and did I mention they're vegan? Mix together 200g oats, 250g plain flour, 200g sugar, 80g linseed or chia seeds and 3 tsps of cinnamon. Whisk 360ml of vegetable oil with 160ml of coconut milk and 2 tsp of vanilla extract. Then add the wet to the dry, and then fold in 300g of raisins. Make 24 little balls and bake at 180C for 15 minutes. Something to try for your unit's World's Biggest Coffee Morning event, perhaps?
"The Millenial" avocado toast
Surely you don't need a recipe for this?! The real talent is picking an avocado that's at peak ripeness to smash and spread over your hot toast. Top tips - add a tsp of lime juice and a dash of chilli powder to your avo, and be liberal with the pepper.
"The Morning After the Night Before" pancakes
You know the feeling: you went out, had a great time and now you've woken up with the hunger of a bear. Also, there are times - and let's not go into the details here - when you want to impress someone with breakfast. This recipe makes enough for 2 people. Mash 2 bananas. Whisk a tsp of cinnamon into 4 eggs. Add the bananas to the egg mix. Fry in an oiled pan like pancakes. Top with chocolate chips, peanut butter or raspberries.
"Fill the Freezer" Bolognese
Cook a huge quantity of this when you've got the time and money, and freeze it for when you haven't. Frozen portions are gratefully received by broke students, busy professionals and new parents alike. Fry a chopped onion until soft. Add beef mince and fry until browned. Add a carton of passata and a tin of chopped tomatoes, along with one finely chopped carrot and a teaspoon each of basil, oregano and rosemary. You can add some red wine at this stage if you have any, but it's not essential. Once the carrots are soft, add a chopped pepper and half a chopped courgette and freeze into portions.
"Instantly Instagrammable" blueberry smoothie
Liven up your Instagram with this incredibly photogenic #vegan #cleaneating smoothie. For best results, post before 7am. Blitz 200ml of almond milk with 1 banana, a tablespoon of almond butter and a large handful of frozen blueberries. Top with flaked almonds and slices of banana.
"I Should Probably Eat Some Vegetables Today" vegetable soup
If a week of takeaways has caught up with you, this wholesome soup is a perfect antidote. Fry half an onion in a large saucepan. Add 1 sweet potato, 1 carrot and 1 parsnip, all peeled and chopped. Immediately add enough boiling water to cover vegetables, along with one vegetable stock cube. Once the potatoes are cooked, add a large handful of frozen peas and some spinach or kale. Heat until warm, and serve with crusty bread.
"Date Night" salmon in a lemon caper dressing
The first date at your place is always nerve-wracking - you want to tidy up, carefully edit your bookshelf and of course, cook something impressive. Here's an easy recipe that you can prepare in advance. In a jam jar, put 1 tbsp of olive oil, the zest of a lemon, the juice of half a lemon, and 1 tbsp of capers. Shake well. Place two salmon fillets on some tin foil, skin side down, and coat with half your lemon caper dressing. Wrap up your salmon like a tin foil parcel and bake for about 15 minutes until cooked through. Serve with dauphinoise potatoes (use a mix of regular and sweet potatoes for extra wow) and steamed kale and green beans.
"Feeding the 5000" chilli con carne
It's the classic maths problem: if you invite 6 friends, and they each invite a partner, how much food should you make? This chilli is the answer. Extra veg and beans can be added at basically any stage to cater for unexpected guests, even those who are gluten free and vegan! Fry 2 chopped onions in oil until soft. Add a kilogram of Quorn mince, 1 tin of red kidney beans and 1 tin of sweetcorn. Add a tbsp each of paprika and chilli powder and stir. Next, add 2 tins of chopped tomatoes and 2 cartons of passata. Once that's warm, taste it and adjust the amount of chilli powder if necessary. Add 3 chopped peppers and simmer the whole lot for 5 minutes. Serve with rice, tortilla chips, salsa, refried beans, sour cream, guacamole and cheese - because loaves and fish aren't nearly as easy to reheat!
"Easy peasy" French macarons
Okay... just kidding! It might not be the simplest recipe, but if you want to have a go at taking on this classic French treat you can find a recipe here.
Do you have any failsafe recipes up your sleeve? Let us know and we'll share them!