Student Accommodation Blog

Nine Simple Cooking Challenges

Chicken Tikka Masala

Cooking Challenges

2020 has certainly been the year that we’ve all learned how to live far more restrictive lives. But with the extra time on our hands, we’ve also had the opportunity to foster all sorts of new talents. Now is the perfect time to really hone your cooking skills, so from the basics all the way to expert level.

Annie, our RLM from UniLodge Royal Melbourne compiled some of our favourite economical dishes to help you put your studio kitchen to the test and really take advantage of this time. How many levels do you think you can complete?

Skill Level: Just Starting Out

1. Poached eggs

Who doesn’t love a decent poached egg? Jamie Oliver will take you through the basics in this short video, and you’ll be feasting on fancy brunches of your own devising in no time.

2. Two-Ingredient Naan

While everyone else is fussing about trying to make a perfect loaf, why don’t you perfect the quickest bread going round? Forget about buying naan, check out this two-ingredient pan-fried naan recipe and show ‘em how it’s done.

3. Porridge

We know money’s tight for many of us right now, and being winter, we want meals that can keep us warm. The Scots know how to handle this, with their breakfast classic – porridge! Forget about the instant sachets though. There are so many ways to do this – on the stove, in the microwave, with water, with milk, with rolled oats or quick oats. Personally, I’m a fan of quick oats and milk, in the microwave, topped with golden syrup and cinnamon. But there’re seven days in the week – you could do it a new way every day!

Here’re some pointers to get you started on this meal that can cost you a couple of dollars for a whole week of meals. Click to watch some tips on porridge from Jamie Oliver again, but you can also follow the direction on your packet of quick oats, and start experimenting.

Skill Level: Takes a Bit of Practice

4. Gnocchi

Those perfect balls of potato-y fluff? Not actually as hard as you think! You may need to try it a few times to get it right, but this is a perfectly achievable recipe in your studio kitchen. This video tutorial by Serious Eats takes you through the steps – it does use some fancy equipment, but you can easily substitute with things you’ll probably already have. Like a potato masher instead of a potato ricer – and even Daniel (from the video) admits that the gnocchi-ridging paddle is completely unnecessary!

Skill Level: Upping The Game

5. Stir Fry

Most of us can make a stir fry – but have you really sat down and perfected it? Here're some tips from Jamie Oliver on how to improve your stir fry game.

Skill Level: Procrasti-baking – Without the Baking

6. Welsh Cakes

Yearning to make some cakes, but no oven? Try these Welsh classics – traditionally baked on a griddle by a fire, but your fry pan will do the job these days. Full of warm fruit and spice!

Skill Level: Okay, Not That Tricky, But It Takes Time!

7. Chicken Tikka Masala

You’ve got your naan, and now you want some curry to go with it? Then why not take some time putting together this chicken tikka masala, and savour it after your day of grating ginger and watching it marinate.

Skill Level: This One’s All About the Play

8. Play Dough

Let’s get something in our list that you don’t actually eat – break up your day with some fun moulding/ folding/ creating/ building, with a strong whiff of childhood – let’s make some playdough! Cheap, easy, and loads of fun (just be careful of that food dye!).


Skill Level: Really Quite “Simple”

9. Chocolate Self Saucing Pudding

Let’s round out our list with another actually really easy recipe for your repertoire. Microwave chocolate self-saucing puddings will warm you up and make you smile (and you can keep on eating the leftovers for days). Make sure to serve with cream or ice cream to cut through that chocolatey goodness!