Time to get creative in the kitchen!

Posted on

Staying at home has its challenges but one benefit maybe having the time to get a bit more creative in the kitchen! Here is a selection of recipes to try out and if you’ve got one to share we’d love to see it! Send it in with a photo to communications@chester.ac.uk

Chocolate mug cake by Shaleena Ashutosh





  • 30g butter 
  • 30g milk chocolate 
  • One egg
  • Two tablespoons of caster sugar
  • One and a half teaspoons of vanilla extract
  • Four and a half tablespoons of plain flour
  • Half a teaspoon baking powder


  1. In a mug: melt the butter with the chocolate in the microwave for 30 to 40 seconds (800 watts).
  2. Beat the mixture until smooth, then allow it to cool slightly. One by one, whisk in the egg, sugar, vanilla sugar, flour and baking powder.
  3. Cook in the microwave for one minute 20 seconds (800 watts).
  4. Allow to cool for one minute before eating.

Spiced potato cakes with tomato sauce by Shaleena Ashutosh

Spiced Potato Cakes




Potato cakes:

  • Two medium baking potatoes
  • Two green chillies 
  • Three spring onions
  • Half a lemon
  • Small bunch of coriander
  • 100g frozen peas
  • 50ml olive oil
  • Half a teaspoon of ground cumin
  • Half a teaspoon of ground coriander
  • Half a teaspoon of masala powder
  • Two tablespoons of chickpea flour

Tomato sauce:

  • 750g cherry tomatoes
  • Four cloves of garlic, crushed
  • Six tablespoons of olive oil
  • Salt and pepper


  1. Peel the potatoes, cut into three cm chunks and put into a large saucepan of salted cold water. Bring to the boil over a medium heat, then lower the heat and simmer until tender; a cutlery knife inserted into the potato should pass through easily.
  2. Meanwhile, halve, deseed and finely chop the chillies. Slice the spring onions on the diagonal and squeeze the juice from the half lemon. Coarsely chop enough coriander leaves to give you two tablespoons. Cook the peas in a separate pan of boiling water for two to three minutes until tender, then drain and set aside.
  3. Drain the potatoes and return to the pan to steam-dry, then break them up coarsely with a fork and add the drained peas.
  4. Heat one tablespoon of the olive oil in a frying pan over a low to medium heat, add the chillies and spring onions and sauté for one minute. Add the dry spices, lower the heat and cook for a further one minute, then remove and set aside to cool.
  5. Once cool, add the spice mixture to the potatoes and peas. Add the chickpea flour, lemon juice, coriander and salt and pepper to taste. Mix well, then divide into eight portions and shape each into a flat disc about seven cm in diameter. Place on a baking tray lined with baking parchment and refrigerate for 30 minutes to firm up.
  6. Heat the oven to 120°C. Heat the remaining olive oil in a non-stick frying pan over a low to medium heat and fry the potato cakes, in batches, for two to three minutes each side until hot all the way through and browned and crisp on both sides. Transfer each batch to a tray lined with kitchen paper and keep warm in the oven while you fry the remaining cakes.
  7. For the sauce – Chop the tomatoes into quarters and place them into a saucepan with the crushed garlic, olive oil, salt and pepper. Let the mix simmer for about 20 minutes, to coincide with the completion of the cakes.
  8. To serve, place two potato cakes on each of four plates with one cake resting against the other. Delicious served with a spoonful of tomato sauce. For an added element to the dish, place a warm poached egg on top.


Serves four


100g plain flour
One and a half teaspoons of baking powder
pinch salt
generous pinch caster sugar
15g butter
One egg
150ml milk
butter or oil, for frying


  1. Sift the flour and baking powder into a large bowl and add the salt and sugar. Make a well in the centre.
  2. Melt the butter and leave to cool a little. Beat the egg and add to the well with the milk and the cooled melted butter. Beat into the flour using the batter method. Leave to stand in the fridge for 20 minutes before using. Heat the oven to its lowest setting.
  3. Heat a knob of butter or 1 tablespoon oil in a frying pan until hot, then add small ladles of the mixture. Cook over a medium high heat for 30–45 seconds, or until the pancakes puff up and brown, then turn and cook the second side. Keep warm in the low oven or wrapped in a tea towel while you cook the rest of the pancakes. You will need to cook one large or two smaller pancakes per person.
  4. Serve the pancakes with a spoonful each of compote and creme fraiche.

*These pancakes are also ideal to serve for breakfast or brunch, as above or with fresh berries and a sifting of icing sugar, or maple syrup and crispy bacon.

Lauretta Osubor
Lauretta Osubor


By Lauretta Osubor

If you are reading this, you are probably a student, sick and tired of spending too much money on food; eating out (when we could) and ordering take-outs, and you’re wondering how you can spend less and save more. Trust me, I’ve been there. I know how frustrating it can be, especially if you live on monthly allowance.

Over time, I have learned to cook my own meals (just the way I like it), where I can store some food in the refrigerator and eat for as long as I want to.

If you are a student, chances are you might not have a job or you might not be working as many hours as you would like, or maybe your salary just isn’t exactly worthy.

Well you’re in luck, because I will be letting you in on a few recipes, tips and tricks to making your very own homemade meals, without breaking your piggy bank.


Rice and Chicken Curry Sauce

A traditional, easy-to-make meal, Rice and Chicken Curry Sauce is a blend of carbohydrates, proteins and vitamins. With just £10 you can buy all you need to make this dish.

Long grain rice (1kg) £0.98 (Asda)
Chicken legs/wings/thighs £1.59 (Aldi)
Onions £0.50 (Asda)
Spring onions £0.55 (Asda)
Carrots £0.33 (Asda)
Curry powder £0.85 (Aldi)
Coconut milk £0.50 (Asda)
Ground ginger £0.59 (Asda)
Garlic granules £0.45 (Aldi)
Table salt £0.27 (Asda)
Sweet pointed pepper £0.50 (Asda)
Chicken seasoning £0.50
Vegetable oil £1.09 (Asda/Aldi)


  • Wash the chicken portions and place in a bowl, garnish with salt, chicken seasoning, ginger and garlic, curry and thyme, cover with a cling film and leave in the refrigerator to marinate for a few hours (for best result, leave overnight).
  • Chop the spring onions, carrots, a ball of onion, pointed peppers and keep aside. In a deep-frying pan or a wok, drizzle two tablespoons of vegetable    oil and place the seasoned chicken and leave to ‘brown’ for ten minutes (on medium heat), set aside when done.
  • In a separate pan, sauté the chopped onions and pointed peppers for two minutes and add two tablespoons of curry powder. Stir gently and fry for a minute, then pour in the coconut milk, stir properly and leave for five minutes to reduce and thicken.
  • Add the browned chicken and the chicken stock (or broth) to the pan and leave to cook for five minutes, then add the chopped spring onions and carrots, leave to cook on medium heat until the chicken is cooked.
  • Pour a cup of long grain Rice (or your desired quantity) into a pot and add water just above the rice level, add a little salt and leave to boil on medium to low heat for twenty-five minutes or until the water dries up completely.
  • Your Rice and Chicken Curry Sauce is ready to be served. Best enjoyed with a cold drink.


Jollof Rice

This is a very popular African meal that can also be enjoyed by everyone. Most people love a deliciously spicy Jollof Rice, but if you are not a fan of spicy food, you can ease up on the peppers (just the way you like it). All the recipe for this meal can be bought with just £10.

Fun fact: African countries like Nigeria, Ghana and Senegal argue non-stop about which country makes the best Jollof Rice.

Chicken legs/wings/thighs £1.59 (Aldi)
Long grain rice (1kg) £0.98 (Asda)
Tomato puree £0.33 (Asda)
Tomato passata (paste) £0.33 (Asda)
Onions £0.50 (Asda)
Bell or pointed peppers £0.55 (Asda)
Curry powder £0.85 (Aldi)
Thyme £0.69 (Asda)
Chicken seasoning £0.50
Knorr aromat Seasoning £1.09
Vegetable oil £1. 09 (Asda/Aldi)
Ground ginger £0.59 (Asda)
Garlic granules £0.45 (Aldi)
Table salt £0.27 (Asda).


  • Wash the chicken and place in a pot/pan. To boil, add some salt, chicken seasoning, chopped onions, thyme, curry powder, ground ginger, garlic granules and set it on medium heat for about 20 minutes.
  • Drain the chicken stock and set aside. In another pot/pan, pour a ladle full of vegetable oil. Once hot, add some chopped onions, bell or pointed peppers (optional) and half a tube of tomato puree and stir gently while it simmers.
  • Pour the tomato passata paste in the mix, stir and leave to fry for 10 minutes.
  • Wash your desired quantity of rice (3-4 times) in a pot, add water to cover rice level and place on medium heat to parboil for 15 minutes. When done, drain the water and place rice aside.
  • When the tomato paste mix is fried, pour the chicken stock, add some Knorr Aromat and salt, taste for desired flavor and leave to boil. You can add a bit more water if needed.
  • Pour the parboiled rice into the boiling stew and stir with a wooden spatula. Allow stew to cover rice level (add more water if not enough) and cover, first with aluminum kitchen foil, and then with lid. Leave to cook on medium to low heat until rice is soft and stew is dried up. You can add some sweet corn and mixed vegetables (optional).
  • Once cooked, fry or grill your boiled chicken.
  • Your Jollof Rice is ready to be served.