Since you are already at the University of Edinburgh, we’re sure that you already have the smarts it takes to build dishes in the microwave, but there are different levels of lazy cooking. So every week, we will bring you a new microwaveable dish, for the catered or unenthusiastic self-catered amongst us. This week we will start with two very basics dishes: pasta and eggs!
Sure you can buy it in a packet or a can, but anyone who has had their expectations and appetites crushed by the disappointing experience of a ‘mugshot’ dinner knows the limits of supermarket varieties. And who even remembers to bring a can opener to uni?
So here you have it: microwaveable pasta for quick dinners on a budget, we bought our pasta from Tesco for 29p.
Ingredients: Dry pasta, water, your favourite sauce (optional), cheese.
Put a small amount of pasta in your mug, and then cover it with water by about an inch. Put the pasta on a plate in case it boils over, and put both in the microwave. Place the microwave on high for three to four minutes longer than the suggested cooking time listed on the pasta. When it’s done, the pasta will be very hot. If you have a strainer, strain it; if not, pour out as much of the hot water as you can without losing any pasta. Fill the rest of the mug with cold water and repeat the process until you can touch the water without being hurt.
Put your hand over the mug to stop the pasta from falling out and pour the water through your fingers. Once the pasta is strained, you can either put it back into the microwave to reheat it from the cold water, or layer pasta with your favourite pasta sauce and/or cheese and place back in the microwave for around 30 seconds before taking it out to enjoy a cheesy, melty pasta bake.
Since students cannot live on pasta alone, we are now going to introduce the breakfast mug to you. It is almost too easy to get wrong and makes, in our opinion, a far better breakfast – or snack – than finishing off a box of cornflakes.
Ingredients: two eggs, bacon, grated cheese.
You can leave out the bacon to make it vegetarian, add whatever ingredients you want, or just keep it plain and simple with no added extras at all.
First, if you have any cooking spray, spray the inside of the mug just to keep the egg from sticking. If not – let’s face it, who has cooking spray lying around after the first couple of weeks – it will wash off. To cook the bacon you’ll need a plate. If you’re catered and don’t have one, someone will. Borrow it quietly. Lay two paper towels on the plate and place as many rashers of bacon as you want on top. Cover them with another paper towel. This will help to absorb the grease. Cook the bacon at the highest setting in the microwave. The amount of time it takes will vary depending on the microwave but around 30 seconds per slice should be right. Use your instinct to decide whether it’s looking crispy enough.
Once cooked, cut it into smaller pieces. Beat two eggs straight into your mug and add the bacon strips and as much cheese as you want. If you’re feeling fancy – and have a more generous budget than most of the student population – go ahead and add salt and pepper and any other ingredients – chopped peppers for example. Now all that’s left to do is put the mug into the microwave, turn it to the highest setting again and microwave it for one minute. Check if the omelette has set and, if not, put it back in for 20 seconds, keeping an eye on it. Take it out, make sure all your flatmates turn green with envy, and enjoy.