Dinner in a dash

I’m not one for New Year’s resolutions, especially where food is concerned. In spite of this I’ve realised that I desperately need to cook for myself more after Michaelmas saw me spend a terrifying amount on college food and takeaways. Cooking in a crowded and ill-equipped communal kitchen can be challenging but it becomes bearable with a microwave, a mug, and a few simple recipes.

Crispy bacon can be prepared without a frying pan or grill. Lay a couple of sheets of kitchen roll on a plate, spread bacon out on top and cover with another couple of sheet of kitchen roll before microwaving for 5 minutes on high.

Chilli Con Carne
In a large mug heat 1 tsp of vegetable oil with 4 tbsp of minced beef for 1 minute on high. To this add 1 tsp of chilli powder, ½ tsp cumin, ½ tsp of paprika, ½ tsp of cocoa powder, 4 tbsp of chopped tomatoes, and a small (227g) tin of kidney beans (drained and rinsed). Mix with a fork to break up the mince and cook on high for 3 minutes, stirring halfway through. This is a great winter warmer with some microwave rice or a jacket potato. If you don’t want to buy separate spices those listed can be substituted for 2 tsp from a prepared packet mix.

Beans on Toast
This student staple doesn’t have to be dull. Soften a handful of finely chopped onion and garlic in the microwave with a little butter or oil; add beans and 1 or 2 tsp of curry powder and cook for a further 2 minutes on high, stirring halfway through. Why not experiment with other spices, or even otherbeans? Butter beans with chopped tomatoes work brilliantly.

Scrambled Egg
Melt a little butter in a mug. Add 2 eggs, 1 tbsp of milk, and salt and pepper before beating with a fork. Cook on high for 30 seconds, remove from the microwave and break up the egg with a fork. Cook for a further 10 seconds before breaking up the egg again, repeat this process until none of the egg is runny (twice more should do). These scrambled eggs can be eaten as they are or form a base to mix in further ingredients. Salmon and cream cheese, anybody?

Chocolate Mug Cake
For a sweet treat melt 30g of butter and 30g of milk chocolate in a large mug; with a fork beat 1 egg, 2 tbsp of sugar, and 5 tbsp of self-raising flour into the butter and chocolate; microwave on high power for 1 minute 30 seconds; and enjoy (once it has cooled a little).

IMAGE/ Meaghan O’Malley