Yixuan Zuo

Even though it takes time, cooking for yourself at University has many advantages. You can cook the kind of food you like, you have more control of your ingredients, and you can make healthy meals at a relatively low cost. Some people find that cooking helps relieve stress. This page has photos of food cooked by Reading students to give you a taste of what’s possible.

But what if you haven’t done much cooking on your own before you arrive in the UK? With a little preparation and help you can get started easily. It’s a good idea to learn how to make some simple recipes before you leave home. Students say:

Learn some basics from family and friends before coming – you can’t live off chips!



These websites are useful if you are looking for help with your cooking or want some new ideas.

  • Student Cooking TV – has lots of videos by students for students. There is also an international section with cooking and shopping ideas.
  • Tasty claims to be the world’s largest food network. Find recipes and videos on their website and app.
  • BBC Good Food Student Recipes  and Student Recipes have quick and easy recipes for students.
  • The Big Oven App has over 500,000 recipes and helps you to shop and plan menus.

And here are some recipe ideas shared by Reading students.

  • The food section of the RUSU Diversity Digest website has a range of student recipes. It is a fabulous celebration of cultures, creativity and community.
  • Competition winners: Quick Spanish Omelette or Special-event Seafood Lasagna
  • Tom’s Uni Food – Tom has posted his recipes and photos to inspire you. His simple pancake recipe is the most popular.
  • Ashley Hooking’s winter warming pasta bake is ideal for the cold winter weather.


Useful tips

You can buy kitchen equipment here in the UK or bring it with you, depending on how much room you have in your suitcase. Students suggest that you bring any favourite tools, such as a really good cook’s knife, with you. Some halls of residence have induction hobs that need special pans so make sure you read the pre-arrival instructions you are sent.

Here is some cooking advice from our students:

Rachel Chou

  • Cooking is pretty simple if you know a few basic rules.
  • Try out new recipes, it’s fun!  … Don’t be afraid to experiment.
  • Keep it simple. 
  • Don’t worry about it, there are normally plenty of people around in the kitchen who can help.
  • Try new recipes with housemates who are from a different country.
  • Weekly meal preparation can save quite a fair bit of time.



Money-saving ideas

The NUS Extra card (for full time students) gives you hundreds of discounts on food at shops and restaurants, as well as on other products/services.