Ayra Produced by
from Malaysia


BA (Hons) Sociology & Social Anthropology

Being a university student is indeed a transformation in our life experience. For most of us, this would be our very first time living alone, away from our family. We need to learn how to be independent – feed ourselves, making sure our room in rental accommodations is comfy & safe as possible, socialising, keeping up with our studies, budgeting and the list goes on!

I come to uni with not much experience of cooking by myself as I tend to just eat out back in college with my friends or come home with homemade foods made by my parents. Coming to another country definitely push me to my limit to start learning how to make good foods (& healthy!) especially when I’m feeling homesick – foods from Malaysia is my comfort foods. I’m sure everyone have their own comfort food no matter how simple or complicated to make them.

In this blog post, I will share my Top 5 healthy and simple recipes that I will make throughout uni especially when my schedule started to be very busy.

  1. Sweet Grilled Cheese
    – Ciabatta bread
    – Butter
    – Crème Brie (sliced)
    – Sliced red apple
    – Blackberry jam (or any jam!)Steps:
    1. Spread some butter on sliced bread.
    2. Put sliced brie, red apple, jams on top!
    3. Toast it on a pan until cheese is melted.
  2. Spicy Pasta

    – some olive oil
    – 1 small red onion (diced)
    – 1 clove garlic (minced)
    – 1/2 cup tomato paste
    – 1 cup heavy cream
    – salt & pepper to taste
    – 1 tbsp chilli flakes
    – 1 tbsp basil
    – 1 tbsp cayenne pepper
    – cooked pasta
    – 1/3 cup pasta water
    – 1 tbsp butter
    – 1 cup parmesan cheeseSteps:
    1. Heat up some olive oil, then sautee red onion and garlic for 2 minutes.
    2. Add tomato paste, mix, and then add heavy cream.
    3. Once mixed well & boiled, add salt & pepper, chilli flakes, basil and cayenne pepper.
    4. Add cooked pasta & pasta water.
    5. Add butter, mix, and then add parmesan cheese.
    6. Serve topped with more basil and parmesan.
  3. Egg fried rice

    – 1/2 cup of butter
    – Leftover rice/cook 1/2 cup of rice
    – 1/2 onion (diced)
    – 1 cloves of garlic (minced)
    – 1 or 2 birds eye chilli (diced)
    – 1/2 cube of chicken/vegetable stock
    – salt & pepper to taste
    – 1 or 2 eggs (beaten)Steps:
    1. Heat up some butter, then sautee onion and garlic for 2 minutes
    2. Add in birds eye chilli and cooked rice
    3. Add more butter and chicken/vegetable stock cube
    4. Once mix well, make some space to put the leftover butter and beaten eggs. Scrambled the eggs until it’s 1/4 cooked.
    5. Then mix with everything else, add salt & pepper.
  4. Chanko Nabe – honestly my favourite as it’s very easy and so lovely to have during cold weather

    – Anything you have in the fridge/want to throw in but these are what I’d usually use:
    – Chicken thighs
    – Fish fillet
    – Shrimp
    – Tofu (firm)
    – Vegetables – carrot, onion, bak choi, green onion
    – Mushrooms – shiitake and enoki
    – Udon noodles or any other noodlesBroth:
    – 3 cups of chicken broth
    – 1/3 cup mirin
    – 2 tbsp ginger juice
    – 2 cloves of garlic (minced)
    – 1/2 cup of miso (1/2 tbsp miso paste mixed with hot water)Steps:
    – Heat up a saucepan, add all ingredients for the broth.
    – Once mixed well, let the broth simmer the whole time while adding the other ingredients.
    – Add from chicken/meats, then fish, tofu, mushrooms and noodles lastly.
    – Let simmer for 10 minutes & it’s ready to serve.
    – Best to have with rice.
  5. Baked feta pasta

    – 1 block of feta cheese
    – 200g cherry tomatoes
    – 1/4 cup of olive oil
    – 2 cloves of garlic (minced)
    – Salt and pepper to taste
    – Any spices that you like, I usually put some chilli powder, basil, oregano, and some chipotle paste.
    – Pasta of choiceSteps:
    1. Preheat oven at 200°C, place cherry tomatoes into a baking tray and seasoned it with any spices of your liking.
    2. Pour the olive oil on top, mix until well combined.
    3. Put the feta cheese in the middle and mix with the seasonings well.
    4. Bake for 35 minutes, and cooked pasta in salted water until al dente (I usually do it at the last 10 minutes).
    5. Reserve 1/4 cup of pasta water, and put it inside the baking tray once it’s done baking.
    6. Pour in the cooked pasta and mix well. Best serve warm.

I tend to do my shopping since my first year at ASDA and Lidl at Holdenhurst Rd and the Asia Shop (Global Food Express) at Old Christchurch Rd. At times I’ll go to Tesco for meal deals and the pastries (Lidl pastries are good as well!).

I hope this blog post is helpful in some way. Hope uni goes well! Take care x

– Ayra H.

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