Really Useful Ultimate Meals for Under £5

In an attempt to relinquish the student from their reputation for fast and frozen food I thought I’d have a go at making a meal that both costs less than a McDonald's meal and includes fresh and healthy produce. With a strong combination of the Really Useful Ultimate Student Cookbook that I was given when I left for university and my own supermarket savvy, I aim to make something both nutritious and delicious.

The best way to save money is to always look at what food you have available to you before you head out and buy anything new. With an onion, 2 eggs and a bag of potatoes already to hand, I began to think of what I fancied for dinner. Considering the end of term is drawing near, I thought some brain food wouldn't go a miss and decided perhaps fish was a good idea. Borrowing the idea of tinned tuna and dried parsley from Silvana Franco’s the Really Useful Ultimate Student Cookbook as well as some of my own common sense; I managed to combine a basic recipe:


  • Onion - 25p
  • Oil for frying
  • Tinned Tuna – 74p
  • 2 Potatoes – 69p (1K bag)
  • Breadcrumbs from loaf of bread – 47p
  • Dried Parsley – 74p
  • 1 egg – 16p (97p per pack)

Total Cost: £3.05

1)    Finely chop 1 small onion and cook in oil until soft.
2)    Boil and mash 2 potatoes and add to pan with onions.
3)    Whisk 1 egg and split into two halves (half to add to mix and half to dip the fishcakes in later).
4)    Add half egg, tuna, parsley and salt and pepper seasoning if wanted into the pan.
5)    Mould cakes into desired shape and dip into the remainder of the egg.
6)    Cover cakes in homemade breadcrumbs from the loaf.
7)    Fry fishcakes in remaining oil until golden brown. 


With the leftover items covered in the overall cost, you not only are able to serve your fishcakes with some mashed potato, you even have some bread left over for breakfast the rest of the week!

The fishcakes were not only fast and tasty to eat; they are also as healthy as they can be for the budget available. Of course the prices are based on supermarket’s own brand items, but slightly cheaper tuna is still going to be more nutritious, if cooked amongst the right items, than a burger and fries. Not to mention cheaper and more filling!! It seems it is a combination of laziness and ignorance that holds us students back from our culinary potential.



Work Cited


Franco, Silvana. The Really Useful Ultimate Student Cookbook. London: Murdoch Books UK Limited, 2008

1 comment:

  1. Wow! These fishcakes look amazing! Your recipe really made me consider the potential in rationed food, and you brought it to a more tasteful level. Not only do these fishcakes fit well into today's easy cooking market, but your recipe could probably have been considered as a franchise project in wartime England. "Molly's Wholesome Fishcakes". I would even set up a booth in Camden Market.

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