Living on a student budget is never easy, especially if you’re trying to eat good, hearty food – but Jake O’Brien reckons you can get two proper evening meals for €4
When it comes to food, students cannot be picky. No, wait – yes we can; it’s just that we can’t afford the damn stuff most of the time. Let’s be honest: most of us wouldn’t know what to do if something of ‘taste’ was rammed down our throats with a customized plunger. But let’s not get hung up on mere aesthetics here. Let’s not quibble about the golf ball sized portion we just received for fifty euro that simply tastes like a ridiculous crossbreed of fish and eggs. We are a too irate faction of society to accept that having steak tartar fired into your mouth from two hundred yards by a Polynesian Monk is the ‘ultimate’ in dining pleasure.
We are students and we like pasta. We are students and we enjoy beans. We are students and we hate stereotypes. With regards to the culinary arts we are a simple people of particular persuasions. For this reason I was instructed by the Powers That Be to seek out a way to feed two people a full main course for less than or exactly four euro. Now that is not many beans; that is hardly enough to start your own damned beanstalk, but nevertheless, the story stood fast as an interesting attempt.
So, after perusing the passing isles of my local SuperValu, I came across a simple, greasy and suspiciously cheap meal. Two Chili Grill Steaks set at a disastrously curious price of €1.33 each; a handful (enough for two) of new Irish baby potatoes which set yours truly back a measly eighty-five cent; and one carrot at twenty-five cent. The result is a delightfully inexpensive trip to the supermarket that ultimately comes out at €3.76. Not too shabby at all.
To cook: Toss the two ‘steaks’ onto the nearest George Foreman, or, if you haven’t yet purchased the washed-up boxer’s meat machine, just use the first available pan or grill. The potatoes must find their way into a saucepan with some salt and a healthy splatter of water. Bring them to the boil and then put a lid on it. Slice the carrots up and repeat the potato method (I know it’s complicated, but try to keep up). The spuds should be firm but partial to a smooth run through the end of a fork.The meat should be a good shade of brown and the carrots… well… it’s not rocket science.
That wasn’t so hard, was it? No. Good. If you try this, I’m sure sure you will have just as much fun wondering what part of the cow those ‘steaks’ came from as I did. For the vegetarian option, simply replace the meat with… I don’t know, Quorn, or some other slick representation of denial. You know you want it.