The St Andrews Cookbook is a student initiative that has taken on a life of its own. It began as a management module assignment, but it has become a community project since being founded by Jonas Kollmann, Anna Sebald, Marcel Lukas, Dietrich Dreesen, and Ieya Meldere. It is a cookbook for the community with recipes provided by the community. It will be free to access and available to all with the aim of inspiring people to try recipes sourced from different cultures and to bring people together around the table.
This project had two catalysts: an awareness of the difficult food situation in St Andrews and a passion for food. Yes, there are restaurants and catered halls, but when it comes to actually cooking, it can be a challenge for those lacking in either skills or budget. The included recipes have wide ranging origins, and the founders hope to inspire readers to improvise in the kitchen and to try new things. As a group, they expressed the view that food is more than something that you eat. It’s also an expression of culture and community.
Besides the cookbook, there is an active Facebook page where community members can post pictures of their creations and swap tips. This is the perfect arena in which one can really get involved, improvise, and share success stories. One can also get help if things go awry.
One of the founders’ main goals is to inspire students who don’t usually cook or considering cooking too difficult a task to do regularly. They hope that their readers will discover that cooking can be easy, inexpensive, simple and delicious.
The creators shared a number of useful tips for any aspiring student chefs based on their own experience in the kitchen:
- Even something very simple can be very good.
- Cooking is not about following rules; it is a creative process.
- By inspired by others.
- Even the smallest lesson in cooking can teach you a lot.
They also revealed some of the recipes they turn to in times of crisis, i.e. when coursework deadlines and exams are drawing near:
- Pancakes (recipe available on their Facebook page)
- Strammer max (also on the Facebook page)
- Gnocchi with tomato sauce and rocket (all assembled from ingredients available at the grocery store)
As a sampling of what’s to come, the group shared a recipe from the forthcoming cookbook, Salmon with butternut squash couscous and salad:
For the salmon:
- 2 salmon fillets
- Dried basil
For the butternut squash couscous:
- Couscous – approximately 1 cup
- Boiling water – 1 cup
- 1 butternut squash
- Olive oil
- Salt, pepper to taste
For the salad:
- Iceberg lettuce
- Cherry tomatoes
- Feta cheese
- Olive oil (to taste)
- Caesar dressing (to taste)
- Preheat oven to 200 degrees C.
- Peel and cut butternut squash in small pieces, toss with olive oil, season with paprika, salt and pepper and place in an ovenproof dish.
- Season salmon fillets with dried basil and salt, to taste.
- Cook both butternut squash and salmon in the oven for approximately 25 minutes or until ready.
- Meanwhile, prepare the couscous: place couscous in a bowl, season with paprika, salt and pepper. Bring the water to boil and pour over the couscous. Stir, cover the bowl with a plate and let it sit for 10 minutes.
- When butternut squash is almost ready, make a circle in the middle and add prepared couscous. Put it back in the oven for around 15minutes.
- For the salad: chop and mix all vegetables, add olives, toss with Caesar dressing, olive oil and crumble some feta on top.
The creators are all passionate about cooking, and their enthusiasm is evident. They are keen for this project to continue beyond their management module assignment. If you want to get involved with the cookbook or learn more about their project, check out the St Andrews Cookbook Facebook page. The cookbook will be out shortly, so follow the page for more details.