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LJMU Cook Together

LJMU Cook Together is an initiative to help you cook a delicious meal and eat well, with recipes that aren't costly.

As part of LJMU's support with the rising cost of living, we'll be hosting free lunches plus giving away food vouchers and recipes, to help you create some tasty nutritious food.

Take a look at the recipes and video tutorials below.

Life at university can be busy and demanding so it’s really important that you take care of your wellbeing. What you eat can have a big impact on how your mind and body works.

With the cost of living crisis, we know lots of our students are feeling under financial pressure. Cooking for yourself can save you so much money and minimise waste as you can easily increase the portions and save leftovers for lunch the next day.

For other ways LJMU is offering support, and for money advice, visit the Cost of Living Hub.

Chicken pad Thai

Prep time: 20 minutes | Cooking time: 20 minutes



3 chicken breasts

500g rice noodles

1 lime

4 garlic cloves

60mls soy sauce

10g dried chilli flakes

200g mangetout

2 carrots

40g tamarind paste

40ml sriracha sauce

60mls fish sauce

40mls veg oil

30g brown sugar

100g peanuts 


Soak the noodles in warm water for 15 minutes

Heat oil in large frying pan over medium-high heat, add sliced chicken breast, stir and cook until the chicken is no longer pink, about 5 minutes.

Add sliced garlic and stir well, add fish sauce mixture, mangetout and carrots, mix then add drained noodles ensuring noodles are combined with sauce, cook for 5 minutes.

Serve the pad Thai straight away, garnishing each plate with crushed peanuts, chilli flakes and lime wedge.

Allergen information

Contains peanuts, fish, sulphites and soy.

Please consult the packing for further information.

Key cooking stages

Identify all ingredients

Soaking noodles

Preparing vegetables

Cutting the chicken

Cooking the sauce

Combining noodles with sauce

Presenting the dish

Minced beef tacos with Mexican style rice

Prep time: 20 minutes | Cooking time: 1 hour


Ingredients for tacos

1 onion diced

1 red pepper (diced)

1 green pepper (diced)

10ml olive oil

2 cloves garlic (chopped)

5g paprika

10g cumin

2 green chilies

500g minced beef

12 tacos

250ml beef stock

100g grated cheese


3 tomatoes chopped

½ bunch spring onions

20g picked coriander

Ingredients for Mexican style rice

350g basmati rice

10ml olive oil

225g passata

2 cloves garlic (chopped)

5g cumin

5g salt

Black pepper

950ml water

Method for tacos

Add oil to large frying pan, fry onion and peppers over medium heat. Add garlic, paprika and cumin, and cook for 2 minutes. Add the beef and cook until beef has browned, pour over the beef stock and cook on low heat for 40 minutes allowing the sauce to thicken and reduce.

For the salsa, roughly chop the tomatoes, slice the spring onion and pick the coriander leaves, combine all ingredients and season well with salt.

Meanwhile preheat the oven to 180.c and place the tacos on a baking tray, heat for 4 minutes until crisp.

Fill the tacos with meat, cheese and top with salsa.

Method for Mexican style rice

In a medium saucepan, heat oil over medium heat. Sauté rice in oil for 3 minutes, stirring frequently.

Reduce heat to low, and stir in passata, garlic, salt, pepper and cumin. Stir in water, cover and cook for about 20 minutes.

Allow to stand for 10 minutes.

Allergen information

Contains dairy and wheat gluten.

This dish is not suitable for vegetarians.

Please consult the packing for further information.

Key cooking stages

Identifying ingredients

Prepping all vegetables

Cooking beef filling

Preparing salsa

Heating tacos

Cooking rice

Building and presenting dish

Rigatoni carbonara

Prep time: 10 minutes | Cooking time: 15 minutes



600g rigatoni pasta

300g diced smoked pancetta

3 cloves garlic (finely sliced)

6 eggs

20mls olive oil

100g parmesan cheese (grated)

Black pepper


200g cherry tomatoes

300g baby leaf mix

1 red onion

½ bunch basil

10mls olive oil

Salt and cracked black pepper


Put the egg yolks into a bowl, add the parmesan, season with pepper, then mix well with a fork and put to one side. Cook the rigatoni in a large pan of boiling salted water until al dente.

Meanwhile, add the diced pancetta to a medium frying pan then place over a medium-high heat. Add the crushed garlic and fry until the pancetta becomes golden. Pick out and discard the garlic from the pan, then, reserving some of the cooking water, drain and add the rigatoni. Toss well over the heat so it really soaks up all that lovely flavour, then remove the pan from the heat.

Add a splash of the cooking water and toss well, season with pepper, then pour in the egg mixture – the pan will help to cook the egg gently, rather than scrambling it. Toss well, adding more cooking water until it’s lovely and glossy.

Serve with a grating of parmesan and an extra twist of pepper.

Allergen information

Contains wheat gluten, eggs and dairy.

This dish is not suitable for vegetarians.

Please consult the packing for further information.

Key cooking stages

Identify all ingredients

Separate eggs and combine with Parmesan

Prepare garlic and salad

Cook pasta

Fry pancetta

Combine pasta with pancetta and complete dish

Butternut squash risotto with apple and walnut salad

Prep time: 20 minutes | Cooking time: 30 minutes



450g Arborio rice

50g butter

40ml olive oil

2 cloves garlic (sliced)

1 onions (diced)

1 butternut squash peeled and diced

2 litres vegetable stock

200ml white wine

100g parmesan grated

100g pea shoots


300g baby leaf mix

100g walnuts

2 apples


Combine the prepared butternut squash with oil and season well, place on a roasting tray and roast for 15 minutes at 160c for 15 minutes until golden brown.

Bring vegetable stock to a simmer in a small saucepan, meanwhile add butter and oil to a large saucepan over medium-low heat, add onion, garlic and cook gently for 10 minutes.

Turn up the heat to medium, add the rice and coat the grains, pour in the white wine, stirring continuously allowing the wine to evaporate, now add a ladle of stock and cook stirring constantly until liquid is absorbed. Continue adding stock a ladle at a time allowing each ladle of stock to evaporate until the rice is tender - this should take approx. 20-30 minutes. Finally add the roasted butternut squash and combine with the rice.

Turn off the heat and stir in the grated parmesan, check the seasoning and allow to sit for a few minutes. Serve with apple and walnut salad.

Allergen information

Contains dairy and nuts (in salad).

This dish is suitable for vegetarians.

Please consult the packing for further information.

Key cooking stages

Identify all ingredients

Prepare all vegetables

Roast squash

Simmer stock

Make risotto

Add parmesan

Build and present dish

Jamaican jerk chicken with rice and peas

Cooking time: 40-50 minutes


Ingredients for jerk chicken

12 pieces drumsticks and thighs skin on

40g jerk seasoning paste

Juice of 1 lime

50ml rapeseed oil

10g brown sugar

20ml honey

Ingredients for rice and peas

410g canned red kidney beans

400g coconut milk

400g washed basmati rice

200ml water

1 onion diced

2 cloves garlic (minced)

2g dried thyme

1 bunch spring onions

½ bunch coriander



To cook the chicken, preheat the oven to 190c and place the pieces on a roasting tray with rack, ensuring they are evenly spaced. Roast the chicken for 30 minutes turning the chicken over halfway through cooking time ensuring the chicken is cooked through and juices run clear.

Meanwhile in a medium sized pan, add the diced onions, kidney beans, coconut milk, garlic, thyme and water to a pan and bring to the boil, add the washed rice and simmer for 30 minutes until the rice is cooked.

Serve rice with 2 pieces of jerk chicken per portion.

Garnish with shredded spring onion and coriander.

Allergen information

Contains soy.

This dish is not suitable for vegetarians.

Please consult the packing for further information.

Key cooking stages

Identify all ingredients

Roast the chicken pieces

Prepare garlic, coriander, onion and spring onion

Prepare rice

Present dish

Spaghetti alla puttanesca with apple and walnut salad

Prep time: 15 minutes | Cooking time: 20 minutes



4 garlic cloves

1 red chilli

½ bunch basil

600g dried spaghetti

50ml olive oil

80g anchovy fillets

250g tinned chopped tomatoes

300g cherry tomatoes

100g black olives

100g shaved parmesan

Mixed leaf salad

100g walnuts

2 red apples

Cracked black pepper


Bring a large pan of salted water to the boil. Meanwhile, peel and finely slice the garlic and halve the cherry tomatoes. Slice the chillies and pick the basil leaves.

Add the spaghetti to the pan of boiling salted water and cook according to the packet instructions.

Place a large frying pan over a medium–high heat, drizzle in a good lug of olive oil, and add the garlic and chilli, then tear in the anchovies and olives and stir for 2 minutes, or until the garlic starts to turn golden and the anchovies melt into the base.

Add the cherry tomatoes and tinned tomatoes, a good splash of pasta water and cover with a lid. Cook for 10 minutes, or until the cherry tomatoes start to cook down slightly.

Drain the pasta, reserving a cupful of cooking water. Add the basil to the sauce along with the pasta and a splash of the reserved cooking water, to loosen. Transfer to a serving platter and top with a good shaving of parmesan. Serve with salad leaves.

Allergen information

Contains wheat gluten, fish, nuts and dairy.

This dish is not suitable for vegetarians.

Please consult the packing for further information.

Key cooking stages

Identify all ingredients

Prep and cut garlic, chilli and tomatoes

Pick basil leaves

Cook pasta

Create sauce

Combine pasta with sauce

Present the dish

Spinach and sweet potato dhal with pilau rice

Prep time: 20 minutes | Cooking time: 50 minutes


Ingredients for dhal

20ml coconut oil

1 red onions chopped

3 cloves garlic (chopped)

3 tomatoes (chopped)

10g ginger (chopped)

200g sweet potato (cubed)

10g cumin

10g turmeric

10g coriander

2 green cardamom pods

1 cinnamon stick

2 green birds eye chillis

200g red lentils

100g spinach

500ml water

1 teaspoon salt

6 chapatis

Ingredients for pilau rice

300g basmati rice

5g turmeric

2 cardamom pods

1 cinnamon stick

20ml coconut oil

½ bunch coriander

500ml water


Method for dhal

In a saucepan add lentils and dry spices (cumin, turmeric, cardamom pods and cinnamon stick) cover with water 1 inch above lentils and simmer for 20 minutes until lentils are cooked, adding more water if necessary.

In another pan add coconut oil and fry chopped red onions until lightly coloured, add garlic, ginger and chopped chillies, then add diced sweet potato and spinach, add a splash of water and cover pan with a lid cooking on low heat until sweet potato becomes soft, then add chopped tomatoes

Once lentils are cooked, add them to the sweet potato and spinach, adding a splash of water if necessary, season well with salt and pepper.

Method for pilau rice

In a saucepan add coconut oil and lightly fry cardamom, cinnamon and turmeric for 2 minutes, add rice and 1 teaspoon of salt, when rice is coated in spices and oil, add water gently simmering until all water is absorbed and rice is cooked, cover pan and allow to sit for 10 minutes.

Serve pilau rice with dhal garnish with coriander, serve with chapati.

Allergen information

Contains wheat gluten (chapatis).

This dish is suitable for vegans.

Please consult the packing for further information.

Key cooking stages

Identifying all ingredients

Prepping and cutting spices and vegetables

Cooking lentils

Cooking spinach and sweet potato

Combining lentils with spinach and sweet potato

Cooking pilau rice

Presenting dish