A Blog by International Students at Leiden University

Part 3 of Food in Leiden: Weeknight Dinner

Cooking for yourself is often one of the big shocks of moving away from home, with this made even more challenging by moving to a different country with different produce and kitchen equipment. In this article, I’m going to quickly cover the standard (in my experience) Dutch student kitchen, and a super quick and easy recipe to make, mushroom bolognese!

Share your go-to weeknight recipe in the comments!

The Dutch Kitchen

The most basic kitchen item, and the gateway to tea, coffee, and pasta. (Source.)

A normal student apartment should at least have a kettle and a stove top, and typically a microwave too. Many apartments don’t have ovens (which I found very strange). In housing adverts, it should say if the house is equipped with plates, pans, etc, but otherwise it’s worth asking as the previous residents may leave them behind.

If you need to provide equipment (or want to get a rice cooker or toaster oven) there are several facebook groups (check these links!) that often have cheap (or even free) cooking equipment. Otherwise these 2nd hand shops have affordable tested electrical goods and houseware. or blokker may have the goods you need.

With your new kitchen equipment, you need to get cooking! Try out this recipe, it’s super tasty, easy and quick to make- so perfect student food.

Mushroom Bolognese

I definitely recommend visiting the mushroom stall at the market to get your mushrooms! Try experimenting with different types, like shiitake, portobello, or chestnut mushrooms.

This recipe is very customisable and can easily be made vegan, gluten free, or have meat added to it. This is one of the first things I learnt to cook at university, so it’s tried and tested! From my kitchen, to yours.

Fresh ingredients:

✔ 1 pack of mushrooms
✔ 2 cloves garlic
✔ 1 onion

Store cupboard ingredients:

✔ Canned tomatoes
✔ 1 tbsp Balsamic vinegar
✔ Mushroom stock cube
✔ Pasta (75g per serving)
✔ Drizzle of olive oil
✔ Salt and pepper

Extras (depending on budget!)

✔ Handful of parsley
✔ Glass of red wine (Not necessary, but if you have some, put a glass in!)
✔ Grana Padano cheese to top (cheaper than parmesan!)

Tip: You could also add minced beef, cubed bacon, carrot, or cooked lentils during step 3.


Step 1. Slice the onion, garlic, and mushroom. Keep them separate.

Step 2. Heat a little olive oil in a saucepan, and add the onion. Gently stir it until it starts to go see-through, then add the garlic. Turn down the heat.

Step 3. Add the mushroom and stir. Add the red wine and the stock cube. Fry until the mushroom are soft and golden-brown.

Step 4. Add the balsamic vinegar and turn up the heat until the “vinegar” smell goes away a little.

Step 5. Taste it here, and add salt and pepper as needed.

Step 6. Add the canned tomatoes and simmer for 10-20 minutes, until it’s nice and thick.

Step 7. During this time, cook the spaghetti or pasta. Boil the kettle and pour this into another saucepan. Add a sprinkle of salt, and the pasta. Stir and simmer until the pasta is cooked (try a piece!).

Step 8. Drain the pasta (carefully) and put in your bowl, top with a big spoonful of sauce and a sprinkle of parsley and cheese. Enjoy it!

Tip: You’ll probably have leftovers, so after you’re done eating put these in a Tupperware and bring them with you the next day. This is also good cold, and can also be frozen and reheated later.

So many mushrooms, so little time!


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This entry was posted on March 27, 2019 by in Housing, Living in Holland, Practical Stuff, Sophie, Student Life and tagged , , , , , .

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