If your student days are over but you still haven't progressed from beans on toast or ready meals, improve your repertoire with one of these simple recipes - 30 dishes worth mastering, from bung-it-in-the-oven baked fish to a crowd-pleasing shepherd's pie, before you hit 30.

30 recipes every cook should know aged 30:
1.Simple spaghetti with olive oil, garlic and tomato

No need for fancy sauces: you only require a few storecupboard staples to make a satisfying meal.

2.The ultimate roast chicken

Because you can't go round to your mum's every Sunday.

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3.Shepherd's pie

The ultimate comfort food.

4.Spaghetti bolognese

A great crowd-pleaser. The basic mince recipe is useful in many other dishes too, such as lasagne.

5.A cracking stir fry

A stir-fry is an easy and healthy dinner option. Photo / 123rf
A stir-fry is an easy and healthy dinner option. Photo / 123rf

Stir-fries are healthy, quick and very versatile - so make for perfect weeknight supper material.

6.Easy baked fish

Don't be intimidated by fish: it's a cinch to roast in the oven with whatever other ingredients you have to hand.

7.Asian-inspired noodle soup

You can't beat a warming bowl of Vietnamese-style pho on a cold day.

8.Pancakes

You'll need to make them for Pancake Day, after all.

9.Ultimate fish pie

Creamy, fishy, all-round delicious.

10.Chocolate cake

Knowing how to make chocolate cake is a must. Photo / 123rf
Knowing how to make chocolate cake is a must. Photo / 123rf

Perfect for birthdays, and easily adapted. How about adding cherries and cream for a Black Forest gateau?

11.The ultimate tomato sauce

A basic tomato sauce is incredibly versatile: use it on pasta, on pizza or even dolloped into soups and stews for an extra tomato kick.

12. The perfect full English breakfast

Just in case your date stays the night.

13.Chicken pot pie

Dinky chicken pot pies are ideal for a dinner-party.

14. Bread and butter pudding

A classic British dessert - even better when you add whisky and raspberries.

15. Pavlova

Try topping pavlova with fresh cherry, cheese cream and chocolate chips for a winter twist. Photo / 123rf
Try topping pavlova with fresh cherry, cheese cream and chocolate chips for a winter twist. Photo / 123rf

The perfect summer dessert.

16. Chicken curry

Everyone should know how to make a proper curry.

17. Homemade burgers

So you can stop spending half your salary on burgers.

18. Apple crumble

The perfect Sunday night pud. Once you've mastered apple, experiment with other fruits.

19. The roast chicken with a twist

One to impress your friends with.

20. Classic potato bake

A creamy potato bake goes great with a variety of mains. Photo / 123rf
A creamy potato bake goes great with a variety of mains. Photo / 123rf

An easy, stylish accompaniment to countless meals.

21. Chilli con carne

Make a big batch of this authentic chilli con carne at the start of the week and it will last you for days.

22. Classic New York cheesecake

Baked cheesecake beats every other type of cheesecake, in our opinion.

23. Lasagne

Gooey Italian deliciousness.

24. Pesto

Not just good with pasta - try smearing it on bread with tomatoes, stuffing it into a roast chicken or stirring a spoon into stews. A million times better homemade.

25. Macaroni cheese

Nothing warms the soul like mac & cheese. Photo / 123rf
Nothing warms the soul like mac & cheese. Photo / 123rf

Comfort food classic. Plus, think how useful the recipe will be if you ever have kids.

26. Classic tomato soup

You'll never reach for a can of Heinz again.

27. Easy pizza dough

Don't be put off by the fact you have to make dough: it's easy, and once you've made it, all you need to do is roll it out and add a few toppings.

28. Simple salad dressings

So much nicer than the stuff in a bottle, and cheaper too.

29. Victoria sponge

A Victoria sponge is a tea party staple. Photo / 123rf
A Victoria sponge is a tea party staple. Photo / 123rf

There's no point trying Bake Off-style showstoppers until you've mastered the simplest cake of all.

30. Guacamole

The dip to conquer all dips. Good with nachos, in fajitas, or just eaten out of the bowl, really...