to want to 'pass it on'?

(150 Posts)
MrsWembley Thu 24-Jan-13 20:08:21

So, following on from a thread about the price of Gregg's sausage rolls and BOGOFs, which has turned into a barney about how easy/difficult it is to cook/learn to cook on a budget, I, feeling very sad about the world in general and my small corner in particular, have decided, in the spirit of Jamie and someone else whom I can't remember right now (might have been Kevin Spacey), to pass on any cooking skill I might have to anyone living in/working in/passing through the Bristol area.

Seriously, if it's all I can do right now to make life a little better for someone/anyone, then bring it on!

Now, what do you lot have to offer, hmm?

MrsWembley Fri 25-Jan-13 18:43:51

God, SP, in that situation I've done one two things (and when it happened to me yeeeeears ago it was a v. small fridge with a freezer space at the top so I don't know) - I either turned it off and went at it with a knife to get as much off as quickly as possible or I left it on and went at it with a hair dryer...

I do not endorse either method, come to think of it. Best leave this problem to those with safer ideas!grin

I've don the hair dryer thing! Gave up and left it and its got worse grin

I googled and apparently the hair dryer is dangerous because of electric and water mixing. Its health and safety gone mad tbh grin

Piemistress Fri 25-Jan-13 20:00:40

Wow lots of tips here that I never knew!.despite being an ex chalet girl too! [Blush]

So I can chop up any raw veg like onions, potatoes, carrots, peppers and freeze it before it goes off?

What about fruit?

MrsWembley Fri 25-Jan-13 20:41:20

Piemistress, be careful with fruit - the high water content in most of it will destroy the integrity of the whole so only do it if you're planning to stew/cook with it when defrosted.

SP, that's why I said I do not endorse these ideas. Please, ffs, nobody sue me.

MrsWembley Sat 26-Jan-13 09:23:14

Right then, who's got this morning's top tip for those learning to cook/on a budget, or any other top tips for helping those in need?

Mine is simple this morning as it's something I did last night. Don't waste money buying salad dressings, just a sprinkle of balsamic vinegar (which can be cheap as well as expensive, before anyone comments) or a squeeze of lemon juice will pep up any old boring lettuce leaf. If you want to make your own, more complicated, dressing, then just remember the ratio of 2:1, oil to vinegar and flavour with chopped/crushed garlic and a little salt and pepper if you want. The type of oil and vinegar is up to you, but ordinary sunflower and malt is as good as any.smile

Shake it up, baby...wink

marriedinwhite Sat 26-Jan-13 10:00:01

Make serving a roast easy.

Prepare and cook the veg when the joint and potatoes go in the oven. Strain and transfer to a plain serving dish. I have some shallow square dishes and arrange the veg on either side of one dish if there are just four of us. Leave to cool - wash up the pots - keep the strained veggie water to one side if you want it for the gravy.

The veg is cooked and ready and just needs to go in the microwave for two minutes as you dish up. Makes serving a roast soooooo much easier and calmer.

MrsWembley Sat 26-Jan-13 10:27:59

D'ya know, I used to do that for the veg when I had a pub and did Sunday lunches, but it's never occurred to me to do that at home.

Think I'll suggest it to DP, as it's usually him that does Sunday's meal and his timings are always appalling!grin

Cat girl I am going to do your first recipe the next time we have people over. But please, what is it called? I can't call it cat girl finest when people ask!

I'm sure some places quickly fry the cooked (but cooled) veg in butter before serving, anyone tried that - obv wouldn't do it every time. But my cooked and cooled eg sugar snaps always go a bit withered. How so they do it?

CheCazzo Sat 26-Jan-13 11:09:38

Bonbonchance - what a brilliant tip for poached eggs! I've never been able to do them without it turning into a watery eggy boiling sludge-fest so will definitely try that!
Also liking the beans thing - I hate beans but DH loves them so that's another one for the repertoire.

Today I'm going to give you tomato/lentil/bacon soup - easy, cheap and filling.

Two pints of water, add stock powder/2 cubes (really this is to taste, you might need three), three finely chopped onions (straight in, no need to fry), a tin of chopped tomatoes, hefty squidge of tomato puree, chilli flakes to taste (we like it quite spicy) and a third/half pack of red lentils (these are cheaper at ethnic stores). Bring to boil then simmer gently, stirring occasionally, until it's reduced a bit and the lentils are cooked. Add bacon bits. I don't like fat on meat so I used trimmed back bacon but Lidl have smoked streaky at 99p a pack at the moment - this would be perfect for this soup. Check for seasoning, adjust if necessary (a squirt of lemon juice helps sharpen flavours) and serve with crusty bread.

Yum!

marriedinwhite Sat 26-Jan-13 13:07:59

Don't think you could get away with it for sugar snaps. Might succeed if you rinsed them under the cold tap as soon as they cooked.

But the sorts of times I'm thinking of it has been sugar snaps. Might give that a go and see how they come out

marriedinwhite Sat 26-Jan-13 13:10:14

Rice: small glug of olive oil, pour in one cup of rice and two cups of boiling water (any amount work 1:2), bring back to the boil, add rice, turn the heat to simmer, put on a close fitting lid and leave for about 15-20 minutes until the water is absorbed. Works every time - no sticking, no trouble - works best with long grain easy cook rice ime but ordinary long grain is OK too. Think it was a Delia recommendation.

we are having chilli & rice tonihgt so will try smile

EggRules Sat 26-Jan-13 13:47:03

I cook rice like this:

veg oil
400g basmati

Wash rice by swilling it gently and drain.
Heat a little oil in a pan with a tight fitting lid.
Add rice to the pan and shake it level
Add cold water - put the tip of your finger on top of the rice; water should come up to the first knuckle. After doing this twice you will get a feel for how much water to add.

Bring to the boil
Put the lid on an boil on a high heat for five minutes
-Switch off the heat - and leave with the lid on for 20 mins. Do not be tempted to lift the lid.

Rice with be hot, fluffy and dry. It sounds like a faff but it is easy to do and perfect every time. This is ace for making flavoured rice - I add finely grated onion, tumeric, chilli flakes, cumin etc.

Crazyx4 Sat 26-Jan-13 13:51:53

To keep potatoes fresh add an apple to the bag. It stops them sprouting.

MrsWembley Sat 26-Jan-13 14:13:39

Right, next few times I do rice I'm going to try these different methods. I do it the old-fashioned way and it comes out ok but it always needs constantly checking, so it would lovely to just put the timer on and leave it.

DP might be able to cook rice this way too...

EggRules Sat 26-Jan-13 14:49:04

I like the heat off/lid on method as means it doesn't have a chance of burning. I have left it for 30 mins and it has been fine.

It is much harder to descibe than to do.

I used boil in the bag for years blush. I have tried every method going. This works for me and it is far more economical.

I have been watching this thread with interest. I do cook (mainly from scratch as I don't like all the salt and saturated fats in pre-made sauces) but I rarely cook anything interesting any more as my DC (2 and 4) are a bit fussy at the moment. They'll eat most foods but don't like them mixed together or covered in sauces. They won't even eat a homemade pizza without deconstructing it first. I'm getting mightily fed up of plain fish and plain chicken with veggies. They will eat a very bland cheese sauce but that's pretty much it. Can any of you talented people think of some dishes that can be served as its indivdual components or 'added together' at the final stage so we can all be happy?

...and I more request if I may? A simple recipe for a fairly 'plain' dahl. Thank you!

MrsWembley Sat 26-Jan-13 16:55:03

Ooh, Never, now there's a challenge...

I can only suggest one thing that I can think of from my own experience, and I don't know know it's the sort of thing you mean anyway, but my DD loves pasta and insists that any sauce added is on the side, seriously, she has Bolognese separately. The only way I can mix stuff with it is if it's dry vegetables, which is actually great for me as I'm doing SW and it fits really well with the plan.grin

Otherwise, I shall wait for more enlightened/experienced minds to offer their ideas.smile

Thanks MrsWembley smile

Pasta would work well, they have it plain with a drizzle of oil and tuna/ham/sweetcorn/peppers/whatever in separate piles far away on the opposite side of their plate. If I put a little cheese sauce in a ramekin they'll dip the odd bit of pasta or veggie into it, but that's it <despairs> I haven't tried any tomato-based sauces in while so could give that a go. In all fairness my tomato sauces often come out rather bitter, so perhaps it's not so much the children that are fussy as my cooking which is rubbish!

MrsWembley Sat 26-Jan-13 18:20:33

Right, bitter... Are you cooking your onions properly? Only that's the most common problem. See what I wrote earlier, and what someone else said too, on this subject. If necessary, add tomato purée too as this concentrated flavour tends to add sweetness as well as the extra oomph that's sometimes lacking.

Some tomato sauce recipes also suggest adding a tsp of sugar, so you could always try that?

MrsWembley Sat 26-Jan-13 18:24:24

And I'm sure your cooking isn't rubbish, but if you don't get a chance to experiment or to practise with unfamiliar dishes then you'll never get a chance to iron out the rough spots.smile

F'example, I'm not very good with fish, so I don't cook a lot of fish, so I haven't had a chance to get any better with fish...

Well I'm certainly not getting better at the moment!

I give the onions a quick fry before adding the (generally tinned) tomatoes. If I'm making for adults I use quite a lot of onion plus some garlic, but for the children just a little onion chopped very finely. I then pretty much abandon it on a low/med heat until it thickens. So potentially quite a lot that I could be doing wrong!! When I make it for adults I season again (with dried herbs blush and pepper) but I leave it plain for the children so less flavours to mask whatever horrors I have committed

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