to want to 'pass it on'?(150 Posts)
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, ?
Don't use a potato masher to mash them, use an electric hand held (£4 at Tesco) whisk. They are less lumpy, it takes less effort.
Buy a sack of spuds for less than a tenner from your local veg shop and they will last you weeks. Your family will never be hungry with a sack of spuds.
Go to Lidl for your spuds, washed and £2.60 a sack
onions at your local Turkish supermarket, 50p a sack ...3 months later, still ploughing through them!
Good good, all advice is good advice.
Now, has anybody got time to offer to share skills?
Learn to make a white sauce. Make suet your friend.
I love gardening ...I'll fiddle with your herbacious borders if you .......paint my ceilings!
use only very fresh eggs
bring small pan of water to boil
reduce to simmer and add few drops vinger
stir water to make a whirlpool
drop egg into centre of whirlpool
cook until set [about 3-4 mins]
lift out with slotted spoon
put on piece of spare/old bread to drain
transfer to toast
season and eat
Do you know, part of me was thinking, I'll teach someone to cook if they'll dig my allotment, but I thought it might be too much...
No no no, this will not die, keep it going!!!!
Plan your meals, lunches, breakfasts and snacks for a month! Make a shopping list and stick to it. Buy bogof if the stuff you NEED that month is on offer (ensure its a offer) buy it. Buy half price meats if it's big cut in half and pop in the freezer.
But are we reaching anybody? Are the people who need this information actually reading?
Keep bumping, keep it going!
Don't buy a garlic crusher - it's just a PITA to clean. All you need is a good sharp knife to slice garlic cloves. Also garlic burns really easily so add it to the pan after the onions have been cooking for a bit.
For bolognese, the authentic way is to slow cook a small amount of mince in shit loads of tomato sauce (made by cooking onions, garlic & carrot - all cut v small - then adding 2-3 tins of tomatoes). Firstly brown the mince, then remove from pan & cook all the onions etc. then add mince to sauce & simmer over low heat (stirring occasionally) until its all thick (cab take around an hr). Then add seasoning. Always add seasoning at end of sauces or soups as the flavour will concentrate on cooking & you will find you don't need as much salt as you think you did.
Buy cheap whole tinned toms (essential waitrose have the most tom to sauce ratio) & roughly chop them by stabbing a long sharp knife in the tin. I know people who waste money buying chopped toms with herbs etc in - complete waste of money
Mrs Wembley I'd be up for that!
Do you have any good veggie dishes that don't invlove mushroom or goats cheese?
Easiest and most delicious dish ever:
Fry in pan with butter
Toss chunks of stewing steak in seasoned flour
Add to pan
Add tom puree (good dollop)
Add half bottle red wine
Add 500ml beef stock
Transfer to casserole dish
Add packet diced butternet squash
Add packet new potatoes
Slam in oven
Go on MN for 3 hours
Take out of oven
Shove some rosemary and crushed garlic it
Serve with crusty bread
Bask in adulation of those you feed
Second easiest and most delicous dish ever:
Chop streaky bacon
Fry in pan in butter
Add chunks of chicken
Add sliced mushrooms
Cook for a bit
Add 1 tin of cream of asparagus soup
Add 250 ml chicken stock
Add 2 tbsp caraway seeds
Add 1 tin asparagus
Cook on low heat for about 45 mins till chicken cooked through
Enjoy with crusty bread
Also, Beed Strog for slatterns
Buy strips sandwich steak. Slice
Fry both in pan with butter
Pour in carton sour cream
Fry about 5 mins
Serve with rice
Convince dp that cooking is their job and not yours.
Clearly I am probably the person most in need of this thread.
However I am 95% sure my lack of cooking skills are pure laziness. I can
cook warm frozen stuff better than dh can, he always burns it. I am sure he doesn't boil eggs properly. And I actually attempt to follow recipes rather than glance over it, decide I know better and then insist it was supposed to turn out that way...
Veggie one, no goats cheese:
Heat oven. 180
Take red peppers
Slice in half remove seeds
Make packet of instant cous cous
Cut peppers in half
Fill to 3/4 line with cous cous
Grate a bit of cheese on top
Crack egg and place in pepper
Bake in oven for about 20 mins
For delicious soup. Eat chicken or two. Boil all the bones up (simmer about 2 hours for chicken bones, barely simmering). Put a handful of rice in, cook. Mix equal parts lemons and eggs. Add to soup (DO NOT BOIL). Stir until thickened. You are making this, very vaguely.
You can add, chicken pieces, garlic, left overs...
It is awesome.
I am SEVERELY domestically challenged but bugger can I cook. Make everything from scratch including bread,bacon,sausages corned beef etc.LOVE to cook makes me happy I can then proceed to happily ignore the rest of the domestic stuff
Ds2 is at catering school and Ive passed on my love of cooking and lots of tips to at least 1 of my kids
Easy white sauce for me is:
1) melt a 2cm cube of butter
2) add 1 tbs flour
3) slowly add 1/2 pint of milk
To make mac and cheese
4) for cheese sauce add bits on their last leg from your fridge
5) if you can be arsed add to cook macaroni, top with cheese and bake.
Super easy and luffly brunch:
- Line a muffin tray with naice ham
- add an egg, dollop of cream and pepper
- bake for ten mins
I come from a long line of women with zero cooking skills.
My nan made the same meal for my grandad every single day for over 30 years. And she still managed to either burn or drop part of it on a regular basis.
My mum's masterpiece was cheesecake. I thought she was an amazing cook until I learned her secret was to buy a packet mix cheesecake and then chuck a tin of blackcurrants on top.
My sister set fire to herself twice while cooking mince (she was unharmed).
According to dh I have no attention span (so things tend to burn a lot).
I'm very jealous of people who like cooking and are good at it.
Buy cheap whole tinned toms (essential waitrose have the most tom to sauce ratio) & roughly chop them by stabbing a long sharp knife in the tin
I use kitchen scissors to chop them up in the tin. Alternatively lidl does choped toms or pasata for 35p.
Plan your meals, lunches, breakfasts and snacks for a month
For a MONTH? Where is the fun and spontaneity in that? Suppose of you're on a really tight budget, but still. A MONTH?
drop egg into centre of whirlpool*
No no no, you don't need to bother with that faff. Just get it boiling nicely, then turn heat right down so hardly any bubbles and plop the eggs in. Lid on, 2 mins for perfect totally runny yellow poached eggs.
I'd happily teach anyone to cook, bake, meal plan or budget in return for ironing.
I love cooking and baking but I LOATHE ironing.
Perfect poached eggs on toast.
Have experimented, the vinegar makes no difference.
yy to freshest eggs possible.
Swirly thing... not much good when you have twins and have to do two.
Bring water to boil. Place bread in toaster BUT DO NOT PUSH THE LEVER DOWN.
Break eggs into boiling water, immediately turn off gas, and NOW press lever down on toaster.
When toast pops, butter it, drain the eggs using a slotted spoon, plonk one egg per slice, tiny bit of salt, tell children to eat it now or it'll get cold.
The length of time the toast takes to brown is exactly right for lovely runny eggs.
The perfect slotted spoon is actually a stock skimmer with tiny holes in it that was in a box of oddments on a bric a brac stall.
Whenever I buy onions and potatoes (which is regularly!) I can't get through them before they go manky. I keep potatoes in a special bag from Lakeland that's supposed to keep them fresh (and doesn't) and onions in the fridge. What am I doing wrong? Onions tend to last about a fortnight before going gross and potatoes seem to start sprouting within a week.
I had the same problem with onions going off before I could use them up but needed to have themin the house as a food essential.
The solution is frozen onions. A truly genius invention!
Darkside Wha' d'ya want? I've got stir fry, tomato sauce, pepper sauce, various curry type things, salad type things and other stuff that you can use quorn for to replace the meat..,
Do you live in the Bristol area? Seriously, it sounds like it's more the actual cooking skills that people need, not just recipes (as fabulous as they are). There were some on the other thread who were saying they couldn't make soup. Someone said they overcooked pasta and burnt a Bolognese sauce.
If you can't make it to my kitchen, here's something I would recommend to everyone; if you don't want brown onions that still taste bitter in the final dish and colour everything the same old dirty brown as them, sweat chopped or sliced onions for a looooong time over a v. low heat with a lid on to keep in the moisture. I'm talking 10-30 minutes. The lid is v. v. v. important here, it stops them from burning and keeps them white and soft. Stir them around every now and again and let the moisture drip off the lid back into the pan when you take it off to do this. It's all about the moisture people!! Season them at the start with salt and pepper and maybe add a herb or two, depending on what you're going to make with them. And, although someone's already said it it's important enough to mention again, add your chopped/crushed garlic towards the end of this. It doesn't need to cook for so long and burns more easily.
Oh, and you chop or crush your garlic according to how strong you like the flavour - crushed is stronger.
They have to be kept cold and in the dark to last. The potato bag is (supposed) to keep them in the dark but if you've got them in a warm kitchen you're losing half the battle.
Don't know, use 'em too quickly They go in pretty much everything I do! I guess you could do what's been suggested already, chop 'em up and freeze 'em. You don't even need to make up small bags, just chip off a corner of the frozen block when you want them.
pointyend - love the idea of the same meal for 30 years - as a matter of interest whaqt was it?
Slow roasting is your friend if you want a fear-free Sunday meal.
Heat oven to highest heat
Put lamb in roasting tin.
Cover tin v tightly with foil
Turn oven down to Gas 3/160-170C
Cook for 4 hours - more is fine.
You can take out and rest for an hour whilst roast potatoes doing.
Is lush - falls off the bone
Roast Shoulder of Pork
Pretty much the same:
Heat Oven to highest
Put pork in tin
DO NOT COVER
After 20 mins turn oven down to Gas 3/160-170C
Cook for 4-5 hours
If you buy a bigger joint than you need you then have lovely leftover to make into sandwiches/curry (even if just adding to a cook-in sauce) etc
Oh and the best method for roasting chicken - follow the instructions on the packet!
Nothing impressive... it was fish, chips and mixed veg! Occassionally the chips would be swapped for two potato waffles and sometimes there were onion rings or garlic bread too!
Breakfast was a bowl of cornflakes, a banana and two slices of toast.
Supper was a tin of soup and a mug of horlicks.
Every single day. It would make meal planning a doddle.
For perfectly risen muffins always add slightly more baking powder than the recipe says, do not over-mix the mixture (stir/fold as little as poss) and always turn the oven up 20 degrees higher than the recipe says for the first 5 mins.
If the people in Bristol actually want to learn to cook then they'll Google some of the 1000's of free recipes and step by step Youtube videos out there I imagine.
It's a nice idea in theory but what are you going to do? Allow random unchecked strangers into your home to use your kitchen?
Ignore sell by dates on the majority of food. I do on all but don't want to give anyone food poisoning by giving the wrong advice on seafood etc. I go by smell and texture.
Have freezer/cupboard months where everything is used up and the more obscure the combination the better - poor Dh was going to have berlotti beans with fishcakes tonight but found some frozen peas instead!
Bulk up stews/spag bold etc with frozen veg to make it last 2 days and if not much left add a large jacket potato to fill it out.
We bought a second small cheap freezer for the mark downs/yellow stickers and bulk buy them. I have found that apart from last thing on a Sun afternoon weekday afternoons about 430 is a good time for the second markdowns esp in Morrisons.
Only buy what is on offer - don't be brand loyal. If it's not on offer I don't buy and we go without!
I could go on and on as I try and feed the 3 of us on £40 a week.
Happy to teach anyone to cook in return for cleaning I loathe cleaning! Same thing week in and out at least you can vary with cooking.
Also look for cheap cookery classes at evening classes. I found a gourmet one which was a bit more expensive but worked out at £4 a session plus the ingredients but it did feed 4+.
Coola I need help with all of those and I <whispers> love to iron
Don't judge me
help me instead
Oh Worra, I was actually more worried people would think I was the loon!
If I can help one person to gain some basic skills I'll be happier than I am now. I'm not planning on entertaining a cooking class of fifty...
And if it's so easy for these people to google it, or (as so many were saying on the other thread) to watch the hundreds of fucking thousands of cooking shows that are about at the moment, why are so many still bemoaning the fact that they can't make soup? I reckon (coz I know everything, me) that it's too easy to say 'fry an onion, add some mince and a tin of tomatoes, some herbs and hey presto!!' That's why sometimes people get lost and then stop bothering.
It seems that, sad to say, some people really don't know that to boil an egg the water needs to remain at boiling point...
Do you know about StreetBank MrsW? It might be just what you're looking for!
My contribution: I am not in the UK but I am happy to look over your CV if you're having trouble finding work.
Qualifications: former sub editor and veteran of thousands of job applications and have been responsible for hiring in the past.
Unless this was just about cooking? In which case, I will proof read your recipe for you and turn it into readable prose.
flow4 That looks brilliant! I shall check it over properly in the morning.
spatchcock Not just cooking, it's just comments from elsewhere about cooking that got me all sad and thoughtful. Proof-reading is a bloody important skill that can be vital when doing an application, so thank-you. I'm an English teacher, when not being a SAHM, and I still get someone else to check any important documents just in case.
And if it's so easy for these people to google it, or (as so many were saying on the other thread) to watch the hundreds of fucking thousands of cooking shows that are about at the moment, why are so many still bemoaning the fact that they can't make soup?
Because they don't actually want to or they don't feel they need to learn just yet.
If they wanted to chop some veg, stick it in a saucepan of water, add a stock cube, mash the veg...then serve it for lunch they would I'm sure.
Personally I never wanted to learn any of that until about 10yrs ago and by then I had 3 kids. I was also brought up by a SAHM who cooked everything from scratch.
I don't know what made me suddenly decide to start googling these things but I'm glad I did.
Glad you think so. I think it has lots of potential. I live in a fairly isolated area and there aren't many people registered so far, but it looks pretty active in more urban areas.
I still don't 'get' how people can plan meals for a month or even a week - unless your life is incredibly routine surely you don't know what you want to eat on a certain night/if your DC has a last minute school activity/if you or DH are working late/if unexpected guests turn up or most likely for me - you've got loads of leftovers/you're just not particularly hungry/you just don't feel like a 'proper' meal, or you spot a bargain in the supermaket, or the weather has changed suddenly so you fancy a barbeque or a stew. I can see the logic for having a vague idea but pesonally don't understand how people stick to a rigid menu structure (perhaps thats just me being obtuse). I find I spend much less with my 'ad hoc' planning and going to the shops as I need to.
I helped run a cooking course at a sure start centre (sadly lacked funding for subsequent courses), it was quite well attended . FWIW I do think having someone encouraging actually with you is much more effective than standing on your own in your kitchen with a recipe.
However the people who were referred to the course (by an HV) didn't show up, the people who had seen the poster and signed themselves up did attend. I agree that you need people to want to do it, and realise that they need to learn.
Think my kitchen must be too warm for the potaoes-might start keeping them out on the outside windowsill! Frozen onions is genius-thank you
theoldtrout01876 - I am so the same as you! Will and do happily cook all day long making almost everything from scratch. Hoover? Barely know where it's kept or how to switch it on!
Happy to help if anyone wants to know anything - meanwhile - let me share Nigella's cake recipe. This is a basic one for cake or cupcakes - you can do almost anything to this without ruining it - add stuff i.e. banana, lemon zest, cocoa - you can make this be anything you want it to be
6oz self raising flour
1 heaped tsp baking powder
4oz baking fat
4 oz sugar - although you can reduce this to 3 and nobody will be any the wiser!
5 tbsps milk
Make sure the fat is very very soft - I microwave mine till it's almost liquid. Whack everything in together, mix, put into lined tin, bake in oven approx 170 for 15 mins for cupcakes, 25 for loaf cakes. Use the skewer test - when it comes out clean, cake it done!
Let stand for a while then remove from tin, cool, decorate if you want, serve.
For banana cake I swap white sugar for dark brown and mash the banana before adding to mix - oh, and a little extra baking powder to help with the extra weight.
Please. Make this cake! Never use any other recipe!
thanks Checazzo, will try that today!
Ragwort I don't know about anyone else, everyone has their own reasons and their own way of living, but I am on a diet at the moment and find that weekly planning is the best way of sticking to it.
If I see bargains in the supermarket, I either find a way of shoehorning them into the menu by making last minute changes, check the date the offer runs out and plan to do something the following week, buy them anyway if I absolutely know I'll use them at some point or, do you know what, sometimes I just ignore the offer. My mum used to come home telling me about the amazing deal she'd seen and how much money she'd saved. I would ask her if she would have ever bought the item if it wasn't on offer. Usually she'd say no. So I'd tell her she hadn't saved money, she'd actually spent more!
I would love to do monthly planning but I don't have freezer/cupboard space for that amount of food
and DP would soon find a way of buggering it up.
I am useless at meal planning. I tend to rebel at imposed schedules even if they are imposed by me!
We have a moderately flexible plan now, we have rough ideas of what we will eat but there's room for spontaneity. We do our shopping online and now we have the delivery saver thing we are planning to switch from weekly to twice a week (but obviously smaller) shops.
This is probably a stupid question but I didn't know potatoes and onions could last ages. I have a freezing cold and dark cupboard. so I can buy massive cheap amounts of potatoes and onions and just keep them in the cupboard? And they won't go off?
Also, frozen onions. I just chop them and freeze them? No cooking them first? Do I need to defrost them?
My excuse for asking stupid questions is that my mum brought be up on a diet of sausages, chips and ribena. I'm still young so very slowly teaching myself to cook. I cant go on to YouTube to watch videos as the only Internet I have is on my phone! I would love for someone to teach me to cook and loving this thread
This is a fantastic thread. I miss being able to ask my mum for advice, so love you lot!
Chocolate You sound like just the sort of person we're hoping to reach.
If you can, buy a big sack of potatoes from your local greengrocer or scout around for a supplier in your area that will sell in bulk for cheap (look up-thread for other ideas), but do not buy this amount from the supermarket, because you will pay a fortune! Same with onions, they'll only sprout if they think it's warm/damp/light enough to grow. But if you've freezer room, yes to freezing them if you can buy them in bulk. No, you don't need to cook them first but you can if you want to and then just miss this bit out of the recipe you're using them for. I would freeze them raw though, personal preference, as I don't always know how I'm going to cook with them.
Your freezing cold and dark cupboard is just like an old-fashioned larder and is a god-send when it comes to storing food. I would give my left leg for an old-fashioned larder...
And, fwiw, <blows raspberry to Worra>
And thank-you, Murder.
<blows another raspberry>
Have you seen the price of raspberries??
We've actually got a larder, but unfortunately it's the only place we can fit our fridge-freezer, and to be able to get stuff out of the fridge-freezer we've had to remove the larder door
for you Murder. We have a flat with no cupboard space at the moment, but when we move I'm determined to find something I can make a larder out of!
Thank you mrswembley! Yes we have a larder, I couldn't think of the word when typing my last post! Thanks for your help! Can't wait to get my onions frozen, it will save me so much time.
*Buy a sack of spuds for less than a tenner from your local veg shop and they will last you weeks. Your family will never be hungry with a sack of spuds.
onions at your local Turkish supermarket, 50p a sack ...3 months later, still ploughing through them! *
Blimey, do they really last that long? The stuff I get from the supermarket goes off in about a week! How do you keep them fresh?
MrsWembley I've never attemped curry, not a fan of hot stuff, most of the mild dishes I've looked at tend to be creamy.
I like the idea of a bit of manual labour on the lottie in exchange for cookery lesson, I'm in South Glos so not far from Bristol.
I also chop up carrots and celery and keep them in the freezer. It means you can buy in bulk and also between them and the onions you have the base of a spag bol without having to do any peeling and chopping.
Mrs Wembley - used you post on the BBC Goodfood forum a few years back?
Just to add re poaching eggs, I can never do them straight into the water without loosing bits while cooking, I use a bit if cling film, use it to line a cup, crack the egg in and twist up the cling film so it's all enclosed in its own little parcel (you need a big enough bit of cling film to be able to twist up the ends) then put that into the boiling water. Egg poaches nicely and you just lift it out and unpeel the cling film. And you get a nicely shaped poached egg too
Oooh can I freeze carrots raw too? Love time savers
Yes, I always freeze the raw. It's brilliant. You can throw them into casseroles and all sorts.
Marking place for later :-)
If cooking onion, keep it on a medium heat and stir regularly so it doesn't burn. You want it to be translucent before you add anything else to the pan - if your onions still have crunch in the middle, they'll taste bitter.
Brilliant! MN cookbook/money saving tips? MNHQ??
Sorry, welles, not me
Darkside, how close and what's your situation re DCs, so we can work out whose kitchen to use? I have two under 4 but they go to Grandma's once a week.
I can teach you how to cook a basic tarka and from there the possibilities are endless...
Anyone got any advice on how to defrost a shitty freezer that is so iced over the draws wont open?
Its a fridge freezer. I have just not used it because i forget about and full the fridge and if turn it off at the mains all the food will be fucked too.
Great thread! I'm not at all your target audience as I love to cook and am fairly competent, but it's always good to hear other people's tips. I had never thought of freezing onions -or carrots and celery either for that matter - so I'm going to adopt that.
And in return I give you my current favourite cheap-as-chips and a million times better for you quick lunch/supper, posh beans in toast, ready in the time it takes to toast the bread. Chop/crush a clove of garlic, fry in a generous glug of olive oil in a small saucepan. Add a drained tin of beans (any beans - haricot, cannellini, etc), a pinch of salt, black pepper, possibly a bit of rosemary (dried or fresh) or some chilli, and heat through. Serve on the toast.
Dunno about the defrosting sorry but I also chop over any peppers leftover and freeze them - you can get frozen peppers but I find they tend to be mushy.
I sit down Sunday morning after breakfast with a cuppa and plan the meals for the week (slightly flexible as dh often gets called away with work) - this mainly started when I went back to work after mat leave. I don't get in til past 6pm and we were popping to buy tea because I was so tired and past caring what was for tea. Knowing there was a premade Chilli or spag bog defrosting or a stew in the slow cooker was a way out of that spiral. Saving money was an added bonus.
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!
I've don the hair dryer thing! Gave up and left it and its got worse
I googled and apparently the hair dryer is dangerous because of electric and water mixing. Its health and safety gone mad tbh
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?
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.
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.
Shake it up, baby...
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.
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!
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?
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.
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
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
I cook rice like this:
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.
To keep potatoes fresh add an apple to the bag. It stops them sprouting.
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...
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 . 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!
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.
Otherwise, I shall wait for more enlightened/experienced minds to offer their ideas.
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!
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?
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.
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 and pepper) but I leave it plain for the children
so less flavours to mask whatever horrors I have committed
Marking place for later.
I have another question
Can anyone tell me how to make breadcrumbs? I want to have a go at making chicken nuggets for DD.
I make mine using stale bread and a blender on pulse.
I await input on how to do it without a blender...
Never - what about stuff like fajitas that you put together at the table?
Chopped peppers, lettuce, tomatoes, grated cheese, cooked chicken, chilli beans, etc in separate bowls, if grown-ups want stuff hot add a chilli salsa? Serve with warmed tortillas.
I guess you could do other stuff with wraps too. Some bits you could make earlier and leave in fridge so you're not making a gazillion fiddly bits (e.g. chop a bit of extra veg the night before).
Never, my DS sometimes likes food separately and isn't keen on sauces; which is fine by me. My DS surprises me with some of the strong flavours he likes - chilli, curry. To get him to try new stuff we serve it in bowls so he can --we can help him--help himself.
He likes fish fingers/ chicken with basmati rice, brocolli, cauliflower and beans. I think it looks horrible but he likes it. I wouldn't have thought of putting beans and brocolli on the same plate but as long as he eats it, I'm not bothered. He likes school dinners and I think he is a bit more willing to try new stuff now.
I do him a cold buffet type plate a few times a week - very quick and easy to do after work. He isn't that keen on fruit, so we keep chopped vegetable sticks in the fridge anyway. He has pita/wrap with grated cheese, cooked chicken, veg sticks, chopped apple and a mini cake. If he has friends over, I serve this food in piles on a cheap lazy suzy from Ikea. To make it more exciting for adults we add homemade lamb doner kebabs. falafel, meatballs, steak, hummous, olives/feta, halloumi, garlic bread, whatever.
This thread is perfect for me!!
Am going out now so will read at my leisure when I get back.
Can I ask a question (sorry if it's already been said), when you freeze onions and carrots etc do you put any water in with them? Veg like frozen peas are covered in ice so presumably there is water involved somewhere in the commercial packs.
When adding tomato puree, you really need to 'cook it out' for a few mins, otherwise it can be a bit bitter (NeverQuiteSure - this might be the issue for your sauces?). So ideally you'd add it at the 'frying' stage of a soup, a bolognese sauce, whatever, before you add in the bulk of the liquid.
I use left over stew to make a pie.
Ah! That could be it Hazel, I do often add a squirt of purée at the end! So I'm going to make sure I'm cooking the onions properly and add purée at the start. Hopefully this will result in a sauce so yummy that the children won't be able to resist it.
Fajitas sound good and I'm liking the other buffet type suggestions. They are actually pretty good at trying new things (always happy to take one mouthful) and, served individually, there aren't many meats, fishes, fruit and vegetables they won't eat. They do eat fish fingers, but nothing else breaded/fried and no burgers/meatballs. They used to both do spicy but the eldest is fussy with that now. I'm hoping its just a stage!! I have actual cravings for casserole, soup, fish pie and stew but will have to bide my time I think. Not a chance the picky little things would touch them.
Id be really interested to learn how to cook, im in Clevedon. No kids but 5dogs. I spent my teens in care so have never learnt to cook. Just got given a fan assisted oven so really want to be able to cook. I'm afraid I can't boil an egg
Never, my ds hates my lovely beef stew in red wine. I serve him steak or chicken with mash and green veg. I feel better that it is similar. He loves chilli made with braising steak. If your DC try things, that's ace.
My top tip is that when you're learning, you probably will mess up a few things at some point, but it doesn't really matter. On the whole, they're still edible (unless it's meat which is still raw in the middle), and you're another step towards learning a useful skill.
I still have fond memories of my dad manfully eating the first cake I ever made entirely without help - a complete disaster and flat as a pancake - and saying 'delicious, Grendel, just like a shortbread biscuit'.
And if you've cooked chicken or pork or mince which is still raw in the middle, just pop it back and cook it for another 5-15 mins or so (depending on whether the meat is in small or large bits) until it is cooked.
Right, been meaning to post this all day, but been at MiL's with the whole family, doing a 'thing'. After reading some MiL/SiL etc. threads, I have a whole new bunch of love for my DP's family. Sorry...
The breadcrumbs, stale is best, however you create them. They freeze beautifully and can be used straight from the freezer. I use them to make home-made fish-fingers, though, if you want to, you can use this method to coat chicken or... well, I don't know, anything?
Three dishes, the pasta bowl type, wide and shallow is easiest in my experience; one contains seasoned flour, or unseasoned if you want to give to babies, the next contains a egg, whisked up with a little cold water and the last contains the breadcrumbs. You toss whatever you have first in the flour, then in the egg, then in the breadcrumbs. Have a frying pan with oil nice and hot right next to the breadcrumb dish and toss the fish or whatever you have straight in there. If you have sliced the fish/chicken nice and thinly it will cook quite quickly. Don't forget to turn a couple of times and get them nice and golden on both sides.
5hounds, is this thread helping or would hands on be better?
Lee, I just realised no-one managed to answer your question re freezing veg. I personally never add water. I assume the ice I find in the bag later is from the damp in the atmosphere and any water in the veg itself.
Is this where I realise this thread has died...?
No it can't die! It's helped me loads already!
Thanks for the breadcrumbs tip by the way.
Really quick simple pudding
Pineapple rings (from a fresh one is best, but tinned will do)
Sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar (about a teaspoon of sugar and a light dusting of cinnamon)
Grill until bubbly and caramelised. Eat as it or (yum) with icecream/double cream
Thank you, that's really helpful!
Yes don't let it die
Dhal recipe - not exactly sure as I haven't cooked it for a few years, but basically I just softened onion and a bit of garlic in a saucepan, and then chucked in some small bits of cauliflower, add some dry red lentils and add enough water to cover. A pinch of turmeric too although AFAIK that's more for colour than flavour. Simmer until the water is soaked up and the lentils are mushy. I seem to remember it taking about 20-30 mins but you need to stir it to stop it burning.
No idea if that's proper or not but it is one of the few things my mum taught me and it is yummy! I've done it with chopped bacon too.
Can I just ask about the rice method - can't see it now as on phone but just wondered when you turn the heat off are you supposed to literally take the pan off the heat (ie move it), or just turn the heat off so it cools gradually? We have an electric hob which takes sodding ages to cool.
Couple of tips from me:
Do not keep bananas in your fruit bowl. They emit some kind of gas (?!) that causes other fruit to ripen too quickly and go off. We have a banana hook, but really you can just keep them in a separate place. Conversely of course if you want something to ripen quicker, put it with your bananas
Other tip, with pasta, if you are cooking a sauce in a frying pan, turn the heat off at the end and add the drained pasta to the frying pan, rather than adding the sauce to the pasta IYSWIM? Seems to coat better and generally seems a bit more restauranty
One recipe ideal for that method is to cook some finely chopped red chilli, garlic and chorizo (or anything tbh) in lots of butter, when it's cooked, stir through some fresh spinach, then add your pasta. It's gorgeous.
Well, I made spag bol tonight with my new improved tomato sauce recipe and...
..the children ate it! Well, a little of it anyway, but a definite improvement. I will admit that I did add sugar, but with the intention of getting them hooked then slowly weaning them off... I cooked the mincemeat up separately then did my bunged it all on the table and let them serve themselves. DS had a little taste then (voluntarily) ate 2 small spoonfuls whereas DD served herself up a large helping and ate all the larger tomatoey bits from it. DS then surprised me further by putting grated cheese directly on top of his spaghetti
Thanks for the dahl recipe fuzzpig. My DM makes a lovely dahl but it takes ages and is really complicated. Your way looks far easier!
Fuzzpig has reminded me - put a sprinke of turmeric in everything you can hide it in - bolognaise, casseroles, soups, gravys - anything with a good strong colour. My boob man (get a lot of lumps) says it's one of the most anti-carcinogenic things available to mankind. Along with pomegranate and a generally good diet.
Fuzzpig. Keep calm and keep the lid on... I turn the heat off but leave it on the gas hob once it has been turned off. With this method, you could take the pan off the heat. The main thing is that the seal is tight enough.
Boil the pan for five minutes and resist taking the lid off until the full cooking time has past. As long as the rice is cooked enough (at least 15 mins imho), the timings are forgiving. The steam generated during the boil with the lid on, is what cooks the rice. When you finally lift the lid, the rice is steaming hot, fluffy and dry. Tumeric is lovely.
Hey Fuzzpig - how's it going - how's the house looking. Are you managing OK?
Hey married, keeping on top of things reasonably well - at least DH is, he's getting fitter, I'm in a relapse ATM <sigh> thanks for asking
Betterware do a fridge and freezer defroster £3.99 heard good things about it but never actually used it myself.
Door Thank you. I was just about to drag it into garden and set it on fire but luckily saw your comment
SP it's a spray thingy so should help with your sticky drawers
Pointy didn't she do a turk for xmas? Did he mind?
Right my issue is sauces. I can bake, I can do meat any which way but sauces never seem to work. I am on a budget so cant afford to buy cream and things so always end up doing tomato based sauces ... except they always seem watery so I end up ruining them by chucking gravy granules in to thicken them which makes for an interesting flavour
I also dont seem to be able to make gravy so always use granules which is crap at xmas, Easter lunch etc.
And means pies always taste the same - lovely pastry, tender meat, herbs, BISTO gravy ... <despairs>
Now, I'm a lover of tomato sauces and the best way I know to thicken them is to simmer then a while to reduce them. I've only ever added flour to thicken (or cornflour) if it's a stew or such-like.
I would only use gravy granules if it were a particularly flavourless stew, as they tend to be quite overpowering in terms of 'meatiness'.
If you want a creamy sauce without using cream, try creme fraiche, though I don't know how it fits in with your budget. I use the half-fat stuff for diet reasons and it works well.
Oh, and I use Bisto and give it my own 'zing' by using vegetable water and whatever's to hand - meat juices, wine, wine vinegar, port...
Just wanted to say I beat the freezer. I have sorted it out with a patience, a small hammer and a hairdryer.
It put up a good fight!
Now my question is what setting do I need it put it on to stop it over freezing? Its 1-6 dial thing
I am happy to visit people's houses and test their wine for them [hopeful]
Have I missed the point of the thread?
Adding a pinch of salt whilst you are softening onions will stop them browning/going bitter.
I will be giving catgirl's recipes a go - especially the first one.
I have never used gravy. A tiny pot of cream is about 40p btw.
To make a sauce you need a wee bit more fat than you think for the flour that goes in. For a brown sauce - use a roasting tin with scrapings of caramelised onions - add vegetable water to the fat and flour mixture and stir continuously - you can add a bit of tomato puree, a bit of lee and perrins or brown sauce, splosh of wine if you have it and if you need to whisk and strain through a sieve - if you have a roast to go with the onions all the better - if not bung some bones in. For a poultry sauce bung in a cpl of chicken wings and go easy on the caramelised onions.
For a white sauce: good slug of butter - rounded tbs of flour, melt, blend stir cook for 2/3 minutes. Pour on milk and add things like cheese, parsley, salt pepper, etc. If it's an onion sauce, soften the onions first. This sauce is your friend.
I do the all-in-one white sauce method - milk, butter and flour (I guess the amounts - probably 2-3 oz each of butter and milk to around a pint of milk, maybe a bit more), and heat, whisking all the time, until it thickens. If it doesn't thicken well enough, sprinkle in a bit more flour and whisk well.
Op - if you've got a bit of spare time then I'm sure the Julian Trust would love to hear from you, especially if you can cook meals from random stuff. I can't link as I'm on my phone, but they are a homeless charity based in St Pauls, providing a hot meal every evening, generally from donated tins and other bits and pieces.
Meal plan always ( marking place)
Spartak Thank-you for that info. I've had a quick look at the website and I'll give them a call, see if there's anything I can offer.
MaryZ, honestly, do you not think that was implicit in my offer?
SP, don't know, but I will check my freezer when I get home.
Sorry, SP, forgot to check... however, I have one of those fridge freezer jobbies where you can't set the temperature, it's all automatic. I know it's supposed to be about -15 to -18C, so if you've a fridge thermometer that goes that low you could just keep setting the dial lower and lower until you got to that?
A tip for today - always fry mushrooms in butter. I think it's to do with the heat that you can get butter to without it burning as well as the excellent flavour you get, much better than with oil.
I just set it randomly its been ok
I fry everything in butter instead of oil
And I'm pleased to know the hair dryer method still works...
<this does not imply an endorsement of any kind that might cause the individual any kind of harm up to and including death>
For gravy/sauce to go with meat, I first add veg water to meat juices in pan and heat up to get all meaty bits, then add wine, then I often add a tsp or so of something sweet, such as a bit of apple sauce, if I'm having pork, or maybe some horseradish for beef... I look to see what's lurking in nearly finished jars in the fridge. Cranberry sauce is lovely in gravies. Not sure if this method is classic gravy in the end, but it tastes good.
Lovelies, that's a brilliant suggestion. I'm going to put apple sauce in my next gravy for pork!
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