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talk to me about home cooking!

(14 Posts)
Tigs0609 Mon 04-Jan-16 15:23:16

Hi all!

I really want to start cooking things from scratch. I'm a little put off because I don't really know what I'm doing and whatever recipes I have tried in the past I have spent a fortune on ingredients and it has turned out wrong or it has tasted vile.

I have been living with my partner for about 9 months (we have been together a lot longer) and I have a baby who is nearly 8 months. We started looking for a house together as soon as we found out I was pregnant, and we are now in our own home which we have decorated from scratch.

Anyway, whilst living with my parents I've always ate tinned food or freezer food (including mash, pies etc). Occasionally my mother would do a roast dinner for special occasions. However, whilst growing up my parents both worked full time, and my mum is admittedly not the best cook in the world. Hence, we were always given quick/easy pre-prepared meals.

Since I have started weaning my baby, I have been wanting to prepare some meals which I can freeze and we can all eat together. I have made a few simple things for him which I have found on weaning websites. He also has things like toast, sandwiches, homemade yoghurt, porridge etc. Ultimately though, I would just like just give him some of what we are having, instead of making him something different.

So, please could you share any simple/cost effective recipes?

Some things which I am interested in if anyone has any to offer are;

Shepherds/cottage pie
Homemade wedges
Bolognese/curry sauce (I have always used jarred. blush)
Vegetable bake
Tips on Mashed potato (mine never seems to taste very nice)
Stir frys

There's probably more but I can't think of them atm! I'm grateful for any recipes/ideas though. smile

IHaveBrilloHair Mon 04-Jan-16 15:41:44

Jamie's Ministry of food is a great book for all the basic family meals, I highly recommend it.

whois Mon 04-Jan-16 15:48:35

Yeah another vote for Jamie's Ministry of Food if you want to learn to cook decent 'basics' but it will also give you the confidence to experiment a bit later on.

Just follow the recipes, cooking isn't rocket science. Taste as you go. If you overcook something - make a note and next time don't cook it for so long. If something is too salty (or whatever) makes a note, and next time adjust. There is trial and error in cooking so don't be put off by a few failures.

I found when learning that it was easier to go through the recipe instructions and chop up everything and weigh everything out at the start - so then during the actual cooking I just had to add things and stir things and keep time. Otherwise I would get stressed with not having a chopped onion when I came to the 'add chopped onion' bit in the instructions.

ABetaDad1 Mon 04-Jan-16 15:50:02

Delia Smith cookery books are all excellent and many can be found in charity shops.

Delia taught me to cook as a student just following her book called 'One is Fun'. The recipes are student type simple food but good. Her [[ website has all those recipes on now. They are for one person but easily scaled up to 2, 4, 6 people.

Also I strongly recommend BBC recipes website.

Just go on to Google and type 'Shepherds pie BBC recipes' and you will get a good one with instructions. I bet anything you want to make will be there on BBC recipes. Lots of Hairy Bikers, James Martin, Delia Smith, Mary Berry recipes are good and on the BBC recipes site.

I cook nearly every meal from scratch.

ABetaDad1 Mon 04-Jan-16 15:51:35

Gahhh......been on MN years and still mess links up.

Delia Smith One is Fun

Tigs0609 Mon 04-Jan-16 15:54:24

Thank you! I'll have a look at those suggestions smile

dreamingofsun Mon 04-Jan-16 16:25:11

get a student cook book. they don't have many ingredients, are cheap and easy/quick meals. you could try a few from the library first

Atomik Mon 04-Jan-16 16:31:19

I have a potato tip !

I got a recipe book that is just about potatoes (I went mad on awesome books when they had free postage, so have some quite specialised recipe books than I never cook anything from ) and the first thing I tried was the suggestion to boil potato whole, unpeeled, then peel them once cooked, then mash them.

It hurts a bit to get the skins off, I use a fork and do it rather gingerly. But bugger me if it doesn't made lovely, intensely potato flavoured mash.

I think the flavour/texture is improved because the skin and the wholeness stop the pots from absorbing water which dilutes the flavour and makes them ... wetter.

dreamingofsun Mon 04-Jan-16 18:58:59

atomik - thats how my friends mum used to do them when i was a schoolgirl 40 years ago. forgotten all about that - agree it worked well and i think she did it as it was easier to peel

Cookingongas Mon 04-Jan-16 19:12:33

This book is brilliant. I have hundreds of cookbooks and this is a firm favourite and really helped me learn how to cook and season. It's got bolognaise, shepherds and cottage pie( both cover good mash) mince and scones, meatballs, pasties, obviously all mince based but a great place to start IMO - pretty much all easy family meals. And second hand on Amazon for 1p plus £2.80 post is a bargain.

mercifulTehlu Thu 14-Jan-16 13:01:43

The other thing to bear in mind is that maybe the things you've cooked from scratch have tasted a bit 'wrong' because you are so used to the ready-made versions (which are probably mostly full of sugar, salt and flavourings). Homemade food will have more natural flavours and it might take you a little while to get used to that.

DogStuff Thu 14-Jan-16 20:15:47

A slow cooker may be a good idea too. You can put food in while your baby is busy and eat it later in the evening (esp useful if you have a cranky baby in the evenings like a lot of people do).

ivykaty44 Fri 15-Jan-16 21:54:57

I think deliah smith original book and ministry of food are top books to use if you need to learn to cook

Notso Fri 15-Jan-16 22:22:03

My husband has pretty much learned to cook through Jamie's ministry of food but initially he really struggled with timings. I think Jamie underestimated how slow a total novice can be.
DH found that doing all the prep first helped and also if you use basic supermarket mince it needs much longer cooking than Jamie suggests.

I have found that red potatoes make the best mash, I always add plenty of butter and a dash of milk or cream. Drain really, really well. Don't cut your potatoes too small and a potato ricer makes really smooth mash.

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