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learning to cook staple dishes - recommendations

(20 Posts)
jclm Tue 10-Oct-17 16:57:55

I am trying to broaden my skills as a cook. I was brought up in a family that had Findus Crispy Pancakes, chips, pizza and fish fingers every day. So I learned very little about cooking as a child and I feel I have big gaps in my knowledge.

I already cook:

- veggie lasagne
- veggie shephards pie
- tuna pasta bake
- french toast
- breakfast pancakes
- Jamie Oliver's Caponata (Italian aubergine stew)
- Jamie Oliver's Bustrengo (Italian bread pudding)

I am often overwhelmed when looking at cookery books as I just don't know where to start. I'm looking for a few dishes that I can cook for myself and the children. I prefer vegetarian dishes due to the cost and health benefits.

FairyPenguin Tue 10-Oct-17 17:05:16

This is a delicious vegetarian dish: www.riverford.co.uk/bri/recipes/view/recipe/tarka-dal

AtleastitsnotMonday Tue 10-Oct-17 17:16:23

I would probably suggest abandoning recipe books to be honest. I find them a waste of money as I tend to cook one or two things from them and ignore the rest. The internet is awash with recipes, but a lot of dishes just grow from a similar base and I chop and change things about to fit taste.
As you already have a lasagne, take the tomato based sauce from that, add some beans and chilli and you have a chilli that can be served with wraps, rice or on baked potatoes.
Go back to basics with fish, simply wrapping season fish in foil with lemon juice and herbs of your choice will give you a really simple meal with very little effort.
Chop and roasts some peppers, red onion and courgettes. Add to a frying pan with beaten eggs and you have a frittata.
I often find super market recipes to be pretty simple or google student recipes.

Ricekrispie22 Tue 10-Oct-17 18:50:24

I agree that supermarket recipes are a good place to start. If I'm short of time, I do Sainsbury's 'Giant Spinach and Cheddar Omelette'. I think I also use a Sainsbury's recipe for macaroni cheese, but do it so often now that I no longer need to look at it.
I always seem to have a tub of Philadelphia knocking around in the fridge and often refer to Philadelphia's website for some simple risottos to make with it. Even if it says to use risotto rice, I find that basmati is fine.
BBC Goodfood has a fail-safe 'Easy fish pie' and it's probably worth looking for a simple tofu or prawn stir fry and a curry of some sort, although I have to admit I get my curry sauce from a jar! Sssshhh!

www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/2303636/family-meals-easy-fish-pie

Ricekrispie22 Tue 10-Oct-17 18:55:43

And a straightforward crumble topping would be a good thing to add to your repertoire! Good luck

Blondie1984 Tue 10-Oct-17 21:55:41

How about things like:
Frittata
Macaroni cheese
Falafels
Thai green curry (you can do chicken, prawn, tofu...)
A good vegetable soup
Tagine
Fish cakes

AndNoneForGretchenWieners Tue 10-Oct-17 21:57:26

Cheese and potato pie - the ultimate comfort food. Particularly served with a poached egg on top and ketchup.

nightshade Tue 10-Oct-17 22:04:54

Learn to make a white sauce...you can use it on pasta and vegetables...add cheese...or parsley ...or dill and you have fish pie...

I do a cheat in the microwave!

AnonEvent Tue 10-Oct-17 22:09:37

What is this microwave béchamel cheat night I spend half my life trying to de-lump white sauce in a saucepan.

nightshade Tue 10-Oct-17 22:29:15

Lol...lump of butter ..melt..flour ...and stir....drop of milk...heat until thickening...whisk like fuck....keep adding your milk and microwave ...season as usual....!!..not cordon bleu but hubby and kids don't know the difference!

PurpleDaisies Tue 10-Oct-17 22:30:17

The BBC good food website is brilliant.

nightshade Tue 10-Oct-17 22:32:30

You can get it dead thick too...which is a bonus cause my cauliflower always holds water!

PurpleDaisies Tue 10-Oct-17 22:32:53

Lentil Dahl is great as an easy, cheap but delicious meal. I always recommend this one after someone shared the recipe on here...

www.tinnedtomatoes.com/2013/10/spinach-and-coconut-dal.html?m=1

If freezes really well and is super quick.

nightshade Tue 10-Oct-17 22:33:52

Curries are great...potato onions and peas ...with a poached egg on top...

RobberOfCatan Tue 10-Oct-17 22:42:57

Another suggesting curries, the spices cost a bit at first but you use them so much that it becomes a once a month or so cost which becomes negligible. I tend to make big batches and freeze them in single portions and then have a curry night with three different ones, that's always good!
Mac and cheese is a great filling staple. Bolognaise (veggie or not). Fritatta. Egg fried rice.

Re cook books they can be hit and miss. I have a few I use again and again, and some which are going in the charity bag next time I do one. I recently got the hairy dieters vegetarian book and it's really good. Hugh fearnley whittingstalls veg book is ace too. Very simple recipes in both and we use them again and again.

AdaColeman Tue 10-Oct-17 22:44:00

Have a look at Hugh Fearnly-Whittingshall's Veg Everyday book.
Packed with good ideas and interesting combinations, all explained in a simple and doable way.

Maybe you could try one new dish a week so you didn't feel overwhelmed. Gradually, as you learn more, it will start to be fun!! wine

TinklyLittleLaugh Tue 10-Oct-17 22:44:43

How about a casserole/stew? Jamie Oliver does one in the ministry of food. Changes the meat, changes the booze, changes the topping to make a pie or adds dumplings etc. You could also add extra veg. Learning that one recipe would give you lots of new options.

Same with a curry. I have a basic everyday curry recipe (from the side of a tesco curry powder tin blush. I add garlic and ginger, change the meat round, change the veg round, sometimes I lob in a handful of lentils or a tin of chickpeas, some spinach or a squeeze of lemon. Again, loads of options from one recipe.

marmiteloversunite Tue 10-Oct-17 22:52:30

I follow "tasty" on Facebook. It has simple recipes and shows you exactly how to cook them. I am saving them for my DD who is off to Uni next year. They are just good basic dishes but look delicious.

onlyonaTuesday Tue 10-Oct-17 23:08:54

Veg curry
Mac&cheese
Fajitas
A hearty stew
Soups
Bread
Pies
Crumbles

Yazoop Tue 10-Oct-17 23:11:16

I'm seconding BBC Good Food - lots of great recipes and information on there! It is a fantastic place to start smile

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