i have quite a few 17/18 year olds following this blog and i saw a post about not knowing how to cook for themselves yet, and no one taught me the following things about cooking they just assumed i knew these things SO:
the only skills you need to survive on your own cooking are pan-frying and boiling AND THAT’S IT
boiling: you boil your veggies (to soften), rice, and pasta
- boiling the kettle then using that water to fill the pot is quicker and more eco-efficient, pot only needs to be filled about halfway or just over
- put a little salt in the water, always
- let the water boil (bubbles) then put stuff in and turn the heat down a little
- keep stirring, but you can do other things then come back to stir you don’t need to eagle-eye the pot
- to see if it’s soft, poke with fork or eat it. for rice and pasta do taste-tests to see if cooked
- google how long things take to boil
- different veggies take different times, potatoes take the longest usually and stuff like zucchini and beans/peas is shortest (i usually don’t bother boiling beans/peas i just throw them in the pan with everything else for 5-10 and they’re done)
pan-frying: you pan-fry your proteins (meat, eggs, etc.) and also veggies if you want after you’ve softened them by boiling
- oils have different heat-points but if you’re just cooking bacon, chicken, eggs, halloumi, or basic thin-cut meats then you don’t need to worry about the kind of oil you use, just grab whatever is in the pantry (usually an olive or vegetable oil), when cooking steaks etc. look up what oils have a higher heat point and use whichever you have but if you’re reading this for advice then steaks is not what i would be encouraging you to tackle just yet
- get the pan hot on the stove, let the oil heat up then put the food in the pan
- let it cook, flip it around so all sides are covered
- chicken is only cooked if it’s white all the way through. cut the biggest piece open to check if it’s white in the middle.
- you know what cooked food looks like, so cook it until it looks cooked
don’t know what spices to use?? smell them!! put your face over your pan (not too close) and take a big whiff, then smell the spice you’re holding. smells good together? sprinkle it in! smells awful? leave that for next time! do this each time until you have a mix of spices and herbs in there! flavour!!
tada! now you can boil and pan fry which means that you can survive until you develop your cooking skills. practice by making breakfast!
other important tid bits:
- mashed potatoes are boiled potatoes (peel, wash and cut them into cubes first) mashed up with butter and milk. different amounts of butter and milk will change the consistency so be sparing and add it in little bits at a time!! your arm will get a work out, but it’s worth it. sprinkle in chopped parsley or chopped spring onion if you’re feeling fancy.
- pan fry apple slices with butter and cinnamon and you have dessert
- in a hurry, put chopped potatoes (or pumpkin) in a bowl with water and microwave for 3-5 mins to reduce boil time. will still need to boil but not for anywhere near as long (or microwave for longer idk)
- whisk eggs, milk, salt and pepper in a bowl then pour that mix into a pan and keep whisking while it cooks. you have fluffy scrambled eggs.
- 1 mashed banana whisked with 2 eggs can be used as a pancake batter
- don’t use metal utensils on non-stick pans
- wooden utensils shouldn’t go through the dishwasher, hand wash only
- don’t be fancy, be filling. most of the best food looks ugly. omelettes taste the same whether they’re folded or scrambled
- use leftovers for your next meal. rotisserie chicken leftover? cut/shred it up and pan fry with butter (or oil) and some sweet chilli sauce and you’ve got some chicken to add to a sandwich or salad. i do a one-pan-roast the night after we have slow-cooked beef using leftover shredded beef
- if you’re pan-frying anything with onion, cook the onion first, it gives everything that comes after it a nice hit of flavour
- put it on toast or in a sandwich to make it more filling
(nadiya’s time to eat on netflix has really good quick & easy meal recipes)