mC's "Cooking for Dummies" Thread

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mC's "Cooking for Dummies" Thread

Postby michelanCello » Wed Sep 07, 2011 8:38 pm

So, as some of you know, I live on my own for almost a year now (who'd have thought?) and I think I'm slowly getting the hang of the basic rules of life. One is very simple: you're hungry=you get something to eat. Sadly, that last part isn't always so easy. I honestly have NO idea whatsoever how I managed to stay alive (and, as Sjoerd'd put it, quit well-fed :P ) because if I think of the last something like 10 months, I only recall eating left-overs from my granny, deep frozen pizza and spaghetti (the only thing I've been able to manage all along :P ).
But now I'm actually starting to use my tiny little kitchen for its purpose and finding out what things are for and how you can use them to prepare something edible. Thing is: I've been looking for recipes, but they all just sum up the ingredients and tell you, in which order you have to mix them. What they don't tell you is the really basic things, like "whatch out if you're boiling milk, 'cause it can get ugly!" and people don't bother to write a book on how to boil an egg. Even if the theory is simple, it's different when you actually do it, that I figured out pretty soon...
Anyways, I thought I'd start a thread, where I'll put my newest recipes for survival so that maybe others who are in similar situations as mine can use them aswell.
Please feel free to post your own REALLY SIMPLE recipes here, you'd do me a favour :wink:
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Postby michelanCello » Wed Sep 07, 2011 8:43 pm

OK, my first recipe ;)

This evening I had Semolina pudding, which is one of my favorites, they used to serve it a lot in the cantine and believe me, there's no better semolina pudding then what they serve in the cantine, because it's fluid and just yummie. My first experiment on this didn't turn out quite so very well (sorry again, Sjoerd :P) but tonight I felt like it and I quite liked it :)

First and most important thing to check if you want to make this:
- is there still enough milk?
- do I have semolina at home?
and, most importantly
- do I even like semolina pudding? :? (if this is not the case, obviously you don't have to read on :P)

The rest is quite simple, really, although there are tricky parts.

Choose a saucepan or pot or whatever you like - doesn't have to be big (unless you're cooking for a huge crowd, of course). I have to admit that I didn't measure the amount of milk, but you're the one eating it, so you have to know how hungry you are... I read somewhere that 2-3 dl/person should do it. Very important: put some water in the pan first and then add the milk (like 1/3 water and 2/3 milk) otherwise the milk will burn down or how do you call it when it becames brown and sticky. Put it on the fire and add some sugar (also depends on how you like it - sweet or not so sweet... you can also add a bit of vanilla sugar or anything, really, because semonila doesn't taste like anything, really) and, also important, a pinch of salt. Then you wait untill it's boiling, or at least is quite hot and then you start putting the semonila in it, but ATTENTION! You have to do it really slowly! One spoon at a time. Semonila pudding can be really mean - it doesn't feel like thickening first, but then it can get a thick mass in no time. Half a spoon can make the difference between soup-ish and chinese fighting muffins (;)). Also important that you have to stir it constantly. Then all you have left to do is wait until it reaches the thickness you like :)
If it's on your plate, you can put cocoa powder or cinnamon on it, or anything, really ;)
And just one more thing: when you're eating it, it's better to start from the edges, because it's less hot :P

Bon appétit! ;)
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Postby Penfold » Wed Sep 07, 2011 8:49 pm

"Delia Smith's How to Cook" are a great set for novice cooks and covers the absolute basics (such as how to boil an egg) as well as more complicated stuff. I was just looking to see if the books might be available where you are when I found her online site with the same info.

http://www.deliaonline.com/how-to-cook

Hope this might help! :D
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Postby The Mad Collector » Thu Sep 08, 2011 6:12 am

I was thinking about Delia as well, but another chef who is also good when MC gets more confident is Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, the recipes are more complicated but he spends more time in his books explaing not HOW to cook the food but WHY you cook it that way which means you learn techniques which can then be adapted to whatever ingredients you have to hand. I cooked zebra the other day and I don't have any recipe books that mention it, not even Delia :roll: but it turned out really well.

Hint: If doing zebra cook it in a smoking hot pan with a little seasoned butter for just a minute or so on each side. If you use a griddle pan you get nice stripes on the meat :D It goes well with parsnips roasted in rosemary oil and steamed asparagus.
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Postby Dotsie » Thu Sep 08, 2011 6:34 am

The Mad Collector wrote: I cooked zebra the other day

As you do.

The Mad Collector wrote: I don't have any recipe books that mention it, not even Delia :roll:

Delia missed out zebra? Well, she's bloody useless.
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Postby Tonyblack » Thu Sep 08, 2011 7:09 am

I chuckled at the title of this thread, especially as you mention cooking for Sjoerd. :lol:

I think it's important to be creative when cooking. I hardly ever use recipes. I'll make something and maybe add or subtract ingredients.

I make a lot of curries, but will be quite flexible with the ingredients and I constantly strive to make them spicier.

One think that I make in Tucson is guacamole, which Sharlene insists is the best she's ever had. I thought she was just saying that, but several friends have also said how good it is. One friend even took some home with him. :D
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Postby meerkat » Thu Sep 08, 2011 7:58 am

Tip: Always make twice as mucha s you need athen freeze it in those handy plastic chinese takeaway trays (with the lid). Then you get one for the freezer for when you just want to reheat and one really good meal.

Tip: Get a slow cooker. Chop and throw all ingredients into it. Do this in morning, turn it on, leave until you retrun from daily activities. It will welcome you with a delicious aroma and also lovely cooked food!

ps. Use cheap cuts of meat. Slow cookers are made for this type of meat.
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Postby Sjoerd3000 » Thu Sep 08, 2011 8:24 am

mC, you can make the pasta I made for you :wink:
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Postby Dotsie » Thu Sep 08, 2011 8:39 am

In our house we love sausage casserole, we make it with proper yummy snorkers, tinned tomatoes (plum or cherry), mushrooms, onions, and tinned beans (eg butterbeans, haricot beans). Put what seasoning in you like. All you need to do is brown the sausages in a pan, then chuck it all in a casserole dish & bung it in the oven for an hour-ish (check your sausages are cooked). Serve with potatoes or crusty bread. If you don't like sausages, you can use pork.

Sjoerd will tell you he loves whatever you cook for him :wink: (Mr Dotsie is effusive in his praise of everything I put in front of him, but I know he's just being kind)
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Postby pip » Thu Sep 08, 2011 9:02 am

Heres a good ol Dublin recipe. Everyone knows about the Irish stew but its nothing compared to a proper Dublin Coddle.
Grew up with this stuff.
You can throw it together on a monday and keep it in the pot til friday eating it each day. And it gets a better flavour day by day.
Its a proper winter warmer food.

This will produce eight decent servings. You can get a big pot and do twice as much. German sausages can work but good ol Dennys are the best


Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour, 15 minutes
Ingredients:

1-1/2 pounds pork sausage
1-1/2 pounds smoked ham, cut into 1-inch dice
1 quart boiling water
2 large yellow onions, peeled and thinly diced
2 pounds potatoes, peeled and thickly sliced
4 tablespoons chopped parsley
Salt and Pepper and stuff

Preparation:
Place the sausage and ham in the boiling water and boil for 5 minutes. Drain, but reserve the liquid.

Put the meat into a large saucepan (or an oven-proof dish) with the onions, potatoes, and parsley. Add enough of the stock to not quite cover the contents. Cover the pot and simmer gently for about 1 hour, or until the liquid is reduced by half and all the ingredients are cooked but not mushy. You may need to remove the lid during the last half of the cooking process. Season with salt and pepper. Serve hot with the vegetables on top and fresh Irish Soda Bread and a Pint of Guinness or a bit of Whiskey

:D
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Postby Quatermass » Thu Sep 08, 2011 9:16 am

I don't generally cook according to recipes. I generally am just good enough to cook something if I have preprepared ingredients. Like if I want a butter chicken, I buy the sauce, I buy the chicken, and I buy some rice.
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Postby pip » Thu Sep 08, 2011 9:20 am

Wheres the fun in that :roll:
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Postby Quatermass » Thu Sep 08, 2011 9:27 am

pip wrote:Wheres the fun in that :roll:


Well, actually, none. I'm an Aspie, I need some continuity in foods. But I do experiment a little. I've experimented with putting a chicken seasoning onto spare ribs when I cook them in the oven, for example.

My mother's an experimental cook, though. She has this signature Tuscan lamb dish that she brings out on special occasions.
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Postby pip » Thu Sep 08, 2011 9:28 am

I've found since i got my apartment earlier this year and the better half moved in that cooking time can be one of the funnest parts of the day :D
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Postby ChristianBecker » Thu Sep 08, 2011 9:35 am

Tonyblack wrote:I make a lot of curries, but will be quite flexible with the ingredients and I constantly strive to make them spicier.


You should try some Bih Jolokia :twisted:

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