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I can't cook, can you help please?



  • I found Delia went too advanced to quickly (ramekins? forget it!). I am teaching myself to cook starting with student cookbooks which are designed for those with minimal skills or knowledge of ingredients.

    Keep in mind that cooking times in ANY recipe are an estimate as your particular appliance will have it's own character. A bit light aiming artillery - first time you overshoot, adjust too far the second time and undershoot, then get it right third time. You may have to try a few times to get it right

    It also helps if you have the best equipment you can afford. Heavy-based pans with plenty of room/multiple uses and a couple of really sharp knives are a good start.
    If you think reality makes sense, you're just not paying attention!
  • Miss_Scarlett
    Miss_Scarlett Posts: 123 Forumite
    Wow thank you so much for those ideas. Starting from tomorrow I'm going to cook something every day. I like the chicken breast idea, I have some in my freezer.

    I will certainly turn my oven down a little bit, maybe that is half of my problem, well, that and I expect a disaster before I start.

    I've got most of delias books but I don't have the how to cook one, sounds dumb now I say it, so I might treat myself to that.

    I'll update tomorrow on how the chicken went, I've no idea at all how to cook cous cous though. Thanks again.
  • Pink.
    Pink. Posts: 17,675 Forumite
    Combo Breaker First Post
    Hi Miss Scarlett,

    There are more suggestions on this recent thread that may help:

    Cant cook! Help!

    Cooking, like everything else gets better with practice. We've all made mistakes (well I certainly have) and hopefully learned by them. After a while your confidence increases and you get better at it.

    Perhaps if you were to think of something that you'd like to cook you could post into this thread and I'm sure you'll get lots of help.

  • thriftlady_2
    thriftlady_2 Posts: 9,128 Forumite
    Combo Breaker First Post I've been Money Tipped!
    Get yourself an oven thermometer so you can check your oven is reaching the right temperature ;)
  • newster
    newster Posts: 89 Forumite
    When I was at school. Many moons ago, when home economics was still esential to the school curriculum. So much so, I had two lessons a week of it (which, I hasten to add was not my favourite lessons) A teacher I had in these lessons once told me she pitied my furture husband, if, I should be so lucky to get one :-)

    My MIL before I got married said I ought to have cookery lessons with my future sister in law as she was a cook. I said I was perfectly able to burn a tin of bean quite adequately on my own without being shown how !!! Which was very true.

    The first meal I cooked my brand new husband was steak and chips. His brother looked at him anxiously and said "Was it ok"? (Which it was. I was very proud of myself :-) )

    Anyway. Thankfully I had a brillient mother who could cook, and I was for ever asking "how to". After feeling a bit knotted up to start with, once I began to relax I realised I really enjoyed cooking, and things that were total disasters at school became glorious pieces of cookery art :-) My cakes began to rise and were eatable (after a lot of trial and error) and so on.

    So I agree with what has already been said. Just relax. Don't worry if you mess up" just keep trying and soon you will wonder why you thought you could never cook :-)

    PS As to encourage that even seasoned cooks can do daft things. Yesterday I thought I'd save some money and buy some basic choc from Somerfields to make some choclate crispies for the children. The choc came to 78p in comparison to 96p if I'd bought the proper cooking chocolate. I felt very chiffed with myself and went home and proceeded to make them. What I didn't realise was that I'd left a bit of silver wrap on one of the pieces of chocolate. I put the bowl of choc in the mirowave, after a few minutes I smelt this horrible smell. Took the bowl out and there was smoke coming from my chocolate. When I move it around a bit I saw the tin foil (sigh) The chocolate was uneatable, so 78p went in the bin. Also I thought I'd lost my bowl as the foil had welded on it. Hubby was able to fix that :-) Thankfully the microwave was ok (phew!)
  • mel123
    mel123 Posts: 64 Forumite
    May sound daft, but why dont you buy a kids cookbook. I have one for my kids and it gives you nice easy recipes to start with. They explain things step by step and also explain what the cooking terms mean. You might have to ignore the bit where it says "get a grown up to......." Its not all rice crispie cakes either, they have recipes for pasta dishes, fish cakes, kebabs etc. Whatever you do have fun most of all.
    Who would like my last penny?
  • Miss_Scarlett
    Miss_Scarlett Posts: 123 Forumite
    Ok, today I'm off into town, I will get myself delias how to cook book and also an oven thermometer.

    I've planned meals for this week, some of it's a bit scary. I don't cook roast dinners unless M&S do all of the work (even the mashed potato:o ) I just heat and put together on a plate, which is pretty shameful.

    So, meals for the week look like this

    Friday - Chicken breast with cous cous and oven roasted vegetables.

    Saturday - Cottage pie (I struggle with gravy here)

    Sunday - Roast beef, yorkshire pudding (made myself :eek: ) Roast parsnips and potatoes, carrots and sweetcorn.

    Monday - Lamb hot pot (I have some lamb in the freezer)

    Tuesday - Fish, chips and peas

    Wednesday - beef and ale casserole

    Thursday - Chicken curry with rice (not boil in the bag) not ready to make all of the bits that go with a curry which DH loves (naan bread, onion bahji)

    How does that look? I have recipes for most of these things, and I'm hoping delia might be able to help me out with things like, making gravy, roasting potatoes, cooking beef. The beef scares me, everytime I cook it, the beef comes out so tough you can't carve the meat never mind chew and digest it.

    Sunday I'm going to try to make a cake too, I'm really going to try hard this week and tackle this kitchen issue.

    Some day I would love to bake my own bread and not walk around the supermarket filled with doom at the thought of more salad and ready meals.

    Thanks so much again for all of your help, you're giving me the confidence to try, I probably will fail a bit but that's ok... isn't it!
  • wendyl1967
    wendyl1967 Posts: 317 Forumite
    First Anniversary Combo Breaker
    What about investing in a slow cooker. I don't think it is possible to fail to produce tasty food with one of those!

    if you do a search on here there are loads of recipes and tips.
  • Miss_Scarlett
    Miss_Scarlett Posts: 123 Forumite
    Actually, I have a twin pot slow cooker. I hardly use it though, so I will drag it out this week. I find stuff goes from under cooked to mush in it, I struggle to find that in between stage. I made a spaghetti sauce in there a few weeks ago and the mince beef just sort of disolved into grainy bits. So, I've not used it since, I'll look through the board though and find some recipes for it, maybe I'll have more luck.
  • Fivenations
    Fivenations Posts: 382 Forumite
    Miss Scarlett

    I admire your courgae in tackling a whole sunday dinner from scratch - but dont feel you need to straight away, especially if you have never done it before. I personally think it would be OK to cheat a little with the yorkies until you master the rest. It's not that it is difficult - just that the timing can be daunting for a beginner, unless you have two ovens. I would concentrate on getting the meat right first then tackle the trimmings.

    The trick to a good roast is in the quality of the joint. Of course, the best - rib joint - is the most expensive but a quality top rump or topside can be very good if cooked at a lower temp. I've never had much joy with supermarker joints - even from Waitrose - so I get mine from a very good butcher. Try to get a joint that has been hung fior at least 3 weeks. It will look darker than most supermarket beef. Expect to pay at least £10 plus for a decent sized joint - the bigger the more leftovers! Smaller joints tend to dry out quicker.(Cheap joints are only good for braising in our house, and very good for that too, but I grew up in a catering family so have been spoilt for choice!)

    This link is very handy

    And dont forget to let the joint rest for at least 15 minutes before carving. I cover mine in foil and keep it away fropm draughts. It stays hot. This allows the meat to relax and soften.
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