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I can't cook, can you help please?

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  • Miss_Scarlett
    Miss_Scarlett Posts: 123 Forumite
    Thanks again all, I can't tell you how helpful all of this is. If nothing else I have confidence to fail which is great.

    Mizz pink I'll try your roast beef an daysieblue those roasties sound just like the ones I wish I could make. So, I'll try those as well. I'm sure my grandmother once said to make a perfect roastie you had to use dripping, but that sounds far too close to heart disease for my liking.

    I've been into town and have bought an oven thermometer, so hopefully I'll know how hot my oven is. I couldn't get the delia book so I've just ordered that online.

    Ok, off now to wrap some chicken breasts in foil. I'm chopping up a bit of garlic to put in there too. I'll let you know how it all goes once we've eaten.
  • newster
    newster Posts: 89 Forumite
    I love my slow cookers. Yes. I have two :o I large one, and then a smaller one. I don't use them as much as I should really.

    I always do my roasts in the slow cooker. I spray my pot with fry light. You can grease it with margarine or butter. I put the meat in the pot, then leave it for several hours. Chicken and pork must always be done on high. Beef and lamb can be done on any of the settings. It usually takes 4 plus hours on high to cook a joint, or 6 plus hours on low.

    Using the slow cooker prevents any shrinkage of the joint. You do get a little, but not as much as you would cooking it in the oven.
  • Linda32
    Linda32 Posts: 4,385 Forumite
    First Post First Anniversary Combo Breaker
    Thanks again for all the tips they're really helping.

    I did think about doing a chicken on sunday, but that scares me a bit. With beef you can eat it a bit undercooked, but if I get chicken wrong I could poison the household.

    I used to worry abit about chicken as well. Its a case of getting to know your oven, think of it as a tool of your trade :D

    I actually still do check chicken about three times :rotfl: as it has been said, I use a skewer and stick that into the thickest part, then press down on the hole, if the juices run out clear your okay.

    I actually find with my oven that if the instructions say 30 minutes for meat then it need 45 minutes. Think volcano heat :rotfl:
  • Stephen_Leak
    Stephen_Leak Posts: 8,762 Forumite
    Combo Breaker First Post
    stefejb wrote: »
    What I have learned is that the picture should only be a guide to things like how small to chop stuff and should in no way be regarded as an expectation of what the finished result will look like. food photograpy is a highly specialised skill and if you think yours is going to look the same you will be dissapointed :)

    I have heard of a professional photographer, who is THE specialist in photographing desserts, especially ice cream. He is the master of the "controlled melt", ie. getting it to go in exactly the right place by blowing on it through a drinking straw! Our chances of ever getting anything to look even remotely like that are nil!

    I recommend the 3 "Cooking for Blokes" books - they tell you all you need to know and no more and the recipes are nearly idiot proof. Nothing will ever be completely idiot proof: as soon as someone invents something that is, someone else will just invent a better idiot.
    The acquisition of wealth is no longer the driving force in my life. :)
  • Miss_Scarlett
    Miss_Scarlett Posts: 123 Forumite
    Well, we're still alive after last night's chicken. I kept checking it, it went from raw in the middle to cooked but a little dry. But, it wasn't too bad. I gave up on the cous cous to be honest and made jacket potatoes instead which actually turned out lovely. So, all together the meal wasn't a total disaster, I was quite proud of myself actually.
  • Miss_Scarlett
    Miss_Scarlett Posts: 123 Forumite
    Oh I forgot to say, today I am dusting off the slow cooker to make the cottage pie. I've defrosted some mince beef, chopped some onions, carrots and mushrooms. Now I presume I just need to brown off the mince then bung the rest in to the pot. I've got some oxo cubes, do I just add that with some water for it to cook?

    I'm also trying out a bread mix from tesco in the oven, I might be trying a bit too hard here but I quite fancy giving it a go, I'm really enjoying making things and am not too worried if they don't turn out. I'm not telling anyone (apart from all of you) that Im making bread, so no one will know if it ends up in the bin.
  • Miss_Scarlett
    Miss_Scarlett Posts: 123 Forumite
    I have heard of a professional photographer, who is THE specialist in photographing desserts, especially ice cream. He is the master of the "controlled melt", ie. getting it to go in exactly the right place by blowing on it through a drinking straw! Our chances of ever getting anything to look even remotely like that are nil!

    I recommend the 3 "Cooking for Blokes" books - they tell you all you need to know and no more and the recipes are nearly idiot proof. Nothing will ever be completely idiot proof: as soon as someone invents something that is, someone else will just invent a better idiot.

    That's good to know stephen, what I produce looks nothing like the photographs, in fact sometimes I wonder if I'm on the right page :rotfl:

    Those books look interesting, I'll look for them thanks.
  • Stephen_Leak
    Stephen_Leak Posts: 8,762 Forumite
    Combo Breaker First Post
    I've found them very useful, and they are actually fun to read. For example, one recipe is for a posh salad involving slices of bread, garlic sausage and an avocado pear. It says to test the avocado is OK by squeezing it to see if it is firm. It then says that if it is isn't, throw it away and make a garlic sausage sandwich instead! The first book even has 3 recipes for cheese on toast. They seem to work on the premise that, whilst all great chefs are men, this does not mean that all men are great chefs. Try those cheap book shops. There are 3 in the trilogy (unlike the Hitch-hikers Guide and Star Wars), Cooking for Blokes, Foreign Cooking for Blokes and Flash Cooking for Blokes.

    Chicken is tricky to get just right. Better to err on the side of dryness and cover it up with a sauce or gravy.

    Cous-cous: it is just too much hassle - get the packet stuff. its just as good and infinitely easier. If you hide the packet, no-one will ever know.

    A tip for jacket potatoes - the traditional hour and a half in the oven method is the best, if you are doing something else in the oven for that long. Otherwise it takes a lot of time and electricity. Microwaving them is quicker and more economical, but does nothing for the skin - IMHO, the best bit. Delia Smith has a combination method, which gives a good result in a reasonable time. Microwave them first (Wash, stab all over, wrap in a sheet of kitchen towel and zap for 4-5 minutes per spud, depending on size), then rub oil all over them (Yes, they will be hot!) and finish them off in the oven (200C for 5 minutes or so). The microwave cooks the insides, the oven basically fries the skin.

    Your slow cooker method sounds spot on. Unless you put it on and then go away for the weekend, it is difficult to leave them on for too long.

    Finally, the bread: your secret is safe with us. Even if it ends up like it could be used to destroy a T-90 tank, just say its "rustic".
    The acquisition of wealth is no longer the driving force in my life. :)
  • oldMcDonald
    oldMcDonald Posts: 1,945 Forumite
    I gave up on the cous cous to be honest and made jacket potatoes instead which actually turned out lovely. So, all together the meal wasn't a total disaster, I was quite proud of myself actually.


    Don't give up on cous cous - it is the simplist thing in the world to cook. Ignore all the instructions on the pack. Basically it increases by about 2/3, so put in a bowl about a third of what you want, cover it with boiling water (add some stock powder / cube if you wish), stir and cover. After 3 mins taste to see if it is a soft or hard - if hard then add some more water and wait another minute or so. Cooking without cooking!! :T :D
  • Miss_Scarlett
    Miss_Scarlett Posts: 123 Forumite
    I'll have another stab at the cous cous in the week thanks for the tip. A bit of news, I've just ordered a bread maker. I'm really keen to make my own bread because of my soy allergy. So, I'm off to argos to pick it up this afternoon. I'm going to try really hard to master this one. fingers crossed.
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