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  • FIRST POST
    • Bitsy Beans
    • By Bitsy Beans 4th Sep 11, 8:46 AM
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    Bitsy Beans
    Basic Recipes for Novice Cook
    • #1
    • 4th Sep 11, 8:46 AM
    Basic Recipes for Novice Cook 4th Sep 11 at 8:46 AM
    I wanted to pick the collective OS brain

    I want to create a book of basic recipes for a friend who is a complete novice when it comes to cooking. She'd never even baked a cake before. I was thinking of including all the simple recipes we use instinctively that she wouldn't know for starters eg how to make a basic white sauce.

    Now I've sat down to start it my mind has gone blank

    So aside from knowing how to make a white/cheese sauce what else do you think it would be worth me including?
    I have a gift for enraging people, but if I ever bore you it'll be with a knife Louise Brooks

    All will be well in the end. If it's not well, it's not the end.

    Be humble for you are made of earth. Be noble for you are made of stars
Page 1
    • flutterbyuk25
    • By flutterbyuk25 4th Sep 11, 9:03 AM
    • 6,986 Posts
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    flutterbyuk25
    • #2
    • 4th Sep 11, 9:03 AM
    • #2
    • 4th Sep 11, 9:03 AM
    hello Bitsy, lovely idea

    How bout basic spag bol and a basic soup (leek and potato or veg maybe?)?

    x

    ps I don't know how to make white sauce! but then again I don't like it
    * Rainbow baby boy born 9th August 2016 *

    * Slimming World follower (I breastfeed so get 6 hex's!) *
    • jolfc
    • By jolfc 4th Sep 11, 9:07 AM
    • 406 Posts
    • 420 Thanks
    jolfc
    • #3
    • 4th Sep 11, 9:07 AM
    • #3
    • 4th Sep 11, 9:07 AM
    shortcrust pastry, then they can make savoury pies, fruit pies quiches, sausage rolls loads of things.

    savoury mince is good to then they can make shepherds pie, meat pie ( using the pastry, ) and buy yorkshire pudding to go with it or make dumplings which are a doddle.
  • Football Widow
    • #4
    • 4th Sep 11, 9:07 AM
    • #4
    • 4th Sep 11, 9:07 AM
    Hi Bitsy - only me. Glad you are tackling one of your frogs - well done you!

    What about a homemade mince - as that could be a basis for cottage pie and bolognaise sauce.

    Also what about a simple fairy cake receipe that she could then add flavours to if she wanted.

    Oh and of course how to do roast potatoes - always worried me but once mastered really easy.

    How to do scrambled egg and how to boil an egg (something I still can't do properly!!)

    FW x
    Football Widow

    Why are frogs so happy? They eat whatever bugs them!
    • Pink.
    • By Pink. 4th Sep 11, 9:12 AM
    • 17,431 Posts
    • 40,365 Thanks
    Pink.
    • #5
    • 4th Sep 11, 9:12 AM
    • #5
    • 4th Sep 11, 9:12 AM
    Hi bitsy,

    What about a basic tomato sauce for pasta and a simple omelette or quiche recipe? You could recommend that she buys the pastry if she feels overwhelmed or include your basic shortcrust recipe.

    This website is great for first time cooks and might give you some ideas:

    http://www.beyondbakedbeans.com/

    Pink
    • Bitsy Beans
    • By Bitsy Beans 4th Sep 11, 9:17 AM
    • 9,433 Posts
    • 65,784 Thanks
    Bitsy Beans
    • #6
    • 4th Sep 11, 9:17 AM
    • #6
    • 4th Sep 11, 9:17 AM
    See I knew I was smart to ask you lot!

    Thanks for all the suggestions......keep 'em coming
    I have a gift for enraging people, but if I ever bore you it'll be with a knife Louise Brooks

    All will be well in the end. If it's not well, it's not the end.

    Be humble for you are made of earth. Be noble for you are made of stars
    • Need2bthrifty
    • By Need2bthrifty 4th Sep 11, 9:18 AM
    • 1,205 Posts
    • 10,125 Thanks
    Need2bthrifty
    • #7
    • 4th Sep 11, 9:18 AM
    • #7
    • 4th Sep 11, 9:18 AM
    I think its a great idea and second the savoury mince as a must. What about a cheap and cheerful stew/casserole, maybe a meat one and a chicken one.

    Another might be the essential guide to a roast dinner or Christmas dinner, with all the timings for the veg, suggestions on how to get everything ready at the same time and still hot when it is served. When I started cooking that was my biggest problem - the poor old roast was ready and drying out before I got the veg etc, cooked. lol.
    • Callie22
    • By Callie22 4th Sep 11, 10:03 AM
    • 3,275 Posts
    • 8,953 Thanks
    Callie22
    • #8
    • 4th Sep 11, 10:03 AM
    • #8
    • 4th Sep 11, 10:03 AM
    Basic crumble and a basic sponge mix - that way she can make lots of fruit based desserts. I'd also add in a basic biscuit recipe (maybe Twinks' hobnobs?) and a couple of easy cake recipes (like malt loaf or a simple tea bread).

    For savoury, maybe a basic curry recipe - and notes on how to cook rice?
  • CH27
    • #9
    • 4th Sep 11, 10:06 AM
    • #9
    • 4th Sep 11, 10:06 AM
    I'd include a basic casserole recipe & a soup one too.
  • Betty Crumble
    White sauce/Cheese sauce

    First off sorry but I dont do measurements but hope this helps anyway.

    Bring a huge nob of butter up to just bubbling in a non stick pan and add a tablespoon of plain flour and combine, keep adding a spoon of flour until your mixture resembles pastry, not too dry and not too sloppy, remove from heat a mo. Heat up some milk but not boiling. Return pan to heat and add milk a bit of a time, this is important, at this point its best to use a whisk and continue adding milk a bit at a time until youve got a slightly looser mix, keep doing this until you have the consistancy you want, dont leave on the heat if you are not stirring in case it catches on the bottom, add s&p and you are done.

    If you want cheese sauce you will have to make a slightly looser mix initially as when you the grated cheese it will thicken it further.
    Littlewoods 10 Very BNPL 234.42
    My total debt is 7242.32244.42
    Extra payment a week: This week:
    Total to date: 1279.29 not incl this week
    #33 NOvember challenge
  • Betty Crumble
    Basic crumble and a basic sponge mix - that way she can make lots of fruit based desserts. I'd also add in a basic biscuit recipe (maybe Twinks' hobnobs?) and a couple of easy cake recipes (like malt loaf or a simple tea bread).

    For savoury, maybe a basic curry recipe - and notes on how to cook rice?
    Originally posted by Callie22

    Rice.
    Use a cup (not mug) of rice per person, use a seive and rinse until water runs clear, this removes the starch that makes it stick together. Place in a pan and cover with water to an inch above the rice, bring to the boil then immediatley turn down to the lowest heat with a lid on. Check after about 6/7 mins and when you see holes on top give it 1 quick stir, shake pan and replace lid, should take about 5/6 mins after that. The principles are there just check on the timings as your hob may be different to mine, its never failed me yet. Hope this helps.
    Last edited by Betty Crumble; 04-09-2011 at 12:03 PM. Reason: typo
    Littlewoods 10 Very BNPL 234.42
    My total debt is 7242.32244.42
    Extra payment a week: This week:
    Total to date: 1279.29 not incl this week
    #33 NOvember challenge
    • MrsAtobe
    • By MrsAtobe 4th Sep 11, 12:08 PM
    • 1,350 Posts
    • 4,398 Thanks
    MrsAtobe
    How to make gravy from the roasting juices - one thing I've never been able to master. Onion gravy as well, perhaps? Now that I can make .
    Good enough is good enough, and I am more than good enough!

    If all else fails, remember, keep calm and hug a spaniel!
    • Carrieandco
    • By Carrieandco 4th Sep 11, 12:16 PM
    • 21 Posts
    • 119 Thanks
    Carrieandco
    Someone mentioned Yorkshire puds - I'd say a basic batter recipe was an absolute must - for Yorkies and pancakes!

    Carrie x
  • rachbc
    I'd say rather than recipes give her tips of what cooking terms mean so she can learn to follow other recipes - eg the recipe above says a knob of butter - but of you really have no idea how to cook you don't know what a knob is, how to cook pasta, rice, how you know onions are done before adding toms or a sauces etc, why and how to brown meat for a stew etc.

    Alternatively save yourself lot of work reinventing the wheel and get her a copy of delia smith how to cook!
    People seem not to see that their opinion of the world is also a confession of character.
    Ralph Waldo Emerson
  • tryingtoruletheworld
    I did this for my sister when she went to uni, and then again when she moved into her own house with different stuff, it is a nice thing to do and was very well used!

    It depends on the kind of food she liks to eat, but fish pie, chicken pie, and cottage pie are all reasonably easy to make. You could do a basic mince recipe, and then explain how to turn it into cottage pie/chilli/spag bol etc. A curry is always nice to try and a good way of introducing how to use different spices. I included things like risotto, stir-fry, how to cook rice, spicy potato wedges, tomato pasta sauce, creamy pasta sauce, pesto, pastry, porridge, eggs in all their forms, and how to put together all the elements of a roast dinner.

    I included quite a few veggie options too, as it can help with practice if they lack confidence about cooking meat!
    • pineapple
    • By pineapple 4th Sep 11, 1:19 PM
    • 6,312 Posts
    • 30,275 Thanks
    pineapple
    Imo all she needs is the Readers Digest Complete Guide to Cookery. Out of print but should be available on Amazon. This has all the basics - sauces, cuts of meat, cooking techniques etc. Much better than a standard 'recipe book'. I bought one for a clueless friend then realised I should get one too!
    • meritaten
    • By meritaten 4th Sep 11, 7:18 PM
    • 23,092 Posts
    • 60,819 Thanks
    meritaten
    I would second doing a 'glossary' of cooking terms! also, what size a knob of butter is - to me its the size of a walnut - to my OH its more like a pea! I had a brilliant cookery teacher in school - learned most of the basics and learned more off my nan (mum isnt interested at all in food and cooking).
    But I still found some terms and techniques new when I got married! It took my 'Good Housekeeping' cookery book to explain more to me!
    for example I didnt realise Jullienne meant cutting into thin strips! and saute was merely frying!
    I have made up cookbooks for my three grownup kids - All their favourites plus easy versions (cheats) and explained every single step and term! It took me weeks, but the kids tell me its the best cookbook on the planet!
  • sophistica
    What are the necessary cooking skills?
    I have just been thinking about another post where the poster has fussy eaters, few cooking skills and a low weekly food budget. If you wanted to help someone learn to cook, what skills would you want to teach them? Here are some of my ideas:

    1. Stews and Soups (chopping veg and meat, sweating onion, browning meat, reducing a stock)
    2. Bread Making (knowing a sticky dough, how to kneading and knowing when the bread is sufficiently kneaded.)
    3. Short Crust Pastry (using hands or processor to rub fat into flour, knowing how much water to add, how to handle pastry).
    4. Cake Making (weighing ingredients, knowing which ingredients to beat and which not to over beat, testing when a cake is done).
    5. Eastern Food. How to prepare ingredients for a curry, chop in advance and dry fry spices, stir frying.
    6. Simple desserts e.g. rice pudding, bread pudding, cream caramel.
    7. Jam Making (stewing fruit and setting point)
    8. Preparing vegetables and enhancing flavour with butter and seasonings
    9. Using pulses (soups, stews, hummus)
    10. How to mash potato!

    My cookery skills are really "old school" e.g. Robert Carrier and French cooking. The things that I am really useless/inexperienced at are stir frying and deep fat frying. I am also completely self taught from reading cook books. I now have a collection of 360 (mostly from BookPeople.co.uk and charity shops).

    I learned to cook when I got divorced! I remember my eureka moment when I made a Delia Smith chicken chausseur and reduced the stock so the meat was tender and the sauce no longer tasted of the raw ingredients.

    What skills do other people regard as being essential and how did you learn to cook?
    • Pink.
    • By Pink. 5th Sep 11, 9:35 PM
    • 17,431 Posts
    • 40,365 Thanks
    Pink.
    Hi sophistica,

    This very recent thread discusses a similar subject:

    Basic Recipes for Novice Cook

    And this thread will show you how others learned how to cook:

    How did you learn to cook?

    I'll merge your thread with one of those once you've had more replies.

    Pink
    • MaggieBaking
    • By MaggieBaking 5th Sep 11, 10:14 PM
    • 954 Posts
    • 1,121 Thanks
    MaggieBaking
    I'd consider basic skills to be:
    • * Timing

      * Knife Skills - to start with, view this tutorial http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qG7GzPVI4bs

      * Finding a good recipe - for me is a skill all by itself! Don't use recipes which don't have enough detail in if you're just learning. Use books that you trust, give up on ones that don't always give you good results. Find good resources, like http://www.bbcgoodfood.com/ and keep going back.

      * Understanding quantities - it sounds daft but I've ruined food by following a recipe and putting an ingredient in that I didn't like the smell of, thinking it would add to the dish as the chef said so. No, a tablespoon of spice is TOO much if you don't like it! If a recipe called for 300g of meat - really consider if that's enough for 4 people. Again I've made mistakes thinking "it didn't sound right but it's what the recipe told me".

      * Learning about consistencies. Is that cake batter too runny? Are those potatoes too hard? Is that soup too thick or too thin? For me, discovering exactly what the technical terms of "beating butter and sugar" actually should look like, what a roux is supposed to resemble is important. You Tube is also great for this.

      *Whipping... Aka seiving sometimes! The skills of getting lump free food is pretty important

      *Cooking meat, fish and sausages. When is pork cooked? When does chicken get dry? How do you brown the meat?

    They're my absolute very basic all round skills to discover.

    And in broader terms, my important "cooking" areas are:
    * Baking a sponge cake
    * Making a bolognese
    * Putting together a tasty salad, however you like it
    * Learning to cook potatoes, rice, pasta
    * A roast dinner (it's all in the timing)
    * Sorting out your "signature dish" the one you can make quickly and perfect everytime. The ultimate fall back option when you don't know what to do and you need to do it quick. It could be something simple like scrambled eggs on toast or something more complicated like a mushroom risotto. For me, it's Rosemary Chicken with lots of vegetables all roasted up in the ovens with glorious seasoning - it's good for winter or summer.
    Last edited by MaggieBaking; 06-09-2011 at 3:46 PM.
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