Easy recipes for the newbie cook, the beginner in the kitchen, the nervous novice: we all had to start somewhere, and you can start right here.

Wednesday, 15 December 2010

Cooking for Beginners

I’ve been pleasantly surprised by the response to this blog; it’s only early days yet, and I’m already getting quite a few regular readers.  One common theme seems to be developing in the feedback, and that is a need for cooking lessons for beginners, nervous cooks, and inexperienced cooks, both online and in the real world.

I’ve been asked for cooking lessons by so many people in the last few weeks, that I’m seriously considering it as a project for the new year: just collecting my thoughts at the moment, so watch this space.  There are many fancy cooking schools out there, but these are offputting to many – I’m being asked for basic cooking, beginner recipes, simple cooking techniques, easy recipes, how to start cooking.

I can start that, right here, right now.

In one sense, I am a passionate foodie – I care about what I eat, and what others eat.  But I have another life; unlike some, I don’t spend every hour of every day thinking about food.  And I guess most people are like that; they have their job, their social life, their hobbies, families and friends, but when they eat at home they want to eat well, and not rely on processed and pre-packaged food, micowave meals, and take-out and takeaway meals.  They want to be able to produce great meals by simple home cooking.

And I realised that this is also something that I am passionate about: I believe that EVERYONE should know how to cook, not necessarily to a gourmet level, but to be able to prepare simple, easy, tasty food for themselves and their loved ones.  I will tackle some fancy-pants recipes here in The Guerilla Griller, but in the main I will stick to simple cooking techniques that everyone can master, hold your hand through basic recipes, show you how to shop wisely and economically, find something good in the shops, take it home, and make a meal.

It’s about principles of cooking.  I’m not talking about moral principals, although that is important too.  I’m talking about the basic principles of cooking, which everyone can learn, adapt and progress from to whatever level they like.  Throughout these blogs, I will give you cooking tips, cooking instructions, recipes for beginners, or at least suitable for beginners, and the kitchen know-how to get you going.

Here’s a thing: if you understand the principals and basic cooking techniques, then you often won’t need to follow recipes to cook a meal; you will know how to do it, and make the rest of it up as you go along.  Of course, recipes are fun, and will give you ideas, so I’ll have plenty of step-by-step recipes too.

If you know how to bake one cake, you are on your way to baking many.  If you learn to make one sauce, then other sauces will hold less fear.  If you can pan fry salmon, you can pan fry other fish.  If you learn to roast a chicken, then you can roast anything that will fit into your oven; and then you can learn to make a chicken stock with the carcasses, and you will be able to make all kinds of stocks, and use them in further meals.

My first blog, The Cheese Sandwich Concept sets out some of these principals: buy quality, which doesn’t have to be expensive.  If you have good ingredients, it’s pretty easy to make a good meal.

Quite a few of my blogs here already contain pretty simple recipes, and basic kitchen skills.  They are easy to follow, and will always give good results.  Have a browse (links on the side) and keep coming back; new content will be appearing all the time.  Please feel free to contact me or leave comments with requests and ideas.

In the meantime, you may want to have a look at these to ease you in gently, and give you an idea where I'm coming from:

Enjoy, and welcome to the kitchen.

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