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What's cooking / VT cookbook merge


trimandson
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Do you like to cook ?  

54 members have voted

  1. 1. Do you like to cook ?

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Right, now I've moved into a new place, I've discovered some unnerving urge to try cooking.

The only thing I've ever managed to cook previously was a tray of cornflake (ahem) cakes.

So, I ask the lovely people of VT:-

- What's your signature dish?
- How easy is it?
- What's in it?
- How do you cook it?

Nice one,

Trimmy

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It's really worth while (and easy) learning how to make your own stock. You'll have the base for so many different soups, stews, gravies and sauces. Stock cubes are just not the same.

There's loads of recipes on the web. A couple of tips:

Get a big deep pan with a heavy base. Boil stock very gently. Once it's made, you can take out all the bones and veg and boil it fast to reduce it down to the volume you want. Chicken is the most useful and vesatile stock. If you make fish stock, don't use oily fish bones like mackerel, herring, salmon - you want white fish heads/bones only - and wash away any blood and don't use things like the liver. Blood and liver are great for beef or lamb stocks, but not at all for fish. And don't cook the fish bones for longer than 20 minutes, because something chemical which I don't understand happens after that point, which spoils it.

Don't put salt in stock - if you reduce it down later, it will concentrate the saltiness. You can add salt in later, in whatever recipe you're using the stock in.

If you have a freezer, always make more than you need, and freeze the rest in poly bags, so you can just boil it up when you need it.

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This one i picked up from Ainsley. It's simple, quick, tasty and inexpensive:

Potatoe Salad with mint and mustard sauce

Cook boiled small baby pots for 15 mins or whatever

drain and cool them under cold water (halve the pots after cooking)

(the last few mins of pots cooking, throw the green beans or mangetout into boiling water (about 3 mins)

slice up some spring onions, green beans or/and mangetout. Maybe some fresh chopped peppers as well as an added extra.

Cut up slices of garlic sausage meat/salami and add to the salad of potatoes, spring onions and green beans/mangetout

For the Dressing

Mix:

3 tablespoons olive oil

1 Tablespoon of wine vinegar

1 tablespoon chopped fresh mint or dried if not.

2 teaspoons of mustard. Grainy mustard above Dijon is prefered.

Bit of salt and pepper

then away you go!

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Tonight I'm cooking pizza.

I do cheat and buy the bases. Then I make a white sauce, by heating butter/olive oil spread and adding plain flower, and some finely chopped garlic.

Add a bit of milk when its turned into a thick paste, to complete the sauce, and then spread over the bases. Add sliced leeks, black olives, and thin strips of a creamy blue chease like dolchelatte or gorgonzola, and perhaps grate over some parmesan and tear some pieces of fresh basil. Possibly replace the leeks for thinly sliced mushrooms.

Lovely.

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Hmm...don't really have a signature dish.

Although this week i made paella which turned out to be very nice, spicy butternut squash soup and cherry cake. I also did chicken fajitas with bombay potatos but i overcooked the potatoes and it turned into spicy mash!

Paella was really simple though....but you really need a large pan for it (i used my mates wok).

Heat some oil in a pan and add 1 chopped onion and 1 red pepper (sliced). Cook for 5 mins then add chopped garlic (2 cloves), 230g tinned chopped tomatoes, and 1tsp of tumeric and cook for 1 more min (i added more tumeric). Add 300g rice and cook for 1 min before adding 1,3 litres of veg stock. Stir and bring to the boil. Its a case of waiting for the rice to cook now so keep trying it and add more water if need be. Once done, add 400g seafood and 175g of halved green beans and cook for 5 mins.

All depends on what you have in the kitchen really- for example the soup requires a blender (but is dead easy as well)

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well my best tip is to buy pork chops, cheap and easy. Before cooking snip the spine of fat along the side into seperate little cubes (but still attached!) and rub into the fat a good pinch of salt this way when it cooks it wont pull on and mis shape the meat causing un even cooking. The pan fry for a few minutes either side then stand up on the fat for the final few minutes. it will give off a load of fat and flavour the meat and provide very tatsty fat!

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I'm all about the marinades. My advice - buy lots of different spices, herbs and whatnot - Cayenne pepper, paprika, garlic granules, ginger, basil, oregano, chilli powder, the **** lot.

For example, tonight I cooked up a couple of rainbow trout fillets with rice. Marinade I made up was cayenne pepper, garlic granules, ginger, smoked paprika, mixed herbs, soy sauce and a touch of water so that you can mix it all up into a paste. Make the paste in a bowl so that you can chuck the fillets in there and cover them, leaving them for a while. Heat up a non-stick frying pan with a bit of olive oil, wait till its pretty damn hot and put the fillets in skin side down and keep them there for a 3-4 minutes then flip them over and cook for 2-3 minutes - to taste really, I cook them longer as I like the skin crispy. Pretty simple and quick but damn tasty!

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Sausage & Beans for me, from Chef Ramsey

Fry some Toulouse sausages in olive oil, garlic and some thyme sprigs. Add mixed beans, (haricot, black eye etc etc) and chopped tomatoes, bring to the boil and then simmer for 10-12 minutes. Season and add sugar to reduce the tartness of the tomatoes, then serve with chunks of french stick.

Pukka as Jamie would say

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Just done potato and leek soup - so easy.

Slice leeks thinly, and some garlic. Heat butter in a pan, till bubbling, and add leeks and garlic. Put on lid and let steam for a few mins. Add 1 l of veg stock, and a couple of well diced potatos. Simmer til potatos soft and beofre servign add freshly milled pepper and some cream.

Then blend with a hand mixer until thick and smooth.

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Sausage & Beans for me, from Chef Ramsey

Fry some Toulouse sausages in olive oil, garlic and some thyme sprigs. Add mixed beans, (haricot, black eye etc etc) and chopped tomatoes, bring to the boil and then simmer for 10-12 minutes. Season and add sugar to reduce the tartness of the tomatoes, then serve with chunks of french stick.

Pukka as Jamie would say

That sounds very good. Might give it ago this week.

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Soups are dead easy - you can really go wrong with a blender, or if you like them chunky, remove half before blending, blend the remaining half and then stir back the chunky half.

Lentils and beans are a cheap and nutritious soup base.

Sid's sausage recipe is good. I do something similar with chorizo sausage and tomato as a base to a fish stew.

you need one deep sided frying pan with a lid.

Slice onions and cook slowly in olive oil for 15 mins

Add sliced peppers and cook for 5 mins

Add some sliced chorizo sausage and fry until it releases its juicy garlic paprika fat

Add some more garlic and paprika and chilli, however you like it

Meanwhile boil some new potatoes in another pan for 10 mins

Add a tin or 2 of chopped tomatoes to the onion/chorizo pan

bring to the boil and simmer gently for another 20 mins until the sauce looks nice and glossy

Add the potatoes, halved if they're big

- you then have a rich spicy sauce which is great for cooking a nice fillet of white fish - just place one or 2 on top, put a lid on the pan and steam/poach it for 5 mins.

Serve with some french bread to mop up the sauce.

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Easiest/cost effective/semi-decent dish I do is roasted cajun chicken, roasted mediteranian veg and couscous. Easy as, and always tastes good, plus a few portions of your 5 a day ;)

Those fajita kits are pretty useful too. Not that cheap for what they are though.

Edit- Baked Potatoes, easiest thing ever to cook.

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Buy a slow cooker, bloody great! throw everthing in the pot and go to work and by the time im home its cooked.

Last week i put in the beef and veg and threw in a couple of cans of guinness. bloody lush!!!

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Buy the Goodfellas cookbook from Play or Amazon or whatever. Well worth the money for the stories in it but on top of that you'll learn to cook a lasagne that is guaranteed to remove knickers, should you have a female round for dinner.

Take my word for it.

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