I am interested in cooking. Unfortunately as I was growing up it was considered a bit of a "sissy" thing to do... Real Men™ did mechanics and metalwork, girls and homosexuals did the cooking. However, if you watched the BBC series "Ashes to Ashes", you will know that the '80s weren't too enlightened about stuff like that, and the TV cooks were patronising old ladies that explained stuff as if talking to a five-year-old.
I did a little bit of cooking in comprehensive school (while waiting for my place at boarding
school) and turned out a nice risotto which amazed me that it wasn't crawling with bacteria of
the worst kind - having had to leave it out for the afternoon to 'cool'. :-)
And at boarding school, there was no facility for cookery. Mrs. Howell, the physics teacher's wife taught me some informal cookery after hours; and Alice (one of the school cooks) told me a little bit of the complications of making a meal for a hundred and fifty people.
I see cookery as a very useful skill. When I was living alone, it is true that I didn't touch a
carrot in the entire year - but I also lived on slightly more than McDonalds and Kentucky Fried.
Cooking, to me, is like the ultimate chemistry lesson. Instead of making pretty crystals or blowing things up, you make food. Food is the original peace offering, and is something that everybody requires.
Hence this section of my website. Selected recipes, complete with comments and pictures. All of these recipes are fairly simple, using easy-to-obtain ingredients. If you are a kid, you shouldn't need any supervision provided you are sensible (that means, don't stick your fingers in the mixer when it is switched on!).
I hope you enjoy these recipes. Please please give me some feedback on them; please write to me! Thank you.
Preparation time . About fifteen minutes Cooking time . . . About twenty minutes Finalisation time About half an hour (to cool down) Guide price . . . You should have the ingredients in your kitchen; if not, estimate £3. Difficulty . . . . 1 (out of five) Easy peasy. (you can also view this recipe as a single document)
Preparation time . About twenty minutes Cooking time . . . Twelve to twenty minutes Finalisation time None, eat it immediately! Guide price . . . Depends upon the meat used, estimate £6 with meat, or around £3 without. Difficulty . . . . 3 (out of five) Gets a bit hectic.
Preparation time . An hour or two. Maybe three. :-) Cooking time . . . Two minutes, roughly. Finalisation time None, eat it immediately! Guide price . . . Depends on the sauce or the vegetables. From your garden, you only need to buy flour and eggs (say, £1?). Difficulty . . . . 2 (out of five), simple but takes a while. well worth the effort!
Preparation time . ~10 mins, then later ~15 mins. Cooking time . . . ~10 mins, then later ~30 mins. Finalisation time None, eat it immediately! Guide price . . . Depends on season and produce. Cost me about €6 for enough to make it twice. Difficulty . . . . 1 (out of five), easy-peasy!
New in 2008!
I am going to try to add recipes more often. I am coming around to the idea of eating better, not because some government twit told me too, but because I am getting older and I'm like always feeling tired and lacking in concentration. I bet this is because my regular diet is an assortment of pasta (just pasta, often no sauce) and random junk. I will probably die before I ever get around to "five a day" (my budget doesn't allow for that at any rate), however "one a day" is a start.
The creamy broccoli bake is my version of a ready-meal sold by the Super U chain of supermarkets. Their ready meal was reasonably healthy (not full of 'E' numbers) and it tasted great. But after reading the list of ingredients and looking around the shop, I realised for only a euro more I could buy the parts to permit me to make my own twice. Well, come on - why not? I had a list of ingredients and an idea of what the final result should be, and I hope you'll agree that it worked out really well.
You will find I am using things such as crème fraîche. Perhaps one of the few benefits of being male is that I will never say "does my bum look big in this?". I don't eat at McDonald's any more these days because I believe if you are going to eat a meal, you should leave feeling sated. Or full. I would probably go homicidal if I went to a nice restaurant and they presented me with one leaf of designer lettuce followed by "nouvelle cuisine". While there are obese people in the world who need some sort of treatment to help their bodies balance out; it saddens me when any number of cute females think they are 'fat' because they have a body bigger than that of an average teenager. I can't believe the celebrity types that make themselves look like famine victims. Don't they realise how ugly they are, what with looking like a dead skin streched over a rack of bones? Out in Arizona there are things like that. They're called roadkill.
So if you have a problem with the use of creams and such and you have not been medically diagnosed as overweight, then you might like to think carefully. Is eating a pleasure for you, or a trauma? It should be a pleasure. Go have an ice cream (raspberry ripple) and get over it.
Secondly you will find references to that oh-so-evil substance "salt". Excessive salt intake is certainly unhealthy, but equally unhealthy is to demonise it and tell everybody to cut it out of their diets. What the hell?!?! It performs numerous functions including regulating blood pressure (it pushes it up, which can help those with low blood pressure from suffering unexplained blackouts).
Give you an example... Ever notice how high-in-calcium milk contains magnesium? It's simple. You can chew on the white cliffs of Dover and take in so much calcium you could spit words onto a blackboard. Without some magnesium, it's no good whatsoever, you'll just seriously annoy your digestive system - and for what? You'll eventually crap it out and your body will have had no benefit at all.
Likewise, I suspect my blah feelings are a borderline form of anaemia. I can help get my body back in shape by eating foods rich in iron. Sadly, however, I could chew on nails and it won't help me unless I throw some citric acid down the hatch.
Are you starting to see why it is wrong for the Nanny State to try to frighten people off of salt? The living mechanism that is ourselves works on a balance of many things (look at all the B group vitamins, for example). Knocking out a common and important substance is silly. I'll leave it as a job to you to research the implications of cutting salt out of your diet. Remember, chemically, it is sodium chloride (NaCl) - what functions do these have in your body?