Easy Recipes from Jamie Oliver, Delia Smith and Nigella Lawson
Overcoming the Fear
Everyone expects a regular meal to be placed in front of them when they're young. It's what parents, particularly Mums, do. Sometimes Dads are the providers or perhaps both parents share the cooking.
But when you get older and are ready to leave home either for Higher Education or a job, then fear takes over. You can't boil an egg although you can manage to toast the bread and you can open the microwave and place a ready meal inside for 3 minutes or so. But that doesn't count as cookinCredit: bmsmsf.tumblr.comg.
So, what do you do? Buying ready-made food is expensive and you don't know what the contents are. You wished you watched your Mum more carefully and not taken her cooking for granted. Now you're stuck. You can't afford to go to the Chinese Take-away or the Indian restaurant down the road very often.
So take up the challenge and learn to cook. You will save money and feel a real sense of achievement too, especially if you've invited a friend to sample your efforts!
Buy a beginner's cookbook that instructs you carefully through each stage of preparation and includes photographs so you will know what the end-product will look like.
Credit: foodandwine.comAn ideal beginner's cookbook is by Jamie Oliver. It's called 'Ministry of Food'. Jamie has several restaurants and has toured Spain and America looking for authentic recipes of the country. He has taken on several causes and has tried to force the British Government to provide healthier school meals.
Another project he has taken on is to train young disenchanted teenagers to be chefs.
He brought a project to my home town to try to help people eat more healthier. His TV programme and his book, Ministry of Food', became recognised at a national level.
His book boasts that 'anyone can learn to cook in 24 hours'.
Jamie's recipes are easy to follow and tasty to eat. I've cooked for many years but I prepared a basic stew from his 'Ministry of Food' Book recently for a group of 12 friends. It was gobbled up.
His recipes are not time-consuming to prepare so they are just as popular with more experienced cooks who haven't much time to prepare a meal.
Jamie's Basic Stew Recipe
The basics are celery, onions, carrots, a tin of chopped tomatoes, salt and pepper, plain flour and olive oil.
The basic stew consists of either beef, chicken, pork or lamb. You can choose what your preference is.
For Beef and Ale Stew, add gm diced stewing beef, 3 bay leaves, ml of Guinness.
For Chicken and White Wine, add gm skinless chicken thighs, 500 ml white wine and thyme.
The pork recipe adds cider and sage and the lamb recipe adds red wine.
There is plenty of scope to vary the basic recipe.
Cheesecake with Raspberry Topping.
The base is made up of combining plain digestive biscuits and rolled oats.The filling is cream cheese, double cream, the rind of an orange and a lemon and orange juice. Perfectly easy to make.
The details and quantities and step by step photographs for his recipes can be found in his book.
Delia Smith has not only been a celebrity cook and author for many years but is well-known as a joint majority shareholder, with her husband, in Norwich City Football Club.
When you look at Delia Smith's, 'Winter Collection', Cookbook for the first time you may be overwhelmed by the amount of instructions on the page and the absence of a photograph for every recipe.
For example, with her 'Chicken Breasts with Wild Mushroom and Bacon Stuffing and Marsala Sauce', Delia will guide you from the beginning, from soaking thCredit: bbc.co.uke mushrooms in a jug of boiling water, chopping the pancetta [ or streaky bacon], to preparing the filling for the chicken breasts.
She explains how to cut the chicken fillet to make sure the filling doesn't ooze out.
Then Delia tells you how to prepare for the oven . Whilst the chicken is cooking you can prepare the Marsala sauce which will be poured over the cooked chicken before serving.
The sauce and the mushrooms turn these simple and easily obtainable ingredients into a delightfully tasty meal. Again, you will feel proud of your achievement.
Delia's 'Winter Collection' also has recipes for several ways to prepare some boring vegetables, like adding a mustard and maple glaze to parsnips.
Again, an easy to follow cookbook for the beginner to impress a group of friends.
Nigella Lawson is the daughter of the former Conservative Chancellor of the Exchequer, Nigel Lawson. Originally a journalist, she turned her hand to presenting TV food programmes and writing recipe books.
Nigella's, 'Nigella Christmas', may be a seasonal cookbook but it has some interesting ideas, especially for left-over Christmas Pudding!
Christmas Puddini Bonbons
These are so simple to make but the flavours blend better if you can avoid eating them immediately. I make them as little gifts and place a few in a small gift box.
Nigella combines a cooled, cooked Christmas pudding with melted dark chocolate, golden syrup and a quality sherry.
If you make this recipe from her cookbook make sure you only make small rounded balls of bonbons as they are very, very rich. One is enough to eat at a time so make them last over the festive season, whichever festivities you may be celebrating.
Nigella's Pecan Pie
Credit: thisisLondon.co.ukI would tend to cheat with this recipe and buy ready-made short crust pastry. The caramel-type filling is so easy with pecan nuts, golden syrup, butter and brown sugar and whisked eggs. You may associate pecan nuts with Christmas, but you can make and eat this pie at any time of year.
This is a 'throw it all in one pot' kind of meal, great for the person who has to wash up afterwards.
The ingredients include cubes of beef and chorizo [Spanish sausages], chopped onion, garlic, various spices like cumin and coriander, red kidney beans and a tin of chopped tomatoes, all ingredients that you would expect to use for a chilli. However, Nigella adds gm dark chocolate chips.
If you're trying this recipe for the first time you can make it 2 days before and cook it for 2 and 1/2 hours. When you need it you can heat it up in the oven for 1 hour.
You can find the complete recipes in the cookbooks, giving a full list of ingredients, the quantities you will need and preparation and cooking instructions.
Take the Plunge
So why don't you start with one of the cookbooks, perhaps Jamie Oliver's,' Ministry of Food', and you will be very proud of your results.