Cooking as a Hobby
My hobby, Cooking
It is pretty obvious that cooking is not my hobby, at least now, at this stage of my life.
Before I took it up as a business, it certainly WAS my hobby and as such, I took it as something that gave me intense pleasure, both the cooking and the eating. I enjoy intense flavours, so I take the trouble to find out what goes with what, to get good combinations.
But let me give you a few tips, so that if you are a recipe follower and fear to do things wrong if you don't follow them up to the last comma, you will soon begin to do without them, or at least take a good first glance at them to know what the food consists of.
Then, you can get rolling on your own wheels, making a superb food or desserts, being sure that you know WHY you do things, so if anything should fail, you will know how to correct it, or even avoid basic mistakes. This way you also make sure that it suits YOU AND YOUR FAMILY
Cooking, as a hobby, can be fascinating, but also bring immense satisfaction for having delighted others with some gorgeous meal, created by you.
The biggest tip
1. Create. Combine. Be odd. Experiment. Invent. Break the rules.
Great chefs were not recipe readers, I can assure you that. My aunt Emma used to make the most delicious cakes I have ever eaten, until today. She had no cookbooks at home. She used to say, "My mom taught me. I just couldn't make a decent cake, but one weekend I was alone at home and decided to make or brake! I made seven cakes! And I finally got it right. Changing, improving, and especially, with love, I made it happen."
So, do not fear to be "crazy" in the kitchen. Folks at home like a little change here and there. You best dishes can get a little boring at times and will need a bit of variation. A simple chicken soup is good to change the flavor of your old "pommes la creme aux herbes", as my Grandma would say.
2. Taste, taste, taste. Nothing should leave your kitchen without being tasted before. If you have done things fairly well, you may just need correcting the salt or adjusting the spices, so the food is not bland, tasteless. It will allow you to take the dish to the table with confidence that your guests or family will be delighted!
Economy in the kitchen: If you boil vegetables, meat or chicken, keep the resulting stock to add herbs to, making a good homemade soup as well. The usual things to add are: leeks, basil, onion and celery. Complete with small pasta or rice and VOILA!
You can also keep it in the freezer for further use. Before you throw peels away, or bones or anything at all, think if it could be used for something. Many won't do. But it gives you good practice of thinking wisely in the kitchen.
My best economy achievement is with lemons. I grate the zest and squeeze the juice out for making lemon cheese, but the empty, ugly-looking casks I keep for processing into lemon/orange marmalade, with all the pectin lemons have and adding orange peel, cut in the traditional way.
So, for the expense of the sugar and the jars, I have a new product.
Good tools in the kitchen
Using a timer will save you headaches when you have something in the oven while doing something else.
Save time as well as getting all the substances from fruits and veggies. You can even prepare homemade mayonnaise and creams in the best and easiest way!
If you want to give more consistency to a sauce or gravy, add a spoonful of flour or corn starch. The latter is smoother.
Also note that when the sauce cools down on the plates, it will have an even thicker consistency, so don't overdo it. Also remember to flavour it conveniently, but not too strongly. This will give more body to your sauces. There is nothing more soppy than liquid, insipid sauce, spilling all over the place.
Tip #5 - Rice
Having trouble with rice? Not getting it right? Maybe overdone, turned into a soppy paste or raw inside? Use the right proportions: One cupful of rice to two cups of water. Put both into a pan and when the water begins to boil, let it simmer until it is almost dry. Turn off the fire, put some butter or oil on it and cover it for 3 to 5 minutes. You will have the best rice ever! Lovely, honolable lice!!!
Still having trouble with rice??? - Looky here!
Cooks at the right temperature, it will never stick, let alone burn and, what's even better, should you forget about it, it'll be just right whenever you happen to remember!
Calculate times. Make sure you know how long it takes to cook each food. Once the water or sauce is boiling, it takes the same time to cook on a strong fire as on the minimum, so as soon as the liquid is boiling turnb down your fire or electric cooker, so saving energy and bucks on your utilities bill..
Pasta and potatoes, for example, take less time to cook in plain water, than in sauce, like in a stew.
Cakes and pies need the right timing, or else they turn hard, dry and excessively brown. Mmm... not good.
Meat, for example, takes longer to cook on a very low fire, but will be tastier and tender.
When making a stew, first of all put in the ingredient that takes longer to cook, then the others, in order until the fastest is included.
Example: Prepare the sauce, then add soaked beans, then add the meat, then potatoes and carrots and last of all, pasta. The latter has to be just on time, not overdone!
So, get your timing right and eliminate worries (and arguments)
Now you can start looking for really good recipes!
But if you want to use these recipes for a dinner for four, just multiply by two...
Of course, weekends are a time when you can get down to doing a little more in the kitchen.
Cooking food fast, is not the same as cooking fast food...