Can’t cook won’t cook
One of my pet peeves is when people say “I can’t cook!“. I’m always tempted to ask… “Well, can you read. Because if you can read surely you can try?”. I’m not saying everyone is equally good at cooking because cooking well is definitely an art. For me, however, there is a major difference between can’t cook and won’t cook. If you don’t enjoy cooking, by all means, don’t do it. I don’t like running. You’re definitely not going to see me in the Olympics any time soon but that doesn’t mean I can’t run. Just drop a spider in my vicinity and you’ll see how fast I become. By this logic, I also have a lot of respect for people who cook even though they don’t enjoy it. Mums or dads with hungry mouths to feed, those who don’t rely on Mark’s and Spencer or Woolworths for their daily bread and those who are not afraid to give it a try, I salute you!
Back to basics
In honour of you, I have compiled a list of the most basic recipes that you can perfect to end up looking like a master chef in no time. Whether you cook because you love to or whether you cook because you’ve got a house of hungry mouths to feed there are certain basics that you just can’t get away with not making. These are basic recipes that form the foundation of many other recipes and although they seem deceptively simple (you might think “Hey…I know how to make that!”) however if you’ve not got these under your belt most other recipes might seem too difficult. These recipes are not all by me but they are the recipes that I’ve learnt off by heart. I use them every week in some way or form.
Basic white sauce
At the heart of French cuisine is the five mother sauces: Béchamel (milk-based white sauce), Velouté (stock-based sauce), Espagnole (brown sauce), Tomato Sauce and Hollandaise. The first recipe I ever learnt was a proper Béchamel and it comes in handy on a weekly basis. From lasagnas ( and enchiladas to covering cauliflower so my husband will eat it this recipe is amazing. It is also magic in the sense that it transforms flawlessly by adding other ingredients such as cheese ( voilà, cheese sauce!), herbs or spices. I live this recipe from BBC good food and if you follow it step by step it is sure to be a success
P.S. Find my easy lasagna recipe here: https://leandiarcher.com/2016/05/15/cheats-lasagna/
Magic mashed potato
Few things are as comforting as a helping of lovely mashed potato with a stew, schnitzel or on top of a shepherd’s pie. Mash can be tricky though, you need to take care in selecting the right potatoes and cooking them just so for a lump-free, fluffy and buttery pile of goodness. I love this recipe by Ina Garten although I replace the sour cream with normal pouring cream.
Perfect poached egg
Not only is this a meal on its own but it can be served in so many ways once you’ve perfected it. A wonderful addition to salads, as a basis for Eggs Benedict, or just on toast with a slice of avo and a drizzle of olive oil. Follow these steps by Jamie Oliver and you’re sure to succeed. He even has pictures so practice until its perfect!
Custard is a very easy to come by item. It is sold in boxes in almost every supermarket. So why would you make it from scratch? Well, because once you’ve tried a fresh custard you’ll be ruined for life. The mass-produced box yellow stuff comes nowhere near a freshly made custard. Serve it on top of a baked dessert, with ice cream and jelly or make it as a base of another dessert and thank me later. James Martin does it very well!
So there you are, 4 basic recipes that will change the way you cook forever. Once you’ve mastered these a whole new world of cooking will open up for you. Who know’s…you might even start enjoying it!