“Cooking is all about people. Food is maybe the only universal thing that really has the power to bring everyone together. No matter what culture, everywhere around the world, people get together to eat.” - Guy Fieri
Many people enjoy cooking but your enjoyment can quickly become an ordeal when you start learning how to do it. Strawberries, asparagus, coconut, parmesan, salmon, goat’s cheese, shrimps and prawns, working out the ingredients that will make your recipe work can take time.
Similarly, you’ll need to spend time at the market or supermarket to get all the right ingredients. Making a risotto, quiche lorraine, crepes, or tasty desserts takes time and effort.
To motivate you, here are a few simple ideas to get you started.
Cooking: How to Make Poulet Basquaise
Poulet basquaise (Basque chicken) is an easy and delicious recipe. As you may have guessed, the sauce accompanying the chicken originated in the Basque country.
The sauce is the foundation of the recipe. Locally, it’s known as a “piperade” and is made using tomatoes, garlic, onions, and peppers. It was also made using bread, but has evolved and now comes with free-range chicken. The recipe’s also quite simple.
Start by browning pieces of garlic, onion, and peppers in some olive oil. Then add bits of peeled tomatoes. Cover the pot and let it all simmer for twenty minutes. While you wait, cut the chicken if you didn’t buy it pre-cut. Fry it in a pan as you add salt and pepper to taste.
At the end of the 20 minutes, mix the chicken into the pot. Add a bouquet-garni, some white wine, or stock. Let it all simmer for around 35 minutes. This will let the chicken take on the flavour of the tomatoes. Your poulet basquaise is ready!
So what do you serve it with?
Many chefs serve it with basmati rice. This goes great with poulet basquaise. Of course, you can serve it with other stuff, too. Vegetables, chips, pasta, etc.
You can also change up the recipe by replacing the chicken with tuna or scrambled eggs, for example. You can also add a few other vegetables to the sauce like courgettes, leeks, aubergines, etc.
You can alter the recipe according to taste.
How Can You Make Ratatouille?
Ratatouille is a traditional Mediterranean dish. For a long time, it was considered pretty basic but is now enjoyed all over the world. The Disney Pixar film of the same name helped.
The recipe is quite modern. Most of the ingredients in a ratatouille, such as aubergines, courgettes, and tomatoes, weren’t present in France before the Renaissance. They had to wait for these ingredients to arrive in Europe before they could create the ratatouille.
Furthermore, ratatouille didn’t become popular until the middle of the 20th century.
The recipe is really simple. Brown the garlic and onions in a pot. Peel the tomatoes and cut them into strips. Cook them on a low eat in the pot. As you wait, cut the courgettes and aubergines into cubes or discs and brown them in a frying pan.
You can then add them to the pot. Add a bit of salt and pepper and a bouquet garni. Cover the pot and let it simmer for around 40 minutes.
Now your ratatouille is ready.
This is a summer dish. All the vegetables used in a ratatouille are better when in season. The tomatoes, for example, will be juicier. Try and ensure that you buy ingredients when they’re in season.
You can eat ratatouille cold if the weather’s too hot.
We recommend that you make the ratatouille ahead of time and heat it back up before serving it. It’s a good idea to make it the night before. It’ll be better this way.
You can also change the recipe by replacing certain vegetables with others. You can always add leek, cabbage, etc.
Just make sure you enjoy making it!
How to Make Lasagne
Like many other Italian recipes, the lasagne (or lasagna) is popular all over the world.
But how old is the lasagna?
The first lasagnas appeared during the Antiquity. At the time, the pasta was thicker and more like a savoury pancake. Bit by bit, the Italians started placing a filling between the sheets of pasta.
They then started putting the chicken and other meats in there. Then the cheese came. Eventually, lasagne took its current form.
Despite all these changes, your typical lasagne recipe is still from Bologne. People all over the world enjoy the blend of minced meat and tomato sauce of a traditional Bolognaise lasagne. Even readymade lasagnes follow this recipe to some degree.
So how can you make one for yourself?
If you buy readymade lasagne sheets, it takes much less time.
Firstly, brown some onions in a frying pan and add the meat. Then add your tomato sauce or bolognese sauce.
Make your bechamel sauce in another pan (butter, flour, and milk). Once ready, mix it in with the sauce and meat.
Take your dish and add a bit of your mix to the base. Cover it with a lasagne sheet. Do this two or three and finish off with a layer of the mix. Sprinkle on some grated cheese and bake for 45 minutes at 180°C. Ideally, opt for Italian cheeses like mozzarella cheese, grated parmesan, Parmigiano Reggiano, and take particular care when layering your lasagna with ground beef, white sauce, and bolognese sauce.
If you want to make your lasagne sheets, you’ll need a pasta maker. This will allow you to make lasagne sheets. The recipe is quite simple: flour, eggs, and olive oil. You then have to run the mix through your pasta maker.
Of course, lasagna isn't always served with ground beef, vegetarians can enjoy lasagne with spinach and ricotta cheese.
As long as you have a baking dish, lasagna noodles or sheets, and some kind of ragu (from tomato paste, crushed tomatoes, etc), you can make some excellent lasagnes. Of course, the best lasagna recipe is when everything's made from scratch.
How Can You Make Couscous?
Couscous is a traditional dish from North Africa and is now eaten all over the world. It dates its origins back to the 11th century. This is the oldest form of couscous on record.
Couscous was made by the Berbers in Algeria. Bit by bit, the recipe spread across the Mediterranean coast. Nowadays, you can get couscous everywhere. There may be several recipes, but they’re all tasty!
Couscous is often eaten at big events and family meals. It’s a symbol of sharing and friendship. To make it, you can use precooked semolina couscous (which you can find in bigger supermarkets). You just need to add some water to your semolina.
If you prefer fresh semolina, you need to steam it first. Generally, you need to separate the grains by hand with some olive oil and then steam them. Once your semolina’s ready, you need to add the other ingredients.
Brown some free-range chicken thighs before frying them. Add some water and stock. Cook some turnips, tomatoes, and carrots in the chicken broth. Let it simmer and then add some courgettes and chickpeas. You can also add spices if you want. Let it simmer for around 10 minutes or so.
You can also grill some sausages with it.
You can serve the couscous in a tagine with other ingredients alongside it so that your guests can choose how much they want.
Couscous recipes are merely suggestions. You can add or remove vegetables and meats as you see fit. It’s up to you to find the right balance!
If you'd like to learn more about cooking or learn how to cook, consider learning with a private tutor on Superprof. No matter where you are, you can find a private tutor to help you. On the platform, there are three types of tutorial on offer: face-to-face tutorials, online tutorials, and group tutorials.
Face-to-face private tutorials involve just the student and the tutor, ensuring that the student has the tutor's undivided attention. Additionally, the tutor will tailor their lessons and course to the student. Of course, the tutor's time comes at a price and while these types of tutorials are the most cost-effective, they also tend to be the most costly per hour.
If you're looking for something cheaper, there are online private tutorials. These tutorials are provided remotely via webcam and as long as both you and the tutor have a decent internet connection, a webcam, and a microphone, you can get tutorials from tutors all over the world.
Finally, you can also get group tutorials. Since each student pays their share of the tutor's time, these tend to work out cheaper than any other type of tutorials. Of course, you won't get the tutor's undivided attention like you would with the other types of tutorial. That said, if you and a group of friends all would like to learn how to cook, this is a great way to do it.