Such a striking title for a basic cooking book. Paging through the November 2011 FOOD & HOME Entertaining magazine the STRUIK Lifestyle advert on p. 19 - 'What's cooking?' - caught my eye. Among nine books, this cover:
Written by Annabel Frere, the book is available from Random House Struik for R160-00. The description given sounds ideal for the domestically challenged. It is also available from Amazon and even has a Facebook page. Getting started in the kitchen, from learning the basics to producing impressive, yet cunningly simple meals, states a Google Search result.
Some time ago I bought shimeji mushrooms at Pick n Pay. It was delicious, a nutty flavour when cooked. On Monday I saw various kinds at PnP Clearwater and took enoki in addition to shimeji. I had a packet of white-button mushrooms at home. For supper on women's day Martie got stir-fried mushrooms, bacon and scrambled eggs - she enjoyed the meal.
I chopped the white-button mushrooms in quarters. I sliced the off the base of the other and chop the remainder in shorter lengths. I spread about 5ml of oil in a non-stick frying pan and at a low tempreture cooked the mushrooms until tender, whereafter I emptied the pan in a pyrex dish and placed the lid on to keep the content warm.
Then snipped low-fat bacon into strips with kitchen scissors and fried the bacon, whereafter I added it next to the mushrooms.
Finally I mixed three eggs in a small bowl and made scrambled eggs by scraping the eggs until cooked.
If you can boil a kettle you can serve this delicious pasta meal. I saw these 'cookme' pasta mix packets at Pick n Pay Clearwater and bought some. Mix #4 contains dried romanitas, tomatoes, mushrooms, olives, aubergines, onions, mix herbs and garlic.
I took a pot; strewn about 5ml salt on the bottom. emptied the packet of 'cookme' pasta mix #4, added about 300g pasta spirals; less than 10ml olive oil and covered the contens with boiling water. Thereafter placed the pot on the stove at med-low heat. I stirred the mix a few times and when all were nicely tender, I served the mix with some crumbled feta and grated chedder cheese.
The 'cookme' webpage even has a video to watch for real dummies. The instructions on the packet are very simple to follow, assuming you know how to cook pasta.
If you can handle scissors, a fork, switches and mix things, you can prepare this meal.
What you need:
Remove thew hake from the box; remove the plastic pockets and place in a small pot. Cut open the sachet of fish stock and add about 150ml of water. Place on stove at medium temperature. Cook until done. Take the rice (cup of cooked will also do) cut open and empty into the pyrex dish. Add about one cup of peas. Flake the fish with a fork in the pot and thereafter spread over the layer peas. I added 5ml of Ina Paarman's seasoning. Cut open the cheese sauce and spread with the fork to cover all the flaked fish. Put the lid on the dish and place in microwave at the highest temperature for 6 minutes. Let it stand for a while and serve.
Martie, that is not keen about white fish responded: "It was worth the wait" (I delierately did not tell her I am cooking white fish).
I have started a new blog titled low-fat cooking enjoyment which would be of value to the domestically challenged.
The kids are hungry; you're busy — make something good. My groceries-list always includes items like canned baked beans and canned pilchards.
We slept late on Saturday; had brunch, which lasted until late afternoon. Martie asked "what are we going to eat".
I opened one tin each of baked beans and middlecut – mackerel and emptied both in a glass mixing bowl added two eggs, some oat bran, chutney and chilli-flakes for extra flavour. Chillied baked-beans would also be nice.
Grabbed my hand-held food blender and worked the ingredients into a fine pulp.
Took my new baby-blue non-stick frying pan, spray-and-cook it and placed it on the stove to heat. Spooned of the mixture in the pan and smoothed it, when brown on the bottom side turned the cakes over.
Once brown on both sides, I removed it from the oven and served fishcakes, with tomato and cucumber slices. Martie enjoyed the simple, but healthy meal.
I often make fishcakes with pilchards in chilli-sauce, onions, some oat bran and eggs. My mother used to make 'bubble-and-squeak' from left-over Sundae lunch of weekdae dinners, by chucking the ingredients, eggs and flour in a bowl. She also made us fishcakes from pilchards.
Remember to rinse the head—and in particular the blade—of the hand-held food blender well to remove all food remains.
Complementary to any braai is a pumpkin tart. Demonstrate your culinary competence next time you offer, is persuade or made to understand it is your turn to cook. When buying the kebabs, chops, steaks, fish or boerewors; go to the greengrocer and buy gem squashes and/or butternuts, onions, garlic and baby corn. Pop in at the supermarket for a packet of self-raising flour, half a dozen of eggs and spray & cook. Now you're ready to impress.
Before you light the fire, rinse the gems (left above), cut in halves, remove the pips with a teaspoon and place the gems in a saucepan with water. Rinse the butternut/s, cut in rings (or in the length as on the right above), remove the pips and add to the gems in the saucepan. Let it cook until tender. Drain the water and let it cool down.
Now you can light the fire, but return to the kitchen. Scoop the flesh of the gems and butternut/s from the skins into a bowl. Clean one big or two medium onions and slices into small pieces and add to the pumpkin. Clean one-two cloves of garlic and cut into small pieces and add to the mix. Break some (2-3) eggs open and add the white and yellow to the pumpkin. Add some (table spoon) cooking or olive oil and self-raising flour (third of a 1kg packet). Add a teaspoon of oil and other spices to taste. Mix well. Spray a large enough dish (allow for expansion of the mix) with spray & cook and empty the well mixed content of the bowl. I garnished mine with baby corn on top and grated cheddar cheese. Switch the oven on 180-200˚C and proceed to check the fire. When the fire is read for the meat, return to the kitchen to place the pumpkin tart in the oven. Check it after about 30 minutes, it should be ready. Remove it from the oven to cool down. Serve with the meat, while it is still warm. Equally nice when cold and keeps well in the fridge to eat with leftover meat.
Martie asked me to make a sweet one next time. Followed the same preparation and cooking procedure. Obviously no onion, garlic or spices. I added a tin of condensed milk, the eggs, self-raising flour and mixed it well. Garnish the mix in the dish with cinnamon-sugar mix and a little honey. The baking process is similar, but this tart are for those with sweet tooth.
Delicious, healthy and easy to make. I put about one desert spoon of Canola oil in a pot and placed it on the stove. Coarsely chopped a fist-size onion and added a 250mg packed of low-fat chopped bacon to fry. Pealed four medium sized potatoes, cut them into cubes and added them. Opened and added a packed of coleslaw (cabbage and carrots mainly). Opened a packed of sundried tomatoes, cut the content into smaller pieces with the kitchen scissors. Opened and added a pack of washed and chopped spinach. Added a little water, closed the pot and lowered the temperature to simmer.
After a while I opened the pot and stirred the mix well. Took two 400g rolls of puff pastry—one brown bread flour, the other cheese and herbs—and unrolled one at a time. Spooned half of the mixture onto each pastry strip; crumbled a wheel of feta cheese over each and rolled each up. Placed both rolls onto a baking tray and grated some cheddar cheese on top for garnishing.
I thereafter placed the baking tray in the heated oven and lowered the temperature to 200 ˚C (I've switched the oven on about 230 before I started with the pastry) for about 25 minutes, where after I've switched the oven off. I attended to another errant and on return remove the rolls from the oven a dished up.
People differ! One person's preference is another's nightmare. My beloved Martie bought these books on how to be organised and then becomes depressed that she cannot be as organised as prescribed. I keep on telling her "darling, relax, that is not how you do things". Before buying that book or trying that magazine article on how to organise your life, get to know yourself. What makes you tick? Another person's mess might be your happy place.
I've many times took my mother-in-law buying her necessities. With her walker (three-wheeler) she would take off in this direction and then in that direction, driving me nuts. I prefer starting at the far end of the supermarket, consulting my shopping-list every so often, snaking through the isles—doing the fridge and freezer lanes last.
As teenager, I made my parents a paper-roll grocery note-board: I took a rectangular piece of wood, sanded and varnished it; I took piece of steel wire that I bent in a square, with part of one side missing—secured the horizontal side on top with U-shape pins into the wood and inserted over the bottom horizontal side a role of calculator/cash register paper. I allowed below the roll sufficient space for writing and at the bottom end of the plank I mounted a horizontal strip of metal to serve both to hold the loose-end the paper roll and to tear off. I mounted on the side a clip to hold a pencil and at the bottom a paper-clip to hold pieces of paper. About 35 years later, I salvaged the grocery-list feature from my parents' retirement unit when my mother moved into an old-age home (my father passed away about four years ago).
What works well for us, is to record items as they need to be replenished and to take this list along when doing shopping. We used to list on square paper pieces and keep the list in a cube-clip (we have now converted to the paper-roll). When I go grocery shopping—usually once a week—I take the list with and further use my discretion. I would replenish basics (such as eggs, cheese, self raising flower, etc.) and look at the vegetables in season and buy variety. I further by fish, chicken and occasionally red meat. Then there are the regulars, such as yogurt, milk, salad ingredients and fresh fruit.
Martie has many times suggested that we draw up a menu for each week and then buy groceries accordingly. However sound this idea, we never do get round to execute the idea. I prefer the notion of a selection in the fridge and cupboards—when dinner time, I would look in the fridge and decide what to cook. I try to make sure we eat a balanced diet. When entertaining, I would give consideration to the menu and make sure a buy what is needed.
When you have small children, make sure you buy child-friendly food, but check the ingredients. Remember to buy suitable provisions for lunch boxes, etc. I always felt is better to have a small supply of treats hidden in the cupboards than having the mission out when treats are called for.
When on a tight budget, it is best to upfront decide what is necessary and then only buy those items.