How to Boil an Egg and Other Essential Cooking Skills
No one is born a good chef – anyone who’s good at cooking has started by learning the basics and then got better by learning new things and developing their skills. In this article, we’ll look at some of the essential cooking skills that you should learn to become a confident cook. Let’s get started!
Proper Kitchen Hygiene & Food Safety
The first thing you should take some time to learn is kitchen hygiene and food safety. It’s so important to know how to keep your kitchen and hands clean and to learn about how to store and cook certain ingredients to make sure your cooking doesn’t cause you or anyone else eating the food any harm. You can quickly learn this online by reading free food safety resources or by taking a course.
How to Boil an Egg
Boiling an egg sounds like a simple task but it can be hard to perfect it. Different recipes or personal tastes will dictate whether you’re looking for a runny yolk or a hard-boiled egg – or anything in between. Hard-boiled eggs are the easiest as the timing is not as precise. Some key things to remember is to have your eggs at room temperature before cooking them and to plunge them into cold water as soon as they’re done to stop them overcooking. Read this helpful guide on how to boil eggs to learn everything you need to know about this topic.
How to Read a Recipe
Reading a recipe is another thing that sounds very straightforward but can require some knowledge too. You need to learn what the different measurements and oven settings mean for example. One thing that is very important is to always read the full recipe before getting started to make sure you know what order to do things in and to ensure you have everything you need to complete the different steps. Once you’re a confident cook, you might prefer to freestyle your cooking and baking but when you’re just getting started recipes are very useful. There are lots of wonderful cookbooks out there but also lots of free and easily accessible recipes online.
How to Use a Sharp Knife
Knife safety and knife skills are definitely essential cooking skills as most recipes will need you to chop or cut something. Start by learning how to handle a sharp knife confidently, then master how to chop an onion properly – something all cooks have to learn. Once you know how to do that and are feeling confident, move on to more complicated cutting skills like shearing and fine slicing. There’s lots to learn!
How to Cook Pasta, Rice and Potatoes Properly
Knowing how to cook starchy foods will help you create lots of different delicious meals. When it comes to pasta, you want to avoid the end result being a sticky and claggy mess and aim for pasta the Italian way, al-dente. This means that the pasta is cooked but still has some bite. You need a large pan and lots of water – enough to cover the pasta and then the same again. Add salt and bring the water to the boil before adding the pasta. Check the packaging to see how long to cook your chosen pasta type for. It’s usually around 10 minutes for dried pasta. Stir during the first minute or two to separate the pasta pieces so that they don’t stick together.
To cook perfect rice, there are two main tricks to remember when using the absorption method. Measure your rice and use twice as much water and use a saucepan with a lid. Put the rice and water (you can pre-boil this in your kettle to speed things up) in the saucepan, add your lid and cook until the water is absorbed. Keep checking as once the water is gone, the bottom of the pan can burn the rice quickly.
The right seasoning is what makes food sing! Knowing how to use salt is especially important to bring out the flavours of the ingredients, even in sweet recipes. Taste your food as you’re cooking (with a clean spoon each time, of course) and add as you go along. You’ll soon learn to taste what’s a good balance when it comes to salt. Playing around with herbs, spices and flavours is such a fun part of cooking!
How to Make a Simple Sauce
A simple tomato sauce doesn’t contain many ingredients and is not complicated to make but is such a useful thing to know how to cook. It can be used as the base for so many recipes, enjoyed with your perfectly cooked pasta or used as a pizza sauce.
How to Make a Dessert
Last but not least – dessert. All good meals end with dessert and it’s good to be able to make at least one kind of dessert that you can wow your guests with. A chilled cheesecake is a great option as they’re easy to make and difficult to get wrong but they have the wow-factor and can be decorated to look fancy too. Plus, they’re delicious!
I'm a mum in my early 30s with over 15 years of childcare experience working as a private nanny, babysitter and a few years as a nursery teacher. Now I've got my own family too! I love finding great products for mums and kids.
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