A Beginners Guide to Cooking

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Published: 29th June 2012
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For many, cooking is seen as a costly, time-consuming and quite often daunting activity for those who haven’t got the time or much experience when it comes to cooking. The thought of trying something new may be appealing but many cannot quite muster the motivation to go forth and do so.

There are however a number of advantages in taking the leap and venturing into the culinary realm and it really is not as hard as you may think.

Cooking your own meals from scratch can ultimately save you time and money. A little stint in the kitchen can take care of several future meals and thanks to the freezer, perhaps a few more.

Pasta dishes are a good starting point for beginners as the key ingredients; pasta and sauce are widely available in many flavours, shapes and sizes in your local supermarket. It’s easy to cook up a quick and tasty meal which you can have for dinner and perhaps lunch the following day. As you gain more confidence in cooking, why not experiment with your own variations by adding in additional ingredients such as mushrooms and peppers or even make the pasta and sauce from scratch.

Bread-making is also an easy and rewarding way to get into cooking. An episode of Hugh-Fearnley Whittingstall’s television programme ‘River Cottage Every Day’ recently aired on Channel 4 which focused on bread-making promoting how easy, delicious, satisfying and quick it is for anyone to make at home. One featured recipe was for Guinness, apple and cheese soda bread which only takes 3-4 minutes to make and pop in the oven.

Bread is such a versatile food and as there are so many different varieties, it makes another ideal starting point for a beginner cook to get stuck in to and later experiment with.

Making your own variations of traditional recipes allows you to discover new flavours as you can produce something you can be proud of. For example you could change the fillings in tarts and cheesecakes or even adapting the classic sausage and mash dish by adding spring onions and cheese to the mash and wholegrain mustard and red wine to the gravy.

In many cases, what comes out of the oven will often not quite match the recipe book picture, although practice does indeed make perfect and a certain degree of trial and error is involved – which is what makes cooking exciting as the possibilities are endless.

The finished product of your cooking efforts is always something you can take pride in as it is a rewarding and relaxing way to escape and unwind from your day-to-day life. Also having known exactly what has gone into your dish makes it even more satisfying.

If you’re a relatively experienced cook in baking, but a complete beginner to Thai cuisine for example, why not branch out and try a totally new cuisine? With a little guidance to get you going there is nothing to stop you from moving out of your comfort zone and trying something new.

With a little practice or a cookery lesson or two, you can quickly build up your confidence in the kitchen and perhaps find something you have a great passion for – you don’t know until you’ve tried it!

The Cookery School at Braxted Park runs a whole host of cookery courses
for complete beginners in many different cuisines. It aims to not only encourage people of all abilities to improve their cooking skills, but also provide them with an unforgettable culinary experience.

For more information about The Cookery School at Braxted Park
and its courses, visit www.braxtedparkcookery.co.uk or call 01621 890300.

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