Knowing how to cook is a one of the most useful skills we can learn. If we can cook, we can eat healthy dishes made at home with fresh ingredients instead of having to buy unhealthy fast food or expensive pre-cooked or frozen meals. Cooking our own meals is not only healthy and cheap, but can also be fun if we explore cookbooks and cooking websites and find new recipes to try.
Frying, boiling and steaming
Even if you only have a small stove or cooker with a couple of hotplates, you can cook delicious food at home. You can fry meat, fish or eggs in a frying pan with oil or butter. You can also chop or slice vegetables and sauté or stir-fry them in a pan or a wok. Another way of cooking vegetables and grains like rice is by boiling or steaming them. You can peel vegetables like potatoes and carrots before cooking them, and even mash them after they’re cooked if you like. You can also boil other foods like spaghetti, eggs and certain meats, or steam fish and other seafood like crabs and mussels.
With a simple hotplate you can also make soups and stews. The ingredients for these often include diced meats and vegetables as well as a pinch of salt. You can also sprinkle in spices like pepper or paprika or add herbs like basil or parsley. You can even make sauces by melting butter in a saucepan and mixing in flour and milk before adding other ingredients like grated cheese and then stirring until your sauce is smooth.
Grilling and roasting
If you have a stove with a grill or broiler, or an appliance such as an electric grill, you can also grill meat, fish and vegetables. If you’re grilling food at a high temperature, be careful. It’s easy to burn it if you cook the food for too long. But many people love grilling, and some even say it’s the best way to cook fish, steak and many other meats.
If you also have an oven you can roast certain meats and vegetables. In an oven, food is surrounded by hot air that gradually cooks from all sides, so roasting a whole chicken or a leg of lamb takes time. After being cooked, roast meat is carved into pieces before being served, often together with roast potatoes, carrots and onions. A meal like this is sometimes called a «Sunday roast» as it was traditionally cooked every Sunday in countries like England and Australia.
Ovens can also be used to bake foods like bread, cakes, cookies, pastries and pies. The main ingredient of most baked foods is wheat flour. After being sifted to remove any lumps, the flour is used to prepare a batter or dough that’s put into a preheated oven to bake. People often think baking is difficult, but as the following recipe shows it can be easy if you have simple directions to follow.