So, due to a tweet begging for culinary help, I‘ve been drawn to thinking about cooking.
I believe that a ‘good cook’ is not one that can go to the shops, buy a long list of ingredients, and then return home, weight and measure out all the necessary things from an elaborate recipe, follow all the instructions and make a perfect meal. Of course we all need recipes to start with, to get an idea of the basics, but I think a ‘good cook’ is one that can run to the (nearly empty) cupboard on a cold night with a screaming child clinging hungrily to their leg, and then create something tasty from what they find! No weighing, no lists to buy – just ‘panic cooking’
So in homage to those people, and because I am sometimes one myself, and because, let’s face it, we should all help each other! I am releasing a few of my ‘panic recipes’ here. Of course there are no measurements as I do that by eye and by feel! But once you can make a white sauce (really not as hard as you would be led by great chefs to believe) you are pretty much on the home straight!
1 tin Tuna
Tomatoes – can be tinned , fresh, even jar of sauce
Onions (if you have any – not essential)
Seasoning to taste
If using onions – chop and fry until soft
Put hot pasta and tomatoes/sauce and tuna (and onion) into a casserole dish (oven proof dish)
Stir a bit
you can add chopped black olives to this too and garlic - it makes it look like grown up food! LOL Sweetcorn also works well in this dish!
Throw grated cheese over top
Stick in oven gas mark whatever (6?) for about 20-30 minutes
Can be kept hot in oven for a while on lower heat so perfect for 2nds or late guests!
Cheesy Tuna Surprise
As above but substitute a cheese sauce for the tomato and use leek instead of onion, boil the leek, don’t fry it! Or use peas!
The basic white/cheese sauce can also be used without the tuna for a cheesy pasta dish, or add bacon bits!
Also try potato surprise!
Chop some peeled spuds into inch cubes
Boil them til they are soft but not crumbling
Grate some cheese – make a cheese sauce and save some of the grated cheese for the top
Fry some onions to soften as above
Mix cooked spuds, fried onions and cheese sauce in oven proof dish, add peas for colour if you like!
Sprinkle with the remains of the cheese
Bake for 20 -30 minutes gas 6 ish
The white sauce is a learned thing, you need butter or marg and flour (cornflour is always spoken of by posh chefs but ordinary plain flour works fine) and milk
Melt the butter(or marge) don't bubble the butter! stir in the flour (KEEP STIRRING!) when you have a smooth paste (add more flour or fat as necessary) add the milk gradually (KEEP STIRRING!) once all the milk is in the mixture will be quite thin, keep over the heat and KEEP STIRRING. Wait for the sauce to thicken. Once it thickens KEEP STIRRING and take off the heat – add the grated cheese. STIR!
Ok you’re done. The worst that can happen is lumps – and they won’t ‘ruin the sauce’ or kill you
Did I mention it’s vital to KEEP STIRRING!!
Good luck – feel free to add your own panic recipes below as comments.