View Full Version : Cook needs help

26th Apr 2003, 04:21
The much beloved Mrs. U_R works very hard every day, in contrast to the Raptor who has ceased paid employment.

It seems to me that it is right and proper to put a dinner on the table when the loved one comes home.

I aim to please, so I look out for tasty, if simple, recipes.

I can cope with basic level cookery (and, being married to a Birmingham girl, sophistication is not a prerequisite) but, and I mean but:

Why do the sodding cooks always do recipes that include impossible ingredients?

eg: Fry egg - place on plate - take a handful of fresh coriander and shred..................******, you know what I mean.

So my point is:- do any of you have recipes for tasty food that do not need me to have fifty quidsworth of scarcely used ingredients? If I buy all of the stuff in the recipes it becomes cheaper to go out for a meal. And in the Thames Valley, that is a serious cost.


26th Apr 2003, 04:27
Tried it. Abject failure. Now, I go down the takeaway.

She's better at cooking that I am, or am ever likely to be. The consolation is that she doesn't have a PPL.

Oh - and don't order flowers to be delivered. If you don't go and pick them up yourself, you get negative points.

If you pick them up yourself, you may get a +ve score, or she may wonder what you've been up to.

As my old Prof told me

You can't win
You can't break even
You can't quit.

tony draper
26th Apr 2003, 04:45
Just had lamb cutlets U_R, simple to do, with new potatoes and garden peas,and of course some mint sauce,
Not much meat on a cutlet so you will need prolly need eight for two of you,not that expensive, I got four for two quid today.
Just pop the cutlets in a frying pan with a small amount of oil cook quicky on both sides to seal, turn down the heat, cover pan and let em simmer in their own juices.
Good honest plain cooking requires no recipes.

26th Apr 2003, 05:16
Bangers and mash. Extra points if you can find locally made sausages and you don't use packet mash.

Baked potato with various fillings (one at a time).

'Home-made' pizza. Buy a cheese and tomato one and add chopped bacon, olives, anchovies etc etc.

Soup. Chop random veges finely, fry gently, add stock. Add cream if you like. Add potatoes. Add soup pasta - comes in amusing shapes too.

Casserole. Chop up random veges and meat, chuck in a dish with some stock.

26th Apr 2003, 06:23
Dunno what it's called, but BIG favourite chez nous is a corned beef shepherds pie, method:

Flake corned beef, add tin of baked beans and tsp curry powder. Put in casserole, add mash and top with cheese...

Bass cuisine, delicious! :ok:

26th Apr 2003, 06:41
Decent lasagne.
Thing with lasagne is that there are about four hundred thousand recipes for it :) The classic is all fried onion, bacon, mince, veggies, etc, etc., but you don't need everything and you can pretty much chuck in any veggies or minced meat or (unminced) seafood you have. Boil the harder veggies (like carrots) for a few minutes before cucking them into the pot if you prefer a less crunchy lasagne - leave softer ones (courgettes, sweetcorn, cooked kidney beans, etc) till last, they'll cook in the 30-40 minutes it's in the oven. Buy a white sauce in a jar if you don't want to get all chef-y (okay, white sauce is easy to make but it's boring), don't bother with the red sauce, just throw in some sun-dried tomato paste - sounds fancy but isn't and it tastes fantastic. That's the thing with lasagne - be generous with the cheese (buffallo mozerella is fantastic), use an ordinary white sauce, and maybe have one or two nice ingredients and it almost always tastes good, whether it's beef mince, lamb mince, seafood, whatever. (Don't much like the seafood one myself but lots of friends I trust with chillis while cooking swear it tastes great). Throw in slightly nicer stuff and it tastes even better. Just don't try the low-fat version until you get used to normal lasagne - the point with lasagne is that it's a fun dish, not a healthy dish, so it's a little harder to cook a good-tasting low-fat lasagne - I still haven't figured out quite how to do so myself.

Also, if you can cook a nice lasagne, you can cook a nice mousakka :) Just use quickly fried aubergine slices instead of lasagne sheets, and use lamb mince.
Or, add a few spices (if chilli is a rarely-used spice, not to worry, I don't think dried chilli ever goes off :) and cumin and oregano get used a lot too) and leave out the pasta and you have a decent chilli. (ps. Kidney beans and lasagne - perfect!)
Or, add more liquid, don't use mince (use solid cuts of meat cut to bite-size pieces), cook for a few minutes more at a lower temperature and you have a decent stew.

Desserts, can get complicated - but there are really simple ones (which are often far nicer than complicated stuff). Jelly's nice. Jelly and ice cream is georgous. Fruit and custard is nice too - choose the fruits you like and one you're not sure of to experiment (Kiwis and custard sounds a bit odd, but is rather nice sometimes ... so long as you peel the kiwi first... :ooh: ). Baked white chocolate and baileys cheesecake with strawberry coulis and spun sugar ... well... to be honest it's astonishingly easy, but not the perfect everyday dessert either. Fruit and custard is much nicer from day-to-day.

ps. (But you know this) - it's not the meal, it's the company :)

26th Apr 2003, 06:47
Here is a very simple chicken recipe.

Oven at 375 F (sorry, I donít know the English equivalent, Iím on the road and donít have access to my cooking books)

One whole chicken (a young chicken not a roasting hen), washed, innards removed and patted dry. (Around 3-4 pounds)
Seasoned salt
Lemon pepper
(Or any type of seasoning you like)
Butter or margarine at room temperature.
One small onion optional

Rub outside of chicken with butter or margarine and coat skin lightly.
Sprinkle seasoning on the chicken and add some in the cavity of the chicken.
Place the small onion in the cavity.

Place on middle rack in oven on a shallow baking dish.

Cook for 1 hour.

Thatís it.

Serve with rice or pasta or potatoes and a green veggie, I like green peas myself.


26th Apr 2003, 08:00
This is a favourite in my household, piece of piss to make, and damn tasty to boot. You can get the Chorizo at most supermarkets, best to buy them whole, not the sliced stuff from the cold meat counter.

1 Chorizo (about 300-400g) chopped into cubes
1 tub marscapone cheese
150-200g Port Salut cheese cut int chunks
6 spring onions, chopped
3 tablespoons mustard (wholegrain is best but anyway not english - too strong!
300g (ish) penne, or any dried pasta.

1. Cook the pasta, drain and put in ovenproof dish
2. Add marscapone and mustard while still hot, mix until marscapone has melted
3. Add chorizo, port salut and spring onions, mix up again
4. Whack in oven, preheated to about 180-200, for as long as you like, 20 mins should be plenty
5. Eat.
6. Get Mrs U.R. to wash up.

The best thing about this recipe is that it really doesn't matter what proportions of each ingredient goes in, you can just adjust it to suit your tastes, it takes hardly any preparation, and you are not left with any of the ingredients left in the fridge. Oh and it tastes fantastic with cold beer.
:ok: :ok:

I have a plethora of easy recipes which I enjoy cooking, so I may well add to this for your good lady's eating pleasure!!

26th Apr 2003, 09:29
U-R :

Ah, I know this tune only too well.

Try this:

6oz dried pasta shapes (the actual shape is unimportant)
1 tin tuna flakes
1 small jar mayonnnaise (low fat, if your lady insists)
Black pepper
Lemon juice (yellow plastic Jif squeezer is admissible)

Cook the pasta (see directions on packet)
While the pasta is cooking, open and drain the tuna.
Once pasta is cooked, drain and allow to cool.
When cooled, add 2-3 tablespoons of mayonnnaise
Add tuna, and stir thoroughly
Add lemon juice and black pepper to taste.

Cool in fridge, and wait to collect Brownie points.

If you need any more recipies, just drop me a Private Message, and I'll see what I can do.

Good Luck


26th Apr 2003, 12:28
UR you and I are in the same boat. Buy yourself a decent electric wok and a Chinese bamboo steamer. Nothing better for stir fried or steamed veggies. E-mail me for a few recipes if you wish.

26th Apr 2003, 17:57
Chicken Surprise:

1 can tuna in oil
1 onion
2 tomatoes
1 tsp capers
1 fresh chilli
Some pasta

Chop the onion finely and fry in small amount of oil from the tuna. Chop the tomatoes, chilli and capers and add together with the flaked tuna (drained).
Serve with cooked pasta.

For those who can't work it out, the 'Surprise' is there's no chicken... :rolleyes:

27th Apr 2003, 01:15

500g good quality steak
1 large onion
Carton of beef stock (about 500 ml)
Small amount of olive oil
Carton of sour cream (small one)
Lots of mushrooms

(Doing this in a wok is a good idea but it doesn't matter)

Cut steak into very thin strips.
Heat wok or frying pan THEN put in about a tablespoonful of olive oil.
Drop beef strips in and stir around until browned, remove from pan and set aside.
Chop onion and fry in same pan.
Put meat back in with onions and add beef stock, lower heat and simmer for about an hour.
Clean and thickly slice mushrooms and add to pan.
Cook for a further ten minutes.
Remove from heat and stir in sour cream (about 4 tablespoons).
Serve with rice or whatever you fancy.

27th Apr 2003, 04:28
U-R what a decent fellow you are!

How about fish? It is so easy to cook and soooooo healthy and if you and the Mrs are trying to cut down on fats you might want to surprise her with baked almost anything!

Most supermarkets sell fillets of salmon, lemon sole, halibut, wings of skate and tuna steaks...all can be cooked pretty much the same way (there are of course zillions of alternative recipes and the BBC Food website is a good one for recipe ideas - they have a search function based on ingredients you have to hand!). ANYWAY... my foolproof method with fish is ...

- take one piece of good tin foil (shiny side up)

- drizzle on a tiny amount of oil and smear across foil on spot to be occupied by fish

- place fish on foil

- top with a drizzle of olive oil and your choice of one or more of garlic slices / herbs / lemon juice / teryaki sauce / chopped or sliced shallots or salad onions or chopped onion / soy sauce / white wine (you can experiment with other options like olives or gherkins or tomatoes as you become more confident)

- enclose fish in a foil pocket (leaving some air) by bringing sides to top and double fold, fold ends over neatly

- put in pre-heated oven (approx C180) and leave for no more than 20mins. The thinner the fillet the less time required.

the absolute BONUS of this method is you get delicious, succulent fish, cooked to perfection, sauce "all-in" and NO WASHING UP!! hehehehe


P.S. and serve, obviously with rice/new taters and veggies OR on bed of salad leaves ....

P.P.S: do not hesitate to e-mail or message me if you want other ideas - I am a total foodie and love playing in the kitchen! (and this time I mean cooking OK!)... hehehehe

27th Apr 2003, 04:29
A nice but simple casserole:

500g beef. Doesn't matter what as long as it's not fatty. Cut into cubes.
Red wine - lots
couple of leeks
few carrots
few bay leaves
few peeled garlic gloves
some pepper - freshly ground is nicer.

Brown the beef in a little olive oil & place in the casserole pot.

Peel & slice the carrots & fry for a couple of minutes in the same pan that you did the beef in. You will probably need a little bit of olive oil but not much. Spoon into the casserole pot over the top of the beef.

Wash & slice the leeks, fry for a few minutes in the same pan that you used for the beef & carrots. The moisture from the leeks as they start to soften will help deglaze the pan. Place the leeks into the casserole pot over the carrots.

Poke the 3 or so garlic gloves down into the mix, along with a couple or 3 bay leaves. Use a little bit of cracked pepper as well.

Pour in the red wine so that it covers the meat.

Stick on a lid & put the dish in the oven ~180deg C for a few to several hours.

Make some garlic & herb bread + whatever side vegies you like to do eg new potatoes with mint & butter, possibly a side salad (couscous is nice) etc etc

Spaghetti bolognaise:

500gm beef mince. Steak mince is nicer due to the lower fat content.
Can of peeled tomatoes
Large onion
Tomatoe paste/puree
dried basil
dried oregano
few bay leaves
few crushed garlic gloves
some pepper - freshly ground is nicer
glass of red wine
vegie or beef stock cube.

In a large pan or wok or whatever, brown the mince with the (diced) onion.
Add the garlic & cook for ~2 mins
add the can of tomatoes & the juice. Cut the tomatoes into little bits or buy the cans that are already done.
Add the bay leaves, ~ heaped teaspoon each of the basil & oregano, a bit of pepper, the stock cube & red wine, & about a table spoon of the tomato paste ( I use about a third of those tomato paste squeeze tubes).

Top up with water & turn the heat down so it can simmer. When it's nearly reduced to a consistancy that will coat spaghetti....

...cook some spaghetti!

You might also like to sprinkle fresh parmesan onto it when served

Also nice with some garlic bread.

Bit more complicated: Something for vegetarians.

Similar to the bologaise sauce but replace the meat with sliced
and about a cup worth of red lentils.

Also will need
~ dessert spoon of butter
~ dessert spoon of plain flour
cheddar cheese
freshly grated nutmeg
bit more freshly ground pepper

to make a bechamel sauce, and

some pasta sheets (spinach ones are best)
Mozzarella cheese
some sort of herb to sprinkle on top. I like celery seed, but some basil or oregano, or a couple of fresh tomoto slices etc etc

When the bologaise replacement is nearly cooked but still a bit more liquid than for a spaghetti spaghetti topping make a cheese sauce:

Melt the butter in a small pot, when bubbling add the the flour & cook for several minutes. Keep stirring all the while it's cooking. A whisk is best but a fork will work too.

Add a dessert spoon or so of the milk. Keep stirring & as the milk is incorporated the roux will solidify somewhat. Add a few more spoonfuls of milk. Keep stirring until incorporated. Add some more milk. Stir until incorporated

Repeat until you've made a mix that's, say, nearly as thick as milk but not quite (watery cream?)

Add some pepper & a SMALL amount of the nutmeg eg one or two passes only on the nutmeg grater.

Add a handful of grated cheddar. As it melts mix well. Add another handful. Mix well. Keep repeating until about the consistancy of cream.

In an oven proof deep-ish dish layer the bolognaise-y sauce, the pasta sheets & the cheese sauce. Repeat until several layers deep.

After the last cheese sauce layer top with some more cheddar and then with the Mozzarella. Sprinkle whatever herb you want to garnish it with & stick in the oven (150-180deg C) until the cheese starts to brown/crisp.

Have with salads, bread, whatever you like to accompany it.

28th Apr 2003, 03:53
Perhaps for a starter: Torrada Iberica, traditional Spanish Dish

Thick Crusty Loaf (not french bread though)
Some Spanish Chorizo Sausage
Parma Ham
Any other type of spiced meat (but nothing too strong)
Some Sun Dried Tomatoes
Olive Oil


Toast Lightly slices of the bread. Bread should be around 1/2 an inch thick.

Drizzle lightly the olive oil on the toasted bread.

Put the meats on top.

Garnish with the tomatoes

Et Voila! a Torrada Iberica!

Not much in it i admit, but like i said, as a starter, or perhaps as an acompaniement.