Thursday, January 14, 2010

Are you kidding? I use my oven to store shoes.

Do you remember that episode of Sex and the City where Miranda asks Carrie if she has a rolling pin and Carrie tells her that she uses her kitchen as storage space? Well that was basically my attitude when I first moved out of home almost six years ago.

I didn't know my cheese grater from the vegetable peeler. If I tried to cook, it was usually some strange variety of jaffle. I think my boyfriend even documented my first attempt at cooking, that's how pretty it must have looked.

Over the years I have come to love cooking. Let me reiterate that, I said cooking not baking, Madeline baking is still a disaster. I find it relaxing and rewarding to buy fresh produce and create something yummy that my boyfriend and I will love.

There are a few things that have helped me get to this point, they are:
  • Jamie Oliver- his collection of books focus on colour, variety and taste rather than precision and prettiness. Maybe he was thinking of me when he wrote it? My favourite is Jamie's Italy. The pesto page has been used so much that it is now covered in flecks of basil leaves.
  • This website is absolutely fantastic, it has such a variety of recipes to choose from. The site itself is very user friendly, giving us cooking beginners many search options. You can choose from ingredient, low fat, cooking for two, holidays.....The best part about this site is the fantastic user reviews at the bottom of each page. I like to scour these for helpful hints on how to best execute the recipe.
  • Google- Yes this does seem pretty obvious, but over the years I have found so many wonderful recipes just by searching Google. I am ashamed to say that I don't really follow food blogs as such, instead I just find my favourites for specific recipes I've tried and loved.
  • Having good quality utensils- I know that as a student, it is almost impossible to purchase the entire line of Le Crueset, however if you do have some cash to spare, perhaps purchase one good cutting knife and a non-stick frying pan and pot. These basically got me through five years of university student povness.
  • The fresh produce markets- Regularly going to the produce market has allowed me to revel in yummy fruit and veg and always find the best quality food. I think if you buy the bulk of your weekly groceries from the markets, it will really help you save a lot of money, cut down on wastage and ensure that you are planning healthy and in season meals. This way is basically fool proof for always having something yummy to eat. For lunch today I will be eating a lovely eggplant, squash and tomato soup.
What are your cooking tips for beginners?


  1. Totally remember and love that episode. Maybe I should start using my stove to store my shoes... hmm...

  2. Always use ingredients you love. Generally if there is a recipe with an ingredient in it you don't like either take it out or don't try it - tastes may taste different mingled but they effect your tastbuds in the same way. Thats why you almost never find something you don't like where you like all the ingredients that have been used to make it.

  3. You should Krysten!

    That's such a good point Rachel :)

  4. your bloh is so cute! i love it! i love how you write. i have started to love cooking too

  5. Thanks Blicious and Flor :)

    Cooking is good for the soul I say!

  6. If you can read - you can cook!

  7. haha i love that picture!

    lovelove, M.

  8. Simple and to the point Sarah, I love it :)

    Thanks M.!

  9. Thank you so much for this. One of my new years resolutions is to be a better cook (I can bake pretty well) so the list above should help!

  10. I'm glad I've helped :) That's fantastic Crystal!

  11. What an amazing looking fridge!
    Cooking tips... fresh, simple ingredients simply prepared. And only cooking properly when you want to!

  12. Haha, that image is quite funny. I'm not very good at cooking so I can't give any tips.

  13. Thanks for the tips Esme!

    It is a funny pic Jess, I love it :)

  14. Until my boyfriend moved in, I used my oven to store back issues of Vogue. I actually had to call the plumber in because I thought it was broken (I couldn't turn it on). It wasn't broken, he had to show me how to light the stove.

    Putting that aside, I do love to bake. One of my favourite recipes is Gordon Ramsay's hot chocolate fondant. It is *the* easiest dessert recipe in the world, and very impressive for dinner parties (just add scoops of French vanilla ice-cream and fresh berries).

    Here is the recipe if you get inspired:

    Stephanie Alexander's Cook's Companion and the Silver Spoon are the bibles in our house. I'm also thinking of buying Julia Child's books (after seeing Julie & Julia on the plane).

    Bon app├ętit!

  15. Love that comment belle! I love love loved Julie & Julia, it actually gave me the inspiration to start blogging. Definitely considering buying Julia Child's book! Love that you used your oven to store Vogue- a true fashion lover :)

  16. "try to not burn the kitchen"...I kinda did it...once...


  17. I set my favourite tea towel on fire 2 months ago, so I'm no master chef :)

    Thanks nookie!

  18. THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU! Seriously, I thought there would be no hope for me. Reading that list though has given me some confidence.

  19. You're welcome! Read une belle's comment, it's really helpful :)

  20. The picture is so cute and I really like how you write:)

  21. my hamish who is a sous chef (classic french trained, yet prefers to cook asian style... but that's a long a rambling story...) has taught me a few tips along the way. to be honest i learn from him all the time. some tips:

    You would be surprised at the amount of salt/pepper/butter most restaurants use... do not be scared of salt... taste and salt.. taste and salt etc...

    Some of the best knives and cooking utensils can be found in asian grocery stores or asian cooking stores... you don't need global knives.. you can get MUCH better if you want to go down that path.. they are merely a name.

    use VEGETABLE or CANOLA oil when cooking, screw what the cookbooks say about olive oil - as hamish says olive oil is for dressings etc, when roasting use the above.. using a wok use the above with a dash of sesame...

    use good quality butter.. ler park or whoever it's spelt or lescure if you can source it...

    one word: BUTCHERS! not supermarkets!! if you want a really good quality meat or even for a decent sausage.

    gordon ramsey's books are 'bibles' so to speak.. as opposed to other 'celebrity' chefs..

    have fun... there is no such thing as a mistake when you're learning.

    long comment!! sorry!!

  22. Don't say sorry Mez, that's really good advice :) Thankfully I'm not a beginner now, though I will use a lot of those tips!

  23. im with mez, sesame oil for stir frys makes a huge taste difference!
    i heard peanut oil is a good one to use but haven't tried it yet!!

    also, deliliah is the cutest! i loved it when she did her little WOOF
    sooo cute.
    i am going to work on a video blog with my dog!!

  24. just discovered your blog and love it already! great post x

  25. I totally recommend the "cookie and biscuit bible" for sweet treats. It has so many hints and tips and hundereds of amazing recipes.

  26. haha! I remember that :)

    I always tell my bf, that our kitchen will be my wardrobe :D

    Watching the waves

  27. The more cheese you add, the better it tastes. That's me best cooking tip!

  28. cute pic-I love to cook on occasion! xo

  29. Thanks cotton socks! Would love to see a video post with your puppy!

    Thanks daisychain, will look into that book :)

    Fantastic motto Retro Chick and one my bf adheres to!

    Thanks ilovefashion :)

  30. Ohh you're a foodie too, yay! :)

    I couldn't agree more about Jamie. I own all his books and he's the only author who has never failed me! ie ALL of his recipes work out perfectly.
    Same for the produce markets - I go every week. You get the best stuff and its so much cheaper.
    When I have to go to the supermarket now I resent it as the quality is so poor yet it's so expensive :(

    Have a great weekend hon!

    <3 xxx

  31. Oh I'm a big foodie PB! So agree about the supermarket, at the best of times, the produce is cheap rubbish!

    Have a good weekend too! ♥

  32. I love that photo!!!! Sooo amazing, shoes and cupcakes, it's doesn't get better than that ;)

  33. That photo is completely fabulous! I need to get more into cooking, ha!

  34. Thanks Francy :) Love your blog by the way!

  35. i love that image. cupcakes and shoes yum!

  36. thanks taylor! It is a gorgeous picture :)

  37. Love the photo :P
    xoxo. Angie

  38. haha cool post..i wanna make my fridge to keep my shoes


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