Find an easy recipe

Following on from A Reluctant Cook, I started my exploration of cooking by searching the Internet for a recipe I thought I might like.

I’m happy to eat good quality mince (Americans seem to call this ground beef) so that was a good starting point.

Step 1: find some recipes (a key search term was easy or simple and skim them to see if they have ingredients you like and can buy, not too many steps, and don’t need pots and pans etc you don’t already have.

As a reluctant cook anything with a load of steps or that needed special equipment was an instant No.

Step 2: choose a recipe.

Simplicity was the key here, and I turned up Mexican-Style Mince.

For this dish you mix up a bunch of ingredients, cook them a bit in a saucepan, and then leave it all to simmer for a while. Easy peasy!

I used copy and paste to get the whole recipe into Drafts, including the URL it came from. It doesn’t have to be the Drafts app, but I use my Mac to record the recipe and then open it on my iPad to refer to while cooking. The Drafts app works well for me.

Step 3: read the recipe carefully and make a shopping list.

Beware: some badly written recipes fail to mention ingredients and you only discover at Step 5 or whatever that you need something they never mentioned. Other recipes don’t tell you what quantity you need of an ingredient.

Also beware of language differences, in both ingredients and quantities. A search engine is your friend. If you need to look something up, make a note of what you find in your copy of the recipe. For example, something I cooked recently needed granulated sugar. Turns out that’s what I call caster sugar, so I edited my recipe accordingly.

Step 4: go shopping.

Tip: I used to buy fresh garlic and ginger, carefully peel and chop what was needed and then often ended up throwing away unused parts a week or so later. Now I buy a jar each of crushed garlic and ginger and keep them in the fridge. It’s so much easier, and less wasteful. I like both so tend to add a liberal teaspoonful where a recipe mentions a couple of cloves of garlic.

Decide when you intend to cook and eat your selected recipe and buy the ingredients. The fresher the ingredients, the tastier and more nourishing the food.

Another thing to watch out for: some recipes are for only one part of a meal. The mince recipe I found is best paired with tacos or rice etc. Do you need to add rice or veges or anything else to your shopping list?

Next time: get ready to cook.

Miraz Jordan @Miraz