February 9, 2012

Learning to Cook with Jamie Oliver

For many years I haven't really have the opportunity or requirement to explore cooking. I could do the usual stuff like stir fry type dinners, but never anything that required much more than some chicken, a jar of sauce, maybe an onion and some garlic!
However things have changed quite a bit over the last couple of years. Firstly, when I moved back to my parent's hotel, my Mum taught me the art of cooking traditional English breakfasts for 30+ people. For a start I was very daunted by the prospect and lacked confidence, however now I love a busy breakfast. It can be completely crazy, with everyone ordering at the same time, but there is no bigger sense of satisfaction than when you send out the last breakfast, knowing that everything you sent out was great! I've had many people say to me that our breakfast was the best they've ever had, and that makes me proud. In turn that made me realise that perhaps I shouldn't be so hard on myself, especially when we won a breakfast award on one of the days that I was cooking.
However this still left a big hole in my cooking repertoire! When I first started coming to Texas I would get frustrated by the fact that I couldn't find ingredients that I was used to cooking. There is a LOT of pre-made food but I really don't like the thought of microwave meals either. There were several things I could cook but I still felt quite limited in my variation. So recently I turned to my iPad for some inspiration to learn how to cook some good food, from scratch. I came across the Jamie Oliver app which was just what I needed.
It has a mixture of classic meals, 20 minute meals and 30 minute meals. What I love the most is that it is step by step guidance with photos all the way. I enjoy cooking but lack confidence so it helps to be able to refer to a picture to check that I'm doing things right! 
As well as awesome step by step recipes it also has video's on some of the basics of cooking such as 'cooking the perfect steak', 'knife skills', 'cooking with herbs' and plenty of others. The recipes also are broken down into shopping lists which can be exported, plus moving through the recipe is made even easier (for when you have chickeny fingers) by using the voice activated scroll. By just saying 'next' or 'previous' the recipe will move to the next step or backwards through the recipe you're working on.
I've done several of the recipes over the last couple of weeks ... this was my version of the prawn linguine
And this was tonight's success.. Lemon and herb chicken with mash
His food is awesome, fresh and PACKED with flavour. I would seriously recommend investing in the app whether you are new to cooking or a bit of a pro!
However just because I'm learning to cook proper food, doesn't mean that I'm not still cooking these every so often :D

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