Cooking Skills

This section of the website is focused on different ways to cook your food and how to avoid food poisoning.

  • Frying, roasting, grilling and steaming

  • Boiling pasta and rice

Get started below.

The most important thing with any skill is to practice, cooking is no different. The more you experiment and practice, the easier it will become and the faster you become too.

 

Frying

 

In the kitchen, the frying pan is one of your best friends. It is very versatile and lets you cook food quickly.

 

Here are some top tips to using a frying pan below.

 

  1. Start with a hot pan – so heat it up before you add your food to it.

  2. Add cooking oil to your pan once hot.

  3. Lay ingredients away from you when adding to the pan – this stops the hot oil splashing towards you.

If your food is cooking too quickly or starting to burn (go black), you can turn the heat down.

 

Roasting

 

Roasting food takes longer than frying, it is where food goes into a hot oven and cooks for a longer period of time.

 

Here are some top tips to roasting food.

 

  1. Preheat the oven – this means turn the oven on and let it heat up before you put the ingredients to cook.

  2. The thicker the ingredients are the longer they will take to cook – try to keep things a similar size so that they cook at the same speed.

  3. You can roast absolutely anything, make sure you add a little bit of oil though, otherwise it will dry out.

Grilling

Grilling food means a high direct heat to food from above or below (usually above). You should have a grill option on your cooker if you have one.

Grilling cooks food very quickly and is generally a healthier way to cook food than frying as you don’t need to add any cooking oil.

 

Here are some top tips to grilling food.

 

  1. Start with a clean grill – really important to stop the spread of bacteria and reduce the risk of food poisoning.

  2. If you have got food out of the fridge to grill, make sure you leave it out for 30 minutes to get up to room temperature before putting it on the grill.

  3. Turn food halfway through cooking – because heat is only being applied from one side, it means only one side of your food is cooking. By turning your food over halfway through you make sure both sides get cooked properly.

Steaming

Steaming food is one of the healthiest ways to cook food, however we would only recommend that you steam fish and vegetables.

 

Steaming involves continuously boiling a pot of water with a pan above it that has holes in the bottom, this is where the ingredients go. The pan needs to be covered and the steam from the boiling water will cook your ingredients.

 

Here are some top tips for steaming.

 

  1. Don’t fill the pot of boiling water too full because it will overflow and in doing so become a fire risk.

  2. Keep an eye on the amount of boiling water in the pan, when water boils it evaporates, so the longer you boil it for the more likely it is to disappear completely. This is also a fire risk, so make sure you don’t leave the steamer alone.

  3. Don’t overfill the steamer – too many ingredients in the steamer will stop the food cooking evenly.

Boiling

Boiling food means bringing a pot of water up to the boil so it is bubbling. Adding ingredients to a pot of boiling water cooks them. The longer you leave ingredients in boiling water the softer they will become.

 

You can boil anything at all, but it is safer to start with vegetables, pasta, rice and potatoes. Boiling meat takes practice and although it is a healthy way to cook meat, it has less flavour cooking it this way. 

Here are some top tips to boiling food.

  1. Putting a lid on the pan will bring the water to the boil faster, it also means you can turn the heat down on the hob and you save money on electricity or gas.

  2. Keep an eye on boiling water – it can easily boil over and become a fire risk.

  3. Check on your food when it cooks – having a knife or a fork to hand is a good way to check if food is cooked or not. Once you are easily able to pierce the surface of the food with a knife or a fork it is almost ready to eat.

Pasta

 

Below is some additional information about cooking pasta and rice – both foods can be eaten hot or cold, meat, fish and vegetables can also be added to make a quick and easy meal. Pasta and rice will form a staple part of your diet so the steps below will be useful.

 

You can buy big bags of dried pasta from the supermarket. These are very low cost and are great to have in the cupboard. Pasta is one of the easiest things to cook, all you have to do is bring a pan of water to the boil and add your pasta. After about 8-10 minutes your pasta will be cooked (check the packet for cooking times). Drain the pan and it’s ready to eat. You can make pasta more exciting by adding other ingredients, you can also cook these whilst your pasta is boiling.

 

Try cutting a chicken breast up into thin strips and frying them whilst your pasta cooks. You can also add some frozen peas to the frying pan or the pasta water and you’ve got a simple meal of chicken, peas and pasta. Experiment by adding different types of meat, fish, and vegetables to your pasta.

 

It is very versatile and goes with most ingredients. It is quick and easy to cook and a good source of carbohydrates. You can buy pasta sauces from most supermarkets, but you can also make your own with crushed garlic, a tin of chopped tomatoes, some salt, pepper and herbs.

Rice

 

A lot of people find rice really difficult to cook, but it is in fact very simple and very easy.

 

You cook rice by boiling it, but the secret to getting it right every time is to get the amount of rice and the amount of water in the pan correct each time. 

The simple way to do this is by remembering the following magic formula.

Double the amount of water (ml) to rice (g)

On average one portion of rice is about 90 grams. The amount of time you boil the rice for will depend on the type or rice you use.  Check the packet for cooking times. The guide below explains how to cook white rice.

  1. Add the required amount of rice and cold water to a saucepan.

  2. Cover the saucepan with a lid.

  3. Bring the pan to the boil.

  4. As soon as the water is boiling, turn the heat down to low and leave the rice to cook.

  5. After about 12-15 minutes the rice will have absorbed all of the water and will be cooked and ready to serve.

For other types of rice check the cooking times on the packet.

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