Cooking

Cooking

Making Connections from Home > Cooking

One of the most rewarding things to do at home can be to spend time cooking or baking, creating something delicious for yourself or to share. Sharing your cooking with others in your household, or your friends and neighbours, is also a fun way to connect with people.  In these days of video calling and social media you can also share further afield – although it’s not so simple to share what it actually tastes like!

On this page we look at how to learn or improve your cooking skills, places to find inspiration for your cooking, where to share your creations, and suggest some long-term project ideas like how to brew your own ginger beer or how to make sourdough.

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Cooking tutorials | Cooking Inspiration | Sharing your Cooking | Longer food projects | Baking

Cooking tutorials

If you need to start with the basics, perhaps if you’re living away from home for the first time, or you just never picked up the skills before, there are some helpful online tutorials to start with. 

But these aren’t just for the beginner – experienced cooks can try something new and learn a new skill too!

BBC Good Food – 25 skills every cook should know

https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/howto/guide/25-skills-every-cook-should-know

  • 25 beginner cooking skills
  • Skills include chopping an onion, boiling an egg, stuffing and roasting a chicken, and making a salad dressing.

Delia Online Cookery School

https://www.deliaonline.com/learn-to-cook

  • From the original TV cooking guru, Delia Smith
  • Simple step-by-step guides, together with video tutorials
  • A collection of guides for different types of ingredient and dish

Virtual Village Hall

https://www.royalvoluntaryservice.org.uk/virtual-village-hall/recipes-baking

  • Online cooking classes, and videos of classes
  • Simple, step-by-step recipes
  • Some also have instruction sheets to print.

Jamie Oliver YouTube Channel

https://www.youtube.com/c/jamieoliver/playlists?view=1&flow=grid

  • Lots of videos showing you how to make simple and delicious food
  • Beginners can start with the “How to…” Playlist
  • From celebrity chef Jamie Oliver

New York Times Learn to Cook

https://cooking.nytimes.com/learn-to-cook

  • A wide range of subjects from cooking rice, to how to make a gingerbread house
  • Be aware that American recipes often measure in cups, so unless you have a cup measure you might need to convert amounts – here’s a handy converter https://www.thecalculatorsite.com/cooking/cups-grams.php  

Instructibles Cooking Class

https://www.instructables.com/class/Cooking-Class/

  • Course structured by techniques, with a selection of recipes to practice each one.

Cooking Inspiration

Recipe Books and Online

Whether or not you have a library of cookery books already, there is a huge array of recipes available online, for almost anything you can think of to cook. Once you have some basic skills, you can follow most recipe instructions. When you’re looking for inspiration, why not look up a recipe for:

  • something typical of the weather or season
  • a favourite, or an unusual ingredient
  • a place you like to go – perhaps a country or region you have visited, or one of your favourite restaurants
  • cooking for a particular diet eg vegan or gluten-free

Here are a few good sources for recipes:

Sharing your Cooking

If you fancy sharing more widely than your household, how about:

  • Sending your favourite simple recipe to friends by email or in a letter, and asking them to send you one in return
  • Teaching a friend or relative to cook something over a video call.  This will take a little planning – make sure you have all the ingredients to hand, and can place your camera somewhere where they will be able to see what you’re doing
  • Holding a video-call dinner party: agree to make the same meal as your friends and eat it together on a video call
  • Sharing pictures of your food on Instagram or other social media. Your artistic presentation will come into its own here!

Longer Food Projects

When you are at home a lot you may be inspired to take on a longer-term food project.  This could be taking all day to prepare a special meal, or trying something even longer term.

Making sourdough bread was famously popular during Covid-19 Lockdown, and there are other fermentation or growing projects that you could try. They usually only take a few minutes’ work a day, but, like growing plants, it can be rewarding to see them develop over time.

Sourdough

Sourdough bread uses a live culture “starter” instead of conventional yeast.  You can create the starter from scratch over about 6 days, or take a sample from a friend.

https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/sourdough-bread

Ginger beer

The old-fashioned way to make ginger beer, starting with yeast and ginger, brewed over about 3 days. It ends up with a low alcohol content, traditional style ginger beer.

https://www.deliciousmagazine.co.uk/recipes/old-fashioned-ginger-beer/

Sauerkraut or other pickled vegetables

If you like pickles, or if you have a glut of vegetables on your hands, this is a great, easy way to preserve from home. Sauerkraut preserves cabbage in just salt and water with some extra spices for flavour, where conventional pickling uses vinegar.
https://realfood.tesco.com/step-by-step/how-to-make-sauerkraut.html

https://www.jamieoliver.com/recipes/pickle-recipes/easy-homemade-pickle/

Yogurt

Making your own home-made yogurt, like any food, can be even better than the shop-bought alternatives. You can make it overnight, or over the course of a day.

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/recipes/0/homemade-yogurt-recipe/

Sprouting beans

A bit like growing mustard or cress when you were at school, you can watch your own beansprouts grow at home.

https://verticalveg.org.uk/6-easy-steps-to-sprout-heaven/

Baking

Often the first thing children help with cooking are cakes and biscuits. It’s an easy activity with a rewarding result. But, as many people have seen on The Great British Bake-Off TV programme, it can get much more complicated if you want it to!

For tutorials and inspiration, the ideas can easily be applied to your baking. Here are a few extra ideas for those particularly keen on baking.

Starting simple – a simple Victoria Sandwich

https://www.bbc.co.uk/food/recipes/mary_berrys_perfect_34317

20 easy ways to decorate a cake

https://www.goodtoknow.co.uk/food/recipe-collections/20-easy-ways-to-decorate-a-cake-35545

Creative Cake Decorating from Cake Lovers on YouTube

Baking for only 1 or 2 people in the house

https://www.dessertfortwo.com/small-batch-baking-tips/

https://www.buzzfeed.com/arielknutson/single-serving-desserts-just-for-you