Basic Cooking Techniques to Try At Home

Updated: Mar 31


With lots of time on your hands, consider trying these basic cooking techniques that you can use in your recipes!


It's easy to grab chicken stock off the grocery store shelf. But if you make lots of soups and stews at home, the benefits are well worth the time and effort! It’s cost-effective, has a robust chicken flavour and tons of nutrients, and it tastes infinitely better than anything from the supermarket. It's also really simple and doesn't require many ingredients, especially If you have leftover bones after a roast chicken meal!


Suggested Ingredients:

  • Whole chicken carcass

  • 2 large carrots, peeled and cut in half

  • 2 celery stalks, cut in half

  • 1 medium onion, unpeeled and cut in half

  • 1 head of garlic cut in half

  • 4 sprigs of fresh parsley

  • Spices (peppercorn, bay leaf, thyme, rosemary or anything to your liking)

  • Salt to taste

Optional step: Roasting your chicken bones and onions with some olive oil will add extra flavour! Roast in the oven at 200°C, or over a roasting pan, for about 25-30 mins/until lightly browned.


Steps:

1. Place all ingredients into a large pot. Cover the ingredients with water.

2. Bring to a boil over high heat, and then reduce the heat to a simmer. Let the stock simmer for roughly 3-4 hours.

3. Discard solids and strain your stock through a fine-mesh sieve.


Some tips:

  • Stocks can be made 4-5 days ahead. Let cool completely, then cover and chill, or freeze for up to 3 months.

  • Avoid stirring the stock as doing so will make it turn cloudy. Skimming the foam that appears on top of the stock can also help with making the stock clearer.

  • Salt your stock minimally, to prevent it from being overly salty once you use it with your other recipes.

  • Leave the skin on your onions for great colour!


You can also check out 9 other recipes of homemade stocks here for all your soup needs.



Ingredients:

  • Oil (olive oil, peanut oil, canola oil etc)

  • Acid (red wine vinegar, lemon, orange, balsamic vinegar etc)

  • Seasonings/condiments (mustard, salt, honey, garlic etc)


Steps:

  • The main thing to remember when making a salad dressing is the ratio of oil to acid. Most dressings use 1 part acid to 2 parts oil. For example, if you have 1 spoon of balsamic vinegar, you need to add that to 2 spoons of olive oil. This is the base salad dressing formula.

  • After making the base dressing, you can add whatever seasonings or condiments you would like to enhance the dressing.

  • After adding all the ingredients in a bowl, whisk them to combine.

  • The salad dressing can last weeks when refrigerated.


Ingredients:

  • Flour

  • Water

  • Yeast

  • Salt/Sugar to taste


Steps:

  • Mix together the dry ingredients and create a well in the centre.

  • Pour the water into the well

  • Stir the mixture until it just comes together in a round ball.

  • Turn the mixture onto a floured surface.

  • To knead the dough, fold the dough in half towards yourself and then push it away from you using the heel of your palm. Rotate the dough by 90 degrees and repeat the steps. Continue this for 10-15 minutes.

  • The dough should look smooth and is tacky to touch after kneading. To test whether your dough is ready, do a poke test. Poke your kneaded dough firmly, if the indentation fills back quickly, it means that you have kneaded the dough sufficiently.

  • Oil a bowl and put your kneaded dough into it. Cover the bowl with a cloth and leave it to rest at room temperature for about 1 hour.

  • Punch the dough down. Do this by pushing your fist gently into the centre of the dough. Fold the edges of the dough into the centre to form a ball.

  • Shape the dough into your desired form and then let it proof for a second time until it has nearly doubled in size.

  • To test if the dough is ready, do a poke test. If the indentation fills back quickly, it is under-proved. If the indentation does not fill back at all, it has over-proofed. If after the poke, the indentation fills back but only halfway, it is ready for the oven.

  • Bake your bread at around 180 degrees until it is golden brown.


Tips:

  • To prevent the dough from sticking to your hands while kneading, wet your hands instead of flouring your hands. Doing this reduces the amount of extra flour you incorporate into your dough which might result in a denser bread.

  • Your measurements for the bread should be as accurate as possible to allow for a more successful bake.

  • A cool and slow rise is better at developing flavour compared to a warm and fast rise. If you feel that the room temperature is getting too hot, let your bread rest in the fridge instead.


Happy cooking!