Category Archives: Cooking Basics

How to … make your own no knead bread

No Knead Bread Titel

Ok now, let’s be honest: Where do you buy bread? At a local bakery? At the supermarket? As much as we would probably all enjoy fresh bread from a quality bakery every day, you have to admit that bakeries are much more expensive than supermarkets. Especially for students, who often live on a tight budget anyway, fresh bakery bread is therefore more a treat saved for special occasions than an every day food.

But the good news is: You can make your own bread – as tasty as from a bakery, though much cheaper and with just 5 minutes of work per loaf. Yes, you will need no more than five minutes (plus baking time, obviously) to make an amazing loaf of bread! And, since the recipe below describes a no knead bread – no exhausting kneading! I have to confess,  my doubts were very high concerning no knead breads, since I still remember how my late grandmother once told me that in order for a bread to rise properly, you have to knead the dough for at least 10 minutes. Well, I’ve tried kneading for 10 minutes several times, and my bread never turned out as great as will the no knead method. So give it a try yourself!

Before we start: You can use whatever kind of flour you like for your bread, what I have written below is my personal favourite, but feel free to adjust it to your liking. Continue reading

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How to… make scrambled eggs

scrambled eggs with toast and lambs lettuce

Sunday morning, you are still a bit sleepy and just need something to give you enough energy for the day? Then why not try to start your breakfast with some scrambled eggs?

Scrambled eggs are a real cooking basic and with a little toast and fresh lettuce, they even make up a great dinner! For the basic recipe to make scrambled eggs, all you need is – of course – eggs (I always take two medium-sized eggs per person, but you can change this if you are more or less hungry), a splash of milk, salt, pepper and some oil for the pan.

mixed eggs with chivesCrack the eggs and mix them with a splash of milk (about one tablespoon per egg) in a small bowl or a cup. If you want very basic scramled eggs, now just add some salt and pepper for seasoning. If you want to try something new, add some chives or other herbs to the eggs. Another version is to season the eggs with a pinch of paprika or curry.

Now heat a little oil in a pan. If you want to, you can now roast some chopped onion or a few cherry tomatoes to give you scrambled eggs some extra taste. When the oil is hot (test this with dipping a wooden spoon into it, when there are bubbles coming up, the oil is hot enough), pour the egg-milk-mix into the pan. Reduce the heat a bit, and stir the eggs well while you let them set. Your scrambled eggs are done when they are still a little creamy and not to “dry”.

Tip: As scrambled eggs is such a basic recipe, you can do almost everything to expand it. I personally like the version with some tomatoes best, but you may find another one that matches your taste best. Try for example to roast some mushrooms, prawns or spring onions in the pan before adding the eggs. You can also mix the eggs with some cheese or experiment with differnt herbs – the only limit is your fridge!

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How to… cook the perfect pasta

Cooking pasta is far from being rocket science: If you stick to those eight simple rules, you can easily make the perfect pasta within 15 minutes.

Rule 1: Use enough water. That sounds trivial, but in fact it is crucial. 100g of pasta need about 1 litre of water. If you don’t use enough water, the pasta sticks together and instead of spagetthi, all you get is a pasta block.

pasta boiling in water

Rule 2: Salt the water. For 100g of pasta, take a good pinch of salt and add it to the boiling water before you add the pasta. Do not salt the water before it is boiling – this could damage the surface of some pots. But why do you need to salt the water? The reason is quite straightforward: taste. Pasta cooked without salt tastes flavourless, even if you serve it with a spicey sauce.

Rule 3: Do not put the pasta in the pot before the water is boiling, it is otherwise much more likely to stick.

Rule 4: Do not reduce the heat to quick after adding the pasta to the water – let the water boil for a couple of minutes before you reduce the heat. With this procedure, you avoid that the water stops to boil and the pasta begins to stick.

Rule 5: Don’t add oil to the boiling water. Some recommend this to prevent the pasta from sticking – but it won’t work at this stage. Why? Let’s do a simple exeriment. Take a glass of water, add a few noodles and some oil. And what can we see now? The noodles sink to the bottom of the glas, but the oil swimms on top of the water. So how should it prevent the pasta from sticking now? By telepathie? So forget about the oil – to make sure your pasta does not stick, you have to follow the next rule.

Rule 6: Stir it. And stir it again.

Rule 7: Do not cook the pasta to long – you want it to be „al dente“, not mashy. Have a look at the time given on the packaging to see how long you have to cook the noodles.

freshly drained pastaRule 8: Drain it, don’t drown it. When the pasta is done, drain it with the help of a kitchen sieve. Some people suggest that you should now pour cold water over it – don’t do that. It is again on of those things that should prevent the pasta from sticking together, but the cold water will just make it – cold. To prevent the pasta from sticking, you can add some oil now if you want to, but if you will enjoy your pasta straight away, you don’t really need to do that. It is more important if you want to use the noodles for making a pasta salad – in this case, a little oil can be really useful.

If you follow those rules, nothing can go wrong – so have fun with cooking and enjoy your perfect pasta!

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