Facing your cooking fears


On this morning’s radio spot we talked about making stuff at home you’d normally not even consider attempting. For me it’s about facing my cooking fears and not being so scared of a kitchen disaster.

Yes, making stuff at home takes longer than picking it up off a supermarket shelf.

Yes, making stuff at home means you have to be a bit more organised and even, sigh, plan ahead.

But I’m here to say the results are so definitely worth it.

Take my no knead bread for example. You don’t even need to be that organised. Combine the ingredients (taking 5 minutes tops) in the morning. Come home from work, knead 10-15 times. After dinner bake. It’s seriously a no-brainer – and you end up with a loaf of bread comparable to an artisan loaf you’d probably out fork $6-$8 for for about a quarter of the cost.

Do it. DO IT!

So what’s your cooking fear, your baking nemesis?

Mine is choux pastry. Recipes for it sit and stare at me. One day I will take a deep breath and go for it.

I still have stir-fry disasters but they are largely because I commit the cardinal sin of over-loading the wok. I know I should do things bit by bit and can totally do that when it comes to browning off meat but then the idea of just stir-frying smaller portions? It just makes me tired.

Things people said on Facebook and Twitter this morning included:

Hollandaise – a popular fear-inducer. I still get Chef to make it when needed.

Frying – totally understand this. Deep frying did scare the bejeebus out of me until Gourmet Girlfriend put me onto using rice bran oil – it’s higher smoking point makes it the go-to for deep frying success in my books.

Meringue – I get that. You really need a stand mixer and they can be pernickety – humidity, egg freshness, oven temperature all play a part but hell, at the end of the day smother it in whipped cream and all will be fine.

Sponge cake – again, a stand mixer will make this far less scary. Mind you, the first one I ever made was way back in high school and the notion of ‘delicate’ eluded me. Mum cut it with the electric knife. Not my finest hour.


So what scares you? What do you think of a series of masterclass posts?



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  • Saw that no knead bread on IG and jeepers it looked good! (Link not working though – would love to try it out?)
    Carli recently posted..Lie to me

  • I remember when you used to do those amazing cooking challenge thingys on your blog. Sorry, I have completely forgotten the name of them but hopefully you know what I mean! Have long been in complete awe of your cooking talents.

  • Narelle

    Crustaceans.. I have no idea how to cook the. I can do prawns, but not big things like crab.

    Most pastry and desserts.

    I have pretty much got over my fear of meringue.

    Anything too technical or involved.. I look at long complicated recipes and just think, nah I can’t do that.

  • Nicky

    Fish Sauce, I’m heavy handed and can’t help myself. Have given up after four Chicken Laska’s in a row were inedible despite following recipe to the letter. Local noodle house is delighted.

  • Mrs WOOG

    Seafood in general. X

  • Alex

    Pastry scares the bejeesus out of me. And I also avoid cake recipes where you have to cream butter and sugar together … give me a melted butter into the flour etc or oil instead or just bung everything in together recipe anyday. But that’s just sheer laziness really. Bizarrely, am not intimidated by a meringue. Go figure.

  • I won’t cut up a raw whole chook, I won’t cook anything that requires a meat thermometer, and I’ve never attempted a set custard that cooks in a bath.
    Rachel @ The Kids Are All Right recently posted..Sexual content in popular movies influences teen sexual behaviour

  • I’ll give anything a go – if it doesn’t work – blah, we have beans on toast.

    I do totally understand the concept though – I am like this with sewing! Get so nervous I won’t even start.

    Would love a master class…….on knife skills! I love cooking but would really love to know how to use the tools properly – surely this would help in the long run?
    Meags K recently posted..Sibling Traditions

  • I was so convinced that meringues are all about the stand mixer that I confidently proclaimed this at book club last night only to be told that one person’s mother made world class meringue with an electric hand mixer and one person’s grandmother made them with a manual mixer. Next someone will be telling me how easy they are with a whisk….
    My cooking fear is also choux pastry after a couple of attempts resulted in a very thick white sauce.
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