My rents won't believe it, my friends won't believe it, my husband sees and tastes it and he barely believes it... but yes, I have been cooking.
Before I continue you must know that I have a history of experimental, disastrous but mostly and simply just BAD cooking.
I once burnt a pan of poached eggs so badly that I had to leave it outside on the front doorstep to avoid toxic poisoning (from the melted plastic), only for the postman to later feel the need to ring on the doorbell, present me with the pan and ask 'Is this yours?'. As you can guess that pan ended up going straight into the dustbin (after the smells had decreased in toxicity of course...).
This only caused minor embarrassment compared to the countless number of burnt baked goods and experimental 'blue cheese sausage and chicken hot pot'.
So there we have it, proof of my awful cooking skills. It was never that I didn't want to cook or couldn't be bothered, just that whenever I did, every failure just took away another chunk of my motivation to try. But then something happened that rekindled my motivation and wants to reattempt this cooking business... WIFE DUTIES.
As I've mentioned before, my engagement, wedding and marriage happened all kind of at once. There was little time to prepare a celebration let alone time to consider any wife prep. SO.. taking my living circumstances to their complete advantage my mother-in-love has taken the liberty at teaching me a few things.
Before I was even dating her son, Fatima's cooking was literally the best thing I have ever tasted. NO exaggeration! Like, actual, complete top restaurant quality and with lots of Venezuelan and Portuguese style foods.
I have learnt many tips and quite a few recipes. Simple things like Arepa's, Rice, Fried Plantain, Salted Potatoes and a few more complicated dishes such as Seasoned Tilapia, Seafood Piella and Gordon Blue. Honestly, I'm loving it.
We have another friend that's been teaching me too. A wonderful lady from Mexico that cooks Mexican food like a boss. I am having lessons at her house a few times a week. My favourite meal so far has been Tostadas. And their so, so simple. I'm no good at writing down recipes or methods. I make notes of my own but I know only I would be able to cook from the unidentifiable scribblings. But here is an attempt at what you do... essentially..
- Cook meat (any cut of beef) in a slow cooker - add water, whole onions and salt and let cook for six hours or so. (sounds like a long time but if you put it on in the morning before you go to work you'll be sorted.)
- Wash Pinto beans and slow cook them for three hours - add salt.
- Make tomato sauce (not like ketchup!) - chop and put tomatoes into a pan with the water from the slow cooked meat (do not add extra salt!!!).. wait till the tomatoes are soft then mix in blender, adding oregano.
You're then pretty much ready to start plating up..
- Take two tortillas at a time and fry them in a pan of oil, covering and flipping them until they're crispy. (make sure oil is on high heat setting)
- Take an already fried tortilla, spread on the pinto bean mixture (put beans into pan just to heat up and make extra smooth), shred the meat and place atop of the beans, drizzle the tomato sauce over your Tostada... DONE.
Serve with lettuce (to maintain ultimate freshness level whilst already chopped, leave submerged in water), chopped red onions, cheese (optional), sour cream and salsa (also optional)
It really is very simple and when you layer everything up the taste is just so fantastic.. my tummy is rumbling at the very thought!
I've also learnt that it's better not to be so specific on ingredient amounts, but to try and measure with only the judgement of your eyes and taste-buds.
I'm still very much a beginner but so far I'm really enjoying it. Every course that turns out good gives me just a little bit more confidence to try next time. This Sunday Juan's Mum and Dad go away for a month and it will be the first time I'm in charge of feeding the two of us. Something that maybe doesn't daunt every twenty three year old, with a possible few years of student-skilled cooking and maybe young adult or even childhood of culinary skills behind them. Truth be told, and maybe I should be ashamed, but it does really daunt me. But I'm really excited to try. After all, it won't be long before scheduling a week of meals, on a weekly basis is just part of ordinary life.. (whatever ordinary life is????!!!)
WISH ME LUCK.....
(below evidence of my new exotic cooking skills. Tostadas - bottom left)
Brit. U.S.resident. Lover of Opera. Believer of dreams.