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Sarah's Blog: Learning to cook

Hello everyone, my name is Sarah and if you’ve been reading my blog you’ll know that I’ve been going to regular cooking classes which are organized by Jamie Oliver, the famous television cook. In my last few posts I wrote about what we’ve learnt in these classes, how you can cook the dishes we have been making and how important I think it is to learn more about cooking so that we can all have more independence and fun in our kitchens!

This weekend's class was even better than the last one and I’ve lots more to share with you this time about how these classes are helping to make me feel more confident in my own kitchen. This week we learned how to make stir-fry. Obviously you can choose your own ingredients, or leave out the meat part if you are vegetarian. We used strips of beef, onions, peppers, carrots, spring onions and topped it all off with garlic, chilli, ginger and soy sauce. If you don’t like any of those things, then leave them out or swap them for something you do like.

First we had to wash our hands properly; we all know that we need to do it before starting to cook and it really is important for our own health and good hygiene in our kitchens. We all tied our hair up too so that we didn’t end up getting a hair ball! Then it was time to conquer the task in hand. We chopped, sliced, peeled and sprinkled our ingredients.

We began by frying the beef. Now a lot of people just dump all of their vegetables on top of their meat when they’re doing a stir fry but I've learned that you’re not supposed to because you need to get the meat cooked properly first. Then, when it was fully cooked through, we put the beef into a bowl on the side and chopped our vegetables and put them in another bowl too. Next you need to drizzle a little oil (we used fancy olive oil, but any vegetable oil is fine) over the vegetables. Then add a splash of soy sauce, sprinkle your finely chopped garlic, chilli and ginger into it and give it a good stir to help the flavours soak into the food.

When you are ready, everything goes back into the wok or big frying pan if you don’t have a wok. You need to let it all fry together for a few minutes. Remember to keep stirring everything, it’s a stir fry after all! When you get the perfect balance between soft and crunchy with your cooked ingredients, and that’s really up to you to decide, it’s ready.

Then you need to cook whatever you have decided you are going to serve with your stir fry. I chose egg-fried rice. So to make your egg-fried rice, first you need to have some pre-cooked rice ready. Then all you do is crack an egg into the wok or frying pan with a pinch of salt and pepper and add your cooked rice and fry them together. Simple!

I’ve been able to take what I’ve learnt in these classes and use that at home when I’m making and cooking my own meals. I’ve found that by swapping from buying shop-bought, ready-made meals for things you can actually cook at home means I’m not only saving money but I’m also making something homemade and quite often has a much nicer taste too!

Everything I’ve learned in these classes is really easy and simple to do when you put your mind to it. Everybody can cook, it’s not that hard, you just need a bit of practice to get your confidence, learn how to choose right ingredients and find a nice recipe or two to get you started. Look out for my blog next time when I’ll tell you more about what I’ve learnt at my cooking class.


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