Become A Kitchen Master By The Time You're 30 And Kill It At Family Gatherings

Cooking used to be a skill that we all acquired early on in life, helping out our moms and dads in the kitchen and learning as we went along. But with the rise of the packaged meal, ubiquitous takeout joints, and home delivery services, much of that learning process has fallen by the wayside. 

Fortunately, we now have the internet, something that can teach us anything from how to bake the perfect cake to doing eggs three ways. It’s an amazing time to be alive and to be a chef: literally all of the world’s recipes are at your fingertips, something that even the greatest Michelin Star chefs couldn’t have imagined just a couple of decades ago. 

Here are some of the skills you need to learn before you’re 30 to become a kitchen master. 

How To Prep A Meal Ahead Of Time

Adult life is busy, really busy. And so you have to have some tools in your kitchen arsenal to accommodate this. There are all sorts of ways you can prep ahead of time, including whipping up a big batch of breakfast smoothies that you can drink in the mornings or cooking up soup in a big pot to last you a couple of days. One idea is to store your breakfasts in jars on a Sunday night, ready to be poured into your breakfast bowl to kick start your Monday morning

Prepping meals ahead of time, according to Buzzfeed, saves you money, thanks to the fact that you can buy everything in bulk, and saves you time that you can spend doing other things. 

How To Make A Salad That Isn’t Awful

The salad: perhaps one of the most hated meals in the whole of cookery. It’s so hated that Quartz magazine recently ran an article with the title, “Women, we need to throw off the sexist shackles of salad.” 

The problem with salad is twofold: one it’s made wrong, and two, it’s associated with deprivation - something which pretty much everybody wants to avoid. 

Starting off with a few leaves and then adding some chopped salad vegetables is boring, and it denies us the main things that we’re looking for in a meal: a source of energy and a bit of flavor. 

A far better approach is not to start with the leaves at all. Instead, begin a salad by having at least three bulky ingredients. One of those ingredients could be beans, another an avocado and another some sliced chicken or pan-fried scallops.

It’s also worth noting that salad greens don’t always have to be raw. Raw works when you’re doing a side dish or a slaw, but too many raw ingredients can overwhelm some people, especially when you’ve spent a lifetime eating cooked food. Cooked Italian cabbage that’s been dunked in cold water as soon as it’s done makes for a far more pleasant eating experience that the same food, raw.

How To Bake Amazing Cakes From Scratch

Learning how to bake a cake from scratch is essential if you want to impress guests and make your kids’ lives amazing. But, as anybody who has watched Bake Off will know, getting it right every time isn’t exactly straightforward. 

As with all difficult things, getting perfect bakes requires a lot of practice. But with the right training, and with an understanding that baking is no more mystical than chemistry, it’s something that is relatively easy to master. 

The trick, to begin with, is to doggedly stick to the recipe books. Slight variations in the height of your containers can leave you with a soggy bottom or an uncooked middle. Small changes in the ratio of ingredients can leave you with a cake that is dry or flat. Having the oven turned up just a bit too high can burn the edges, making the cake taste bitter. Suffice to say, you want to learn how to avoid these pitfalls. Once you do, all the effort is totally worth it. 

How To Make A Killer Cocktail

What’s the most annoying thing about going on a night out with the girls? The price of cocktails, of course. You can easily blow through $20 for a jug that lasts about two very delicious minutes. 

Here’s the thing: cocktails are actually extraordinarily easy to make. There are dozens of two and three-ingredient recipes out there that provide an easy entry to master the basics. 

Once you’ve got a few of those under your belt, the next stage is to start experimenting with more complicated recipes, like the fabled Harry Potter Cocktails, or those inspired by the Batman series. Master these, alongside your Mojitos, and you’ll kill it at your next family gathering. 

How To Slow Cook Like A Total Pro

Those who discover slow cookers when they are young, or while they are at college, never look back. They’re a great way of turning an otherwise inedible cut of meat into something that’s succulent and moreish. What’s more, it really is as easy as dumping a load of ingredients in a pot and then just waiting for a few hours (if you can). 

Slow cook recipes include things like dark chocolate brownies, black bean soup, slow-cooked garlic chicken and squash and meatballs. Nice. 

Know How To Make Healthy Swaps

With the new year underway, no doubt many of you reading this blog will be on some kind of diet - or at least banning yourself from eating as much chocolate you did over the festive period. 

But one of the hallmarks of a seasoned chef is somebody who knows how to cut out some of the junk in their food and still get the same delicious flavors. For those desperate for something sweet with their muesli, sliced and chopped dates are a great substitute for sugar. Wholemeal flour can replace white flour in most recipes and bean stews can give you that warm and cozy winter feeling you so badly crave when you’re thinking about pulled pork. 

So there you have it: learn these skills by the time you’re 30 and start wowing your family and friends. 

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