TV Guide: I learnt how to cook from the best, chop chop

2012-01-14 12:02

There are a few people in my life who love me dearly, but won’t eat anything I happen to cook – to this day.

Even my mother still doubts my culinary skills and I don’t blame her. She used to beg me to come and watch her in the kitchen so I could learn the basic skills, but sadly I preferred being outside with the boys and the cars.

Cars and tools aside, I’ve always loved watching cooking shows, even during my Welfare TV days. I’d come home on a Sunday afternoon to watch Jamie Oliver’s Naked Chef or episodes of Nigella.

Then DStv came along and I became obsessed with channel 180, and every one would complain that, other than motoring programmes, it was the only thing I watched.

Watching programmes such as Barefoot Contessa, Jamie’s 30 Minute Meals and the hit show, Masterchef Australia, taught me how to be a cook.

My cooking skills were disastrous.

I couldn’t even warm a pot of soup without ruining it. Spicing a chop and frying it also proved itself hazardous.

I never knew which spice to use with anything and now I know exactly which flavours work together.

I’ve also learned basic skills such as how long to cook meat and fish and how to prepare produce thoroughly before use.

I’ve also become more experimental and confident in the kitchen.

There’s so much to learn and Italian shows tend to be my favourite – such as Kitchen Boss with Buddy from Cake Boss, Lidia’s Italian-American Kitchen and Everyday Italian.

I keep a notepad and pen next to the TV to jot down recipes and tips.

And then I phone my mother repeatedly to check on some of her own recipes.

When there’s nothing to watch or too many repeats playing, the Food Network on channel 185 is always a good bet.

I now make a mean prawn curry, seafood pasta and my mom’s oven-baked chicken.

Now when I long for my mother’s “huiskos” such as tomato bredie or green-bean stew, I can cook it myself.

The holidays brought the perfect opportunity to prove my loved ones wrong and that my skills have progressed from near food poisoning to scrumptious.

And, there’s no longer the fear that I might burn down the house.

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