Cooking Is Easy: All About Technique

It’s a myth that cooking is always difficult, but it can be tricky if you don’t know how to do it. Read on to find out about cooking techniques, tips and tricks.

Cooking is only difficult if you don’t know how to do it. If you don’t know how to cook your food in the most efficient way, and the way that makes it taste the best, you may find yourself wondering if making your meals from scratch is really worth all the effort.

It is worth the effort, though, and when you know what you’re doing, it all becomes much easier. Figuring out what to fry, what to boil and what to roast will make cooking simpler and more satisfying.

Also, when you are able to cook everything properly, you will be able to cook things in batch so that you can have a meal ready whenever you want it.

Keep reading to find out some tips and tricks about a variety of cooking techniques, as well as some ideas and simple recipes for easy, well-cooked meals. Whether you are a complete beginner, or an experienced home cook just looking to brush up on their skills, there will be something useful for you.


eggs in a pan

Frying has a bad reputation. Countless people will tell you ‘I don’t eat fried food’, expecting that this makes them sound virtuous and healthy. The words ‘deep fried’ will strike fear into the heart of anyone trying to eat clean.

Fried food isn’t all bad, though, and it is an effective way to cook some types of food. Frying doesn’t always mean deep frying in copious amounts of oil, and the words ‘pan fried’ will often appear on the menu at good restaurants.

At its most basic, frying is the process of cooking food in hot oil, or another kind of fat, for example butter. It is a simple and useful way to cook most kinds of meat and fish, and some vegetables.

A pan fried chicken breast is a great quick dinner when teamed up with some potatoes and salad. Start with a skinless, boneless chicken breast. Some people like to flatten their chicken breasts slightly before cooking, to ensure that they cook more evenly.

This is not necessary but might make things easier for a first-time cook. To do this, you need to wrap the chicken breast in cling film and hit it lightly with a mallet, rolling pin, the flat part of a knife, or anything else heavy enough to slightly squash the meat.

Heat a frying pan over a medium heat and add a drizzle of oil. Which oil you use is up to your personal preference – many favour olive oil due to the light flavour it imparts, but others find that vegetable oil is the most versatile. If you are unsure, read some information about different types of cooking oil and their ideal uses before you make a decision.

Depending on the size of your chicken breast, it will need somewhere between 1-3 minutes on each side. It may take a few attempts to get the hang of cooking it, but the important thing to remember is: if your chicken is pink when you cut into it, it is undercooked and needs to go back in the pan.

Pan frying is also a great way to cook steak, salmon fillet, and many other types of meat and fish. Stir frying is a great way to cook cubed chicken, prawns, or vegetables. Shallow frying battered fish will give you a delicious ‘chip shop style’ piece of fish. Deep frying is a great way to cook chips/fries.

What about when you just want an easy meal that will take less than five minutes from start to finish? That’s where a fried egg comes in: crack an egg into a hot frying pan with a little bit of oil or butter, cook for one minute, then put a lid on and cook for another minute or two. Your egg will have a crispy bottom and a delicious runny yolk, perfect for serving on toast, or on top of a salad.

Roasting and baking


This one might seem like the most time-consuming way to cook things. Putting your food in a hot oven and waiting hours for it to cook may not seem very appealing to someone who is short on time. It is, however, a great way to cook meat, potatoes, and vegetables.

If you worry that roasting your food will take too long, then you might want to plan it around your other duties. Put some chicken, beef, pork or lamb in the oven before you sit down to complete some work, or before you start a workout, and come back to it 30 minutes to an hour later.

It is a good idea to cook a large joint of beef or a whole chicken on a weekend, as you can then use the meat for quick lunches and dinners during the week.

A baked potato is one of the most delicious yet most simple meals. Many people have the misguided impression that they need baking for hours on end. This is not true.

While twice-baking your potatoes might be nice if you are looking for a little extra something to impress friends, simply piercing a potato a few times, wrapping it in tinfoil, and sticking it in the oven for around 45 minutes will work perfectly fine for an easy evening meal.

Roasted vegetables are a delicious and sophisticated accompaniment to any meal. Vegetables that take well to roasting include carrots, aubergines, courgettes, and cabbage. Try chopping carrots lengthways, drizzling them in honey and mustard, and putting them in a hot oven for 30-40 minutes.

For a more Mediterranean feel, slice some aubergines and courgettes, cover them with a splash of olive oil and a sprinkle of mixed herbs, and roast them for around 30 minutes.

For a more impressive vegetable accompaniment, to serve as a side dish when entertaining friends, you could layer chopped red cabbage in a dish with red wine and apples before baking it in an oven for at least an hour.

Boiling and poaching


Boiling is sometimes considered an old-fashioned way to cook things. It brings to mind images of the boiled cabbage you might have eaten at school, and of big pots of boiled stew being served up for every meal until it’s gone.

Not many people would think of boiling as the best way to cook a piece of meat. They imagine that the meat would be soggy and flavourless.

The word ‘poaching’ may be an easier one to swallow. Poached eggs are an established breakfast favourite, and even mention of poached chicken or poached salmon would elicit the same response as their boiled counterparts. Boiling is a good way to cook a joint of ham so that you can slice it up for sandwiches and salads.

The difference between poaching, simmering and boiling lies in the temperature of the water in which your food is submerged. Poaching is the gentlest technique, while boiling involves water that has literally come to a boil.

Boiling remains the best way to cook pasta, and many other kinds of grain. Pasta should be cooked in a pan of salted boiling water, and if you are in a rush, you could throw some frozen vegetables into the pan near the end of the cooking time, before finishing the dish with a sauce made from tinned tomatoes once you have drained the pasta.

While some recipes would tell you that the only good way to cook rice is in a dedicated rice cooker, not everyone is able to buy a piece of equipment to do the job, and find that a pan of water will suffice for cooking up some rice to go with their curry.

If you like eating eggs, and often find yourself in a hurry to eat something before you rush out of the door, then you should boil some eggs at the start of every week. If you keep them in the fridge, either peeled or unpeeled, then you have something to snack on to stave off the hunger when you have no time to cook.

No cooking required


The best kind of meal is the one where you don’t even have to cook, but simply assemble delicious ingredients on a plate and tuck in. This does not mean that you have to go for a raw food diet – though some people find this way of eating enjoyable and good for them – but it does mean that you may have to cook some things in batch and keep them in the fridge or freezer to throw together without any effort.

The easiest no-cook meal is a salad. If you make sure that you always have some salad ingredients in your fridge, you will always be able to put a quick meal together. Make salads from lettuce, cucumbers, tomatoes, olives, boiled eggs, pickled beetroot, or whatever you fancy!

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About the author


Reader, writer, blogger, part-timer, volunteer, all things to all men. I can usually be found wearing yellow clothes and drinking green tea. Some of my favourite things include waterfalls, polar bears, rum, and charity shops.

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