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Old 09-25-2016, 05:51 AM   #1
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Join Date: Sep 2016
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Hello from Lancashire, UK

Hi all!!

I'm a newbie here who is desperately trying to improve my skills. I've done a course in France, just 3 days where we learnt a handful of recipes but I want to go from just been good at cooking to really know what I'm doing. I keep finding courses for chefs or courses for bread making or Italian/Thai/Indian food etc but no intermediary course to improve existing skills. I'm not sure what it would teach in all honesty but I don't know how to improve more. Other then practise practise practise, does anyone have any recommendations?

I love to cook, not great at baking, I find it so relaxing and a great way to destress. So hopefully I'll be able to use these forums for plenty inspiration.

Thanks!
Emma

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Old 09-25-2016, 07:23 AM   #2
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... but no intermediary course to improve existing skills. I'm not sure what it would teach in all honesty but I don't know how to improve more. Other then practise practise practise, does anyone have any recommendations?
...
Hello Emma and Welcome to DC!

I think you will have to decide exactly which skills you want to improve. You pretty much said it yourself... practice, practice practice!

In general, you might start with just different areas of a meal.. just like an apprentice would in a restaurant. Concentrate on just soups or salads for a while. Types of soups, clear, creamy, hot, cold. Get down to making basic stocks and what suits you best.

And of course, read lots of the posts here in DC. Everyone has a different technique for everything, probably even to making ice-cubes!

When I try a recipe that I've never done before, I search out 4 or 5 of them and pick out all the differences. Then put together my own choices and hope they work!! I always ask my friends to be super critiques - don't tell me it's wonderful, just because you're a friend and didn't have to cook it. Especially if it's NOT. You might find yourself on the recipient end of constant goodies you dislike!

Others will soon be along to put in their two cents worth.

oh yeah, and you already have the best technique going - you relax and enjoy!
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Old 09-25-2016, 07:43 AM   #3
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...Other then practise practise practise, does anyone have any recommendations?
Welcome Emma,

I think you've answered your own question.

Other than going to culinary school, the only way to really get better at cooking, or anything for that matter, is to simply work at it.

Most of us on DC are home cooks, and we're all here to learn from each other. I've been cooking myself for almost 50 years. Becoming a better cook has been a lifelong journey. Like you, I find cooking to be a great stress reliever.

One of my favorite sources for inspiration and education is YouTube. I wish I had something like it when I was younger. Rarely a day goes by where I don't discover some nugget of useful information.

I also attend cooking classes from time to time. As you're finding out, they don't teach overall skills as much as they do specialized techniques or cuisines.

Anyway... good to have you here. Hope you pick up something from us, and maybe you'll even teach us old dogs a few new tricks.
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Old 09-25-2016, 10:11 AM   #4
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Thanks both, lovely replies thank you. Excited to follow that advice already, never thought to do that in relation to recipes, thank you . Looking forward to learning lots
Em
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Old 09-25-2016, 10:29 AM   #5
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Hi, Emma, and welcome to Discuss Cooking

I absolutely love this book. It's a great tutorial and reference for beginners and seasoned cooks alike: Ruhlman's Twenty: 20 Techniques, 100 Recipes, A Cook's Manifesto

He discusses essential techniques and ingredients in a fun way, with delicious recipes and gorgeous photos. I originally bought the Kindle version, but soon bought the book because the photos are so beautiful and inspiring.

This is from the introduction:

Quote:
When you look at the list of my techniques, you’ll notice that some appear to be ingredients rather than techniques. While they are ingredients, they are also tools, and the best tools have multiple uses. Using these tools—salt, water, acid, onion, egg, butter, flour, sugar—is technique. Each of these entities has multiple uses. Understanding all the uses of a single ingredient is like pumping steroids into your cooking muscles.

Other sections are about working with fluid flavors: sauces and soups and flavorful elixirs. The finale of the book is defined by heat: applying heat to food, knowing what kind of heat to apply to what kind of food, for how long, and then, often, removing that heat.

These twenty are my attempt to organize and describe the fundamentals of cooking for the contemporary home kitchen. They begin where cooking begins, with thinking.
And here's a review: http://meadowparty.com/blog/2011/11/25/ruhlmans-twenty/

Hope this helps.
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Old 09-25-2016, 12:02 PM   #6
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Oh I love a good book gotgarlic, thanks!

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Old 09-25-2016, 12:13 PM   #7
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Welcome to DC. We have a number of your countrymen as members here. We can and do offer a lot of sound advice to each other. But we also disagree with each other just as often.

I think Steve Knoll said it best. Go to YouTube for more food related tapes than you can just barely imagine. From developing knife skills to making the most convoluted sauce going.

Just remember though, if you have any questions, you can always come here for an answer.
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Old 09-25-2016, 06:24 PM   #8
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ARGGHHH! GG I'm over budget this month AND next month's is almost gone too... and you tell us about a book like that.

( I'm gonna stay within budget, I'm gonna stay within budget I'm gonna stay within budget,
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Old 09-25-2016, 06:48 PM   #9
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ARGGHHH! GG I'm over budget this month AND next month's is almost gone too... and you tell us about a book like that.

( I'm gonna stay within budget, I'm gonna stay within budget I'm gonna stay within budget,
Super sorry, sweetie! Um, how about a Christmas present? Tell your family
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Old 09-25-2016, 06:58 PM   #10
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too funny... Christmas presents - as most of my kids live a distance, it is rare we are together for Christmas but of course we phone.

I always tell them how much I loved their gifts and that they have such a knack for getting me exactly what I wanted.

And they always say...

"That's terrific, Mom! So glad you like it. What did I buy you this year?"
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