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Cooking challenge - limited equipment, tiny kitchen and a foreign country

Ah, the joys of a Soviet apartment! Still, you're right, that kind of a pasta dish can be easily whipped up in a mini-kitchen. I am certainly going to try this!

Aug 05, 2010
Lost Traveller in Home Cooking

Cooking challenge - limited equipment, tiny kitchen and a foreign country

Ah ,lovely, and everything is quite healthy too! Sounds really good. I have already tracked down the mozarella which is incomprehensibly cheap, you're right! Looking forward to the hummus - this is one of my lunchwork staples but has completely slipped out of my mind (now that I am not working!).

Aug 05, 2010
Lost Traveller in Home Cooking

Cooking challenge - limited equipment, tiny kitchen and a foreign country

Fun! I love crepes and savoury ones are a great idea, in fact, smoked salmon ones are already on my list! thanks!

Aug 05, 2010
Lost Traveller in Home Cooking

Cooking challenge - limited equipment, tiny kitchen and a foreign country

Agreed, fresh pasta is convenient, thanks for the reminder! as you say it's not something I normally buy either but I just spotted a huge variety of fresh pasta packs in the local supermarkets so might whip up some of that with a tomato sauce. And I wish a rotisserie chicken can last us several meals :) But also it's a great idea to use it in salads, this is something I completely forgot about, thanks!!

Aug 04, 2010
Lost Traveller in Home Cooking

Cooking challenge - limited equipment, tiny kitchen and a foreign country

Yes, absolutely right - keep it simple! I think fish is a good idea, a piece can just about fit in the frying pan!

Aug 04, 2010
Lost Traveller in Home Cooking

How do I start cooking?

I think it's great that you are interested in starting to cook! And you are starting at an age younger than most people so plenty of time to practice :)

As most people have already said, it is best to start simple. And never be intimidated by cooking! Yes, there are lots of posh cookbooks and pretentious chefs out there, but when you strip cooking to its basics its something we can all do given some practice and a willingness to have a go.

I'm just repeating here what everyone else has said but find some simple recipes and make them if you think it sounds like something you'll actually want to eat. Soups, omelettes and things like brownies/cookies are always a good start.

Plus, there are lots of Italian pastas that are quite basic using only a few ingredients so have a look at some traditional Italian recipes on the net. You can look up recipes for 'sauces' (e.g. tomato/pomodori) which you can then simply combine with pasta.

In terms of baking, cornbread or sodabread are usually straighfrorward as they don't involve any kneading or rising.

Good luck and keep us posted!!

Aug 03, 2010
Lost Traveller in Home Cooking

Cooking challenge - limited equipment, tiny kitchen and a foreign country

Flatbreads!! Now that's an excellent idea. There are some for sale in the Turkish shop. And they could be combined with falafel from an instant-mix thing, mint and yogurt....indeed!! Thanks for the idea.

Oh I wish I could make a paella but the saucepan in question is woefully tiny and can hold, let's approximate, two servings of soup. Hence my dilemma :(

Aug 03, 2010
Lost Traveller in Home Cooking

Cooking challenge - limited equipment, tiny kitchen and a foreign country

Oh yes, and I should add that most of my own one pot wonders are discernibly winter dishes (chili, chicken basque, risottos) or at least require a much bigger pot. At the moment it's hellishly hot here and my usual fare falls very short of the mark!

Aug 03, 2010
Lost Traveller in Home Cooking

Cooking challenge - limited equipment, tiny kitchen and a foreign country

Wow! Already so much inspiration!

I had actually completely forgotten about Nigel Slater's 'fast' cookbooks (having travelled with none) but will now make an effort to revisit some via the net.

I should have mentioned the frying pan is tiny (hence the need to obtain one more) but I do like the idea of the noodle cakes which i think can just about fit.

Salade Nicoise - I absolutely love it and haven't made it for ages, thanks for the reminder!
Also I like the idea of a takeout main, they do some nice grills here.

It's amazing, isn't it, what happens when one is outside of one's own kitchen, and just how much we're forced to improvise. I have seen my share of student kitchens and so on, but this is so far the biggest challenge yet - and I refuse to be defeated!

Thanks for the suggestions everyone!

Aug 03, 2010
Lost Traveller in Home Cooking

Cooking challenge - limited equipment, tiny kitchen and a foreign country

So, this summer husband and I find ourselves living in a tiny studio flat in Berlin thanks to his work. All is great but for one problem - the kitchen is tiny (as is the fridge), and the only equipment we have is a hob, a single saucepan and a single frying pan and some dishes. There is no oven, no microwave, no blender.

Whilst husband is happy to eat out every day or to eat bread and German salami, I prefer to cook most days and go out on weekends. There is only so much restaurant food once can have.

For once, I have tons of time to cook and lots of great ingredients to hand (there is a market down the road as well as lots of Turkish and Lebanese shops with lots of great stuff).

But what to make with such a minimalist kitchen? it is almost like camping! I haven't ventured out yet to purchase more pans and pots (and we are here only for 5 weeks anyhow).

Have gone through my whole repertoire of salads, coucous and omelette recipes (and we've only been here a week!)

So, now would love to hear everyone's suggestions. Special salads? Non-blendable soups?
Thanks to everyone!

Aug 03, 2010
Lost Traveller in Home Cooking

Too many mushrooms and too much broccolli - any ideas?

Wonderful!!

Sep 02, 2009
Lost Traveller in Home Cooking

Too many mushrooms and too much broccolli - any ideas?

Amazing! I think I have to go buy even more mushrooms and broccoli just to try out all these recipes!

Sep 02, 2009
Lost Traveller in Home Cooking

pljeskavice (Bosnian/Serbian/Croatian "hamburger") in London

Times like this I really wish I lived in London!

Aug 30, 2009
Lost Traveller in U.K./Ireland

Foodie looking for the real restaurants in Sicily

Do try! It is lovely and quiet there and the only things to do are to eat, drink and look at the sea which for me was just perfect. :) And the Egadi islands are a 20 min hydrofoil away, and another world entirely.

There are lovely places to stay there too, we stayed at Ai Lumi B & B and in Chiavi di San Francesco. (They both have websites). I found that some of the places we stayed in, such as these two, actually made our trip, as the places were so well integrated with the city and the lovely design made them seem like a crucial part of the visit, not just somewhere to sleep!

Enjoy! I wish I was going to Sicily in October.

Aug 29, 2009
Lost Traveller in Italy

Foodie looking for the real restaurants in Sicily

We were in Sicily in June and for the places to eat, we just asked around in the towns we visited (Trapani, Favignana Island and Lipari Island).

Every single meal we had (whether planned, grabbed from the bakery, reccommended or something we stumbled upon) was absolutely brilliant. I second Roxlet's idea to just go and see what you find! I found Sicilian food unpretentious, simple, cooked with a few main ingredients which meant that everywhere we went something rather nice turned up, as all the seafood and ingredients were local and fresh.

Most memorable experiences are: Amici del Mare in Favignana town, right on the harbour, and a workers' restaurant in Palermo. Foccaceria del Massimo, (Via Bara al Ollivela). So simple and cheap - we paid ten euros for mains, starters, drinks *and* a giant slice of watermelon. That was ten euros for two people.

In Trapani, we stumbled accross Cantina Siciliana (via Giudecca), a slow food movement taverna. Al Solito Posto (via Orlandini) was another reccomended taverna but we couldn't get a table, as it was packed with locals.

And the Colicchia pasticceria (just off the main promenade) serves the best granitas in all of Sicily!

In nearby medieval Erice, we had cakes at Mama Grammatico's pasticceria (mindblowing cannolli and I don't even like sweets so much!). The trip to Erice was a terrifying cable car trip from Trapani but the cannoli was worth it! You can get there by car as well and I strongly reccommend a trip to the Western coast if you have time - the atmosphere is completely different and you see hardly any tourists in Trapani.

Oh and in my experience, wherever we got a gelato or a vino bianco di casa - we were not disapointed! Even the most unassuming looking taverna had delicious and light wine.

Aug 28, 2009
Lost Traveller in Italy

pljeskavice (Bosnian/Serbian/Croatian "hamburger") in London

I made a note and I'll make a trip there for sure! I'd love to see how they compare the ones in Sarajevo :))

Incidentally, I was in Portobello yesterday and saw a Turkish bakery (just as soon as you get out of Nottingh Hill Gate tube and head to portobello road, towards the pastel houses , the bakery is on the same street as Gelato Mio and all other food shops). They had amazing looking burek in the window! And huge portions too. Unfortunately I had no time to stop and sample the goods but they looked excellent.

Aug 28, 2009
Lost Traveller in U.K./Ireland

Too many mushrooms and too much broccolli - any ideas?

Definitely! I throw some smoked salmon in as well, goes quite nicely.

Aug 28, 2009
Lost Traveller in Home Cooking

Too many mushrooms and too much broccolli - any ideas?

Upmarket mac and cheese - this sounds like something my husband would love.
How do you make it?

Aug 28, 2009
Lost Traveller in Home Cooking

Too many mushrooms and too much broccolli - any ideas?

Broccolli and mushroom frittatas!

Can you really freeze them? I never freeze eggs, after my friend had a bit of a nasty problem from eggs, made me completely paranoid (completely without reason, I know).

Aug 28, 2009
Lost Traveller in Home Cooking

Too many mushrooms and too much broccolli - any ideas?

Great idea! I would have never thought of this! :)

Aug 28, 2009
Lost Traveller in Home Cooking

Too many mushrooms and too much broccolli - any ideas?

Love the sound of mushroom ragout - I think my mum used to make something like this but I never have. Will do so this weekend! Thanks!

Aug 28, 2009
Lost Traveller in Home Cooking

One lunch in Paris, where should we go......

I totally agree with what you are saying in terms of quality, chefs etc. However, I am also saying that 75/85 euros is beyond most people's budget in this day and age. My entire food budget for two people is 150 euros per week! And we are extravagant in comparison to our friends. A meal out for 2 people that is the cost of my weekly food budget is something I'd do once a year, not as a matter of course.

Aug 26, 2009
Lost Traveller in France

Too many mushrooms and too much broccolli - any ideas?

Mushroom ragout sounds great! How do I serve the polenta? I always have a glut of polenta in the cupboard as well.

Aug 26, 2009
Lost Traveller in Home Cooking

Too many mushrooms and too much broccolli - any ideas?

I never roasted broccoli before but that sounds great - love roast veg!

Aug 26, 2009
Lost Traveller in Home Cooking

Too many mushrooms and too much broccolli - any ideas?

Husband just came back from the market with around 5kg of mushrooms and enough broccolli to last us 3 weeks if we eat it every day.

We already have mushroom biryani, mushroom risotto, mushroom omelette and mushoom soup planned. But what about the rest?! Does anyone know any mushroom dishes that can be made and then frozen? Based on their texture I doubt there is much?

Any ideas for broccoli? Other than steamed as an accompanyment, I've got soup and quiche.

Aug 26, 2009
Lost Traveller in Home Cooking

Fresh Tomatoes - What to do?

My favorite thing to cook with tomatoes! It also works well with chunk of mozzarella thrown in at the end.

Aug 26, 2009
Lost Traveller in Home Cooking

pljeskavice (Bosnian/Serbian/Croatian "hamburger") in London

I'd love to know too! I heard of some Serbian restaurants in London, but none of my Serbian/Bosnian/Croatian friends had been there. I can't remember what it's called but it comes up on Google.

I'd say the best chance of having any of those is to make your own, there are loads of recipes online.

Aug 26, 2009
Lost Traveller in U.K./Ireland

too hungry, too tired

Agreed, preparing ahead is they key to eating healthy! And eggs are the original fast food.

Aug 26, 2009
Lost Traveller in Home Cooking

One lunch in Paris, where should we go......

This may well be true, but if we are honest, 75 euros for a lunch (per person, right?) is way beyond most ordinary people's budget. Sorry, there is just no way around that. If you are talking about 75 for two people, that's a different story. Still, it would be a lunch that you have as a special treat not something to do as a matter of course.

For best lunches off the tourist trail, I'd simply get out of central Paris, or make sure I'm at least 2-3 metro stops away from any major attraction. Once in such an area, just go to a local bistro that's full of locals. A rule I'd follow in any major city, to be honest.

Aug 26, 2009
Lost Traveller in France

too hungry, too tired

I used to come home regularly at 9pm so I've become an expert in speedy and 'something out of nothing' dinners.

I got used to cooking extra portions when making soups, chilllis, pasta sauces, lasagnes and chicken stock so I always had something in the freezer to defrost, but if not then I'd make one of these.

A quick bean and fish stew - sautee some chopped red onions, rosemary, chopped chorizo (you can skip it) and garlic. Add two tins of chopped plum tomatoes with their juice, after a few min add two tins of beans (borlotti and broad beans are good). Place frozen white fish fillets on top, let it stew till the fish is done. (ten to fifteen min from frozen).

Stir fry (simply some veg or frozen prawns with noodles), or a pasta with tomatoes, olives, mozzarella, pesto.

It's amazing what you can create from nothing (empty fridge, no energy to cook....) if you keep a few things in the freezer or in the cupboard.

Aug 26, 2009
Lost Traveller in Home Cooking