5 Intermediate Cooking Skills Everyone Can Master
Learning how to cook is one of the best skills you can be taught in life. Being able to feed yourself, nourish your body and unwind in the kitchen is invaluable - we all need food to sustain ourselves, and making it yourself can be so much more satisfying.
When you’ve got a few favourite recipes under your belt, brushing up on your cooking skills can help you to take your most-loved dishes to the next level.
From making meringues to filleting fish, let us talk you through five cooking skills everyone can master:
1. Sauté to Perfection
First up - do you know what to use a sauté pan for? The term ‘sauté’ is French for ‘bounce’ or ‘jump’, which refers to the movement of food being tossed around the pan, and it involves frying vegetables, potatoes, meat or fish over a high heat very quickly in a minimal amount of oil.
This method of cooking leaves food with a slightly different taste to other methods of cooking, helping to stop it from caramelising, retaining more of its natural sweetness instead. Sautéing can be a lot healthier too, especially when you’re using a pan that doesn’t require any oil. It’s important to keep the fat minimal, otherwise you’ll be frying your food instead.
Our sauté pans are designed to heat up quickly and evenly, so you can cook a big pile of veg beautifully in a matter of moments, and you don’t actually need any oil at all, thanks to our unique Total® Non-Stick System.
Specialist sauté pans from Circulon have straight sides, which helps to stop food from being accidentally tossed out of the pan, and you can choose from a range of different-sized surface areas to give enough space for steam to easily escape from your food to keep its flavour fresh.
Quick movements are key for sautéing food to perfection, and it’s also important for your ingredients to be thinly sliced, but it really couldn’t be easier to take your dishes to the next level with this style of cooking.
2. Bake Your Own Bread
Baking homemade bread can feel incredibly wholesome, and all of the kneading that’s involved can be a fantastic stress reliever. Knowing how to bake bread is a wonderfully valuable skill to have, and you only need flour, yeast, water and a little bit of oil to make a loaf.
Note: if you’re using a 7g sachet of yeast, you should use 500g of bread flour, along with 300ml of warm water.
You’ll need to add the wet ingredients to your flour and yeast, bringing them together to make dough, which should be kneaded on a floury surface for around ten minutes. This step helps to ensure your loaf is light and airy with a beautiful crumb texture.
Use every part of your hand during kneading - your fingers, knuckles and palms - to really work those ingredients together. Keep turning the dough and folding different parts of it in on itself to make sure every little bit of it is getting the same level of attention.
You could add garlic, herbs, spices or any other flavours you like at this stage, before adding your dough to a loaf tin and covering with cling film or something similar for one to two hours. Uncover, then bake until golden, which should take around half an hour - it really is that easy.
3. Fillet Fish at Home
Filleting fish might seem a little scary, but once you know how you’ll be able to seriously impress your dinner party guests and make some amazingly fresh-tasting fish dishes in your own kitchen. Knowing how to cook salmon, mackerel or cod is one thing, but having the skill to fillet it yourself is something else.
To fillet a fish, you need to start by removing the fins, before piercing the stomach vertically and running your knife from the tail to the head to cut it completely open. Remove the contents of the stomach and run the fish under cold water, and then take off the head.
You then need to face the tail towards you and carefully slice in between the spine and the flesh, slicing over the rib bones to remove the fillet itself. Repeat on the other side, although this may be a little fiddly, so you’ll need to exercise care!
4. Make Pasta from Scratch
If you love nothing more than a big, comforting bowl of pasta, you can turn this into a much fancier meal that’s more enjoyable to make by making your own pasta from scratch. Did you know that all you need is flour and eggs?
Crack six eggs into 600g of flour, and bring it together using your fingers to begin with, before kneading it into dough, working the mixture with your hands to give it the stretch it needs to be shaped into pasta.
Wrap your dough in cling film and place in the fridge for 30 minutes, before rolling it out, either with a pasta machine or rolling pin.
Create square shapes to fill with puree for homemade ravioli or leave in long strips to be lightly boiled and served with your favourite pasta sauce.
5. Master Meringues
Meringues make a stunning dessert at any time of year, and they’re actually really easy to make. Homemade meringues taste so much better than shop-bought ones, and there’s nothing to fear by giving them a go. The worst that could happen is that they crumble, and you’ll have to use them to make a delicious Eton mess instead of the pavlova you originally had in mind.
For elegant mini meringue nests, separate three eggs. Leave the yolks to one side and whisk the whites into stiff peaks. Next, add 150g of caster sugar a spoonful at a time, whisking the mixture until it is thick and glossy-looking.
Spoon small amounts of the mixture onto a non-stick oven tray and bake for an hour. Then, turn the oven off but open the door slightly to allow a little air in to encourage the meringues to crisp up for the perfect finish. It really is that easy to produce stunning food in your kitchen once you know how.
Want to know more about how Circulon cookware could give you the confidence to improve your cooking skills? Discover more about our Pans for Life here.