Step 6: Some Simple Recipes

The next part of this instructable is a few simple recipe ideas you can start with if you like, and use as a basis for your own experimentation. These are quite general recipes, focusing more on the cooking technique than on the specific ingredients. I’ve tried to give you enough to go on to actually cook something, but also leave things open ended at the same time, so you can start to try out ideas yourself.


They are:


Pasta and tomato sauce.

Vegetable bake.

Winter stew.

Dhal and rice.

Stir fry.

Step 7: Quantities and Cooking Times

Here I’ve just listed some of the ingredients I use and know about, with rough cooking times and quantities where relevant. All quantities are for a meal for two. This is just to get you started – there’s a lot of room for variation depending on your personal tastes.


You should be able to judge the quantities of these by eye, so I haven’t put them in.

– Root vegetables like potatoes, carrots, parsnips, turnips etc take 15-25 mins to boil, about 30-40 minutes to roast.
– Soft leafy vegetables like spinach don’t take long at all to boil or steam – a few minutes.
– Fibrous leafy vegetables like cabbage and kale take a bit longer – maybe 15-20 minutes to boil or steam.
– Onions should usually be fried gently until they are somewhere between transparent and golden, depending on taste. This takes 5-10 minutes.
– Mushrooms, celery and peppers all cook pretty quickly – 5-10 minutes.
– Fresh beans and peas vary depending on size. Peas don’t take long at all to boil, whereas broad beans might need 15 minutes.

Dried Pulses

Pulses are peas, beans and lentils. Usually these should be soaked for at least a few hours before cooking, though you can get away without doing this for lentils.

Lentils take about 15-20 minutes simmering to render down to a puree in water; longer if you’re putting them in something else like a stew. Other beans take longer; up to an hour in some cases – e.g. chick peas.


The main thing with cooking meat is that it should generally be cooked until a skewer poked into the centre of it comes out juicy but not bloody. There are some meats which people eat with less cooking than that, like beef steak, but that’s the general rule. I’m not an expert on times for roasting whole joints, so won’t try to set them out here.

Herbs and Spices

With a few exceptions, you won’t go far wrong putting 1-3 teaspoons of most dried herbs and spices into a meal for two. Start at the low end and then work up if you want it stronger. The main exceptions I can think of are:

– curry powder needs less – between 1/2 and 1 teaspoon.
– asafoetida is pretty strong and might need as little as 1/3 teaspoon.
– paprika is a fairly mild spice and you can put as much as a tablespoon into a meal for two.

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