When was the first time you picked up a saucepan? Or a whisk? I know a couple of people (I won't name names) who hardly know what the inside of an oven looks like. They aren't interested in cooking, believe that they "can't cook" or they just eat out at restaurants - which means they don't even need to cook.
But there will come a time in life when you are going to be called upon to put together something edible in the kitchen, and when that moment comes, you'll not only want to put your best culinary foot forward... you'll want to blow them away with your brilliance. And by this, we don't mean the food has to arrive with foams and gels and powdered Nutella in crystal sugar cubes. It just has to be tasty and preferably look good enough to share on social media.
Here are 25 handy recipes everyone should be able to cook, with a decent amount of confidence, by the age of 25 (or 30).
1. Lasagne - a real family favourite that you'll be called upon to cook again and again. Worth memorising!
2. Thai green curry - having friends over for a relaxed dinner? This is quick and easy with an exotic Asian flair. Make your own Thai paste with this easy recipe.
3. French toast - good for holidays and special occasions like Valentine's Day!
4. Chicken wraps - because let's face it, they're loved by everyone and are ready in a jiff. Banters - try these ones!
5. Potato salad - there are those that believe a braai isn't a braai without a good ol' potato salad.
6. Butternut soup - this couldn't be easier to make!
7. choc chip cookies - perfect for a tea-time treat...or simply when you you just need a food hug.
8. Braaibroodjies - with tips on how to perfect them. If you're South African - there will be frowns if you don't get them right. Just saying.
9. Roast chicken - this will always come in handy! Trust us.
10. Omelette - perfect for those fridge leftovers.
11. Pancakes - Pancakes are much more fun to make than you realise. You can call in recruits and have a bit of fun.
12. Cheese sauce - there are so many ways to use a good a cheese sauce.
13. Bangers and mash - a perfect go-to recipe for a winter's night.
14. Basic chocolate cake - if you're worried about your baking skills, read 10 great tips for flop-proof baking.
15. Chicken casserole - it's actually a lot easier than it sounds. And very delicious.
16. Rusks - imagine a weekend away with your own homemade rusks to impress your friends.
17. Quiche - a little bit of technical know-how with the pastry base will see you through!
18. Hollandaise sauce - to go with the impressive eggs Benedict that you'll make on lazy weekend mornings.
19. Malva Pudding - the ultimate Winter pud, with loads of creamy custard.
20. Pizza dough - all you need now are the toppings!
21. Peppermint Crisp tart - a national treasure and so easy to make.
22. Spaghetti Bolognaise - the crowd-pleaser of all crowd-pleasers. Serve with heaps of grated Parmesan.
23. Vanilla cupcakes - you never know when you might be asked to supply some celebratory cupcakes.
24. Simple Carbonara - it speaks for itself really - break with tradition by adding mushrooms and bacon.
25. Something low carb - because there'll be at least one person in your friendship group who is Banting.
If you want, you could also start a food blog and document your progress à la Julie Powell.
Go forth and cook!
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- Tessa Purdon