Moving out from home certainly comes with its fair share of life lessons. Like discovering just how messy you really are, and that shampoo doesn’t buy itself.
There’ll be a lot of trial and error in the kitchen – learning how to feed yourself without developing rickets is a feat in itself. But perhaps the biggest milestone you will be forced to conquer is inviting friends over for a dinner party – but it doesn’t need to be as daunting as it sounds.
So take it easy, put some Barry White on and pop open a bottle of your finest chilled Blue Nun, you’ve got this.
Everyone loves garlic bread, if they didn’t, why would you be friends with them? You don’t need that kind of negativity in your life.
Turns out “garlic butter” is literally just chopped garlic mixed with softened butter. Sprinkle some dried oregano into the mix for extra restaurant style authenticity, spread it onto your sliced Maltese bread on a baking tray and pop it in a preheated oven for ten minutes. If your friends are extra special you might want to grate some pizza mozzarella and pile it on at this stage, before another five minutes in the oven to melt.
An “entrée” of soup looks classy AF, but it couldn’t be simpler or cheaper to make. So if you’re just scraping by after paying rent or (shock, horror!) mortgage repayments, this one’s for you.
Just fry onions and garlic then add any vegetables you have lying about. This one was cauliflower and potato, but you might want to add a leek because leeks make every soup sound serious. Then you add water to the brim, a vegetable stock cube and let it boil for about an hour before blending until smooth in a blender.
Every “adult” should invest in a blender. Or maybe ask Santa Claus for one this Christmas?
This kitsch starter gets a lot of stick for being dated – it was the height of sophistication in the seventies. But the truth is, it’s a crowd pleaser and it is super easy to make. If anyone takes the piss just pass it off as “ironic”.
Defrost a bag of prawns in a bowl of cold water. Prepare a mini salad on each plate. Spoon mayonnaise into a bowl, add a squirt of kunserva and a squeeze of fresh lemon juice and mix. What you’ve just made is a general “Marie Rose” sauce. Witchcraft, I know.
Frozen chips are for the boy. Roast potatoes are for the man. Perfecting your roasties will set you up for life, you should know how to make them before you even think about having children.
Peel potatoes and cut them into “roast potato shapes”. Rinse them to wash some starch off and boil them. Preheat your oven with a tray with vegetable oil in it. Drain your potatoes and roughen up the edges by shaking the colander. Carefully get your hot tray out of the oven and add the potatoes, rolling them in the oil. Sprinkle with fennel seeds. Wait until they look like your nanna’s, turning occasionally.
Veggies and Dips
Dips get so much praise, but they are the height of “making it up as you go along”. Guacamole? Mashed up avocados, garlic and lemon juice. Blue cheese dip? Mashed up blue cheese and mayonnaise. Refried beans? Mashed up boiled kidney beans and onions.
Also, roasted vegetables look and sound great but it’s basically just putting a tray of raw vegetables, olive oil and herbs in the oven and hoping for the best.
A tandoor is a hot clay fire pit oven used in traditional Indian cooking. Thankfully you don’t actually need one to make this delicious dish – if you did, I doubt you’d get your deposit back from your landlord.
Simply dice chicken breast (or marrows for a veggie version) and add to an oven dish, cover with two large pots of natural yoghurt, some chopped garlic and grated ginger, a dash of vegetable oil and a few heaped tablespoons of Tandoori Masala powder and mix it all together.
Bake for about 45 minutes and serve with a sprinkle of chopped coriander and rice shaped into a mound by putting it into a small bowl and flipping it over onto the plate. Like making sandcastles for big kids.
Learn how to make a simple bolognese sauce. It will be your go-to basis for a variety of dishes. Leave out the Italian herbs and add chilli powder and kidney beans instead and it becomes the perfect topper to go over nachos. See?
Moussaka traditionally calls for lamb mince but you can use soya or beef mince instead. Line a baking dish with grilled, softened aubergine slices and layer with your mince sauce, repeating the process like lasagne. Top with grated halloumi cheese, bake for about half an hour and prepare to be a hero.
You know, like the one everyone always orders from Wagamama? This Japanese inspired dish is basically fried chicken with curry sauce.
To make the chicken, first flatten with a rolling pin or a mallet if you have one, dip in beaten egg and then into panko breadcrumbs. Fry in hot oil to crisp up the coating and transfer over into a preheated oven, to continue cooking the chicken.
In the meantime fry onions and carrots in a saucepan. Add a whole little “capsule” of curry powder and top with boiling water. Let that stew and reduce for a while and then blend to make your curry sauce. This one’s a winner. If you’re living in sin and co-habitating, he might just put a ring on it.
Penne Prosciutto E Spinachi
This restaurant worthy dish sounds so fancy but it’s fairly easy to make. Fry your prosciutto (or local brand streaky bacon) in olive oil. Add a helluva lot of chopped garlic and stir. In the meantime pour boiling water over some frozen spinach (or fresh spinach if you’re taking this way too seriously) and add it to the frying pan.
Stir fry for another couple of minutes before turning the heat off. Add two pots of fresh cream, a handful of grated cheddar and half a crumbled up vegetable stock cube. Now over a low heat, stir everything together until the cheese is melted in and all the flavours are combined into the cream sauce. Toss with your pasta and go, chef. U dak in-naqra tursin tkun tridu.
Peaches & Cream
You might smirk at these tinned peaches but you wont be once you’re full-up and tipsy and need to present your guests with something fast and sweet for afters.
This “dessert” is also vegan so there’s that too. Drain peaches, pour coconut milk over them and grate a bar of dark chocolate to sprinkle on top. Serve in your fanciest bowls (like the imitation crystal ones your landlady left in the vetrina) and show everyone just how “together” you really are.
Call This What You Want
This home recipe is what I like to call “Putting cheap ice cream in bowls in the freezer then topping with honey, pistachios and crushed up Aero”. But you can call it whatever you want, I won’t hold you back.
Imagine your friends’ faces as you whip these babies out. No-one has to know this requires approximately zero effort. Damn, you good!
So there you have it. Eleven simple recipes that anyone can make. Except maybe your ex. You’re welcome!