I have often been told that I have an artistic side, one would probably think that the art within me would come alive when I cook haha, but cooking is one of the things I run away from the most. Although growing up, the dishes at home prepared by great chefs, I reasoned that it would come naturally for me but it has not.

I’ve learned many things from the kitchen growing up, this is where my love for bowls and spoons came rather than for plates and forks. Sometimes you would still find me today dishing food my friend made, from the plate into a bowl. This is also where I have learned that onions are actually good, although I have avoided them for most of my life. I could never eat any food with onions in, my mom always had to make a different meal or find a way to disguise the onions in the food. Luckily, I have learned to overcome the fear of onions. However, even after many attempts, I haven’t figured out how cooking exactly works.

Sometimes I get the flavours right but then the texture is off. Other times I tried working with time, keeping things on the stove for a specific time. Then my friend mentioned that I need to go with taste. I’ve been trying that lately trying to taste the food and finding the perfect taste, which then is the sign that the food is ready. There has been some progress in the taste but the texture of food I’m still trying to figure out.

It took a long time for me to get where I am now, I have always felt negative about making food. My ultimate excuse is that it just takes too much time and it has affected my confidence. There is nothing as demotivating when you have tried to make the best dish but then it flops, or if you see the face of someone trying to enjoy the food, but you know that it’s nothing even close to being enjoyed.

I cook more often now than I have before, for the longest time if have been only cooking dishes that I’m familiar with. Rice and minced meals. Lately, I’ve tried asking for more tips from my friend. This has helped me to explore more recipes, that I would personally be scared to try. This approach has boosted my confidence. Do you have someone in your family that you usually call when you find yourself at the cooking table?

I have realized in my latest attempts in the kitchen I felt more relax and less stressed than I use to feel. I feel like there is some progress. If I could gain more confidence and passion I might start cooking more regularly. You probably wonder how I gained the confidence or what made me have a change in mind shift?

The meals I’ve been trying lately are meal hacks that make one look like a professional chef when it only is, just you throwing a few things together. When I come home, I’m usually tired after the day’s hustle. There is nothing as frustrating as standing in front of pots, if there were not many technicalities to cooking, I would have loved it, but sometimes cooking draws the happy soul out of me. Until I found the best idea ever, cooking my meals in the oven, it made a big difference. I will share below one of the meals I’ve tried recently.

My best cooking attempt yet

I call it throwing things together, as it’s literally what one is doing but obviously some detailed steps in between.

Ingredients: Porkshanks, potatoes, carrot strips, diced onions, green pepper strips, green beans strips

You will need an oven pan and foil, I didn’t have foil so I ended up just using the pan. Chop the veggies into strips and place them in the middle of the pan. The veggies I used were what I found in my fridge at the time hence I list them in the ingredient. You more than welcome to add other veggies to the dish that suits your preference. I have tried using a lot of veggies, as I aimed to achieve a high level of nutrition.

It’s one of my favourite meal hacks as it saves a lot of time. The entire meal took me about 30 min to make. While I was defrosting the pork shanks, I cut the veggies into strips. I then threw the veggies in the middle of the oven pan in no particular order, however, I did not want the pork shank to overcook, so I’ve placed them in the center placing some of the veggies on top of them then later placed them on top during the last 10 minutes of the cooking process.

Before putting it all in the oven, I threw over salt and spices, making sure the area is covered. Finally, I threw some oil over the food not too much just a decent amount to prevent the food from drying out. Set the oven at 180 degrees for about 30min with lower and top heat. I only checked the food after the first 20 minutes.

While the oven was doing its thing, I was busy making the salad. I threw beans in a bowl, graded some carrots, and threw it in. lastly chopped some green pepper, complimented it with some mayonnaise, mixing it all and it was ready to be served.

If you are also someone that usually tries to avoid cooking, by all means, I would recommend you to try this, it will cheer up a cooking spirit in you.

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