How To Cook and Enjoy It

Skye McAlpine

When I tell someone that I write a food blog, their first response is usually  ‘oh, so you like cooking?’. Is that a rhetorical question? Who doesn’t like cooking? Then, it’s a weeknight night, I’m in a rush to get supper on the table, the kitchen is drenched in flour, I can smell something burning in the oven – and I’m, frankly, not so sure. Do I enjoy cooking?

As I get older, and wiser, cook more and more, I have got quite savvy about the bits I like, and how best to avoid the bits I don’t. So here are my cooking dos and don’ts:

1. Accept that tidying and cooking go hand in hand: there is no real way around this one. Trust me, I’ve tried looking. That said, always start with an empty dishwasher and stack it as you go along, and always put everything away as you go: think ‘cupboard’, ‘sink’ or ‘dishwasher’. No exceptions. Except maybe ‘fridge’ – you get the gist. It really helps lessen the load.

2. Set an alarm, when you put something in the oven. Always. So, for example example: you’re muffins only need another five minutes, and you’re standing there in the kitchen, hovering rightover the oven. Still set an alarm. People get easily distracted, cakes get forgotten, burnt to a cinder. Then people cry. It happens all the time: fact. Just don’t let it happen to you.

3. Make sure that you’ve got all the ingredients ready before you start cooking. Not quite everything laid out in pre-apportioned pretty little bowls, cookery-show style. But almost. The number of times I’m halfway through making a recipe only to find that we’ve run out of eggs. Option one: just give up; option two: run across the road to the corner shop – only to find that they’re out of eggs too. Either way, not ideal. And definitely, not fun. Oh – and bonus tip: when you’re checking your ingredients, allow for a little wastage too. 

Skye McAlpine

4. Be realistic about your time frame. If the recipe says that it takes 30 mins – it probably takes closer to 45, especially if it’s the first time that you’re making it. Cooking when rushed is always stressful. So don’t be rushed. If that means scrambled eggs on toast for dinner, so be it. I like scrambled eggs.

5. The one thing that I really loathe to do is chop onions. To stop the eyes watering: chop the onion in half, use a knife to peel off the skin and toss the skin in the bin; rinse the onion under cold, running water; then chop the onion, toss it into a bowl, and set it far from you; rinse the knife and chopping board in cold water before starting the process all over again with a second onion. Do not skip a single step. No tears (almost) guaranteed.


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  1. says

    I am guilty of 2 + 3 far too often(and I’m pretty rubbish at 1. You’ve inspired me to try and be a bit more organised in the kitchen this weekend. Whenever I’m stressed out while cooking, it’s almost always because I feel like I’m drowning in mess.

  2. Becca says

    I read your article on the Daily Mail, I’m very sorry; I also miss my Dad so very much. Sorry that you had to go through the besmirching and how unpleasant it was. I will read the cookery stuff now :)

    • Skye says

      Oh, thank you, Becca, for your sweet words. I am very sorry for your loss too.
      I really hope that you enjoy the cookery bits and bobs! x

  3. Ebe says

    I read the article in DM about your father.
    My father also died on 17th January this year. He, too, was 70 years old.
    Please accept my condolences.
    Try not to notice SB and people of her kind: the best revenge is not to become like them (Marcus Aurelius).

    • Skye says

      Thank you, Ebe. And I am so sorry to hear about your Father – this must be a very difficult and painful time for you.
      And thank you for the Marcus Aurelius quote – I love it! x

  4. Naomi says

    Skye, I saw the DM piece and wanted to say that some of us knew that your father was falsely accused from the start.

    We met many years ago, my grandmother was his housekeeper in London. Not sure if you remember her soda bread.
    She was ill when the accusations about your father surfaced, otherwise I know she would have been his staunchest defender.

    Stay strong.

    • Skye says

      Naomi, I am so happy to hear from you. Of course I remember Eileen – she was such a truly kind and special person! And, how could I forget her soda bread?!? I also remember that she used to make a delicious tea loaf (I think that she soaked the fruit in tea overnight) which I have been trying (and failing) to recreate – do you have the recipe? I would so love to make it and share it on my blog…

      And thank you for your kind words – it means so very much. x

      • naomi says

        :) i’ll look out her brack recipe for you, its still one of my favourites
        i wish i could make the soda bread like she did, it was all bye eye though and i’ve never gotten it quite the same.

        its the truth, and i’m very glad that so many people know the truth.

  5. Josephine says

    I too have just read your article in the DM. I am sure that there are many more people who remember your father with affection and respect than otherwise – I hope that this is some small consolation.

    By the way, I loathe chopping onions also – so I cheat and throw them in the Magimix!

  6. Skye says

    Josephine, what a great tip! I’m always reluctant to use my food processor for chopping as I’m too lazy to wash it up after, but in the case of onions it may well be worth it…

    And thank you for your kind words – I appreciate them hugely. x

    • Skye says

      Thanks, Anna. I’m not overly keen on sifting flour either – I think that it’s because the flour inevitably goes everywhere and then, no matter how hard you try to keep it tidy, the kitchen looks like a bomb has hit it…

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