“Cooking is just as creative and imaginative an activity as drawing, or wood carving, or music.” – Julia Child
Have you thought about opening a cookbook and making your own dishes rather than eating ready meals, instant soups, and leftovers?
A lot of people enjoy cooking.
What about you?
Learning to cook can be quite the investment once you’ve bought the equipment you’ll need to make your own dishes. However, once you’ve got the equipment, it’ll pay for itself as you can make hearty and healthy meals.
Whether you’re cooking simple recipes or haute cuisine, you should probably opt for seasonal produce. In addition to saving money, you’ll also get the nutritional benefits of these products and you’ll find it much easier to eat well.
To change your eating habits and start making your own delicious meals, you’ll need to get a few essentials. While you might think cooking on a budget is difficult, you don’t need a kitchen like they have on Masterchef.
You don’t need to offer haute cuisine to provide good food. (Source: neshom)
You’re not going to be doing molecular gastronomy but rather some simple home cooking and healthy meals.
Here is some essential cooking equipment you should get for preparing your ingredients and how much they cost.
For cooking meat and vegetables, you should get the following:
Of course, if you’re interested in baking, you’ll probably want a measuring cup, kitchen scales, and mixing bowls. When you cook for yourself, you can choose what you eat and, therefore, eat more healthily and save money.
So when are you going to start?
There are several options for those who want to learn how to become a chef:
There are cooking schools in larger cities. Thus, a student who wants to learn traditional recipes may have to spend a substantial amount of money.
Simple ingredients can make simple dishes that taste delicious. (Source: congerdesign)
For example, the Cordon Bleu in London is a culinary arts, wine and management school that was founded in the early 1930s with a focus on the cooking techniques that were being taught to gourmet French chefs. The school was initially founded as L’Ecole du Petit Cordon Bleu by Rosemary Hume and Dione Lucas after being allowed to take the Cordon Bleu tradition to the UK.
Did you know that Hume created the recipe for “Poulet Reine Elizabeth” for the Queen’s coronation?
This recipe is more commonly known as “Coronation Chicken”.
The longer courses (such as the Grand Diplôme) can cost nearly £35,000 for 9 months. This is the kind of course where you will learn the art of cooking, every single technique, and all the cooking methods that the worlds best chefs have mastered. Of course, since you’ll learn how to prepare a large variety of dishes, you’ll be expected to handle seafood, veal (amongst other meats), and alcohol.
There are four main culinary arts diplomas offered by the school: cuisine, pâtisserie, boulangerie, and gastronomy and nutrition.
There are plenty of cooking workshops up and down the country.
The Diplôme de Cuisine can be studied over 9 months or intensively over 6. This is the course that teaches students classic techniques.
The Pastry and Confectionary diploma (Diplôme de Pâtisserie) also lasts for 9 months (6 months intensive) and includes cake making and decorating.
The Diplôme de Boulangerie focuses on making bread dough, viennoiserie, and other baked goods. This course lasts 7 months and is useful for anyone wanting to open and run their own bakery.
Le Cordon Bleu also offers short courses on various techniques, summer cooking courses, wine tasting, and cake decorating. These courses can be as short as two hours or as long as three weeks. These could be ideal for amateur chefs who want to get better at preparing pastry or gain some fundamental knife skills (in the kitchen, of course!).
You could also opt for private cooking tutorials if you’re interested in learning a few different recipes or culinary techniques.
On Superprof, a private cooking tutorial costs around £25 per hour. However, a lot of tutors offer their first hour of tutoring for free. This is a good opportunity to see if you get along. Of course, the cost will vary depending on where you are and your tutor’s experience and qualifications.
You don’t have to break the bank to learn how to cook. Quite the opposite. You can learn to make gourmet dishes for very little money.
When done right, cooking can be a lot of fun. (Source: 089photoshootings)
As a beginner learning to cook on a budget, you might make a few mistakes, so here’s some advice to help you:
To learn more about stress-free cooking, there are a few good options:
When it comes to cooking, practice makes perfect! You can find recipes for whatever you fancy from ham omelettes, lasagna, stuffed vegetables, beef stew, etc, and more often than not, the simplest dishes are the best!
When we say dishes for less than a fiver, we’re not talking about canned beans on toast, instant noodles, or prepackaged sandwiches or leftover curry from the night before! When you go grocery shopping, you can fill your pantry with inexpensive and nutritious ingredients and start making healthier meals.
You need to be organised from the very moment you arrive at the market! (Source:
Make sure your cupboards are stocked up with useful vegetables like potatoes, broccoli, peas, etc. You can also keep veggies in your fridge or freezer for making filling stews, a casserole, a broth, or other money saving dishes like a stir-fry, chilli con carne, etc.
There are plenty of budget recipes available online or in cooking magazines and recipe books. Here are a couple of examples to inspire you.
Preparation time: 15 minutes.
Cooking time: 40 minutes.
Ingredients for serving four people:
Preparation time: 15 minutes.
Cooking time: 20 minutes.
Ingredients for 16 cookies:
When you learn how to cook, you’ll also need to learn the jargon. In each of our cooking articles, we’ve included a few definitions to help you so make sure to read the other articles.
Zesting is when you remove the zest (the outer coloured part of a citrus fruit peel) to use to flavour food. Don’t use the white part.
This is when you crush or grind something into large pieces. It commonly refers to a process used on tomatoes.