Food has always been very important in my family. As long as I can remember, my parents always managed to take us to the best restaurants and provide us with the finest of products.
As a young child, I didn’t really take into consideration what I was being fed, let alone my family’s awesome cooking tips. Never would I have come to appreciate them this much, now that I live on my own and have to learn how to work with my budget.
1. Oat soup
It might sound trivial, but oat soup is probably the best thing that ever happened to me. This dish managed to save me from times of huge cravings and undesirable hangovers. Not only is this soup full of nutrients, it keeps you totally satisfied while being easy, quick, and cheap to make.
Here are two different ways to prepare them:
For when I’m in a hurry (or drunk):
– Boil a handful of oats in water with broth.
– Once finished add spices (thyme or rosemary) and vinegar (wine or balsamic).
For when I’m slightly more sober:
– chop an onion and any vegetables you have.
– fry the onion with olive oil and add two handfuls of oats.
– add broth and vegetable spices.
As soon as the vegetables are cooked according to my tastes, I’ll add balsamic vinegar and maybe some goat cheese (which tastes amazing in the soup).
2. Marinated cheese, or how to make a “normal” cheese look fancier
I usually do it with strained cheese, goat cheese, feta cheese, ricotta or white cheese. This can be useful when cheese doesn’t have enough taste, or simply because marinated cheese is the best. It can also make your cheese last longer.
– First, sterilize the pot (boil hot water and put it in a glass jar for five minutes).
– Cup up the cheese in pieces. Note: this isn’t necessary if it’s small and round.
– Add rosemary, thyme, salt, pepper, garlic, Espelette pepper (if you don’t have any check for substitutes here) and lots of olive oil. I highly recommend using fresh bunches of thyme and rosemary. I personally like to add verbena, orange peel and fresh ginger.
3. The best strawberries in the world
Cut the top off the strawberries, then once in half and put them in a bowl. Add fresh lemon juice, pepper and sugar (or honey). Fresh mint is also a nice addition. Serve with whipped cream, and they’ll taste just heavenly.
#SpoonTip: If the strawberries are very hard, they’ll turn out more sour. If this is the case, put them in water diluted with lemon.
4. Add fruit to salads
I don’t know what’s up with that, but strawberries in a quinoa salad with goat cheese just tastes refreshing and surprising every time. Another one of my favourite additions is mint to cucumber or strawberry salads, which I’ll usually have with a homemade minty garlic yogurt sauce. If you’re in need of inspiration check out these recipes for a strawberry and kale salad or a strawberry and spinach salad and try it our yourself.
5. How to choose wine (or how to get a cheap red wine that doesn’t really taste like vinegar)
My father always told me that merlot is the best cheap wine that you can get. It will never taste spectacular, but it won’t have an unbearable sour taste. Until now, I’ve been enjoying four-Euro merlots that are actually not that bad. If you’re interested, here is a complete guide. Either way, making a fruity sangria or tinto de verano out of red or white wine will also do the trick.