You think you are a terrible cook. You assume you will burn down the entire building just by approaching any stove. Sure, you can skip the hard work and go out to have dinner than to cook it; but why missing all the fun? Grab your best pals and start working that frying pan until you have an entire notebook full with recipes from all around the world! Here is your first: from the land of… Romania. *Special Erasmus edition*
Today is a lazy day. You can enjoy your drink and skim the internet for food, so that later on to call the next corner restaurant and have takeovers. Or, you can better get your bottom up, text your Romanian friend and meet for a cooking night. I call it a date!
You might think food is complicated, messy and needs a lot of talent. But actually, love, passion and spices is more than enough… ok, you might need some ingredients and tools to actually cook something more than the Power Puff magical potion.
I am no big chef, but Erasmus life taught me that cooking with friends is way more easy and fun. And after your dish is ready, eating together - today Italian, tomorrow Spanish, next week Turkish, next month Norwegian will help you more than going out and waiting for the waiter to serve you and then pay the bill and go.
Cooking will develop your skills about taste, ingredients possible combinations; will help you connect with other cultures and make you happier as of course you will enjoy the meal with friendly people and share stories. Moreover, when you go back home you will be a stronger, skilful person and be able to surprise your friends and family with new recipes, 100% guaranteed traditional from all around the world. Also, cooking at home might be even cheaper and you decide exactly what kind of ingredients to put in, the way you want them to be cooked and how much salt you want in your food.
A couple of days ago, as hungry girls, my roommate Ana and I, decided to empty the fridge and see what we can cook out of the little things we had. A little bit of rice, mushrooms, carrots, pea, onion and lots of spices... all we needed to make a smart Romanian plate, just the way our grandparents did when we were little. Even though we did not follow the original recipe (it has chicken bites too and no peas) we did a traditional “pilaf” good enough to lick the plate... literally!
We started with cutting the onion and garlic in small pieces. Put on the stove a large pan and sprinkle sunflower oil. Put in the chopped onion and stir until golden. Add mushrooms and cook for five minutes. Separately you put to boil around 100 g rice (good enough for two portions), with water just enough to cover the rice. When mushrooms look cooked enough, you add vegetables – we put carrots and peas. You can also put pepper, tomatoes, meat. Stir in everything for extra minutes. When the rice is cooked and ready you put it on the vegetable mixture. You of course need to add salt, black pepper, chilli and any other spices you might like. Mix in everything and put the chopped garlic too. After another 3-4 minutes your dish is ready. You can have some chicken drums or chicken breast at grill or baked in the oven next to the “pilaf”.
This is simple, easy and tasty. It can be done in around 20-30 minutes, and it would not cost you more than 4-5 zl. What we had was for 4 portions so we had a little extra for the next day too.
So, my dearest, next time you think you have nothing to eat and want to spend extra cash in the city, look twice in the fridge and in our counters. You can always reuse the little ingredients you have and prepare something on your own. Re-do this recipe, or cook one of your own – take pictures and show it to the world!
Cannot wait to see what you are cooking tonight!