Top 5 Cooking Skills Everyone Should Know

Even top chefs once had to learn the basics of cookery. Good Food brings you the must-know skills that will take you from nervous novice to confident cook...

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We've put together a top five list of key skills that every beginner cook should know in order to gain confidence in the kitchen...
1. How to chop an onion
The cornerstone of so many dishes, learning to chop an onion efficiently can speed up dinner preparations no end. 

2. How to master basic knife skills

Once you’ve mastered chopping onions, it’s time to broaden your knife skills and get to grips with scoring, shearing, fine slicing and more. 

3. How to boil an egg

Sounds simple but a perfect, runny yolk can be lost in a moment, so timing is key. The duration of a boil depends on how firm you want the eggs to be, but it’s always best to start with them at room temperature to avoid undercooking. For a soft-boiled egg, bring a pan of water to the boil, gently lower the egg into it with a spoon and cook for three to five minutes. For hard-boiled eggs, start in a pan of cold water and bring up to the boil, then cook for seven-10 minutes – the longer you cook, the firmer the egg will be. Plunge the egg into cold water as soon as it's done to stop it from overcooking. For more help perfecting your egg timing, read our guide on how to boil an egg.

4. How to cook pasta

If you’ve been put off pasta by stodgy, stuck-together school dinners, it’s time to learn how to cook it properly. In Italy, pasta is always served ‘al-dente’, which literally means ‘to the teeth’ – boiled until softened, but still firm to the bite. To achieve this, fill a pan with double the water to cover the pasta, add salt to taste and bring it to the boil. Carefully drop the pasta into the boiling water and cook for 10-12 minutes, making sure to stir within the first two minutes of cooking to prevent sticking. Bear in mind that different pasta shapes will have different cooking times and fresh egg pasta will cook much quicker than dried.

5. How to poach an egg

There’s no need to buy special pans to get perfectly poached eggs – they’re much easier than you think. 
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