I’ve seen a few posts about food on here but they seem to be either about the bare necessities or about IC cooking. I thought it would be interesting to write a topic that goes walks through building up the basics to become something more interesting.
Part 1: Cold food
I will start off with cold food. Sometimes, you don’t have time or the equipment to cook and you have to go with things you can just eat. Fruit and nuts are great things to have just to snack on. You have to be careful with fruit that it isn’t something that is perishable. Apples, oranges and things like that are all good things to have and of course you can take some dried fruit. You can also get crackers and flapjacks for carbohydrates.
For meals, bread is usually quite good. I would recommend taking tins of stuff to put in it side it. Cheese can last for a few days but if you have a sensitive stomach, then you probably shouldn’t risk it.
Now how do you make all of this a bit more exciting? For a start, you could try choosing bread that fits with your nation. For example the league might go for focaccia, Dawn might go for something like a brioche. You could also add a bit more to what you are putting in it. Carrots, onions, celery are all things that last well. You will have to cut them of course unless you do it before hand. It will shorten how long they can be out of for while staying at their best but it should be fine if you put seal them in something, I don’t know about this as I have never tried keeping something like an onion in a sealed box or pot to see how long it would last. If you don’t want bread then you could try stuffing and avocado with something. They last fairly well when uncut.
If you are willing to do some preparation at home you can always make something and bring it along. Soups are great if you have a flask or something like that. Quiche will last till the next day so if you make it on Friday you can have it for that day and Saturday.
If you have a cool box, that opens up your possibilities. You can bring most things. Humus, meats, more perishable salad, etc. It also opens up your possibilities when cooking.
Part 2 Cooked food
A simple start:
This leads me on to cooking. If you do have a small portable stove you can cook fairly simple things. Usually you start off with the cooking the carbohydrates, like pasta, rice or couscous. When it is almost ready you add the sauce to it. If you want, you can add various canned things like mushrooms, sweet corn or tuna to the sauce as well. They are all ready to eat so they just need warming.
A step up:
1 Simpler stuff:
If you have a cool box then you can take milk and eggs. This will allow you to make omelettes and pancakes. They are simple and versatile.
If you want to try something a bit more challenging then you can try making a soup. I usually start my soup off with finely cutting onions and garlic and then putting it in a pan with a bit of olive oil to sauté. You could use celery and or leeks as well or instead. You know that it is ready for the next part when there is a colour change. Celery and onions are very easy to notice the colour change. They go more translucent. Leeks become softer as well, you can tell if you poke it with a spoon.
Next you will add any other kinds of vegetables you want to add (most vegetables will last for a while outside of the fridge if you don’t cut into them). Wait until they start to soften and then add the liquid part of your sauce with some vegetable stock (I prefer it in powered form). This is the very basic of many soups and sauces.
Now for most soups you fill the pan up with water. You want to bring it to the boil and then let it cook. I find the best way of knowing if it is ready is the feel of what is inside the soup and the look and taste of the soup. Alternatively, you can put in a tin of chopped tomatoes and put that in, then top it up with water. You may have to use the spoon to break the whole bits of tomato up but they should be fairly soft.
Making it fancier:
First you can look at the oil you use. I like to go for olive oil as it is better for you than sunflower oil (I think it also tastes better). You may want to use olive oil that has been infused with other things such as garlic or chilli. You can add some ginger with the onions or alternatives and then after you can add the spices if you want them. I usually like to add a bit of turmeric but you have to be careful because it stains. I also like to add some pepper. (If you put in hard spice that have not been powered such as cinnamon stick before putting in the onions and such things then you have the start to a basic curry). Adding the spices can help make it a bit more appropriate for any of your Free born out there.
If you are doing a tomato based soup, you can add red lentils as well. You could also use fresh tomatoes and cut them up yourself. You will have to cut them finely otherwise they won’t liquidise as easily in the soup.
Now I’m going to talk about doing pasta dishes that are a little bit fancier then just dumping sauce in once it is cooked. You have two options. Either you cook the pasta first and use the heat of the sauce to warm it up or you cook the sauce first then keep it covered while you cook the pasta. I usually do this but it is up to you.
Follow the same steps as you would with the soup. I recommend not putting in any spices but in the end it is up to you. When you add the tomato, don’t add any vegetable stock, instead add some wine and then add some herbs and some pepper.
Again, the taste will change depending on whether you use fresh tomatoes or tinned tomatoes. If you can go for fresh, it will taste so much better. I also like to add some anchovies to it when it is almost finished. You can also add meat or other fish in at this point, if you want.
My last suggestion for cooked foods is stew. Stews are great and fit in with the aesthetics of a lot of the nations so if you want to eat IC, they can work quite well (I would say except for the brass coast or the League but then I don’t know much about that). Again you put in the oinions and stuff, maybe some carrots. Next you put in the meat and brown it. Once that has been done, add gravy and then add potatoes.
For the gravy, I start with tomato and garlic puree, then I add in cornflour. I pour in some wine, mix it all together then put in a stock cube before pouring water to dissolve it. Stir it and pour it into the pot.
Raising the steaks (see what I did there)
A big thing is the quality of the meat. The better it is, the better the stew is. You can also do a lot with what you do with the gravy. You can add some Worcestershire sauce to it and some mushrooms and nuts. If you add the mushrooms and nuts I recommend you cut them up finely, grind them into a paste and then add them to the gravy before it goes in the pot to be cooked. You will need less cornflour as the mushrooms and gravy also act as a thickening agent.
I hope you found this useful. If any of you feel I have made any mistakes or wish to add your own thoughts, feel free to do so. I am not a professional chef, I merely enjoy cooking.