Cooking for Two - Advice Needed

Ok, so this cute girl at the school I go to suggested I have her over for dinner (we live in dorms right next to eachother, and people hang out together quite often). Now, I’m not going nuts over this, but I do want to cook something nice, because I enjoy cooking, good food, and the loosening up that good food can assist.

No, there will not be alcohol. I don’t drink. Or a hot tub; I don’t have one, sadly.

I don’t have an oven, only a microwave and an electric cooking plate which makes do for a stovetop. But I have pots and pans, as well as plenty of cooking stuff (olive oil, garlic, etc). I also have access to a stovetop in the communal kitchen, but it’s… pretty filthy. So I prefer not to use it unless I have to, since the cooking plate works fine for one thing at a time.

What I was thinking of was dark meat (in Hebrew it’s called pargiyot) marinated (I have a friend with a great recipe which I can get) and then fried on the pan. But I’ve already done that, so I’m looking for new suggestions.

I was also thinking of some stir-fried chicken and noodles with vegetables, which has the advantage of being cheaper (meat is really expensive in Israel, especially pargiyot) and something with greens. But I’ve already done that, too!


We’re both Jewish, and though I don’t keep kosher, she doesn’t mix milk and meat, much less eat shellfish or pork. So nothing with milk and meat mixed, no shellfish or pork. Also, I don’t like fish.

Also taking suggestions for dessert. I was thinking brownies… thoughts?

I’ve had amazing luck with this. Easier than it sounds, and it comes out a very, very impressive quality. When I made it and then tasted it, I couldn’t believe it was something I actually cooked myself. Just use corn starch instead of butter, I guess, (I think he said that would work) for the kosher thing.

A couple of teaspoons of Cornflour/starch mixed in a little water and added about a couple of minutes before you want to serve your sauce will thicken it up plenty. Pour in about half, stir for 30 seconds or so on a medium/high heat and see if the sauce is thick enough, you can always add more. Simmer for 5 mins or so to stop the sauce tasting of flour.

Looks interesting! I’ll definately try it.

Obviously, I’ll be trying whatever I end up choosing before I foist it upon the young woman!

Nah, just wing it on the day of.

Why? ‘Day of’ is going to be at least a week from now. And I may as well cook something nice just for myself in the meanwhile. :)

Spaghetti is always a “dinner date at the house” winner, and even a bachelor can make it with just a pot and a spoon.

I got this book. A varied amount of easy to cook yet healthy recipes.

Speaking of spaghetti, try it with chicken livers instead of meat sometime. Tasty.

Do you have a toaster? You could have Pop-tarts!

JP, I don’t know if you’re a hemophiliac or anything but I oughta warn you that I cut the shit out of my hand opening a store-brand pop tarts box this weekend. Tread lightly, my friend.

Get some shin, braising steak or similar (cheap cuts!).

Cut into bitesize chunks and cover in seasoned flour. Brown in a pan with a splash of oil and set aside.

chuck in some more oil and add a couple of chopped onions and sweat off for a couple of mins (the onions, not you), add a couple of chopped red peppers and stir a bit, chuck in a clove or two of garlic and sweat off for a couple of minutes. Add the meat back in.

Add good sized glass of red wine and give it a good stir, add a tin of chopped tomatoes and a tin of peeled tomatoes (or two tins of chopped if you prefer). Chuck in a stock cube, salt and pepper, a bay leaf and a couple of teaspoons of paprika. Chuck in some tomato puree and water.

Bring back to boil then reduce to a simmer on a low a heat as possible. Leave for a couple of hours stirring occaisionally until meat is tender. The flour and the tomato puree should thicken the sauce enough, if not, get the cornflour out and thicken a bit more if necessary.

Better made the night before and benefits from being played around with, use some baby onions whole instead of chopped for example, add some carrots, potatoes, additional herbs whatever takes your fancy.

Serve with rice and/or crusty bread for the dunking.

Nellie, that looks really good. I might just go with that! We’ll see.

Best bit is it’s nice and easy to make and never had anyone complain about it.

If you’re feeling adventurous, basic curry recipe

Ghee(if you’re going veggie) or vegetable oil
Cinnamon stick
4-5 cardamon seeds
2-3 cloves

3-4 onions
1-3 garlic cloves
Fresh Chilis to taste, remove seeds and finely chop. Try a little bit raw to get a feel for how hot it is. Go easy with the fresh, you can always add more powdered chili if needed

1tsp Garam Marsala
1tsp ground Cumin
1/2 tsp Tumeric
(not precise, but you basically want half the quantity of Tumeric)

Two tins of chopped tomatoes
Tomato Puree
Fresh Coriander.

Heat oil, when warm add cloves, cardamon seeds and cinnamon (break into a couple of pieces) and stir for a couple of minutes

Add the onions, turn the heat down low and fry until brown, this takes about 20-30 minutes and if you start off thinking “shit, that’s far too many” then it’s probably about enough, they’ll reduce significantly when cooking. You really do need the onions brown to get the right flavour. You don’t need to stand over them, but stir them every 5 minutes or so to brown them evenly.

Once browned add the Garlic and the fresh chili and sweat for a couple of minutes. Add the powdered spices and stir for a minute or so. If you’re using meat add at this point and brown, Beef, Chicken or Lamb all work well.

Add the tomatoes, puree and water, bring to the boil and then reduce the heat to simmer until the meat is nearly cooked, add the fresh, chopped coriander and simmer for another 15 minutes or so, add a bit more powdered chili if the curry isn’t hot enough for you. You can do this pretty much at any time, but it will take a little while for the heat to cook out into the dish, so don’t go mad or you’ll end up with something your average lagered up brit would struggle to eat after a night on the happy juice.

Leave overnight for best results.

easy veggie option, chuck in a tin of chick peas after the tomatoes and some spinach at about the same time as you add the coriander.

Again, its a good basic recipe to play around with. If your kitchen is also your living room then it’s perhaps not the best recipe to try as your kitchen will smell strongly of curry making this dish.

I’m just going with a theme of stuff that’s pretty easy to make on a single stove/burner and that you can sort out the night before and just heat up again but will leave her in no doubt you’ve put some effort into making her some decent scoff.

You’re all robots.

Pesto. It’s an Italian sauce that is not tomato based and has no dairy. If you make it yourself, you just get pine nuts, garlic, olive oil, basil leaves and salt. Leave out the cheese. I can explain it more if you want.

Pasta, yes. Pasta is perfect.

What’s this called? I have a recipe folder and I’m going to copy this into it… sounds awesome but I don’t exactly what it is?

Hey Stroker, I’m usualy slicing myself with plastic blister packs - ARGGGG … never a pop-tart box, but there’s always a first time.

At the risk of incurring the wrath of anyone of Hungarian descent it’s a ghoulash recipe without the soured cream swirl at the end given the requirement to not mix dairy/meat.

Ultimately it’s just a basic stew recipe, you can always swap the beef for lamb, brown it off with some fresh mint, swap out or just reduce the paprika for some rosemary and bingo, minted lamb stew instead.

Great on a baked potato as well.

Fish recipe for fish haters:

Bacalhau à Brás or Why I Love Portugal
some salted cod (fresh works, but it isn’t the same)
1 onion
3-4 big potatoes
2-3 eggs

-Put the salted cod in water the day before, change the water 3 or 4 times.
-Cut the potatoes in thin sticks and fry in abundant oil, olive or sunflower work, this tends to take 15-20 minutes.
-Slice the onion and cod into small bits.
-When the fries are done, put them apart and get rid of most of the oil.
-Put first the onion, then after a little while the cod too in the remaining oil, fry for a while.
-Put back the fries over the cod&onion, crack the eggs over everything, mix and stir for a while, add parsley.


I hate fish and i love this!