Cooking completely from scratch

I love to cook. I love recipes that take time and care and a little bit of talent to get right. I have the idea that I would really like to make a meal entirely from scratch - for example, not just saute-ing an onion, but saute-ing it in butter that I made myself. It would be a meal made with the absolute minimum of outside interference.

I think it might be a fun project to make my own butter. I’ve looked at a couple of sites and picked up the general idea - heat cream, churn, drain buttermilk (which I would keep for baking), etc. I wondered if anyone had any tips or advice to share.

I would serve it with bread that I made, something I’ve been practising making by hand recently.

But I don’t know what else would go into the meal. I live in suburban England - I wouldn’t exactly be able to go out and catch the meat itself - that would have to be bought. The best I can do is get it from the farmers market.

Vegetables are much easier, obviously.

So does anyone have any suggestions as to what could into this meal?

Hand-made hamburgers (or some other meat dish). Prime minced beef, onions, herbs etc, hand shaped.

Don’t forget to serve it with homebrewed beer.

I’m all for cooking meals yourself and not buying premade, boil and serve stuff. But umm making your own butter seems excessive.

But if you want to make your own butter, its pretty easy.

I’ve done it a few times.

Use an icecream maker.

It’ll churn and churn and churn. Now, just don’t add enough ice and salt and use lots of cream in the ice cream batter and let the sucker run for a VERY long time.

Trust me, make enough of your own ice cream and it’ll happen to you a few times. It’ll look nice and thick but kinda grainy, and its like eating a redhot icecube. But its butter :slight_smile:

But honestly. The effort and mess involved in making your own butter, and not to mention the quantity you’d have to make (Its not like you can just make a few pounds of it…) may not be worth your time. Do you have any place to store several kilos of butter?

Which reminds me, does butter go bad?

If you’re looking to cook with stuff you made, start with your own pasta :slight_smile:

If you want to have a blast (and make a huge floury mess) make your own soba (buckwheat noodles). Basically you take a 1-2 kilo pound of raw dough and stretch it apart, fold it over so in one hand you have both ends and stretch it out again. Repeat until you have oodles of thin strings, then cut it into quarters, presto noodles!

(There is quite a lot of technique involved, and whacking the dough against a cutting board seems to help…)

My tip however.

NEVER EVER MAKE HOMEMADE TRUFFLES (those chocolate fulled chocolate treats).

I make homemade truffles. Using bought chocolate and spirits, mind.

You could make your own wine. Wait until your guests are drinking, before proudly annoucing that you squished the grapes personally, with your feet. :slight_smile:
Or, more seriously, you could serve hand-made pasta.

It’s just a fun project - it’s not like I’m doing it for practicality’s sake. It would just be nice to have some butter and say “I made that”. Most of the stuff I cook, I don’t eat. I give it away, or my family eats it. I just cook for the enjoyment of cooking :slight_smile:

I don’t have an ice-cream maker but from what I’ve read I can churn it myself or in a mixer on a low setting. And I’m not sure why you’re saying I’d have to make kilos of butter? Why do you think you can’t make just a little?

And I’ve made truffles before. What’s so horrifying about them? :slight_smile:

If you really want to be clever, you should grow everything you cook, too. Think Hugh Fearnley-Wittingshall (sp?).

I’m totally with you re. the DIY thing - I do my own bread, chutneys, pizza, and other rubbish, from scratch. I also posted recently on making one’s own cheese, but that really looks like hard work. Try making demi-glace - that takes days and days.

Grow some spinach, buy a chicken for the eggs, throw in some home-made butter in a ramikin and bake: voila - eggs florentine.

The easiest way to make butter is with pint of heavy whipping cream and a blender. Just let the cream warm to room temperature, put in whatever additives (salt, sugar, honey, whatever–I often use honey and almond extract), and blend it on high until the solids separate out. You’ll need to stop the blender periodically and use a spoon to push the stuff back down around the blades. Once it’s separated, pour off the whey (the liquid that’s left on top) and rinse the solids gently with cold water. It takes five to ten minutes at most–the butter is the easy part. One word of warning: if your cream isn’t warm enough, you’ll wind up with whipped cream and never make butter out of it. Buy extra cream to start with.

I have, in fact, done exactly what you’re describing–I once made a 4-course Italian dinner from the most basic ingredients I could get. I didn’t actually kill the chickens, milk the cow, or grind the grain myself, but that’s about it. The salad came from my garden, the bread and butter were made from scratch, the chicken stock and the pasta were made in my own kitchen, and the mint garnishes for the white chocolate mousse were hand-picked. I even made the wine.

It was fun, but it involved two solid days worth of work–more if you count the time spent racking and bottling the wine. I could probably do it faster now, but it’s still a major effort. Happily, the lady for whom I went to all this trouble appreciated it. :slight_smile:

You can grind the grains into flour yourself. There are several home grain mills one can buy.


Well if you’re using a mixer you can make just a litte…

I was kinda assuming you’d be either using a butter churn or an icecream maker. Both of which require a fairly large volume to operate.

I never thought of using a mixing bowl. Yeah, that’d work and be a small volume.

My problem with making truffles is that if I’m going to make them I’m going to make a lot. And we did. It took 2 weeks for the chocolate smell to get out of the house, and we had so many truffles nobody wanted to eat them. Hell at the end of it I couldn’t give them away at school everyone was sick of them.

Hrrm, but would a mixing bowl work? Wouldn’t it add too much air?

All of this sounds so yummy… Francesca, Can I come over for dinner.

Well, if anyone wants a pretty easy truffle recipe I can post it.

I made butter by mistake while making icecream. I was whipping sdome cream lightly, to add to the cooled custard so as to make the ice cream light in texture. I overwhipped it. The ice cream had lots of little coagulated bits of butter in it. It was foul. I thawed it out again and rigged together some more sugar and some flour in order to turn the whole thing into a dense textured pudding cake.

Thanks for the tips Balance. That meal you made sounds fantastic. jjimm - I was thinking of Hugh Fearnley-Wittingstall when I was thinking what I’d really like to do. Unfortunately, I don’t have chickens and pigs living in my back garden.

I’m going to try to make the butter tonight. Tomorrow I’m going to make the bread it’ll go on.

Making pasta from scratch is tempting, but I can’t think what I would dry it on - I don’t have one of those things for hanging pasta on.

Butter is pretty easy to make. It can be as simple as just putting some heavy (double) cream is a tightly sealed container and shaking it. You can also add salt etc. if you want. [Note: This takes some time, but it does work… it’s an ideal “helper” project for kids while big meal prep is going on (we used to do this on Thankgiving when I was a little kid]

Butter made by methods like this (or using a blender or mixer) tends to be a little grainy at first. To fix that, separate the butter from the buttermilk, put it in a bowl and beat it about with a wooden spoon or a paddle. (you’re not trying to whip in air here, basically, you are just trying to pound the heck out of it) Then you end up sort of smooth butter we’re used to from stores.

I love to cook as well.

Good luck, and may all your dishes be ready at exactly the same time, so they all make it to the table perfectly.

yes, please!!!

I always just lay out my pasta on the countertop or the kitchen table. That works just fine. There is no comparison between homemade pasta and store bought.

Unless you’re going to store it, it doesn’t have to dry completely anyway.

Well, if you make your own pasta, you can make your own ravioli, too. Spinach and ricotta, or meat (sausage!), mmmmmmmm.

Or, tortelloni. A three cheese tortelloni with shrimp, and an Alfredo sauce. Can you catch your own shrimp?


If you want to dry pasta you could hang it over clean clothes hangers.