Cooking for One Only!

May as well start a new thread. have been this was before! - I was thinking of calling it "cooking recipes for the single person " which this seemed to have become in a way?

I have never cooked much in my life always been lucky to have a partner who enjoyed it and I enjoyed sitting back and waiting to be fed! But now I am truly alone and living in the middle of a 50 acre forest in a smallish granny flat but no granny! so cooking started to take on new dimensions. I have always been able to boil an egg and make some toast etc etc but the last cook in the family is my dear DIL who is Thai and she and my son compete with each other in cooking contests! - I must hasten to add that I live 200kms away so only get treats on rare visits!

ok - stopped eating cereals including porridge years ago - I lived in HK for 3 years in the 70’s so that kicked out the british menu even though it was still a british colony att and I became everything asian cooked and ate!! but I was still not cooking. we were spoilt with maids and restaurants weekly.

so now I am not an expert asian cook but can knock out a few simple dishes. I also purchase kippers which are still a delight for me and eat them heated under the grill - well I’m not under the grill you understand?

black puddings I can still get but they have turned brown and a modern version of the superb black one I had in Lancs as a kid with white globules of fat inside - that’s the acid test for me.

I have just stopped cooking Indian curries - I am sure there are many superb ones but just buying meat and a ready made packet of herbs and spices doesn’t cut it and whatever mix you buy they all turn out to taste the same. So my current cooking asian for several days is:

  1. select your chosen meat or fish

  2. Prepare vegies and noodles [any cheap ones will do] - place a couple of frozen vegies from pkts and two noodle contents from pkts in a large bowl and pour over boiling water. Save the little pkts of spices found in the noodle pkt if you want. let soak for 20-30 mins

  3. prepare wok with oil to heat

  4. select meat/fish and cook gently in wok - adding preferrential spices - I just use one which is a prepare paste from chilli pods in a small bottle - be careful one teaspoon usually sufficient. - cut one onion or half into slices and add to meat and cook together.

  5. once meat is almost done drain noodles and vegies until dry and add to wok and continue cooking with suitable ladle [flat spade one] - either add salt at this stage or individually on selected plates.

My flat gets cold at night now we are in winter - dry no rain and after I have eaten for the evening the remainder if there is any can be left in the covered woke and used next morning for breakie. I sometimes lightly sprinkle an asian sauce soya etc etc - personal choices

this has now superseded the Indian curry dish I cooked in a similar way but eaten with rice not noodles but as I may have mentioned they all tasted the same?

nb can someone get Pauline back I do miss her dulcet and joyful tones!!

1 Like

finished the remainder from yesterday plus a few small mushrooms spread atop and will snack on fruit and biscuits and cheese if I get peckish later. I think there is sometimes a compulsion to always eat big meals when you don’t need and I am now remembering those chemicals in my brain telling me I’ve had enough - that hypothesis seems to ring true for all those people who are overweight and continually gorging out of the fridge?

Ok back on topic and I have titled this " stir fry ozzie style chicken/bacon bits/mixed vegi tops and instant noodles!

a quick cook and quick serve noodle dish- probably get three serves out of it?

my other all time favourite is Bechalan prawn/ long beans served with freshly cooked rice to your taste!

Bechalan are blocks of solid dried prawn paste

Bechalan Paste
and needs to be hammered with mortar and pestle with a few teaspoons of hot chilli paste plus 6 shalots peeled; 2 tablespoons of dried shrimps [they are the very small ones] ; 4 cloves of garlic
half a tab of roasted bechalan
3.4 teaspoons of chilli paste

all mashed up

other ingredients
200 gms of green beans chopped into 3 cm lengths
10 medium sized prawns - shelled and deveined
3 tabs of oil
5 tabs of water
1 tps of sugar and salt
all measures can be slightly varied according to your tastes

heat oil in pan and add bechalan paste ( mix and stir until fragrant)
add prawns and beans and stir fry for 2 mins and add sugar and salt to taste
add 5 tbs of water and stir fry for 4 mins
serve with hot steamed rice

hint : asparagus ; eggplant or okra can be used instead of beans

this is a physically challenging dish to prepare ; cooking is normal but the end result is truly exotic for those who appreciate far eastern cooking - I always complain about the preparation but just love the tastes. of course you choose your own intensity of spice heat and that pounding with the mortar and pestle is a pain but all worth it in the end.

1 Like

I called in at the OAP centre for breakfast and a chat. what a disappointment the breakfast was - the chat was great fun!

see if I can remember:
bacon - pale
scrabbled egg - tasteless
mushrooms - rubbery
tomatoes - ok
some sorta fish fingers minature - tasteless
coffee - out of a glass container and tasteless - but I am spoilt with good ground coffee that can be simmered over hot water to extract the flavor but leave the grains behind.

all in all chat lots of fun especially with varying degrees of partial deafness ; company cheerful ; breakfast - needs vast improvement

price of company ; transport and food - free

1 Like

today I varied my diet slightly - using turkey mince which I imagined would be tasty with a distinct flavour of its own plus slice onion fried together in the wok then add noodles and mixed frozen vegies that had been steeped in boiling water for 20 mins plus a few asian spices and of course a sprinkling of salt.

the turkey didn’t work - it was tasteless hmm but the spices worked and it filled a space for a while - no meats from WW will work anymore methinks - one has to shop for more select pieces from further afield - in fields to be precise! but it will last me for a few days so now must put the remainder in the fridge!

decided to try an old friend of mine 'vietnamese spring rolls - they can be tricky wickies? - hint get all pieces together cos you have to work quiet quick.

the wrapper needs to be sat on damp teatowel the sprinkled with hottish water to flex it!

Insert all inserts - lettuce pieces - prawns ; chicken bits ; spices etc etc then
wrap the wrapper around then turning in the sides and rolling forward - all sounds simple heh!

or I did try some thai noodle inserts but they got quite sticky and stuck a lot!

still I consumed the whole 5 I made and they are very filling - but much more practice is needed - how these girls in the restaurants do them so quickly is amazing - you just put the order in and out they come toot suite!


Hello gumbud.

Firstly I believe you right, practice makes perfect, I was useless at making pizza, …I was determined to make a good dough, the topping was easy, my son says my dough is great “ NOW”, it did take quite a bit of practice though.

I haven’t made spring rolls, so will look a recipe up and try it, then get back to you, on the preparation side of things,:+1:

I do believe with cooking, it must interest you, I started experimenting with cooking from the age of around 14, some start much younger,…

Anyway, well done with what you have achieved so far, keep practicing…:+1:

For those who mainly cook for one, then there is a nice read from Wendy Hobson👇


thanks Pauline ‘we’ thought that we had lost you for ever and ever - so relieved to see you back again - how is Basingstoke these days?

that looks good too! yes we need to be more adventurous and not just stick to cheese on toast!!

1 Like

today I resorted to my favourite recipe - chicken chunks fried in the wok with one full sliced onion - asian sauces both dry and wet added plus a teaspoon of salt.

handfuls of mixed vegies added also and finally any kind of noodle you fancy - stir fry until all cooked and serve for one - add asian sauces as reqd

I did cook some sweet potatoes - boiled the other day but forgot they were boiling till the well ran dry and they have turned out edible but very soggy - must try not to be forgetful when the gas stove is on [using a small camp one atm - that is another story - so it don’t take long for da gas to degas!]

coffee - always start the day with a black one with sweeteners only. My son buys them in bulk supplies and then flashes a few over to me! - use in any kind of coffee preparation mode - but being poor and simple I just jack a tablespoon into a large mug and pour on boiling water add sweetners to taste and allow to settle - you do get a sludge eventually in the bottom. I dropped in the OAP centre the other day for breakie - and had one of theirs - yuk and a coffee out of a jar yuk see wot I mean - the breakie was bacon - scrabbled egg [tasteless] ; fried tomato -can’t spoil that heh!] the rest was just mush I think - cannot stand Butlins style meals!!

  1. A meal for half a week!! - minced turkey lightly fried with cooke prawns added in the wok

  2. add de-frosted mixed vegies after turkey fully cooked - continue mixing with turkey and prawns

  3. prepare dried noodles by soaking in boiled water then sieved in colinder and added to above and slowly mixed in large wok

  4. add favorite spices to suit

store surplus in sealed receptacle in fridge

1 Like

Sounds tasty!

Cheapo pea and ham soup

I use one can of Asda Smartprice mushy peas , one decent quality ham stock cube and seasoning.

Simply add the peas to a small saucepan, add the stock with your desired seasoning and give it a quick blitz with a stick blender as it heats.

The trick is adding the right amount off stock, much depends on personal preference, I don’t like my pea and ham soup to be too runny.

that sounds interesting and will eventually give it a try - here’s something similar but with rice that I saw in the guardian paper on line:

Rice dishes alone that will amaze you!


Yeah… thanks gumbud!
Those rice balls look interesting :+1:


Really enjoying this thread, lots of new things.

I enjoy cooking, however now I am on a low potassium diet I am having to ditch a lot of my favourites and learn new ones.

That sounds like a bit of a minefield swimfeeders.
This may be a silly question but how do you acertain how much potassium is in a meal, do you have to take each and every ingredient into consideration and do a Google before totting it all up?