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Easy, delicious microwave nom-noms

We're all at home much more now, and not toiling away in front of the oven on a hot summer's day is defos a win. The ping of the microwave has never sounded as satisfying as it does on Herman se mikro-geheime
Thu, Feb 18, 2021

Mageirocophobia. Do you have it? Don't worry, it's not another strain of some weird epidemic that will keep us chained inside for a national lockdown… It's the fear of cooking. Yes, it's a real thing.

According to experts, this fear can take on many forms – you can be afraid of cooking for large groups, or the thought of whipping up a plate of scrambled eggs can make you break out in hives. It is quite common, although only considered a phobia when it is severe enough to interfere with your day-to-day tasks.

Herman Lensing, food editor of popular Afrikaans magazine, Sarie and gastronome extraordinaire, wanted to show those who fear the stove that cooking can be easy and fun in his show Herman se mikro-geheime on VIA. "The DNA of the show is obviously microwave food, but my idea wasn't primarily to show that you can cook food in a microwave. My idea was to take the fear out of cooking."

The microwave, developed after World War II from radar technology developed during the war, has become a household staple. Many people rely on it to reheat yesterday's leftovers or defrost something for the dinner table. But it doesn't need to be used only for the most basic of tasks.

"So many people tell me how difficult they find it to cook, how they fear the kitchen," he says. "So, I take those dishes that are normally considered 'difficult' and make them in the microwave."

In Herman se mikro-geheime, Lensing cooks risotto and bakes the tastiest of dishes in the microwave – because he can! "If I can do that in the microwave, can you imagine what you can do conventionally with an oven and stove?" he asks. "There really is nothing to be afraid of!"

Last year made homebodies of most of us, and with remote work being on the cards for a while still, more and more people are choosing to stay home rather than eat out, and the daily toil in front of the stove might not be everyone's idea of fun.

The micro-recipes he developed will make you feel like culinary genius, and Lensing's casual way with words and his ease in front of the camera will make any sceptic believe that they are also capable of producing great meals.

Lensing says: "There is nothing to fear. I use the microwave recipes as an inspiration. Making a great meal is actually quite simple. You need good ingredients and clever ways of cooking them."

Lensing believes in the intuitive, elemental approach to cooking. "Salt, fat, acid, heat. That's all you need for great flavour," he says. "If you have these four elements, you've got it made. Use South African olive oil, real butter, good salt… And I love using vinegar – it is a great way to give your food real depth and flavour. I scour small markets for artisan vinegar and use a lot of that in my cooking."

The basics of cooking are covered in Herman se mikro-geheime. Still, you'll walk away with a more comprehensive knowledge of not only microwave cooking, but those dishes that will impress and delight your guests. So, have at it!

  • Watch Herman se mikro-geheime every Wednesday at 5pm, on VIA, DStv channel 147