There's a bit of a recipe to "cooking" compost. You need a balanced mix of soft, green things (like kitchen scraps or fresh grass) and drier, brown things (like dead leaves or newspaper). It also needs to stay slightly damp, and it helps if it's warm outside. And the main bit of work is you do have to mix it up a bit at least once a week. But personally I find it rewarding, I've already gotten a bucket's worth of compost to put on the rhododendrons.
Oh and if you thought it wasn't much to look at from the outside, the inside's no better. This is a mix of grass clippings (already pretty far composted) and grape leaves.