Most of us enjoy food and like trying out new dishes and experiencing new flavours. When it comes to cooking, though, many people are nervous about experimenting with new recipes. For some reason, the act of cooking is intimidating, and fear of messing up a good recipe makes us stick to simple dishes and miss out on new tastes and interesting recipes.
It doesn’t have to be this way. Cooking can be a lot of fun. Try these simple tips, and you should find yourself enjoying your time in the kitchen again.
Give Yourself Room to Cook
If you’re constantly hunting for utensils and struggling to find available counter space, then preparing even the simplest of recipes will be a stressful experience. Make a point of keeping your kitchen clean and organized, and you’ll find it easier to get things done.
Having a good, modern kitchen will make life easier. Modern conveniences such as zip taps and built-in storage racks make day to day tasks a lot easier.
Periodically go through your cupboards and get rid of old or out-of-date ingredients and seasonings. You don’t want to ruin a good recipe with old herbs or spices that have gone off.
Read the Recipe Before You Start
Before you attempt a new recipe, read it carefully and make sure that you have all of the ingredients and tools required to finish it. Some recipes, especially ones that you find online, are vague, or make assumptions about the knowledge of the reader. Make sure you know what the recipe requires, and how long it will take, before you start cooking.
Increase Your Vocabulary
Do you know how to sauté something, or how to tell if something is nicely seared? Can you tell when pasta is al-dente? If not, take a few moments to expand your cooking vocabulary. This knowledge will come in useful when you start reading more complex recipes.
You Deserve the Best
If you want to enjoy the results of your cooking efforts, make sure that you invest in the best produce, and the best tools and utensils. Fresh produce usually tastes far better than tinned or processed versions, and you’ll often get better results by cooking on a gas or induction hob than by using a traditional electric hob or relying on the oven.
Recipes are merely guidelines. You may want to follow them to the letter the first time you try a new type of dish, but don’t limit yourself too much. If you feel like trying a different spice, or adding your own twist to a dish, then go ahead – the entire point of cooking is to have fun and produce dishes that you love.
Even the best chefs occasionally have things go wrong. If you leave a dish in the oven too long, see if you can salvage it by using extra sauce to make up for the dry texture (praise the zip tap for this speedy fix!) If your sauce is too runny, add some flour to thicken it. If you add too much spice, add extra milk or coconut to take the edge off the heat. If you really can’t salvage the dish, throw it away and order a pizza.
Don’t be a slave to your induction hob, oven, and recipe book. Cook when it’s fun, and let someone else cook when you’re not in the mood. Above all, enjoy yourself.