If you’ve ever enviously watched Nigella Lawson or Jamie Oliver whip up a storm in the kitchen via their popular TV cooking shows, you might have asked yourself just how they got to be so good. Unless you’re the very next Nigella or Jamie then, you’ve probably also asked yourself this: ‘why aren’t I a better cook?’ and…’how can I become one’?
The short answer is simple: the more time you spend having a go at something, the easier it’ll seem and the better at it you’ll eventually be. To help you on your way, though, we’ve put together five handy hints to give you the boost you need in the kitchen. Read on…
- Cook Only the Foods You Enjoy – If cooking isn’t a labour of love, it could be down to the fact that you’re just not preparing the meals that you enjoy personally. Don’t punish yourself by choosing a difficult recipe to follow and instead make things easier by picking out a family favourite – and one that’s relatively simple to prepare – and you’ll find you put that little bit more time into it. And that little bit more time spent will surely equal a better meal in the end?
- Buy the Right Gear – It’s true that ‘a bad workman will always blame his tools’ but it’s also true that if you don’t use the right equipment for a job, you’re not going to get very far. So why not treat yourself? Spend an afternoon looking around the technology aisle of the supermarket, or get yourself to a fancy kitchen gadgets shop and stock up on all the things you’ll need that’ll make your life easier. And trust us, once cooking becomes ‘easy’ it’ll be enjoyable too.
- Make Sure You Have Someone to Cook For – Cooking takes time, so it can almost seem like a lot of effort for not much reward if you spend hours in the kitchen and then sit down to a meal on your own. Instead, give yourself a real reason to ensure the food turns out okay by inviting some friends round for dinner. Don’t make this an excuse to put more pressure on yourself but simply a reason to try a little harder. And make sure you choose a recipe that’s simple to follow; no one wants to be up against it in the kitchen.
- Always Thoroughly Read Your Recipe – The Bake Off’s Mary Berry always advises contestants to read their recipe through at least twice before they even think about starting to whip up a cake. So, make sure you do the same. It’s not as simple as just reading the ingredients list; instead, take a good look through the method and see that you understand every point on the list before you get started. You never know, you might get half way down the recipe and realise that you don’t own that essential piece of kitchen equipment which wasn’t mentioned in the ‘ingredients’ section.
- Taste As You Go – Now this is definitely the best tip! Cooking is instantly more enjoyable if you can have a little nibble on your culinary creations as you go. So allow yourself to taste that gravy, or try those roasted vegetables during the cooking process – you may find that they need a little bit of this herb, or a little dash of that spice and that will make for a better meal (and cooking experience) in the long-run. Enjoy!