Everyone always says ” I wish I could cook like you”. Well the truth is, you can! If you’re motivated and have the right tools, the rest is just practice. You don’t need a fancy, massive kitchen, equipped with high end appliances (even though that would be amazing). Trust me, I have about 3 1/2 feet of counter space. Limited cupboard space. I have to stand to the side when opening the oven because there is no space to stand in front. Oh and I have no dishwasher to help with the clean up. But, I believe if you have a passion for something, you’ll do anything to make it work. With some patience and an open mind, you’ll be hosting the next dinner party in no time! I’ve compiled a few tips for getting you started.
#1. GET ORGANIZED: Before I turn on the oven or start the BBQ, I always make sure everything is ready to go. My veggies are washed and cut, I have the proper utensils within reach, I’ve pre mixed marinades with spices, I even have my plate ready for when it comes time for presentation. Cooking demands your focus, so anything you can prepare in advance, do so. Being organized also applies to your ingredients. I don’t always meal plan but before I start cooking, I make sure I have everything I need in my pantry or fridge. There is nothing worse then being half way through your recipe and realising you don’t have a main ingredient.
#2. TIME MANAGEMENT: Don’t take on a massive recipe that requires 2-3 hours of prep time when you have to work in 30 minutes. Cooking should be enjoyable, and when you’re pressed for time, it takes the joy out of your dish and you’re most likely going to burn it because overall, you’re scrambling and not organized.
#3. START SIMPLE: starting simple builds your confidence. Once you pick a simple recipe and it turns out the way you wanted, you realise ” hey, I can do this”. A simple place to start in my opinion is a salad with your own dressing. Or a pasta with your own sauce. The more you make a pasta, the more you’ll adjust. For example, the first time I made pasta I had no idea that salting the water was a very important factor in making a great tasting pasta. Or that adding oil in the water helps with noodles sticking together, or that using too small of a pot doesn’t allow enough water to cook the pasta… you learn as you go, and that’s ok.
#4. BE INFORMED: There is no such thing as watching too many Gordon Ramsey videos on youtube or reading too many cookbooks. Everyone has a different style of cooking and the more you know the better prepared you’ll be when it comes to making the dish. I constantly research other bloggers, creep foodies on Instagram, read cooking magazines, try bizarre foods and have watched countless cooking videos. Not only will you obtain skills, but you’ll become more confident and eventually you wont need to watch the videos before you make a dish. You’ll know the difference between mincing, dicing, and slicing and you’ll just pick up your knife and start.
#5. KNOW YOUR PALATE: Everyone’s taste buds are different. The best way I can explain this is with Beer. My boyfriend enjoys IPA’s, I know that I don’t like the bitterness of hops so I much rather drink an amber or a stout. The same rules apply with food. Something that tastes salty to someone, might not for others. Knowing your pallet will leave you satisfied every time. That being said, I encourage you to try new things as well. Our taste buds mature as we age, so just because you didn’t like tomatoes when you were 5, doesn’t mean you won’t like them now ( yes that is a personal example).
#6. TRY SOMETHING NEW: I used to be the person who ordered the Chicken Alfredo at every restaurant we went to. Now I order the most intricate dish on the menu. You have to expand and step out of your comfort zone to discover what your palate likes. I never used to like ginger, but I gave it another try and I’m obsessed, I want fresh ginger in everything now. Start slowly, maybe dine with friends and ask the adventurous one in the group for a small bite to see if it’s for you. It’s mind over matter, so just give something new a chance.
#7. HAVE FUN: Cooking is meant to be fun. Don’t be afraid to try different combinations. If you mess up, start over. If you think that Jamie Oliver has never burned a dish, or that I personally get it right the first time, always.. you are wrong. It’s all about staying calm and fixing the issue. If something is too bitter, sweeten it up. Too runny? thicken it up. there is always a solution!