Food is one of the great joys in life, as well as being an essential part of your everyday routine. Unless you are wealthy enough to have your own personal chef whipping you up something delicious three times a day, it is worth taking some time to hone your cooking skills. Like anything in life, practice makes perfect, but there are a few simple tricks and techniques that you can follow to improve your dishes.
Make Sure You Have the Right Equipment
If you are trying to serve up haute cuisine with only a rusty old saucepan and a blunt kitchen knife, then you are going to find things difficult. The first step is to invest in some high-quality kitchenware. You can find gorgeous cookware sets and knife blocks at a variety of price points, depending on the brand and material. A decent frypan will instantly improve your meals as the even heat distribution helps to create flavorsome dishes without scorching or burning your creations. A quality knife will make food preparation quicker, easier and more enjoyable. As long as you look after them, well-made knives, pots, and pans should last you for years to come.
Season and Spice
People with minimal cooking experience are often cautious with some of the more exotic or unusual herbs and spices or neglect to use them at all. These ingredients are vital to creating a complexity of flavor in your dishes so stock up your spice cabinet. A small herb garden in the backyard will also come in handy and save you big bucks at the supermarket checkout. No yard? There is a myriad of benchtop herb planters available.
Don’t Be Afraid to Experiment
You can’t master any new skill without investing time in it. Why not set yourself a goal of cooking a new dish each week for a month? You are always more likely to stick to your goals when they are realistic within your current lifestyle, so having a detailed, achievable plan will set you on the right path to becoming a master chef – or at least to honing your skills beyond toast and mac and cheese. By trying new things, you will keep the learning process fresh and exciting, as well as rapidly expanding your repertoire.
Narrow in On Your Favorite Flavors
The more cooking you do, the more you will gain an awareness of your preferred spices, flavor combinations and textures. Once you know that you love ginger and cumin and are one of the 10% or so of people who think that cilantro or coriander tastes like soap, you can find a wealth of recipes that incorporate your preferred tastes. Some recipe websites now allow you to search via ingredient, or you can check the index in your recipe books at home.
Shop at Your Local Farmers Markets
Locally grown, in-season produce is much more flavorsome than fruit and vegetables purchased from your supermarket. Those have likely been in cold storage for a length of time before appearing on the shelves for purchase. Buying local is a quick way to boost the taste of your meals and support farmers in the region at the same time! If you are time poor and not sure that you will make it along to the markets each week, you could do some research and see if there is a local company delivering fruit and vegetable boxes to people’s doors.
Remember, the more you cook, the better you will be so dedicating time in the kitchen each week will ensure that you improve!