There is great power in being able to cook.
I’m not talking about dominance or strength, but rather the ability to shape what and how you eat, and then who you eat it with.
When you have at least a few basic cooking skills under your belt, those three meals a day become less of a chore, and more of an adventure. And then, through that process of procuring and producing, you magically build skills and confidence which makes it easier to share and gather people to your table. It’s what I love to do.
But, just like learning anything new – yoga, a language, kick boxing – you do need to apply yourself initially, by putting in dedicated time to experiment and learn from trial and error. Many of us do this in our childhood kitchen, learning alongside a family member and being immersed in the process so much that you learn by osmosis and you hardly even notice it. Others may not be as lucky and find that they get a rude awakening about their lack of cooking skill when they find themselves fending for themselves for the first time.
These days the internet gives us plenty of technical know how at our fingertips, but there is nothing like the tactile experience of doing it yourself.
Here are my TOP 10 TIPS for upping your cooking skills:
- MAKE LISTS
Shopping lists, menu lists, an order of work, are all essential to get your thoughts in order and plan your what you need to cook and when.
- READ THE RECIPE
Before you get started always read the recipe first, check cooking times and if you need any special equipment.
- MAKE SPACE
Clear your benchtops of unnecessary clutter to give yourself a good working space and make sure you clean as you go. You will be surprised how quickly your area will fill up if you don’t!
- KNIFE SKILLS
A sharp knife will literally cut your work in half, but practice developing some knife skills and this will make food preparation much quicker. Remember to get them professionally sharpened.
- USE A TIMER
Yes, putting on the oven timer is a good idea, don’t really on yourself to remember – even if you are just grilling toast.
- LEARN TO COOK SEVERAL THINGS AT ONCE
You will find building your skill to have a few things cooking at once is very productive and you will be surprised how you can easily monitor several things at the same time (eg. a simmering sauce while panfrying something and baking another item in the oven).
- INVEST IN GOOD EQUIPMENT
Quality knives, a steady chopping board, mixing bowls, utensils, cookware and a few kitchen appliances like a mixer, food processor and stab blender are all worth stocking up on but don’t feel you need the latest gadgetry or a whizz bang appliance to be a good cook.
- DOUBLE BATCH COOK
Where possible cook double and keep for another meal or freeze for later.
- TASTE AND SEASON
Always taste and season as you go, adjusting as needed. Don’t just rely on the recipe, the author might have different preferences to you.
- REVAMP LEFTOVERS
Think beyond the square with leftovers and turn them into something new by thinking of them as an ingredient…leftover risotto can become arancini balls…the remains of the roast and veg can be wrapped in pastry for a quick pie…turn extra schnitzels into parmigiana…last night’s roast potatoes make excellent fried potatoes….you get the idea.
So, get yourself into the kitchen and get cracking!
P.S> If you would like to learn cooking from me, then come along to my upcoming Foodcentric Gathering Cooking Class.
These are unique food experiences for just 12 people, held in my kitchen.
Book NOW for 6 or 7 April.