Cooking at home is something of a daily task for every one of us – but in today’s world, the definition of ‘cooking’ may have been stretched a little. Oven-ready frozen food and microwave meals are supremely convenient products, which often wick us away from spending more time making a healthy, nutritious and delicious meal in our own time.
Indeed, a recent poll found that a quarter of UK adults felt cooking was a chore, with the average adult spending 17 days a year altogether making food. However, there are many of us hoping to turn a new leaf, and cook better meals – whether for flavour, health or budget. If you’re hoping to cook better food at home, you might not know quite where to start; here are some tips to get you off the ground.
Cook for Your Tastes!
When setting out to cook better food, many of us fall into the trap of trying to objectively define what ‘good’ food is. Is it healthy dishes chock-full of leaves and veg, or is it ‘haute cuisine’ with questionable sauce-art and even more questionable portion sizes?
Rather than getting bogged down in the philosophy of it all, try instead to cook for your tastes. If you’re looking to control your calorie intake, portion control is much more effective than switching out any and all flavour; if you’re hoping to improve as a chef, there’s no point perfecting a recipe you hate. Go with your gut, cook whatever seems like the most fun to you and build a repertoire from there!
Get Yourself Some Kitchen Equipment
In order to make cooking more of a habit for yourself, it needs to be tasty, easy and, above all, fun. If you find yourself battling with blunt knives and scratched saucepans each time you try to make yourself dinner, you’ll be less likely to bother on a regular basis.
As such, a little investment in your kitchen equipment can go a long way for overall enjoyment. Choose from a range of pan sets with ease of use in mind as well as aesthetics, and be sure to make room in your budget for a good 5-inch chef’s knife. A large chopping board can also make life a lot easier, and make ingredient prep a breeze.
Take Care of Your Equipment
New equipment, even if it’s equipment that’s built to last, needs to be cared for in the right way to remain useful to you in the kitchen. Your supermarket knife set will blunt quickly due to the low quality of metal, but will blunt all the quicker for unskilled use; learning how to properly care for your kitchen tools can make them work at their best for much longer, keeping cooking a relatively stress-free process.
Taste As You Go
This may seem an obvious point to make, but it is one that bears repeating: in order to get the best out your dishes, you need to be tasting them as you go. Tasting as you cook gives you important information about what a recipe needs next, and can be a great way to marry your understanding of ingredients with the way recipes are laid out. Frequent tasting can also help you reduce your reliance on recipe books, forcing you to rely on your taste and intuition to figure out what your dish needs.