Whether you’ve just moved into your own home or never had the time to learn how to cook, staring at an empty kitchen can be daunting. Freezer meals and instant noodles can only last so long, but learning to cook can be fun, and you might just find your new passion.
Here are 5 tips for newbie chefs to get started in the kitchen:
Seasonings are a requirement
With so many different flavours and cuisines, it’s easy to get intimidated. Some people may have cupboards full of seasonings, whilst others stick to salt and pepper. However, seasoning your food correctly is the difference between food and a great meal.
Under seasoning is often the problem with most dishes, and is a simple fix. Most recipes list what seasonings should be added, but don’t be afraid to add a little more than you think. Try to gather a range of herbs and spices and experiment until you find what flavours you like.
Don’t worry about getting too complicated tracking down star anises or crushing cardamom pods; most recipes use alternations of a few simple herbs and spices.
Follow the recipe, a little
This may sound confusing, however, both following the recipe and experimenting can produce delicious results. As a baseline, most recipes are great, especially if you’ve never made the dish before or you’re new to cooking.
However, swapping ingredients or methods can tweak dishes more to your taste. If your dish is savoury, there’s very little you can do wrong – bar accidentally dropping the entire salt shaker in the pot.
If a recipe calls for a type of cheese that you’re not fond of, swap it! Add in extra seasonings or experiment with different ones. Try swapping the protein in your recipe or trying a different cooking method. Little swaps such as these will soon evolve into your own recipe book!
Fresh is best
Don’t fall into the trap of thinking Spaghetti Bolognese sauce only comes in jars. If you have the time, making everything yourself is the way to creating delicious meals that’ll leave your friends and family begging for an invitation for dinner.
Most sauce recipes require few ingredients and even fewer steps. The same can be said for soups, pasta and salads. Taste while you cook, and you can’t go wrong by introducing freshness to your dishes.
Learn your wine
When you’ve brushed up on your skills and are ready to invite some dinner guests to sample your creations, pairing your cooking with wine can really make a meal into a culinary experience.
Many wine guides are available, with little tips such as sparkling wine for salty food, and deep red wines for rich meats. You can’t go wrong with lighter, fruitful wines, as they can pair with practically any meal as a crisp refreshment.
For example, Forest Wines have a variety of wines and craft beers for any occasion. This vinho verde chin chin wine pairs well with shellfish, vegetarian meals and appetizers. If you’re cooking heavier meat, this garnacha joven vina zorzal is excellent with red meat, cheese and barbeque.
We were all newbies once
Even professional chefs were new to cooking once. Most people have accidentally forgotten to set the timer on the oven or cooked pasta too long so that it’s gone mushy.
Leaning on friends or family for tips will not just improve your techniques, but will also introduce you to methods or recipes that you’d never thought of trying. Swapping cookbooks is a great idea if you’re looking to try something new, and don’t be afraid of older recipes!
Following foodie accounts and chefs on social media can also give you new ideas. It’s easy to get stuck in a routine of the same dishes, so when so many ideas are right in front of you, what are you waiting for?