As anyone who has tried to and failed to make their favourite dishes knows, cooking can be a frustrating experience. However, sometimes it’s not the cooking that is at fault – it’s us.
While recipe books can give us plenty of information and advice, it’s ultimately ourselves who have to step up and actually make the dish.
Easier said than done, however, especially when we’re all guilty of making common mistakes every time we get out the knives and pots and pans.
Here are three of the most committed fouls that will be halting your success in cooking stardom.
If there’s one thing we should know, it’s that recipe books are far too optimistic with their cooking times. 45 minutes?
I don’t think so, we say, 1.5 hours after we’ve begun. But the thing is, they’re talking about the actual cooking process – not the preparation time. If it calls for half an onion and green pepper, that means half an onion and green pepper that is sliced and ready to go in the pan.
We rarely do this, however – we slice as we go along, and can get ourselves all muddled up with too much going on. Having good, sharp knives will cut down the time.
Also, in the middle of everything we’re normally in too much of a rush to get things in the pan. But a meal that isn’t cooked properly (or too much) will not taste right. Make sure all your pans are properly preheated to the right temperature. In other words, be patient!
Taste As You Go
You don’t have to wait until everything is finished to find out how your meal is going to taste. It’s a secret, so whisper it quietly, but…you’re able to taste as you go. In fact, if you’re making a sauce-based dish that’s absolutely recommended that you do so!
Chili, for example, requires lots of spice and it’s too much of a risk to wait until everything is good to determine if it’s finished. What if you haven’t added enough chilli powder?
You need to be aware that spices can intensify the longer that they cook, but with practice, you’ll learn to determine when you need you to add more spices.
This is actually cooking is all about; while cookbooks are good, knowing how to use spices will enable you to create your own dishes moving forward!
“Ah, This Will Do”
If we deviate too much off-piste away from the recipe, it’s really to get it back unless we know what we’re doing. If a recipe calls for one spice, don’t try and substitute it unless you know what you’re doing.
It all goes back to preparation, but if you find yourself stranded then take the time to learn about how it can be rectified to create a good meal. In most cases, people tend to give up and present their meal as is – and it’s usually inferior!
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