I hear it so often.  ‘I just don’t enjoy cooking’…this is probably why.

 

1. Your knives are blunt

If your knives are blunt you will not enjoy cooking. Time to get them sharpened.  Get a professional edge back on that knife by either chatting up your local butcher, buying a decent knife sharpener at your local kitchen shop or getting your knives to a professional sharpener.  It really isn’t expensive and is well worth it. Once your knife is sharp you WILL live happily ever after in the kitchen.

2. Menu Fatigue

If you buy the same dreary ingredients week in and week out OF COURSE you will lose your mojo in the kitchen.  I usually have a list for the household basics but shop for FRESH produce. I buy with my eyes and it all depends on what LOOKS fresh and delicious and what is on sale!  I would much rather buy seasonal fresh produce than something that is old, overpriced and on my list. If you have never tried fennel or beef cheeks or fresh turmeric BUY IT and TRY IT.

The minute you add a new ingredient to a dish it becomes a new dish so remember that.  You don’t have to learn a repertoire of new recipes; you can simply start adding a bit of bling to your old ones.

Add finely shaved fennel to your next coleslaw…BANG.  Sexy coleslaw..

Add veal or pork mince instead of beef to any of your old favourites…BANG. Glamourous mince..

Add my favourite spice Ras el Hanout as a CULINARY SPRAY TAN to your next leg of lamb, roast chicken, mince or even vegetables…BANG. Expensive sounding roast.

3. Your chopping board moves around when you chop

I’ve watched many battle it out on a chopping board with the silly thing moving and flapping about OF COURSE you’re going to hate chopping.  TAKE CONTROL. Put a wet cloth or a plastic mat under the board and your will be in chopping heaven.  It’s also MUCH safer so please try this and you’ll be surprised how such a simple idea can transform your chopping woes.

4. You don’t know the basics

You need to master basic skills so that you can then feel confident in the kitchen.

Habits to forget:

  • Use the right knife for the job, you can’t use a paring knife to finely chop a bunch of parsley you will need to use a chefs knife or a vegetable cleaver so don’t battle it out with the wrong equipment.
  • If your mince or your bacon is leaking grey liquid all over the pan when you’re cooking,
  • Your stir-fries are limp and watery and grey then you need to adjust your cooking method.  You are just stirring too much and your pan is too cold.
  • Generally if meat or veggies are added to a cold pan and then stirred it will stew, seep and cook grey every single time.  The more you stir the more it will stew.
  •  If you add 650g of cold meat drenched in a liquid marinade and then add it to a small cold pan and then stir you ARE DEFINITELY going to get a grey soggy stew and not a stir-fry!

Things to remember:

  • Get the pan swear-word hot when sealing off meat, mince, stir fries etc.
  • Add ‘workhorse’ oil (rice bran, canola etc) to the pan, extra virgin olive oil is like a princess: it doesn’t like to get hot or sweaty or do any work BUT it’s really glamorous and is the perfect candidate to bling up and adorn a salad, or be drizzled over cooked meat or vegetables…but it’s useless at frying at very high temperatures.
  • Only add the meat to the pan if it SIZZLES and has good heat!
  • Don’t stir straight away. Back away from the pan until the first layer that has hit the pan is browned and sealed, if you are cooking mince you can attack the lumps with two forks or a whisk. I always add my onion second, that way I don’t have to add extra oil to cook the onions. Makes sense doesn’t it! Manage the sizzle in the pan. See my video here that will help explain

 

5. You don’t feel appreciated

If you’ve spent an hour or two or more in the kitchen and you don’t get a round of applause of course you will feel hard done by.  I always make sure I bling up my meal so when they finally see it, it looks so amazing that they at least murmur wow or oooh or similar.  It’s amazing what a new dish will do for your reputation.  Learn some quick and easy presentation skills and styles and you can literally make mac cheese the star of the show.

 

Be creative and keep building your kitchen confidence.  Master one basic skill at a time and you will be able to replicate it again and again BUT refresh it by changing your spices, accompaniments and even just changing the plate you serve it on.  Make it your own and use your own personal style, that way you can live happily ever after in your kitchen one dish at a time.

 

Happy Cooking

Chef Mel

https://vanillazulu.com.au/

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