Cooking is one of life’s greatest pleasures – after all, what could be better than whipping up your favourite dishes with the freshest and highest quality produce you can find, and sharing your creations with your friends and family? Aside from providing you with a delicious meal at the end of the process, cooking is also something that is incredibly therapeutic and stress relieving to many. If you are an avid home cook, you may be wondering what you can do to truly bring your cuisine to the next level. In this article, we provide you a quick and simple guide to spicing up your home cooking, so read on to find out more!
#1. Consider Other Methods Of Cooking
Most of us stick to tried and true methods of cooking, whether that be sauteing, stir frying, pan frying or deep frying. Whilst all these methods mentioned produce tasty results, you can add new life to your home cooking by expanding your cooking methods. Some of the newest and most popular trends in the culinary world today are methods of cooking such as sous vide, broiling, steaming, poaching and that all famous BBQ. Different methods of cooking can impart distinct flavours to food, such as the char of a BBQ or the mellow sweetness of a poached chicken breast. Various cooking styles also help you produce a variety of textures in your dish, giving your food more mouth appeal and an overall better flavour. Expand your horizons when it comes to methods of cooking, and watch your food reach new levels of deliciousness.
#2. Spice It Up!
When it comes to flavour, spice is your best friend. There are a wide variety of spices from different regions of the world that are now available at most supermarkets or farmers markets, and we urge you to purchase some exotic spices that you’ve never heard of. Most chefs advise us to purchase whole spices and grind them at home, as that will offer you the most flavourful results when cooking.
The longer a bottle of ground spice sits in your cupboard, the more flavour it loses, so hit up Asian or Indian grocers to buy whole spices at an affordable price. Some spice blends we recommend are Dukkah, Zatar, Five Spice, Sumac, Garam Masala and Old Bay Seasoning. These are spice mixtures that aren’t often used in everyday cooking, but they are spices can truly inject some exotic flair into any dish you’re preparing at home.
#3. Make Your Own Stock
With the convenience of supermarkets, most people choose to purchase cartons of stock or stock cubes for their home cooking. Whilst these options do provide a quick injection of flavour to your dishes, nothing can truly beat fresh, homemade stocks. Whether you’re looking to make Chicken, Fish, Beef or Vegetable stock, chefs around the world will all agree that homemade is the best. Making your own stock is a lot easier than it sounds, as you can use bones from meat and vegetable scraps from what you cook during the week as your stock base. Make one giant pot of stock and then freeze portions of it for when you need. This way, you have your very own “instant” stock always on standby, and one that is potent with flavour and cost you barely anything to make.
#4. Brush Up On Your Knife Skills
You may wonder how brushing up on your knife skills is going to make your food taste better, but trust me, it truly does! When cooking, you want all your meat and veggies to be cut into equal sized portions so that they all cook in the same amount of time. The last thing you want is to boil a pot of potatoes, start mashing and then realise that you have lumps of undercooked potato in the mix. That is surefire way of ruining even the most perfect of dishes! Proper knife skills also lend texture to your food when you understand the best ways to chop certain vegetables, whether that be to cut them into julienne shapes, small dice, big dice, or rounds. Something as small as cutting a carrot into a different shape can add a whole new dimension to a dish that you’re trying to improve.
#5. Focus On Presentation
As the saying goes, we eat with our eyes first. Most of us don’t bother too much about presentation when we are dining at home. All too often, we just dollop food on our plate in a haphazard manner, head to the table and chow down. A great way of improving your home cooing is to focus on presentation.
You don’t have to go overboard and garnish a plate like one would at a Michelin star restaurant, but you can use tools such as food rings, sauce bottles and other simple tricks to really up the wow factor of your dish. Focus on using fresh, bright garnishes that compliment both the taste and aesthetic of your dish to inject some restaurant style into your home cooking. Because we first eat with our eyes, you will be creating an all rounded dining experience for yourself right in the comfort of your own home.
We hope that this guide to spicing up your home cooking has equipped you with some handy tips and tricks on how you can bring your dishes at home to the next level.