In the last few years since I first discovered my love of cooking and food, I have learnt a couple of essential rules to follow in the kitchen. Although my skills are continuously growing with every new meal I make, I have set myself ten cooking commandments that must be abided by at all times and by any means.
By no means am I an expert and I have accumulated these tips and tricks over time. Hopefully, these tips will improve your life in the kitchen as much as they have mine!
My ten cooking commandments
- Always make sure the dishwasher is empty (or your kitchen and drying rack are clean) before you start cooking. That way you can put dirty equipment straight in as you go, saving clean up time in the end.
- Cooking for friends/family at dinner parties is not meant to be Michelin star quality, nor should it reduce you to tears. It should bring joy to you and your family/friends. You are cooking for love, not perfection.
- Season everything as you go (rather than just at the end). For example, season your pasta water, or stir in salt, pepper and herbs as you cook.
- When baking, never stray from the recipe. Ever. (I mean it. Don’t).
- Sharpen your knives regularly. There is nothing worse than a blunt knife and, on the flip side, sharp knives mean less work cutting and more time eating.
- Be sure to taste your food as you go for the balance of flavours (obviously, don’t taste any raw animal products like meat or eggs. If you must, microwave a small amount to cook it through before tasting).
- Always add at least a quarter of a teaspoon of salt to any baking (unless your recipe calls for more). You won’t taste it, but it balances the sweetness to add depth and complexity of flavour.
- Keep raw meat separate from raw vegetables when chopping and prepping. For example, use a separate chopping board for each (plastic is always preferable to wood). This prevents cross-contamination.
- Add a ladle full of the water you cook your pasta in, to your sauce – the starch always improves the consistency of the sauce.
- Sift all dry ingredients when baking (flour, cocoa powder, baking powder/soda, sugar & salt). This is the easiest way to avoid lumps.