Whether you take pride in dishing up restaurant-quality meals, or or are just determined not to burn your next slice of toast, follow these great tips from Dominique Rizzo,
Gourmet Garden Ambassador to get the most out of your kitchen!
1. Keep learning They say knowledge is power and the best piece of advice I have for home cooks is to stay in the know and practice cooking new recipes to gain more confidence with working with flavours. Read cookbooks, newspaper articles, blogs and websites whenever possible – it’s amazing how much information there is out there to help improve your understanding of different cultures/cuisines, flavours, and cooking techniques.
2. Pantry essentials This is an age old rule for any house hold. There are just some ingredients that must stay in your cupboard/fridge, no questions asked. Pick a few staples from your favourite cuisines that you can add to meats and vegetables to create flavoursome dishes any time. Examples include pasta and peeled tomatoes, Asian sauces, tinned legumes and of course, a selection of fresh herbs – try Gourmet Garden for fresh herbs and spices at your fingertips, available in your supermarket fresh food aisle.
3. Invest in good quality utensils Investing in good quality cooking utensils is a must for any serious cook. Make sure you do your research and look into a couple of well known, house hold brands. Whilst you may feel the initial sting of an expensive knife set or a mix master to start with, it’s well worth it in the long run. Any good cook can create a master piece with a few basic kitchen utensils and appliances, too many gadgets will over crowd you and make it difficult to move around in your kitchen. Remember keep it simple.
4. Herbs and Spices. They are a sure fire way to transform any meal in seconds. Adding a touch of herbs and spices to your household favourites (i.e. spaghetti bolognaise or to liven up simple steamed or roasted vegetables) will make a real difference and is bound to gain you rave reviews.
5. Push the boundaries; Don’t be afraid to play with different flavour combinations and cooking techniques. Introduce new meals/cuisines to your family or household using ingredients and herbs and spices that you may not have tried before. The more you strive to increase your cooking repertoire the more variety you have to offer.
6. Plan ahead; Get the most out of your weekly cooking experiences by staying organised. My tip would be to set a food plan at the beginning of the week and carefully develop your shopping list around this. Look in your fridge/freezer and pantry and use at least 1-2 ingredients from each so that you keep everything rotating. The more you plan and are creative with what you have already in stock, the more you’re bound to save on cost, time and effort. By having Gourmet Garden herbs and spices in the fridge you’ll never be stuck for instant fresh flavour again.
7. Support Aussie farmers/manufacturers More than ever, it’s really important to support the farmers and purchase produce from our own back yard. Be conscious of this next time you’re doing your weekly shop, ask questions if you are shopping at local markets and always try and shop seasonally, if it’s a fresh vegetable or fruit and it’s imported from overseas chances are it’s not in season.
8. Fresh is best. Stay away from preservatives, read labels and always choose the most fresh and healthy alternative when cooking for your household/family. Gourmet Garden fresh herbs are free from preservatives, added colours and flavours. Always keep in mind your seasonal fruit and vegetables too – these make a real difference to any meal.
9. Share your passion; the best way to learn new recipes and stay inspired is to share cooking tips and anecdotes with your family and friends. Get together with family members and a stack of cook books, sit and plan a rotation menu where everybody chooses their own favourite dish they are going to cook , you will be amazed at how enthusiastic everyone will be about trying something new.
10. Keep it simple; for week night cooking when time is limited, plan to cook meals that you know don’t require a myriad of steps and techniques - that way you’ll enjoy the experience as well as the results. Quality fresh produce and herbs and spices are the key to variety and flavour during the week. Make cooking fun and not a chore even if it’s just for one, the more you look at it like you are nourishing your mind body and soul with the beautiful food you are cooking no matter how simple, your body will thank you for it later.
For more information about the Gourmet Garden Herbs & Spice range visit www.gourmetgarden.com.au