Improving your cooking skills is a rewarding experience that can boost your self-esteem and confidence both inside and outside of the kitchen. Learning how to cook meals from scratch can also improve your health, all while learning essential skills that are helpful in your day-to-day life. Here are five ways you can improve your cooking skills.
Use the Right Tools
A key element in improving your cooking skills is to consider the tools you’re using and ensure that they’re fit for your purpose and designed for the task at hand. For instance, when making base sauces for dishes, using a quality saucepan can improve the quality of your roux, which can then be used as a base for dishes like lasagna, macaroni cheese and fish pie. Using a good, sharp peeler will make peeling fruits and vegetables quicker and easier and reduce the risk of injuring yourself when preparing ingredients.
Choose Your Ingredients Carefully
Just as important as your tools, are your ingredients. You should choose these carefully and for the best results, use the freshest ingredients possible. Preferably, you should also use fruit and vegetables that are in season. For example, in October, fruit such as apples, pears and blackberries are in season along with vegetables like aubergine, broccoli, butternut squash, cauliflower, kale and pumpkin. Cooking with seasonal ingredients like these is a more sustainable way to source ingredients, which is better for the environment, and it will also improve the flavour of your dishes.
Learn How to Season
Learning how to season your food properly is vital to getting the taste just right. You should taste the food as you’re cooking and season it according to your taste, adding a little salt at a time before tasting it again. Adding too little salt will mean your dishes come out bland but if you add too much, your food will be inedible. Proper seasoning, on the other hand, will release flavours from the ingredients and enhance the flavour of the overall dish. Many people worry about the health risks of eating too much salt, however, this is much more likely when consuming pre-prepared, processed foods, rather than properly seasoned, home-cooked dishes.
Learn Basic Cooking Techniques
Use classic cookbooks or how-to video tutorials to help you master basic cooking techniques or you can take inspiration from your favourite Michelin-starred chefs. These include things such as safe knife skills, how to poach ingredients, make base sauces and how to prepare stock from scratch. These fundamental skills will be the foundation for your cooking moving forward.
Test Your Skills
Having mastered some of the basic skills and principles of good cooking, the next step is to put these into practice by trying new recipes and dishes as often as you can, to test out your new skills. Offer to cook meals for friends, family and loved ones and ask them for their honest feedback so you can fine-tune your dishes and learn as you go.