The great thing about home cooking is that there is literally no end to the variety of different meals you can cook, or the help you can get to make them as tasty as possible. Perhaps the biggest hurdle most ‘wannabe’ home chefs face is that they never seem to have the time to cook great tasting meals at home. Well, sit back, and let one of the world’s best chefs show you how to do it.
It’s widely documented that one of the industries that has done best out of the financial crisis is the take away market; with people having less to spend, many have resorted to their local fast food joint, burger bar and pizzeria as an alternative to dining out and as a way of saving a little money (not to mention those all important saturated fats for comfort!).
However, with the worldwide markets looking a little more stable, dining out is once again seeing a rise in popularity. But are takeaways and restaurants really the best options for enjoyable food and/or ambience? We’d say no, and we have plenty of reasons why by the end of this article you’ll agree that healthy dinner recipes and good home cooking are a much better alternative! So we thought this was a point worth hitting home, and we’ve found some handy tips to help you cook more this year.
Creating A Special Atmosphere
It’s a well known fact that half the battle that restaurants and pubs have is creating the right atmosphere and a comfortable environment. When reading online reviews you’ll very often notice that the surroundings within an establishment are commented upon first. Bearing this in mind, it’s a sad fact that homes up and down the country neglect to make their dining area special, even if its only for one night a week. Here are some simple features you can work into your dining room to transform it into an environment worthy of a Michelin Star restaurant…
- Add (carefully placed!) candles.
- Use sharing platters that can be turned at the centre of the table for the ultimate socialising and dining experience.
- Turn off the telly and turn on the stereo.
- Conversing whilst dining has become drastically underused when at home, so ban all mobiles from the table!
- Crack out the special crockery! (Yes, the special crockery probably used only once a year at Christmas!)
Getting Creative, Saving Time & Getting Energised With Your Meals
So many people become entrenched in day to day life that they can feel like they have only enough energy for using the nearest drive through and falling into bed. Yet the junk food that they’re consuming can actually be half the problem! By getting creative with your meal choices you can whip up some amazing food that saves time and helps you stay energised. Here are a few ideas that you can chop and change from (they can all also be shared, so you have to spend less time working to the right portions):
- Breads and olives
- Platter of meats
- Cheese Fondue
- Mixed rocket salad and sun blush tomatoes
- Soup vat and shared bread (choose fresh from the supermarket for the healthiest option)
- Meat balls (accompanied with or without pasta)
- Chicken legs with your choice of premixed cooking sauce/herbs
- Roll out pastry (premade, of course) with tomatoes and mozzarella in the middle
- Tortellini with butter, onion, tomatoes and herbs (tortellini only takes 2 minutes to boil!)
- Platter of vegetables
- Butter and herb new potatoes
- Home made fries (cooked with low calorie spray)
You Know What You’re Eating
Whilst we certainly don’t want to scaremonger about cheap restaurants and takeaway outlets you do need to bear in mind that you don’t see the preparation and cooking areas. A simple check online can help you get an idea of how well an establishment looks after their kitchen, but nothing beats quick and healthy dinner recipes cooked at home with your own equipment, ingredients and of course, creativity!
We could go on and on about why we think that home cooking is tastier, better for you and more enjoyable, but hopefully the ideas and comments above have given you a taste of why you should be cooking at home more.
A lot of us are quite often put off making certain recipes because some of the ingredients ‘scare’ us. We’re not suggesting artichokes are scary in themselves, but recipes with artichokes in them may seem a little more difficult. Not any more, here’s a handy ‘how to’ video that shows you how to prepare and cook artichokes.
Now we may not be a big fan of some of his more colourful language, but there’s no escaping the fact that Gordon does come up with some wonderful recipes for great home-cooked meals – and you don’t have to be a Michelin star chef to make these meals either!
Here’s a short video showing you how to cook a dish we all love.
Most of us love cheese, but if you’re anything like us, you really love cheese. We’re big fans of most cheeses, in whatever size and shape they come, and however they are served. However, there is a special place in our heart for baked cheese dishes. So, we thought we’d share with you some of our favorite baked cheese dishes, and if you haven’t tried them, you should…soon.
Baked Camembert - If you are a true cheese lover, you’ve probably had one of our favorite dishes – baked camembert. Simple and quick to make, you literally just put it tin the oven for 10 minutes, when served with plain or garlic-infused artisan breads, it makes a delicious starter to even a meal on its own.
Baked Cheese Soufflé - The great thing about a cheese soufflé is that there’s practically no end to the different varieties of cheese you can use to make them. From good old English Cheddar to goats cheese, choose whichever flavour you like the best.
Baked Goats Cheese - Speaking of goats cheese, you should definitely try this alternative to baked camembert. As with camembert, baked goats cheese can be served with bread or crackers as an aperitif, and it also goes well with a nice salad, if you want something a little more substantial.
Baked Macaroni Cheese - OK, so cheese may be just one of the ingredients in this dish – but it certainly makes it. Often overlooked for dinner parties and viewed more as a staple, everyday meal, good ‘mac & cheese’ can make a great accompaniment to your main course.
There are dozens of other cheese dishes we could have included, these are just some of our favorites, hopefully they’re yours too. Whether it’s as a snack, a light lunch, or the start to formal dinner, there’s no dining situation that wouldn’t be made more enjoyable by a well-chosen cheese dish.
During the financial crisis it seems that take always have only increased in popularity (much to the detriment of the average UK waistline!) However, as the economy picks up it seems that restaurants are once more becoming the order of the day as an affordable luxury.
For the truly savvy however, home is, and has been, where the heart is, and there is no better a place for enjoying cooking than in one’s own space.
So in this guide we look at a few reasons why home cooking is the tastiest of all.
What is that makes home cooking taste so great?
There are many reasons why home cooking tastes so much better than food eaten elsewhere; from being able to experiment with flavours and ingredients to immersing yourself in a cooking processes of which you can produce something to be proud of.
Additionally you are able to cook to your own tastes and of course, you know where every single ingredient has come from. With all that said, there are still plenty of ways that you can make your home cooking taste better, and here follows just 6!
How you can make home cooking taste better – 6 tips
1. Use fresh ingredients
The number one way to make home cooking taste all the better is achieved through using fresh ingredients. The difference between fresh and canned and/or frozen foods can be dramatic, so shopping on the day for that special meal for fresh ingredients is highly advisable. To accompany your freshly made meal, why not serve some beautiful bread baked fresh on the day?
2. Go organic
Whilst it’s not realistic for all households to go entirely organic it certainly is advisable to consider switching at least some of your products. In particular, your fruit and veg should serve as staple ingredients that are organic or, failing that, choose to go organic for one fresh meal a week.
3. Take a trip to the local farm shop or farmer’s market
A common misguided notion is that farm shops and farmer’s markets are significantly more expensive than the average supermarket prices. In actuality however, supermarkets invariably tend to be cheap on a large number of lines, only to hike their prices up on others. Additionally, the range of fresh foods, cheeses and meats at farm shops and farmer’s markets are unparalleled and you’re likely to discover all manner of food that you’ve previously not tasted. Perfect for inspiration if you’re feeling fed up with day to day cooking.
4. Find out where your food comes from
Finding out about where the ingredients you use come from is far more important than many people think. As organic foods have become increasingly popular, this has at least entered consumer’s consciousness, but there remain relatively few that are truly knowledgeable about where their food comes from (in particular, their meat). Ask at your local farmer’s market about supermarket foods, or if you’re feeling brave search online!
5. Try a new meal or ingredient once a week
The phrase ‘variety is the spice’ of life is never truer than when applied to food and home cooking. So get creative and make sure you try a new ingredient or meal every week.
6. Get the ambience right
Think that your home surroundings can’t resemble your favourite restaurants? Think again! Enjoying food very much depends upon the environment you’re in and if you’re eating off your lap you not doing the food you’ve created justice. Additionally, if your dining room doubles as a lounge/living room then try and mentally and physically separate the dining/living areas by using a screen or curtain. Finish your table with some candles and put on some relaxed music for a bit of ambience.
So there you have it. These tips might not make you a genius home cook overnight, but they will help to make whatever you cook taste a little better – and that’s a good start.
It’s amazing that pasta is one of the most popular bases for so many home cooked meals, and yet it’s also one of the ingredients that so many people have trouble cooking properly.
If you’re pasta is always under or over-cooked and never as good as you wanted it to be, here’s some tips from Jamie Oliver to help you make perfect pasta every time.
We’re big fans of Lorraine, her recipes and her tasty tips – so here’s another short video with a tasty tip for baking.
If you’ve spent any time on our site you might have guessed that we love home cooking and think more of us should be cooking at home rather than going out. We even gave you some excellent reasons in this article here, but in case you need some more convincing, here’s some thoughts form PsycheTruth.