“We’ve all got our personal dishes that we like to cook up. However, if you wheel out the same old dish every night, things can go a little stale. The obvious answer to this culinary quandary is to pick up a cook book and get learning a few more recipes. This simple sounding solution however, overlooks the fact that learning and perfecting new dish can take a long time and require a lot of effort.
Luckily, there are a few other ways to make sure that you keep your meal times fresh and your hungry troops happy. All you need is a bit of creativity and the clever use of basic kitchen tools, like a food processor.
There’re a lot of foods that we associate with various different countries, for instance, spaghetti Bolognese is often thought of as a quintessentially Italian dish, while nothing gets much more English than a full breakfast complete with sausages and scotch pancakes.
Mix cooking cultures
Yet, by pigeon holing foods we can actually limit how creative we get with our food. As with most things in life, if you’re trying to create a new spin on an old classic, then you need to think outside the box and break down accepted conventions. Research the gastronomy in different countries by checking in books, magazine and online, or any other place you can find. This should give you plenty of ideas to get cooking with.
While spreading curry paste on a croissant might not sound that appealing, if you manage to successfully mix cooking cultures then it’ll give you an endless and varied source of new mealtime ideas that could really help to give your tired old recipes a fresh, new twist.
Lock in the taste
Herbs and spices can also be used to liven up your favourite meal. As well as packing a punch when it comes to flavours, these plants, whether in dried or fresh form, contain plenty of nutrients. The capsaicin found in chili, for example, is said to relieve pain, fight ulcers and increase the health of the heart. Turmeric, meanwhile, can reduce inflammation and ease arthritis. However, when you’re working with herbs and spices, it’s important not to get carried away. Putting too many combinations into your food could overwhelm your dish.
Although a random assortment of handfuls of herbs might give an old dish a new taste, it might not necessarily be a pleasant one. A general rule of thumb says that you should only mix strong flavoured herbs with mild herbs.
If you’re using fresh plants, then it’s important to store them correctly, as they don’t keep their flavour as well as dried varieties. To lock in the taste for as long as possible, store all fresh herbs in a freezer bag in the freezer.
Bring out new flavours
A side dish is another easy and effective way to add an edge to an existing recipe. Dips can bring out new flavours and increase the health benefits of a dish. Moreover, if you’re cooking for a fussy crowd, a dip gives people the option to garnish their meal with a new flavor if they so desire.
Many dips can be created simply with the liberal use of a blender, which makes light work of avocadoes to produce guacamole. You could also try adding garlic to any number of dips. Not only is this superfood versatile, it contains anti-fungal, anti-bacterial and anti-viral properties, along with a number of other proven health benefits.
While giving your existing recipes a new twist, above all else, the experience will be fun and interesting for you. After all, nothing matches the feeling of discovering a new taste and sharing it with others.”