5 things to make you a better cook
The average person finds more than two hours every day to spend browsing social media. And yet the main reason people give for not cooking more, is that they don't have time. So here's the thing: the first step to make cooking easier, is to make cooking a priority. If you cut that social media time by just a quarter, for example, you'd have 30 minutes spare to knock up a nutritious meal. Studies show that home cooks take in half the fat and calories than non-cooks. Plus, when you make your own meals, you naturally regulate the quantity of food you're eating and cut out unnecessary additives. As home-cooking advocates, we wanted to share the other tricks we've learned that help take the heat out of the kitchen…
Good cooks have well-stocked kitchens. Keeping a stash of long-shelf life staples in the cupboard (beans, rice, lentils, chopped tomatoes, coconut milk, fish, oats), and backup ingredients in the freezer (peas, spinach, breads, berries, fresh herbs) means you'll always have something to turn to when fresh supplies are low, and it makes cooking easier, too. We throw frozen veg and herbs straight into soups, curries and stews, or make a spaghetti bolognese go further by bulking it out with lentils. It also cuts waste and reduces the amount of time you spend shopping.
- Everything except for the milk and eggs used for this Baked Berry Oatmeal will keep for ages in your store cupboard
Cut the faff
Cooking doesn't have to be complicated. Don't get bogged down with fancy ingredients. A meal doesn't have to mean a long recipe. And dinner doesn't have to be dinner. It could be porridge. Or avocado on toast. Just make it yourself using great ingredients, and it totally counts.
No one wants to cook every night, even if you do have the time. We've got into the habit of doubling recipes so that lunch or dinner is sorted for the coming days, too. Basically, you cook once – but eat two, three, or four times. If the idea of eating the same thing twice seems boring, reinvent it. For example, roast a tray-load of root veggies and garlic – eat them hot one day, blitz into soup the next, throw them into a salad the day after that.
- This Cauliflower and Coconut Soup is perfect for batch cooking – It tastes even more delicious the next day when the flavours have had more time to develop.
Learn to love leftovers.
We operate what we call a 'revolving kitchen'. That is, we rarely start a meal from total scratch, but mostly from something that's left over. Last night's stir-fry gets a fried egg on top and wrapped in a wholemeal tortilla. Leftover ragu gets bulked out with extra veg and kidney beans. The last egg in the box gets turned into pancakes for breakfast. Less food wasted, more money saved.
Even the best cooks run out of ideas. Arm yourself with things you like the look of from books, magazines, Instagram, Pinterest. Start following chefs and bloggers – and get motivated. Sign up to the Tabl and Eatwise newsletters and check out our latest recipes here!
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