Want to be an excellent home cook or hobby chef? The most important thing you need to know is that the best quality ingredients are essential to any memorable meal.
At a point in time, I wanted to cook up the most splendid meals and complex concoctions. Much time went into finding recipes of startling intricacy involving multiple cooking procedures and dozens of ingredients. I had visions of beaming guests enjoying perfectly paired wines and enjoying fascinating dinner conversation.
The problem with this is that the meals quickly become prohibitively expensive, or otherwise, you make the mistake of buying less expensive ingredients. But we don’t all have bottomless pots of money to finance our entertaining dreams. So what is the solution?
Again, it comes down to ingredients. Rather have a few outstanding components and spend your money wisely where it matters. The ingredients that will be the stars of your table must only be the best.
The easiest way to achieve this is by using classical but simple pairings for starters and allowing the food to shine in its own right. Examples might include parma ham with melon or prawns with avocado. They are simple to prepare and where dressings and such must accompany the dish they can be prepared well in advance.
This advice will help you with the main meal as well. Buy high quality meat and poultry, and if possible, look for free-range and organic food. It might sound crazy, but beef that has lived in a field and eaten a natural diet of grass, will have more intense flavour. Quite apart from any ethical considerations (which will be dealt with at a later date) you will be rewarded with successful catering.
There is no need to then complicate your proteins with complex sauces, numerous starches and complicated combinations of accompanying vegetables. Aspiring chef’s often make the mistake of serving salads, vegetables, pastas and risotto with their mains which just confuses the taste buds and leaves little enduring memory of what was eaten.
Think back to the best meals you have ever enjoyed and you’ll remember specific ingredients or components – you are unlikely to remember convoluted mixtures of multiple flavours.
When meals are too complicated, they often fail to impress because just making a little bit of everything does not really indicate much thought into the balance of a meal. Rather focus your attentions on a few, delicious combinations and the freshest ingredients.