You don’t have to be a Michelin star chef to be able to cook fantastic delicious food. With a good recipe in front of you, and with some tips and advice you will be able to turn that recipe into something brilliant. Whatever your experience level in the kitchen! Just make sure to understand the best way to follow a recipe. As this can be trickier than you think.
So what is the best way to follow a recipe?
Read the recipe
Sounds simple right? That’s because it is. Read through the recipe in advance from start to finish. Visualise different steps as you go and noting down anything you are not sure about. Then ask yourself questions like “does this feed enough people I’m cooking for? Do I need to double the recipe?”.
Make note of timings. Are there any specific skills needed for the recipe that you need to look over? Look for things like ‘’chill in the fridge overnight’’ ‘’let it rise’’ etc. This is where you take your notes and do a little research on the internet. Just to make sure you are fully prepared for what the recipe calls you to do. There are millions of tips online that show everything from whisking an egg to deboning a leg of lamb.
Get your timings noted down
The next step in how to follow a recipe is timing. Timing in cooking can make all the difference!
Knowing all your timings means you’re not going to get caught out and can plan everything accordingly. If you need a steak at room temperature you need to factor that in. If you need room temperature butter then again this will be another factor.
It’s all the little timings in a recipe that you need to take into account when you’re going to start the recipe. Having all these aspects locked down will make things so much easier. Having thought about a recipe from start to finish and breaking it down means when it comes to actually following the recipe it will feel like you’ve already done it. Visualising it and knowing what you’re doing beforehand is a massive help.
Getting your ‘’Mise en place’’ in place
In a professional kitchen, you will always see a “mise en place”. It’s the main thing which makes any kitchen run smoothly. “Mise en place” simply translated means “putting in place”. So it’s simply your to-do list and an equipment list.
Take your recipe and separately write down a mise en place list. Then measure all the ingredients, chop and prepare all your ingredients before you start cooking.
Have everything weighed out, chopped up etc in little bowls all in front of you. This means following the recipe will be as simple as it should be.
Being prepared is key and having to weigh out flour or walnuts for example mid-way through a recipe just means your cooking space gets messy. You’re then also deviating from for the tasks on hand. Once that’s done lay out all the equipment you’re going to need and make sure you have everything. This avoids issues when you’re cooking, knowing you have all the equipment that’s required and all ingredients weighed out/chopped all in front of you. Mise en place gives you the best chance to achieving a fantastic recipe, preparation is key.
Have fun with it
A really important part of cooking is to ENJOY YOURSELF, no matter how experienced or inexperienced you are. From the tips above you have all the necessary tools now to go into it with some confidence. Everything is prepped and ready to go, put some music on and have fun with it. Remember, cooking should be fun and ‘stress-free’ so take your time with your new recipe and if you’ve got a really important meal planned why not consider hiring a professional Chef to cook for you and your guests – Polo & Tweed can offer event chefs for any event (big or small), just get in touch with us here.