7 ways to be a better cook

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We should all be professionals when it comes to cooking – or so I learnt last year.

When Eloise was about 6 weeks old, I somehow made it out of the front door to a cooking course. I had booked this pre-baby in all my naivety – didn’t really believe babies could make you tired…

The chef teaching us was passionate about food. She was soon waving around her sharp knife and trying to turn us eager amateurs, into half decent cooks.

Here are some of the basics we learnt:

1.       Keep your knives  sharp

With sharp knives you can work quickly. “A woman can do a lot of damage with a sharp knife!” the chef said. In a good way.

2.       Scrap bowl

When you start cooking, get out a bowl. Instead of making many messy trips back and forth to the bin, you keep everything neatly in one place and empty it at the end. Seems simple but it really helps!

3.       Keep your chopping board sturdy

Put a wipe or damp tea towel under your board. This keeps everything stable and safe.

4.       Perfect at least ten favourite recipes

Find ten favourite recipes and work on them until they are near perfect. This means you can cook without too much worry, no need for a recipe and the familiarity of the food is quite comforting for those who eat it.

5.       Try new recipes – don’t get stuck in a rut

Favourites are good but try and learn how to cook something new. Explore cook books and ask friends for recipes that you can try.

6.       Present the food well

Food seems to taste better when it looks good. This point is proved when you look at a platter of fruit. It’s far more appetizing when it’s cut up well.

7.       Stay positive

Even if your cake is a little flat, your lasagne not as cheesy you might like, and your steak overcooked –  never say a word. Smile, act as though it’s perfect and you’re sure to fool even the fussiest eater.

Of course, the real challenge now is to keep a very active 9 month old baby entertained while I whiz around pretending to be a master chef!