Boost Your Cooking Confidence

by Tefal Team on 17 April 2018
  • In life, some of us are natural Nigellas, and some of us are more in the domestic god-what-on-earth-do-I-do-when-the-microwave-is-broken-ess camp. Everyone’s different after all, but I’m sure we can all agree that food is great. Duh.

    Being able to cook your own can make you feel a little bit like a wizard. Mary Berry is a wizard, right? She’s the Dumbledore of cookery. Well, by improving your confidence a little in the kitchen, and knowing how to overcome your cooking fears, you could essentially become the Harry Potter of cookery – a student, we mean, there’s no defeating Voldemort involved in cooking. It’s really not that scary, trust us.

  • At Tefal, our new GuaranT Good Food series is all about giving you that extra bit of confidence in the kitchen, showing you the best cookware to use to make your own healthy, tasty and cheaper-than-a-ready-meal food from scratch.

    Even Nigella and Mary must make the occasional cooking mistake, so don’t let a mini kitchen nightmare put you off. Here’s some of the things that could give your confidence a bit of a wobble, as well as tips on how to fix them so you can become a cooking wizard in no time:

  • Food poisoning fears

    Food poisoning is grim. If you’ve ever had it before after a cooking mishap, it’s understandable that you’ll want to do everything in your power to stop you from spending a week with your head down the toilet again. But that doesn’t mean you should rely on oven chips and microwavable lasagnes forever.

    Instead, learn how to cook meat properly. Invest in a meat thermometer so you can check your chicken is always safe for consumption, and never eat chicken or pork if it looks slightly pink.

  • Eggs are another food you need to be careful with. Licking the bowl is some people’s favourite part of baking – and possibly even the whole reason they bake in the first place – but consuming raw egg in any form can carry a risk of salmonella poisoning.

    Eating reheated rice can make you pretty ill too unless you’re careful. If you’ve made some that you want to save for later, you need to get it out of the pan and into the fridge as quickly as possible. It’s storing rice at room temperature that encourages bacteria to grow and that’s what makes you sick. When you reheat rice, make sure it’s absolutely piping hot all the way through.

    Armed with these tips, you should be fine! But if you ever think food smells wrong or looks like it might not be safe to eat, it’s probably best not to.

  • Recipes have too many spices

    If you’re looking up a recipe for something like a curry or a stew, the ingredients list can be pretty long. Take a chicken tikka, for example; apart from the chicken, and passata and natural yoghurt for your sauce, you might be told to add ginger, cumin, coriander, turmeric and garam masala.

  • Sure, including all of these will make your recipe taste more authentic, but that’s a whole lot of spice jars to store for just one recipe. Instead, buy a jar of curry paste, or invest in a curry powder that you can use again and again in different Indian dishes.

    Think about the flavours you like too. If you hate coriander and prefer basil, or can’t stand the taste of cinnamon but would love an extra kick from some more chilli, go for it. Recipes are not the law. You don’t have to stick to them rigidly. Experiment and find what works for you, and you’ll soon be combining nutmeg with oregano in your pasta sauces.

  • I accidentally put in too much chilli

    It’s so scarily easy for your hand to slip while you’re trying to concentrate on a dish and suddenly you’ve got half a jar of chilli flakes in your sauce instead of half a teaspoon. Images of fire and smoke cascading from your nose and mouth, dragon-like, fill your mind. Oops.

  • Preparing and measuring ingredients before you start is the best way to make sure you’re putting in the right stuff. Also, this can stop you from spending an hour on a recipe that claimed to only take 20 minutes. Yep, it said *chopped* onion and butter *at room temperature*.

    Knowing how to balance out flavours is super helpful in this situation too. If you’ve accidentally added too much chilli, salt or something sour like a bit of soy sauce or lemon juice should help to rescue your meal and stop you from turning into a dragon.

    Put in too much sugar? Add in more spice, or more chopped tomatoes if it’s a chilli or bolognese. Knocked in too many herbs? Just add more of your other ingredients. If it ends up a million miles from what you intended, does it matter? You still will have made something tasty from scratch – remember, you’re a cooking wizard, you got this.

  • It says tagliatelle, but I've only got penne

    We’ve all been there: looking forward to making a tagliatelle carbonara all day and get home to find we’ve only got penne in the cupboard. Disaster? Not at all.

  • Just because a recipe says you should use one type of pasta doesn’t mean you have to; the recipe is not the boss of you. Fact. All pasta shapes are made from the same stuff and taste exactly the same. Plus, penne, rigatoni, macaroni and fusilli are much less messy to eat than spaghetti, linguine and carbonara. Bonus.

    It’s the same with things like peppers and chillies. Recipe says use a red chilli? Use a green one! Instructions call for a green pepper? Throw a yellow one in! Watching your weight? Use quark or fat-free fromage frais instead of double cream. Remember, the recipe is not the boss of you.

  • I'm scared of my food sticking to the pan

    Another totally grim cooking sitch – but obviously not as bad as making yourself sick – is taking the time to make something like an omelette and have it stick to the pan. Have you ever tried to salvage an omelette from the bottom of a pan? Egg in your nails, bits of burnt pan all over your best knife, egg blocking the sink…totally grim.

  • Using the right equipment can massively help though. Tefal’s non-stick cookware  is specially designed to make sure your food doesn’t get stuck in the pan, so you’ll never have to worry about egg in your nails ever again.

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