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6 cooking tips that will improve and impress

Posted in: Wellbeing Last updated: 29 Jun 2012

Are you stuck in a cooking rut, always shopping in the same place and feeling uninspired by mealtimes?

Or perhaps you have a set of go-to meals? Delicious, safe options, but lacking in a range of fresh ingredients and flavours?

Of course, there’s nothing wrong with having a weekly routine and planning a regular food shop. But with so many different ingredients and cuisines to explore, it makes sense to try something more exciting.

Find recipe inspiration

Food magazines and blogs, cookery books and even cookery programmes on TV are a great place to gain inspiration. Create a folder for your new recipes then pencil-in a ‘new recipe night’ every week, giving you the chance to experiment with different flavours.

Start a cookery club

Starting a cookery club is a great opportunity to gain kitchen inspiration from your friends and family. Take turns to make and share food, from regional specialities to traditional puddings, and enjoy discovering new cuisines and techniques together.

Grow your own herbs or vegetables

Growing your own fresh herbs in a window box gives you a great opportunity to try new recipes; such as spaghetti with spinach, parmesan and fresh basil. If you do have access to a garden or allotment, partner with friends or family and enjoy growing (and eating) your own seasonal produce.

Try a Mediterranean diet

The NHS recommends enjoying a Mediterranean diet as it’s rich in vegetables, fruits, beans, whole grains, olive oil and fish. And, most importantly, it’s packed with truly delicious, simple recipes.

You can make your diet more ‘Mediterranean’ by eating more fruit and vegetables, fish, bread and pasta, eating less meat, and choosing products made from vegetable and plant oils such as olive oil.

As well as being delicious, a 2013 study found that people on a Mediterranean diet had a 30% lower risk of heart disease and stroke. If you’re looking to change your diet for the better, this could be a great place to start [1].

Visit a new café, market or restaurant

Visit the new deli on your street, explore the weekly farmers’ market or book-in to the Asian restaurant you’ve always wanted to try. By stepping out of your comfort zone and shopping or eating somewhere different, you’re certain to find new ingredients and dishes that may surprise you.

Indulge in a foodie film or book

Settle down with a Joanne Harris classic such as ‘Chocolat’ or enjoy a foodie film such a ‘Eat, Pray, Love’ for inspiration. If you’re spending time with grandchildren, a kids’ classic such as ‘Charlie and the Chocolate Factory’ is a fantastic way to spend a rainy Sunday afternoon – followed by some baking afterwards, if you’re feeling inspired!

[1] NHS, (2013) “What is a Mediterranean diet?” [online]. Available from www.nhs.co.uk

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