The cooking shows make it look so easy and effortless, don’t they? But the truth is, when it comes time for you to turn off the TV and head to the kitchen, you feel stressed, insecure and panicked. Not exactly the vibes you want, right? If you can relate, keep reading for tips that help keep things relaxed and enjoyable in the kitchen.
Author of How to be a Domestic Goddess: Baking and the Art of Comfort Coking, Nigella Lawson is a food icon known for her un-fussy take on home cooking: It shouldn’t be stressful. It should be a source of pleasure, comfort and enjoyment.
And to mark the release of her latest cookbook, At My Table: A Celebration of Home Cooking, Lawson offers these five tips to fellow home cooks.
Keep things simple
You might be tempted to whip up an elaborate dish, but Lawson says, “It’s important to go for a simple recipe…you’re not running a restaurant.”
Don’t be too obsessed about cooking measurements
When baking, precise measurements are key. But with cooking, you can be a little more lax and play around with the flavors as you go. As Lawson says, “With cooking, you have to learn to not be too hung up on small details.”
Have one main course
Preparing a three course meal certainly looks impressive, but it’s not very enjoyable for you, the cook. So, let your guests enjoy finger foods as the appetizer and just prepare one stellar main dish.
Cook ahead of time
It’s hard to play the chic hostess when you’re up to your elbows with sauces, reductions and vegetables. So, prepare your meal ahead of time and reheat it once the guest arrives. Or, make a roast and let the oven do the work.
The recipe is a guide
If you feel like you have to follow everything the recipe says, it might not be very fun – especially if you’re not keen on some of the ingredients. So, don’t be afraid to use the recipe as a guide and switch things up as you see fit. After all, you’re the cook! So, if you don’t like tarragon, replace it with thyme. If you don’t use dairy, substitute with plant-based milks instead.