Cooking Conundrums: Why Are Your Recipe Experiments Going Wrong?
There are more options for finding recipes than there ever have been before. No longer do you just have to leaf through a cookbook to find something you might like. Now, if you fancy something different, you’re just a few clicks away from a whole new culinary experience.
When you find a new recipe that you simply have to try, it can feel like you’re going on an adventure. Not only do you get the process of cooking – the slicing, the dicing, the new smells and fragrances emanating from pans as they sizzle – but then you get to eat something delicious and (at the very least) new to you.
However, anyone who has ever tried to follow an online recipe soon discovers that reality is not quite in line with expectation. Sometimes, it goes well, and you find yourself eating a food for the first time and knowing it will become a staple in your repertoire. Those are the good days, the ones that make you keep trying.
Sadly, more often than not, they’re also the exception that proves the rule. If you’re tired of sitting down to a much-anticipated meal and discovering it’s not what you expect, then there might be a few crucial errors you’re making.
1) You’re Substituting Too Much
Let’s say it’s a boring Wednesday and you decide to spice things up by trying a new curry recipe. The recipes asks for a variety of spices and cooking ingredients, only 75% of which you currently have.
But the picture looks so nice and it’s too much effort to go to the store, so you decide to make do with a few substitutions. There really shouldn’t be any surprise then, if things don’t quite turn out like you envisioned.
For new recipes, stick to a 1:7 ratio. For every substitute you make, you need another seven that are exactly what the recipe calls for. Anything else and you’re not following a recipe, you’re ruining it!
If a recipe calls for finely chopped onions and you only have blunt knives that produce wedges rather than slivers, then the overall texture and taste of the recipe is going to be impacted. If you’re serious about cooking, then consulting the likes of Cut It Fine and upgrading your knives is a worthwhile investment – and it’s not just about knives. If your mixer is so old you can’t remember when you bought it, or your cookware has long lost its non-stick coating, then it’s time for an upgrade.
3) Your Measurement Conversions Are Off
If you find a recipe that’s been created by an English person, then you’re not going to see measurements that you’re familiar with. If you convert – or worse yet, guess – incorrectly, then it’s obviously going to result in a poorer end product.
Cooking conversions couldn’t be simpler nowadays, with a plethora of apps and websites available to help you out. And remember, even if you think you know a conversion, there’s no harm in checking – it’s better than wasting ingredients.