How to read a recipe.

Read it through from start to finish.

Read it though from start to finish …no, that’s not a typo, I can always remember at college being given a test of some sort that said: Please read through the entire assignment before starting. Only to find that if you didn’t, you would have missed the bit that said, answer only questions 1 and 2, of a 12 question assignment.

Remember, a sharp knife makes preparation a great deal easier.

Ingredients – have you got all of them? make sure you locate each ingredient in your kitchen pantry and ensure that the cardamon is just that and not ground chilli. Is that spring form cake tin 8 inches or 12 inches?

Are there sub recipes where things are expected to be already made…as in the case of rubs for meat/chicken and or sauces such as bechamel and or tomato for pasta dishes like Mousaka and lasagna.

Common cooking terms – brush up on your knowledge. Saute, fold, cream, beat etc. They all have a very distinct purpose and will ultimately affect the outcome of the product you are cooking. So make sure you know what each means and how it is done. Cut, slice, dice, chop and some of the culinary terms too like Mirepoix for example or Boquet Garni which will open up a whole new world of cooking for you.

It is so important to read the recipe thoroughly, I cannot emphasise this enough and it’s also important to have the ‘tools of trade ‘ at hand. Measuring cups or spoons, a small set of scales and large mixing bowls. Measuring jugs, juicers, cake tins, muffin pans, the list can be as long or as short as you like. I made do with old wine bottles as a rolling pin for many years. Over the years you add to the utensils and gadgets to make cooking easier. Always have on hand, baking paper, bakers powder, herbs and spices … which means storage containers.

Never underestimate the value of completely reading and understanding a recipe. It’s imperative you understand what’s being asked of you to be successful in the kitchen. Much like a good shopping list it is your “plan” for your intention. The old rule of NEVER shop without a list and never shop whilst you are hungry. Yes …don’t do that.

Watercress and lemongrass soup with poached egg requires mise en place.

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