When I’m looking for something new to cook – which I try to do on a weekly basis – I tend to either sit down with a cookbook, or head to Taste and start tooling around. I’ll find a recipe, look at the flavours, print it off, and then start doodling my “corrections” all over it.
What does Jamie Oliver know, amiright?
In all seriousness, I grew up in a house with two chefs. I have not a fraction of their talent, but I did pick up the fact that there’s no point cooking to recipe if there’s things you’d like to see in there, or things you think should come out. Don’t like olives? Take them out, or reduce the amount in there. If it’s a key component of the recipe (If it’s say, the salt flavour of the dish, or where the dish gets it’s sweetness from, or a counterbalance for another strong flavour) you can usually find something else you like that will suit. Just have a think about how you want the dish to turn out – what flavours YOU would like to see in there. Jamie isn’t eating the food. He likes artichoke, but you might not.
Tonight’s dinner was a perfect example. It started off with this recipe for Lamb, Brocolli, Chilli and Mint stir-fry.
I added the following, which pads it out from serving four to serving five to six:
150grams snow peas
2 Bunches Bok Choy
Juice of one lemon
Increase the chicken stock to 1 cup
Two extra cloves of garlic
And extra chilli, because Jeremy has a mouth made of Asbestos.
The lemon I thought was an important addition, since on the face of it, the recipe is a mish-mash of Thai and Chinese flavours, but I thought it would lack something. Next time I make this, I’d double the chili, and chuck half a cup of Coriander in there as well, maybe a handful of the Thyme we’ve got growing in the backyard. You could also chuck some sweet Thai Basil in there, but with the mint you don’ t really need to.
For an idea of how large a serving I eat, I measure my portions fairly accurately. I had half a cup of basmati rice (after cooking, not before. That is important. Half a cup of rise measured before you cook it is a cup of rice afterwards) Jeremy prefers more rice and less stir-fry, so I give him probably double on most occasions. The stir-fry portion would have been 3/4 of a cup for me, a cup for Jeremy.
I’ll try and get better at taking photos of the food. Might try using an actual camera rather than my smashed Iphone. I’ll also be categorising these posts into what they are and how long they take. Hopefully that’ll make things easier to peruse