The closure of restaurants means we’re spending a lot more time in our own kitchens.
Whether you’re an accomplished home cook or a more reluctant chef, many of us have been trying out new recipes as a way to spice up mealtimes.
Trying a new recipe is always a nerve-racking task. Even if it’s from a cookbook or chef you trust, you never actually know how it might turn out.
Here are the stages we all go through when cooking a dish for the very first time…
Especially if you’ve been eating pasta with pesto pretty consistently over the last few weeks, the prospect of having something new for dinner is pretty exciting.
Mealtimes are the best way to break up the day when you’re mainly stuck indoors, so a fancy dinner will really shake things up a bit.
Terror starts to set in when you actually read the recipe. Are that many steps necessary?
Is the list of ingredients really that long? You start to doubt yourself, wondering if your culinary skills are up to the task – and if you have everything you need in your kitchen.
This stage is only if the recipe calls for wine, which means you have the perfect excuse to pour yourself a large glass and sip while you’re cooking.
When you actually start cooking, your nerves calm down.
You realise you do know what you’re doing, and you grow more confident when things seem under control – this meal isn’t so different to other things you’ve made before.
Plus, methodically chopping different bits of veg really is a soothing task.
Unfortunately, the brief moment of calm doesn’t last long.
There comes the inevitable moment when you have to improvise – either because you forgot to buy eggs, or because you have absolutely no idea what it means to julienne a carrot.
It also doesn’t help that you have to stop what you’re doing every two seconds to check and double-check the recipe, just in case you’ve missed anything.
Most meals have a period of time where you pop the dish in the oven or let it stew on the hob.
This is when the fate of the dinner is largely out of your hands.
Yes, you can fiddle about with some extra sauces or garnishes, but it’s mainly a waiting game until the dish is ready to serve. Perhaps pour another glass of wine.
As the minutes pass, excitement builds. That’s probably because your kitchen has begun to smell amazing, and you already feel proud of what you’ve achieved.
Be careful not to become over-eager at this stage – it can lead to last-minute disasters, or burns.
Even if your creation doesn’t look exactly as it does in the recipe book, it still tastes pretty amazing.
And, though there may have been moments of panic along the way, there’s something so satisfying about transforming raw ingredients to this tasty end result.
If you’re living with others, sharing the dinner is a nice way to show your love (and show off your skills).
Plus, you’re already thinking of how to switch up and improve the recipe.
If it’s up to scratch, you might even add it into your regular rotation – alongside pesto pasta, of course.