My mind struggles to envisage anyone at 4pm who, whilst laborisouly awaiting to clock-out from the shackles of their desk chair, is picturing their perfect ‘ordinary’ dish to conjure up for dinner. Hence the truism, food should NEVER be ordinary.
Here are my top 5 tips to turn an ordinary plate into something extraordinary..
1) Sea Salt (Go for ‘Maldon’ – it is undoubtedly the best)
First and foremost, sea salt. If you are still adding ‘table salt’ to your food, please stop. Scattered over chips, flaked over tomatoes or added to your nightly spag bol, sea salt has unique ‘salty’ flavour and will immediately add flavour to any dish!
2) Fresh Herbs
Compared to the Med and the Middle-East, us Brits are a world away when it comes to using fresh herbs as a staple in our cooking. Having spent time in Israel, I now can’t cook without them! Whether tossed in before serving or added during cooking, fresh herbs have the ability to elevate a dish to the next level.
Right, I’m not suggesting tipping in mounds of that listless jar of chilli flakes sitting at the back of your cabinet. Instead, have you considered adding a spoonful of Sumac to your salad dressing? Or possibly marinating those chicken thighs in Harissa paste?
My suggestion, upgrade those generic ‘seasonings’ for some pantry worthy spices, and just experiment!
A touch of citrus zest, whether in baked goods, pasta or vinaigrettes makes everything better! Adding to the flavours already present, zest is best. Top tip, buy a Microplane grater, it is a life saver, particularly when attempting to zest more than one lime!
5) Olive Oil (the good stuff)
A great Olive-Oil is like a great wine. I would be somewhat dissatisfied if handed a brimming glass of Barefoot’s finest Merlot, as such, glugs of £3.99 supermarket own-brand olive oil does not bring me joy.
Whilst I do understand hesitation to invest in the ‘good stuff’, it is worth it. Dressings, finishings to soups or as a dipper to warm bread, extra-virgin olive oil is heavenly! Currently guzzling down 750ml of Colonna Extra Virgin Olive Oil, at £19.99 a pop I am attempting to guzzle somewhat slowly.
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