To be a great cook and chef you need to find inspiration daily. You need to dive yourself into cooking and live it. I love books and magazine about food. The pictures really speak to my soul, they make me want to get in my kitchen and make things come alive. Farmers markets get my fire going too, fresh food from people who grew it themselves. Friends who love to cook. I’m so blessed with my friend Christine, she’s a true Italian. She’s like a Tasmanian Devil around the kitchen, tossing this and that together to make a mouth-watering meal. I’m always asking her questions as She seems to know all the answers. My own garden is inspirational; I made sure to grow things that I not only love, but things that go together. Berries, tomats, herbs, peppers, peas and beans. There is nothing like walking into your garden and have fresh basil hit your nose!
Maybe there is a place you love? A food region you adore? Hubs and I have seem to hit our groove with Italian and French. Course meals, cheeses, breads, charcuterie, herbs, slow cooking, pasta, risotto and wild game. When we cook and go out to eat we often go with those in mind. What about your kitchen? Is it set up to inspire? Are you using plates, pots/pans, cutlery, utensils, serving platters, that you love? Is your kitchen set up for a magazine or for you? is the paint poo brown or the colour you love? (unless you love poo brown!)
I find we often set up our kitchen the way that others would expect and not the way that functions for us. I love a messy kitchen, well more like cluttered. I really like to see the items I use and love out for display. To me cleared off counters look sterile and cold. Not papers and books on the counters or kids homework and toys taking over. I’m talking open shelves, a magnetic knife block, herbs for display, the plates I use to serve in easy open reach, my beautiful le creuset showing its colourful self. That kinda thing. If I love it, I wanna see it! Look around your kitchen, does it speak ‘cook here baby!’ to you?
I use recipes for inspirational spin off’s for other recipes. Subbing in balsamic vinegar for red wine, honey for maple syrup, Butter for olive oil, Orange juice for lemon, and everything in between. Nothing more I love then saying I have chicken here what can I do with it. Reading a three or four recipes for base and jumping from there. I’ve had a few requests for recipes and its really hard for me to put them in words. I don’t often have a recipe, it’s what ever is inspiring me today. What spices or herbs jump out, what fat seems juicy, what cheese seems sharpest, what sweet will jump the palate. Everyday I use the food around me and whip up something new and exciting.
I do have a few standards, one of which I’ll leave you with today. It’s a classic French vinaigrette; it may seem boring, but you can do so much with it. I’ve used it for my tomato and basil salad, I’ve put it on regular leaf salad, for chicken, veggies that need a punch..anything!
Classic French Vinaigrette
- 2 tbsp oil.
- 1/4 tsp Dijon mustard
- 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
In a small bowl whisk together the oil and Dijon, just enough that they start looking like scrambled eggs. Once they start you can put in your vinegar, whisk them good so they come together fully (and stay that way!) Now even though it’s not the classic way, I have added about a 1/2 of tsp of Fresh Orange juice to this and it’s been really good. You can add that in with the oil and mustard. Don’t be afraid to play with the recipe, maybe you’re feeling tangy today and want to go with 1/2 or even 1 full tsp Dijon. Lemon juice, fresh herbs. This is a base, jump from there! One thing I will say is use olive oil, please use olive oil! Not only is it good for you, it’s delicious!
Find your inspiration today and get in the kitchen, magic happens this way!