To kick off a Summer of al fresco dining as temperatures soar in the UK, we have created a Summer top tips guide with the growing number of passionate and seasoned cooks in mind.
We recently carried out a survey asking what the nation found to be key attributes of a ‘good cook’.
The survey of 2,000 people revealed that some of these traits included being happy to try extravagant dishes to entertain friends, trying a new dish every time they dine out and being confident with creating new recipes using random ingredients in the cupboard and fridge.
As Britain enjoys surprisingly good weather this Summer so far, the following Good Cook’s tips will help fill the coming weeks with effortless, tasty and healthy dining and entertainment for existing and aspiring good cooks.
1. Care to pair
Every ‘good cook’ will be mindful of thoughtfully pairing the right wines with the right dishes to really set off a meal and delight guests.
During the hot weather, dishes like jewelled couscous with pomegranate and orange are ideal for lighter bites with a big taste. This is perfectly paired with a Rose wine such as Cotes de Provence.
A lamb tagine is another fruity and fragrant dish to delight family and friends with this Summer, ideally pairing this with a red wine such as Rioja.
2. Spice up your Summer
Having confidence with a variety of herbs and spices, a ‘good cook’ will know how to create just the right mix to elevate a dish to greater heights.
Summer herbs and spices include refreshing mint which has cooling and cleansing properties and creates fantastic flavour added to salads, desserts and even ice-cold water.
Cumin is a good Summer spice with its detoxing properties helping to relieve bloating as we enjoy a lighter Summer wardrobe. Adding cumin to grains, vegetables and soups is a great way to spice these up.
3. Add passionate zest to classic dishes
Another trait of a ‘good cook’ is the ability and desire to add a little extra to classic dishes delivering flavoursome flair.
A little mustard and single cream added to mashed potatoes for example can both lighten and fluff the texture and taste making this a more suitable accompaniment during the hot weather.
Fresh coriander added to salads delivers distinct fragrance and has anti-oxidant health benefits.
4. Know and use utensils well
Our research found that a good cook will know their cookware and utensils well using these to create mouth-watering meals.
Using a non-stick cookware range for example, requires little oil to create healthier dishes.
Having a range of good utensils for every cooking need is essential for a good cook like Chakall Tongs to make tossing salads or turning sausages an effortless affair.
Using a coarse micro plane or peeler to shave vegetables and fruit will add a special hint of flavour like orange and fennel zest in a simple vinaigrette or salad.
5. Don’t be afraid to experiment
According to our survey, the measure of a good cook includes the fearlessness of trying new recipes, both at home and when dining out.
Why not aim to try a new ingredient at home every week or a new combination or twist on tried and tested dishes or order something different every time you dine out?
A little food and cooking experimentation may bring some delightful delicacies to the Summer.
Let us know what summer fun you have planned this year on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.