|Roasted plums and yoghurt
– TV show inspiration
Recently I’ve recovering from an eye infection, but I haven’t been sitting by idly twiddling my thumbs. I’ve been watching a heap of food related TV shows and searching the web to find you many new sources of inspiration.
Okay, I lie, it wasn’t only just to help you find inspiration, I also wanted to find inspiration for myself as well. Can you forgive me?
Some days, though, I just can’t be bothered coming up with something new, and its those days when I like to find something someone else has created and then try to make it myself. In fact, since I began cooking for myself, and making everything and anything from scratch (jam, bread, pizza, cakes), I have started to feel this immense sense of achievement that I’ve never felt before. I now know many new recipes, have learnt new flavour pairings, discovered and developed kitchen techniques and built my presentation skills to a level i’m really proud of – and all because I started watching Masterchef in 2011 (check out the story of how I began cooking). I’d love to help you find that same level of achievement and inspiration for yourself and thats why I’ve written today’s post.
So, when talking about inspiration there are a few ways you can go. You can look up a few cookbooks, and that is something I really love to do. Be warned though, you may lose an entire afternoon in checking out cook books and you’ll probably not end up making any of those new and exciting recipes that day. No trouble there though, cause in a few weeks I’ll show you how I use my cookbook hunting days to help make a menu plan for a month. Watch out for that one.
While cookbooks are great, lets talk about TV food shows and internet recipe inspiration today. In fact, there is so much to show you and share with you that I’ve decided to do a double post today (in the hopes of making up for my lack of posting these past few weeks). This post is the TV show inspiration and the following post is the Internet Recipe Inspiration.
My Kitchen Rules
We have to start with MKR! Wasn’t the finale fantastic? I love the idea of 5 courses. And the dishes they came up with – wow! I learnt a whole heap just from the finale but also the entire show. I really like the idea of creating corn puree with a side of charred corn over a steak. It sounds really interesting and it looked so vibrant. I’ve stored that one away to try some day.
I also used MKR as inspiration while the show was running from February to April. I saw an episode where they were making breakfast, and one of the teams made corn fritters. So the next weekend we had corn fritters for breakfast, but I added some beans and salad to make it more my style. And that’s the point I really want to get across to you today – find something someone else has created and make it with your own twist! Take a look back at the MKR Recipes and see if you can find something to make your own.
|My corn fritters, adjusted for my tastes.|
We’re only a few weeks into Masterchef but you can already see the talent. And while it can seem that Masterchef recipes are pretty complicated, there is no rule that says you must do something the way they do it. For instance, if the recipe includes a creme anglaise (a sweet sauce), a meringue, a mouse and a jelly, then try one of these elements for yourself. The meringue or the mouse is probably the easiest to make first, but its up to you. Are you trying a new technique or are you after a new recipe to try?
Sometimes Masterchef is better for the presentation ideas or the combination of flavours. For example, take a look at how the contestants would put a sauce and a piece of meat on a plate. This is something you can follow easily no matter the skill level you’re at. If you want to cook your meat the way they do, then that might take some practice, but there isn’t anything to stop you from doing that practice. And there is no time limit either. If you can’t afford to buy 25 eye fillets to practice on then buy one or two for dinner this week, try out your steak cooking skills, then when you have steak again in 3 weeks, try it again.
We have the luxury of time, which the Masterchef contestants don’t have. Phew!
In these pictures I was trying to improve my plating skills while watching Masterchef that night. The one on the right uses techniques I saw on Masterchef and looks a lot nicer than the first. I thought about my colour combinations and added the broccoli but that wasn’t enough to make the salmon and mash look good. I had to plate it well to make it more appetising.
Other TV Food Shows
While My Kitchen Rules and Masterchef as the two biggest foodie shows on our TVs, there are also plenty of others you can take inspiration from. For instance, have you seen any of these:
- Alive and Cooking – Channel 9
- Everyday Gourmet – Channel 10
- Good Chef Bad Chef – Channel 10
- Poh & Co – SBS
- Jamie’s Food Fight Club – Channel 10
- Weekend Feast – Channel 10
- Food Safari – SBS
- Rick Stein’s Far Eastern Odyssey – SBS
- Made in Italy with Silvia Colloca – SBS
- River Cottage – Gem
There are also food sections on TV shows such as:
- The Living Room – Channel 10
- Better Homes and Gardens – Channel 7
- The Morning Show – Channel 7
- Sunrise – Channel 7
And I’ve only listed the few that I can think of while I sit here and type. There are plenty of other TV Food Shows out there, and probably more if you’ve got Foxtel too.
Finding Your Inspiration – Exercises to make you think
It really comes down to what you want. But have you thought about what you want? What skills do you want to improve on? What recipes do you want to try? What dishes are you looking for? What techniques do you want to try?
Exercise 1: What do you know now?
I’m here to change you from being blown away by TV food shows to being inspired to try something you’ve seen. TV shows, while not directly teaching skills, give us an insight into what might be possible and lets us decide what we like without having to buy costly groceries we won’t use. So think about where your skills are at now and think about how a show like MKR or Masterchef could help. Take a minute to write down your ideas – what do you know already?
Even if you think you’re a total novice, don’t. There are cooking skills you have now that you didn’t have a week ago, a month ago or a year ago. A week ago I couldn’t get a yeast free bread recipe right. A month ago I kept burning the salmon skin (and setting off the fires alarm each time), and a year ago I couldn’t poach an egg. And 5 years ago I couldn’t make rice. I’ve come a long way, and so have you.
There is always something to learn. It might be:
- That you used enough/too much salt.
- how long to fry chicken perfectly vs how long is too much.
- that you need to chop all the vegetables the same size for even cooking.
- that your favourite pan is too small for a whole fish or fish fillet.
- Tuesday’s are when you’re least motivated to cook.
|This night I learnt to use a bigger saucepan for my frozen fish.|
What you learn may not always be about the food. It will be about yourself, about your motivations and can even be about your organizational skills. So give yourself a pat on her back for each of the successes you now you have on your list – and yes, they are all successes even if some of them are learning what not to do.
Exercise 2: What do you want to know?
Now that you know how great you are start thinking about what you want to know next. The best cooks/chefs are those who practice a lot and end up with a large repertoire. Lots of knowledge also means you can fix screw ups faster so you don’t really have any screw ups any more.
What you want to learn might be simple, but it might be that you’re ready for a new challenge. It might be that you’ve got a burning need to know how something is done, or you just want some new recipes to try. Take a minute to think about it.
Some of the things I want to learn are the following:
- How to confit salmon.
- How to make a corn or other vegetable purée (with flavour!).
- How to smoke meat and fish.
- To find an amazing red velvet cake recipe (then make it obviously).
- To make the three milk cake I saw on MKR.
- To try making roasted peaches or other stone fruit like I saw on MKR (see the picture of my attempt at roasted plums at top of this post.)
- How to make sugar shards for cake decoration.
What I want to know shows a mix of new skills, new techniques and new recipes.
What does your list look like?
So, the next time you’re watching a TV Food Show, think about your list. You can consistently be adding new ideas to that list, or you can be crossing things off it once you’ve tried them all. But best of all, you’re adding to your knowledge base so your cooking can only get better from here!
Continue finding inspiration today and read the next post on Internet Recipe Inspiration!