Why shopping “beyond one recipe” makes you a better cook

Image Credit: Tomasz Machnik

Thinking ahead gets you further ahead

When planning a meal, do you select a delicious-looking recipe at random? If so, you’re not alone. Most make their menu and shopping selections this way.

However, by singling out a recipe and cooking food in silos, you’re missing out on the joy of a well-balanced menu, the practicalities of smart ingredient planning, and potentially cost savings when you shop.

Great meals have synergy and flow, they take you on a journey, connecting and building taste and textures. What comes before and after a great dish can be just as important as the dish itself.

Planning meals ahead, thinking beyond just the one recipe, allows you to shop for ingredients across different dishes, to build flavour, to repurpose and reuse elements from one meal to create and enhance the next.

There’s almost always something leftover from a recipe. In fact, I often intentionally cook more than I need for any one meal so that I can use these leftovers for another meal. My question is always “what can I do with these leftovers”? An omelette or a sandwich filling, the base of a salad or adding to a new stock on the simmer for additional flavour.

Over time, I’ve learnt to think ahead as to what may be leftover, what ingredients won’t be used in full, and I plan out subsequent meals to incorporate these. Or I freeze or refrigerate for future.

Grouping recipes and meals together which have similar ingredients, but different flavour profiles, means I can minimise waste, maximise creativity, make the most of seasonal produce whilst still have different meals each day.

My aim is to create and share recipes which feed into others, to help build the understanding of intuitive cooking and maximising ingredients through building a repertoire of dishes which join together in some way.

Alex Herbert © Copyright 2021. All rights reserved.