How to Make Your Food Cookbook Worthy

By Alina Sheinkman

Every time I pick up a beautifully designed cookbook and flick through the food images, my mouth instantly waters at the thought of tasting this masterpiece on a plate. Doesn’t yours? With the increasing interest in cooking shows such as MasterChef and My Kitchen Rules,  I’ve been itching to try my newly developed chef skills (if you can call visual absorption a developed skill!). So here goes…

Step 1: deciding on a recipe

With a huge variety of cookbooks available for every taste and cuisine, the task of deciding on a recipe can seem overwhelming. Our suggestion is to start with the basics. Most of us have a few cookbooks gathering dust on a shelf, so start by picking one that looks good and brushing off the dust. Have a browse to see if anything tickles your fancy and gets those taste buds juicing. If you are looking for some new inspiration, here are some great cookbook titles to refresh your collection. We chose “Delicious. Simply The Best” as it has inspiring yet accessible recipes that are perfect for novice cooks as well as experienced foodies looking for new ideas.

Now the task of deciding on a recipe. Here is a quick checklist you can use:

Do I feel like…

  1. Savoury or sweet?
  2. What cuisine?
  3. A quick meal or extravagant affair?

Skip to the right section and pick the recipe with the best pictures. Easy as pie! (yumm…pie) But not for today. We are salivating at the “Herb-rubbed lamb cutlets with pea & feta salad”.

Step 2: gathering ingredients

This is the easiest part of the whole process. You are given a list, so go shopping! Make sure to select the freshest ingredients with bright colours.

Gather the brightest and freshest ingredients
Make sure you choose the best ingredients available – bright, fresh colours are important.

A handy tip – it’s best not to enter a supermarket on an empty stomach as inevitably you will end up with a whole trolley of products that were not originally on your shopping list.

When you get back to your kitchen, organise yourself by laying out all the ingredients in their correct quantities, so you don’t have to keep going back and forth to the ingredients list. You can just focus on the method and prepare that beautiful dish!

Step 3: cooking time!

The fun part as I like to call it. This is where you can get your hands dirty and delve into the depths of the recipe. But remember – hygiene first.

Feel free to experiment with the flavours and add or remove certain (not critical) ingredients depending on your taste. We opted to eliminate the chilli in our dish, but doesn’t it look beautiful?

Step 4: how to plate your food like a pro

The secret to making your food cookbook worthy is all about the presentation. Decide on a plating style to impress your dinner guests or impress yourself. Our favourites are “rustic” and “modern contemporary”.

Rustic

  • Wooden tones
  • Pops of colour
  • The messier the better
  • Homely look
  • No fancy fillers
  • Raw ingredients make the art.
 Modern Contemporary

  • White oversized plates
  • Beige colours
  • No clutter
  • Decorative flowers as garnish
  • Lots of white space
  • Usually contain a drizzle or swirl of sauce.
How to choose a plate
Choose a plate to suit your style.

Once you have a style in mind, you can choose a plate that will make your dish pop! Look at your plate as a canvas and use your food to create art.

Regardless of your style, there are some universal guidelines to follow:

  1. Arranging in odd numbers always looks better than even numbers. Always.
  2. Play to all the senses, a feast is not only for your stomach but for your eyes too!
  3. Don’t garnish for the sake of it, the flavours should complement each other.
  4. Keep it simple – less is more.
  5. Add height, build your dish in layers or look for ways to stand food up.
  6. Don’t rush. Take it slow and drizzle or sprinkle carefully.
  7. Use contrasting colours.

Step 5: photography

All works of art must be chronicled as they are likely never to be repeated again. Or at least they’ll never be the same again so each attempt must have a pretty snap. Our resident photographers have given us a few suggestions. It’s important to think about the lighting, shadow is good if placed at the right angle. Make the dish your focal point, a little artistic mess in the background will add some colour and life to your photos.

IMG_0040 (2)
Bon Appetit!

Want to see the recipe come to life? Watch the video!

Check out these awesome cookbooks for some more mouth watering recipes!

How to Hunt For Bargains Online Like an Expert

Jasmine Boothey from BargainMums.com.au is a busy mum and bargain huntress extraordinaire. We caught up with her to pick her brain about how she tracks down the best bargains from her dining room table…

Hi Jasmine! Thanks for chatting to Catch Culture! Tell us a little about yourself and your blog…

I’m a mum of two living in Adelaide and I’m a keen bargain hunter.  I studied and worked as an accountant before having kids so I have always loved working with numbers.  I now share my knowledge of how to still live a great life on a budget through my website, Bargain Mums.  Bargain Mums is a mixture of money saving tips and advice, as well as budget recipes made using simple, easy to find ingredients.

When it comes to my online shopping style, I’m definitely a bargain hunter.

I always wait for sales before buying anything.

So what do you look for in a product?

While I might be a bargain hunter, that doesn’t mean I like to buy cheap and nasty.  I always look out for products that are great quality and likely to last the distance.  I would much rather buy a product that costs a little more but will last a long time and actually do the job it’s supposed to do, instead of a cheaper item that will break in a number of months and have to be replaced.

You can actually save money by buying quality.

If you had to choose one thing you love about online shopping what would it be?

I love the convenience of online shopping.  With two kids heading to the shops is often the last thing I feel like doing.  Online shopping means I can shop at any time that suits me, even if it’s late at night, and it doesn’t matter if I get interrupted.

Tell us a little about the bargains you found recently on Catch of the Day?

I found so many bargains when I was searching on Catch of the Day.  I was tempted by the kids toys, and huge range of discounted groceries, but I instead opted for the cookbook sale.  I absolutely love cooking, baking in particular, and I love to collect cookbooks.  I added four new books from Catch of the Day to my collection.

Bargain Mums Cookbooks
Bargain Mums Shoutout on Instagram “4 cookbooks for only $75, including postage. The cheapest I could find them for elsewhere was just under $100 without postage” #catchofthedayau #bargainmums

The cookbooks I purchased were a fantastic deal.  I paid $75 including shipping for the 4 books.  I then did a little research on the internet to see how the price compares to other online retailers, and the cheapest I could find the same books for elsewhere was $95, and that didn’t include shipping.

You used the app to make your purchases. What stood out to you about using the Catch of the Day app?

I found the process of using the Catch of the Day app very easy.  So many apps out there are very buggy and I just end up jumping on my computer instead, but not this one.  From browsing the individual Catch of the Day sales, to the checkout and payment process, it was all very smooth and easy.

And lastly, to get a little cheeky…where were you when you made your purchases? 

I actually made my purchase at my dining room table while my toddler ate lunch, using my mobile!  That’s the great thing about the app, it’s so easy to shop anywhere, anytime.

Thanks to Jasmine for sharing her story with us on the Catch Culture Blog. You can check out her blog bargainmums.com.au and her facebook page for awesome recipe and money saving ideas!

Want to read more? We hear you! Check out our recent posts:

What are your tips to hunting down bargains like an expert? Share in the comments below…