Unlike baking and patisserie, where you often have to measure the ingredients to the last milligram, as well as following the process slavishly, most of the recipes I use are very forgiving – after all, there are probably as many minestrone recipes in Italy as there are households that make it – and every house makes it. As long as you more or less follow the technique/process and roughly keep to the proportions of the ingredients, it will turn out fine. I will say if there is any particular thing you have to be a bit more precise about.
A lot of the recipes on these pages are entirely elastic, so you can add more or less of an ingredient depending on what you’ve got or can afford – or substitute a completely different ingredient entirely. A ‘deviation’ from the recipe won’t make it wrong, just slightly different – but still perfectly good.
Before starting any new recipe (wherever you get it from), make yourself a cuppa, sit down and read it through twice….panicking in the middle of making dinner takes all the joy out of the thing. Check the ingredients list and having decided what is essential and what can be left out or replaced, doublecheck to make sure you’ve got what you need. Ever reached into the cupboard for the bicarbonate of soda to find you’ve got a packet with nothing in it?
For recipes that have fast/quick processes in them, for example, Chinese or Vietnamese, it’s really necessary to cut and prepare everything before you start cooking – it’s actually a pretty good habit to get into generally.
There are some things I will (butter, real coffee etc) and will not (marg, artificial sweeteners, nestle products) use, and I know I can sound really opinionated sometimes – but it is just my opinion – you make up your own mind as to what you feel happy eating.
Finally, remember that everyone can cook – so don’t get yourself in a tizzy and enjoy yourself.