Updated: May 20
Cooking is a creative visual process inspiring you from garden to plate. Whilst we initially eat with our eyes, taste should not disappoint along with different textures in the dish. Whether you are picking produce from your allotment, garden, Farmers' Market, Supermarket or Delivery Box, make sure you get the most of fresh seasonal vegetables and look for unusual varieties to improve your cooking. Play around with textures and tastes using basics from your cupboards to create vinaigrettes, mayonnaises and light dressings. This beautiful seasonal salad is very easy to create which is on my recipe page. You could substitute chicken instead of scallops or lettuce hearts to make a vegan dish.
Finishing touches can elevate a dish. Learn how to add these touches to ordinary meals which make your food visually stunning. Every ingredient should be respected on a plate as it is the result of a grower, a picker, a wholesaler's livelihood harvesting from farm to plate. Be inventive with its use, whether sliced, diced, pickled or raw.
For this dish cut a cucumber into half horizontally. Cut the ends off. Using a mandolin or a sharp knife, cut the cucumber as thinly as possible lengthways. Roll up and attach a bamboo skewer in order to keep its shape. Before serving, remove the bamboo skewer. For other vegetables think if you can eat them raw or if they can be shredded, cut into batons, diced or made into balls. It really all depends on your dish, your ingredients and thinking creatively and visually.
Mandolin - be careful and use the safety knob when using
Think about adding height and depth to your dish without sacrificing flavour and keeping the authenticity of the dish. Less is more. Avoid busy looking plate as you don't want to hide the main ingredients and make the dish look too 'worked'. Keep things simple and let the ingredients sing! I often start very simply and remove things I don't like. If it looks too fussy then I take everything off the plate and start again. There is no substitute for getting it right and I may try out an idea and work it through several times before I get it right. There is no substitution for hard work and making a beautiful dish look simple requires that, but hopefully I have helped by giving you some of the tools I have acquired over the years. This dish was photographed using natural window light and eaten very quickly. I made sure I was organised by doing my prep beforehand knowing what accessories I wanted to use. I wanted to focus on a green spring plate and have my dinner too!