Monday, March 28, 2011

Sweet and Savoury

One of the tricks I use in keeping my menus varied is to think of ingredients and dishes as basic building blocks. So everyone is surprised when I come up with new twists on old dishes, simply because I've changed them from sweet to savoury, or vice versa.

I suppose this started from my love affair with French food. When I was a child my parents usually took me out to dinner for my birthday, and I got to choose (within reason) the restaurant. From the time I was a child, I wanted grown-up restaurants, and often chose French restaurants, where instead of sweets, they would bring cheese for dessert. I suppose it was about then that I started to think of food as pliable in its interpretation, but did not commence experimenting until much later.

As we saw from the example of French toast, the basics were eggs, milk and bread. Take away the bread, and we are left with custards, for sweet dishes, and custards, for savoury dishes (think quiche). This is why learning the basics and patterns of cooking is so important; you can turn just about any recipe into just about anything, depending on your available ingredients, taste, and your imagination!

So this week, I encourage you to experiment. Take that noodle dish, and turn it into dessert. Take that cake recipe and turn it into a savoury quickbread. Anything is possible with a little imagination and determination. Even the great chefs go through some catastrophic failures before they finally create their signature dishes. And no matter how bad the result turns out to be, usually one of the children will like it, and the dog will almost always eat it!

1 comment:

  1. Yes, yes twisting things up a bit - experimenting in the kitchen can end up as one of the most intriguing dishes you have ever eaten. For those that don't we have Buba our 110 pound Great Pyrenees that loves it when we screw something up in the kitchen.