Recipes

Recipes like diets are a guide only…

…variables include oven brand, temperature and hotspots, ingredients- ripeness, sweetness, fat quantity etc. and, diets are not a one size fits all although a lot of the basics would be the same across all body types.

Before MasterChef, I was never one to take recipes too seriously. I did respect them of course, but wanted to create my own thing and often with whatever ingredients I already had access to. When I cooked for friends, they would often ask me for my recipes, and I honestly could only give them a rough list of ingredients – mostly without measurements. I was and still am someone who tends to go by taste – constantly testing for balance. Only during shooting for MasterChef did I set out to write detailed versions of what I was creating with a purpose to allow for accurate recreation of those dishes.

And it is also, absolutely necessary for testing what I’m sending out to you guys!  This is also the reason you’ll most often see weights of ingredients rather than cups and teaspoons etc. as it is more consistent and takes variable volume and density out of the equation!

Hint – invest I a set of digital scales, they take up very little space but are an essential and easy to use kitchen addition!

The other thing I did in the MasterChef house was study, read, and study and read some more. Reading other cookbooks is not only inspiring, but they help you to understand why flavour combos and pairings work, and the theories why others may work too. Both reading and writing recipes has taught me a lot about my own cooking process, but most of all it has taught me to trust my gut.

What we all need to remember is that all recipes, including those you find here, are created and tested in kitchens that are not our own, and with ingredients gathered from thousands of different locations. If while you’re cooking something doesn’t taste quite right, or something isn’t combining properly, or something seems perfect 15 minutes before the recommended cooking time is up, you need to trust your instincts. Adjust it to what suits you in that situation. If my recipe says 180degrees for 45 minutes but in your oven, you can see it bordering on burning at 35, take the dang thing out of there or rotate it and turn down the temperature!

The same goes for trying new diets. You may be recommended to try something new for health benefits, or you may choose a different lifestyle for a whole range of other reasons. You’ll be pleased to know, many of the fundamentals across multiple diets are the same – they definitely all want the same healthy, thriving, optimal outcome for you. But not every rule in a diet can work for all of us. It is equally important to listen to your gut in these situations. Always adjust them, to fit your individual needs. While this can be difficult if you’re new to a diet, and even more difficult if you’re don’t know where to begin; it can be made easier by gathering your info from a wide variety of sources. Do a little bit of reading, or a lot, then trial things within your own eating habits. And listen to what your body is telling you, please! For more tips on substitutes for food staples, check out the bottom of each of my recipes!

This Banana Bread recipe is a great one to examine as being a guide – I’ve cooked it several times consistently, but trying it in another oven, I needed to lower the temperature and increase the time to ensure the inside had enough time to catch up to the quick browning outside. 

Elena xox

Author


Avatar

Elena Duggan

Winner of MasterChef 2016, Elena Duggan takes us back to her golden moment ahead of her return to the show as a guest chef in Season 9.