6 Foodie Techniques I Want To Master in 2014

I’m not a timid cook.  Whilst I may have had a stubborn teenage moment, I grew up baking and being in Mum’s kitchen, and as the years have gone on I’ve gone from being a basic follow a recipe only kind of cook to a more confident ready to create my own versions of recipes cook.  Even with time spent in the kitchen with some serious professionals over the years, being a part of cooking classes and working in the industry for a while there is still some techniques that elude me that I would really like to get my head around.  So here is my list for the new year, nothing too daunting I hope, but cooking skills that I’d really like to master in the year of 2014.

lamb roast

1. Roasting Lamb, Pork and Beef.

For some reason roasting lamb, pork and beef eludes me.  Chicken I can do, and really quite well, but for some reason I just don’t feel comfortable when it comes to other meat.


2. Making Soufflé

Just ‘cos I can really.  It’s not actually ever something I’ve tried.  You hear of the stories of deflation and it intimidates me, plus prior to having an electric mixer these past 12 months the thought of beating the egg whites by hand was enough to scare me off even attempting to make one.

tempered chocolate

3. Tempering chocolate

Again, too many stories of mistakes and opportunities for messing this up have prevented me from giving this a shot.


4. Making Gravy.

I watched my Mum, and my Nan less successfully, make gravy as a child, but I’ve never done it myself. This challenge is pretty much tied to number one and being successfully able to roast a piece of meat.


5. Pastry

For some reason with pastry I’m intimidated by the temperature that I need to keep the dough at and the fear of over working it.  I use the reason of not having the right equipment, but really when there are centuries of history making pastry way before a food processor was invented I can really only say that I’m making excuses.


6. Dumplings

We are a little bit obsessed by dumplings in our house.  It doesn’t matter if they are steamed or fried and which nationality they might hail from we want them on our plate.  Late last year we acquired some tools to help in the making process and with one batch under our belt that was semi successful we are ready to take it to the next level.

I really should add making muffins to this list, but with years of failures I’m not sure that I’m ever likely to “master” this particular baked delight.  For now we shall call it a work in progress and I’ll let you know if I think I’ve actually got the hang of it!

So all you wonderful foodies out there, do you have any tips for me?  Feel free to post links to me in the comments section of any advice that you might have from posts you have created when you’ve faced these challenges.  I’m really quite serious about wanting to learn some new food techniques in the new year.

Happy New Year and Happy Food Experiences,


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18 Comments Add yours

  1. I’ve never found souffle deserves its reputation for being difficult. I just use an eggbeater for the egg whites and an antique gas stove with very dodgy thermometer, and it turns out. The only tricks I think are: eggs a few days old and room temperature rather than out of the fridge, very clean dry ungreasy bowl to beat them in and no yolk in the whites, and bake in an ungreased baking dish. But really, even those rules can be ignored usually. My brunch souffle recipe


    1. Leah says:

      Thank you so much for the tips & I love the idea of making it for brunch rather than as dessert. 🙂


  2. I share number 1 and number 5 with you…roasting meat and making pastry. My mom made fabulous roasts and I think I tried a few times as a very young cook only for it to always turn out overcooked and dry…I gave up. And the same goes for pastry. You have inspired me to take on the challenge too. Looking forward to your roast and pastry posts this year! 🙂


  3. trixpin says:

    A “to learn/master” foodie list is a great idea … I might be trying this myself.

    With pastry, I find the best thing is to add enough fat not to need to add any water – it makes such a crisp pastry. And to use at least some of a softer fat like margarine, which helps make the texture less crumbly and hard to manage when rolling out. I often end up using lard, butter AND marg in my pastry – lard for crispness, butter for flavour, margarine for added flavour and improved texture. Hope this helps?

    I’m with you on the muffins. I mean, HOW do you get a proper crinkled, split muffin top???


  4. chefmo73 says:

    i’m with you in the pastry department!


    1. Leah says:

      fingers crossed I have some success this year and can share it with you. 🙂


      1. chefmo73 says:

        That would be lovely.


  5. ladyredspecs says:

    An idea, I do a step by step post, you emulate and critique my instructions and your results. What do you think? Xxx


    1. ladyredspecs says:

      PS! that excludes the choc tempering! never done that!


    2. Leah says:

      Sounds like it could be fun. I know for the chocolate Celia at Fig Jam and Lime Cordial sent me a link I can use. I’ve had some lovely suggestions of ideas in my comments too which has been awesome so no pressure but I’d love all the help I can get 🙂 xxx


  6. bricimino says:

    Roasting is one of my favorite things. There are so many amazing ways to cook all of roast all of those things, each way coming out more delicious than the last. Happy cooking!


    1. Leah says:

      OH thank you so much. I think it is as much me needing to be more confident with my oven about timing as much as anything. I’m looking forward to some cooler weather to get into learning more 🙂


  7. bitsofnice says:

    I’ve never tried soufflé either for the same reasons and I would love to work on my pastry skills, which are near non existent! I also ADORE dumplings and I’ve make them from scratch a couple of times with varying degrees of success so that’s another one to keep practicing. Good luck with your list, it’s great to learn new skills!


    1. Leah says:

      thank you, I’m really looking forward to digging in to the list and trying to improve my skills. I found dumpling wrappers in the supermarket the other day so I think they might be first on the menu 🙂


      1. bitsofnice says:

        Buying the wrappers in a good idea, whenever I’ve made them I made the wraps but next time I’m definitely buying!


  8. Glenda says:

    This is a great idea. I certainly have things that I avoid because of the fear of failure factor.
    Numbers 2. 3, 4 and 5 all fall within that category so I’m very keen to share your journey. When making dumplings I also buy the wrappers.


    1. Leah says:

      Thank you! I thought if I put it out there to all my knowledgeable blogger friends I am sure to get some good feedback and so far the tips and ideas have been fabulous. I look forward to sharing with you what they teach me. We’re having our second attempt at dumplings tonight so hopefully we can produce something worth blogging about 🙂


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