This is something that comes up a lot!
Most recipes can be adapted to suit you! Whether that is down to taste or dietary needs.
A lot of chef’s won’t like me saying this but, in my opinion, it is true. If you find a recipe in a book or online or someone gives it to you and it calls for, as an example, organic crushed garlic you do not have to rush out and blow your budget buying some if you have any sort of garlic at home. I don’t really care what anyone says garlic is garlic! The same goes for chillies, basil, tarragon – all spices and herbs can be subbed for dried! The chart below will give you a rough guide to quantities. And while I’m on the subject of herbs and spices have you tried your local Asian supermarket or shop? They sell huge bags of spices for the same price as those tiny jars in the supermarket. If you don’t have an Asian supermarket close by then try the world food aisle in larger supermarkets.
Similarly, you can change the meat and vegetable options in a lot of recipes too. If you don’t like beef, try a chicken lasagne! If you find pork or turkey mince reduced use them like you would beef mince! Got burgers or sausages you don’t fancy? Break them up and use like you would mince. And remember cottage / shepherd’s pie don’t have to be made with minced meat you can use leftovers from Sunday dinner.
When it comes to veg, everyone has different opinions re fresh, tinned and frozen. Remember all veg is better than no veg! If you can afford fresh best and manage to use it all up then great, buy it! If you prefer frozen as you can use as much or as little as you want, then that’s great too! If you prefer tinned veg then that is fine too! If you find a recipe you fancy and then read through the ingredients and there is a vegetable, you don’t like in it or that is too expensive than either leave it out or add a veg you do like or can afford! Don’t be put off the whole thing because of it.
When I find a new recipe I fancy I usually make it the way I’m supposed to first time round (bar the organic garlic etc etc) then if it’s nice I start to think ‘how can I add more veg?’ or ‘how can I make this recipe 1) easier and 2) cheaper?’ and often I think ‘can I make this a one pot meal?’ that’s because I enjoy trying new things and love to potter in the kitchen but also sometimes, like other mums out there, I’m in a rush! We’re all busy in this day and age and adapting recipes to make them quicker, easier and cheaper is something I enjoy and, luckily for me, I have you guys to share my creations with! I firmly believe that most recipes out there today are just someone’s adaptation of a meal they’ve been served in the past!
So, play about with food and flavours, don’t be daunted by posh recipes and if you’re stuck? Give us a shout and we’ll try our best to help xx Lorna xx