It is easy to find inspiration for healthy, delicious food on TV, in colourful magazines and cook books and I’ve got several bookshelves packed with those! But I always find it much more inspiring visiting the local market, going to a restaurant, visiting the family or just watching whatever grows in the kitchen garden.
My biggest inspiration however comes from travelling. Seeing and tasting unknown vegetables, cuts of meat, spices, shellfish, fruits and cheeses and smelling all the wonderful aromas. I remember a hot and peppery soup with chicken feet in Thailand, my first spaghetti vongole on a camping site by Lago d’Iseo in Italy, half a kilo of breakfast burrito in L.A. and a thirst quenching mint lemonade in Dubai.
I often take notes and I have several small drawings in an old diary from when I was in Thailand in 1999 showing how the food was presented. These days I use my phone for notes and photos instead.
Inspiration comes from everywhere but even so I can get stuck in old ways of thinking, doing the same, well-known recipes again and again. When that happens, I play a little game. I pick 2-4 vegetables from the kitchen garden, which I then need to use to make a nice meal. All basics like oil, nuts, spices, sugar, flour, rice, pasta and so on are in my cabinets, so I just need to figure out how to use those special ingredients in the best way. Some dishes are okay – nothing to write home about – but some are fantastic and well worth the effort. Those are the ones you will find on Food and Garden.
Make cooking fun. Play a little game with fresh vegetables.
So have fun. Don’t think too much about food, just enjoy all the wonderful colours, shapes, flavours and smells of all the different ingredients. The more you cook, the easier cooking becomes and soon you will find inspiration everywhere.