It is difficult sometimes to think of delicious and interesting dishes to make for dinner. You would think that it comes so easily and so naturally to me, constantly being around food and all. The truth of the matter is that even for me, a self-proclaimed foodie, it is rather tough at times to create new and exciting recipes for dinner. There are days when I am all out of ideas and absolutely nothing comes to mind. There are no creative juices left, and I am left to ponder the age old question. “What are we having for dinner tonight?” Sure it would be easier to eat out and not have to worry about cooking, but that even becomes stressful. Where do I go for dinner? What shall I eat? There are so many choices out there that it becomes overwhelming and suddenly staying in, cooking a simple dinner at home in my own kitchen, sounds very appetizing once again. And I am back to where I started. I will then force myself, as a last resort, to go to the grocery store and see what looks good. At times I will think of something to cook, there on the spot, as I surround myself with what the market has to offer on that particular day.
I am often asked how is it that I come up with my recipes? Where do I get inspiration? How do I even begin to formulate ideas, brainstorm, and test out my recipes? I think it is nearly impossible to say that a recipe is completely thought up or originally invented by one particular person, especially nowadays. After all, how many ways are there to make a soup? They pretty much all start the same way with mostly similar ingredients; veggies, stock, and some sort of protein. Cooking or baking is not necessarily about inventing a recipe from scratch all on your own—because I think although completely doable—it would prove to be difficult in some way, shape, or form because yours would inevitably be similar to someone else’s out there in the world. It is only logical. It is okay to draw inspiration from someone else’s recipe. It is when you begin to change ingredients, swap out amounts, add here and take away there, that it really becomes your recipe. It starts to take shape and become a piece of you. Then, and only then, when you have perfected your new dish and have made it several times can you call it your recipe with pride.
My ideas come from other food blogs, magazines, books, online research and friends and family. Sometimes I even formulate ideas based solely on images I find online. I will stumble upon a delicious looking photograph on the internet and begin to research recipes, combining ingredients and methods from all different sources to make the recipe my own. Then finally when I get around to testing out a recipe and actually making it, I will change things as I go along. Adding seasonings or ingredients that I know will go well together or enhance the overall flavors. That comes from experience of trial and error. In this day and age, we all take inspiration from someone or something. A dish we once tried at a restaurant. A recipe we stumbled upon online. A magazine article with a simple and easy dinner idea. A cookbook we have booked marked all throughout, vowing to trying out some of the dishes inside. It is rather simple to formulate ideas, if you think about it. After all food is all around us. Why not start creating your own kitchen masterpieces?