• Always read the recipe thoroughly before you start cooking, so you know what to expect (e.g. what equipment you'll need). You can even read the recipe aloud and act it out, moving around the kitchen (I often do this to get into the cooking groove). It won't take you any more than 5 minutes but will save you time when you start to cook.
  • Allow meat and fish to come to room temperature before cooking; don't use it directly from the fridge. It will cook more evenly (and not be cold in the middle) if it is at room temperature.
  • Taste, taste, taste. Always taste your food as you go, adding the right amount of seasoning (salt and sometimes pepper) to bring the flavours in the dish alive. Balance salty, sweet and sour or acidic flavours.
  • If you have a little extra time up your sleeve one night, you can always do a little prep for other night's dishes to save time later on. For example, start marinating meat for Wednesday's meal on Monday or Tuesday, so it has extra time to marinate - allowing the flavours to infuse with the meat. Plus it's all ready to go when you start cooking that night.
  • Place all of the required ingredients on the bench top before starting cooking; it will save time if you check off everything required before you start.
  • Learn the basics first, and then feel free to add your own creative spin. Once you're confident with basic cooking skills, you can free-style a bit - adding or adjusting flavours and ingredients to suit your palate.
  • Rest meat for at least 5-10 minutes after cooking to allow all the juices to reabsorb back into the meat keeping it tasty and juicy.