Updated: Jul 17, 2020
How to write a recipe is a phrase that I seem to be seeing showing up in many search queries lately, so I thought I would take a moment to write a brief opinion article on how I go about the process.
But before I do, please keep in mind one key thought. Recipes are merely guidelines. (unless your baking, which is more science...) Recipes are basically just lists of the ingredients (and sometimes the equipment suggested) and some basic steps as to how to prepare and cook the dish. The whole fun of cooking, once you've nailed down a few of the key techniques is to play, have fun and experiment with your ingredients, seasonings and different techniques. Adding your personal preferences and ultimately creating a signature dish that represents you!
When I start to think of 'recipe' I work backwards. I have a visual presentation of the finished plate already in my mind, but, much like writing a story, the finished version is often very different from the one we originally imagined. The one main constant that I try to keep consistent, is the original flavor profile that I have pre-determined. Because to me that is key and will dictate various elements and steps taken to produce the desired taste. The visual presentation can and will fluctuate quite a lot. That's the really fun part of it all.
So, now you have a basic visual and flavor profile in your head. Keep a cooking journal in your kitchen. A notebook for writing down each step you take and the ingredients used (measurements too if you like) but you will be tasting and seasoning as you go through the entire cooking process so guestimates work just as well. Even take pictures of every step along the way if you like, but I really love the idea of a cooking journal. For one it helps you to remember your basic blueprint of the dish if it is very successful and you want to make it again. Secondly, if it is not so successful, you have a step by step guide and you can make notes on changes that you think will help which will ultimately lead to a dish that meets your standards and have it documented. Finally, a journal is an amazing present to be able to pass down to your kids, or grandkids so that they can have a treasured family keepsake that can be always added to and potentially passed on for generations!
That's really all there is to it.
1. Have a predetermined visual presentation and flavor profile in mind.
2. Baby step through your experimenting process, sometimes you may have to make a dish several times (even though your initial preparation may be a rock star) before you truly make it your own. Add your favourite spices, and seasonings. Those that represent you and your food philosophy.
3. Make notes, make notes on your notes and compile them all into a final edited 'recipe' and truly your own signature dish.
4. Keep evolving. When you have a finalized recipe, figure out ways to adapt the techniques or flavors into other preparations.
5. Never stop learning and taking in new ideas and combinations.
6. Enjoy doing it. If it becomes un-enjoyable, take a break, or stop altogether.
So, that's it in a nutshell. As I said in my humble opinion. It's really pretty simple but hopefully I've written at least one thing that you find helpful. Happy Cooking!