The rise of the celebrity chefs like Jamie Oliver, Nigella Lawson and Gordon Ramsay as well as the amazing success of Masterchef has turned cooking at home into a gourmet experience. It's suddenly become fun and achievable. I love it! We all enjoy watching an experienced chef swiftly dice those onions and simplify a complicated recipe so we can re-create it ourselves with confidence (hopefully!).
The downside is that chefs have no regard for nutrition or health. They value indulgence and excess. They add salt to everything and love to boost the flavour with lots of fat whether it's the spoonfuls of butter they fry in or the carton of cream to ‘finish off' the soup.
And there's always a decadent dessert you can't resist. Think of that infamous ‘Death by chocolate' and you'll know where I'm coming from.
4 easy tips to tame those indulgent chefs
So look carefully over the next chef's recipe you spot and see if you can modify it a little to be more healthy. Try these ideas:
1. Base the dish on healthy fats and but not TOO much of them
A little oil is fine (especially extra virgin) but scale down recipes that call for lots of butter, cream, sour cream or mascarpone. Use two-thirds or save these ones for a special occasion.
2. Be frugal with salted ingredients
It's not the salt you sprinkle in. It's the stock (liquid or cubes or powder), soy sauce, fish sauce, bacon, anchovies and cheese that bump up your intake of salt, which is harmful to your blood pressure. Use just enough to add flavour without overdoing them. Or switch to salt-reduced versions.
3. Use a healthy cooking method
Steaming, grilling, roasting on a tray in the oven or pan frying in a non-stick pan with a thin smear of oil are all good for you. Deep frying or shallow frying in fat is not.
4. It's just not that healthy to start with
Look down the list of ingredients. If they contain a lot of sugar, fat, white flour, white rice or coconut cream, it probably isn't that great for your health. Find something else.