Believe it or not there is a term that incorporates organising with cooking. If you saw the state of my kitchen at times after a baking session you would not think this possible. The term I refer to is ‘Mise en place’ – quite simply it is French for ‘put in place’ a trained chef would refer to it as prepping.
I like to call it Blue Peter cooking if you can remember that far back (and no you do not need any empty Fairy liquid bottles). Every ingredient is pre weighed or prepared and then placed into something like a glass Pyrex bowl. If you want to refresh your memory just take a look at this brilliant clip (wait for the trailer to finish) and note the bowls of ingredients all ready to go. I think I might even make those cute mini Dalek cakes!
Having quite a tiny kitchen I adopted this method a while ago and it has much improved the way I keep myself and the kitchen organised whilst cooking and baking.
Firstly I read through the recipe and collect all the ingredients together.
Then I weigh and pre-prepare everything and place into little bowls such as these cuties I found recently in Waitrose…
Now you might think that this method increases the washing up load with all those little bowls (and you would be right to some extent) however, I find that having one ingredient per bowl isn’t necessary as you can generally combine many of the ingredients.
For instance when making a cake all the dry ingredients can be put together,
or with something like Nutloaf I combine the nuts and breadcrumbs and similarly with veg soup I would combine any veg added at the same stage of cooking.
…then have a good clean up before launching into the mixing and cooking.
I don’t weigh out the olive oil for cooking but I do get the bottle out of the cupboard and have it ready together with all the utensils I am going to need. Before I begin I would also check I have the right baking dish and prepare that too.
The bonus of this method is you don’t come across those little surprises halfway through a recipe when you discover that the only egg you thought you had has been eaten for breakfast that morning and too late to abandon the recipe you end up dashing to the local shop or next door.
The tendency is always to rush into the mixing and cooking but I find organising myself this way I avoid burning one thing in the pan whilst I am hurriedly preparing something else or forgetting an ingredient altogether. I can remember many times trying to add that pinch of salt or herbs to a rolled up ball of pastry having forgotten to include it when it was just at the crumb stage!
I noticed that the ‘forgotten’ ingredient happened quite regularly on the Bake Off – and who, I would like to know, does all their clearing up?