Rediscover your cooking mojo and cook every day!

If you’ve stopped by to try a scrumptious sample while doing the weekly grocery shop at Watergardens, then it is most likely you would already know our regular food guru and cooking demonstrator, Heidi. Heidi has been in the hospitality industry for 30 years, starting off in milk bars and cafes, before entering a chef’s apprenticeship at the tender age of 15. “I have always loved cooking, entertaining and presentation. For me, these things go hand in hand.”

Heidi began her own business doing cooking demonstrations after having children. Her favourite part of the job is sharing her recipes and tips with customers of all different backgrounds. “People are often used to cooking their own food, so when I make something, it’s totally different to what they’re used to,” she says. “Inspiring people is fantastic!” So what's the most common question Heidi gets during her demonstrations? “People ask whether they can take me home so I can cook for them! Unfortunately, the answer is no.”

Heidi’s top five tips for staying motivated to cook

1. Be organised

If you plan your meals out for the week, it’ll be easier to stick to your budget and your plan. Plus, you’re not going to be stressed running around during the week, which is when most people end up cutting corners with takeaway meals.

2. Get the whole family involved

Sit down on Sunday night to work out a meal plan with the family. If you’re a family of four and everyone picks one meal, you’ve already got four nights sorted. Usually, my kids pick a meal and cook it themselves one night of the week - which is great learning for them too!

3. Embrace the slow cooker

Put it on in the morning and it’s ready when you get home! I have two slow cookers. During winter I always have a slow cooked beef or chicken dish in the works.

4. Cook in bulk

Remember: you can freeze anything! Double the recipe so you can enjoy half one night, then get it out of the freezer to eat at the end of the week for a time-saving option. Soups are great in bulk, as are cakes or slices, which are perfect for school lunch boxes.

5. Make it a habit

It can be hard to cook daily, but you want to get to a point where it’s so ingrained in your daily routine, that you don’t even think about it. To make it a habit, you just have to start.

How to get more life out of your meals

Heidi suggests having instant rice or pasta on hand to bulk up a meal. Whether its extra guests popping over for dinner, or cooking enough to take leftovers for work, these two ingredients never go astray.

If you’re preparing a stir-fry chicken breast with steamed veggies, you can extend that chicken into a pasta dish by simply adding pasta, cream, salt and pepper. Or take the chicken and veggies, and simply add rice to cook up a tasty fried rice.