How I Get Inspiration for New Recipes + A Mango Chilli Sauce

How I Get Inspiration for New Recipes + A Mango Chilli Sauce #kitchen #cooking #asian #mango #chilli #chillisauce

This post was created in partnership with MyPersonalisedCase. As I’ve already mentioned, for the past few months I’ve been hard at work with a fantastic web developer to give this blog it’s first totally new look in over five years. It is going to be fresh, bright and responsive, and as well as the new look I’m going to start introducing a bit of a new direction. Don’t worry: I’ll still be posting brand new, easy weeknight recipes, restaurant reviews and foodie travel guides, but I’ll also be introducing some new posts about cooking and eating. Over the past nine years this blog has really grown up with me, and what I really want it to be, and what I think it is becoming is a hub that helps people figure out what to eat; not just a site telling you what and where, but somewhere that also helps you make more conscious food choices, learning about your ingredients, how to cut down on your food bills, and yes, figure out where to book a table for your girls night.

As we don’t have a set date yet for this new look (we’re going as fast as we can!) I figured why wait? So, you’ll be seeing a few more kitchen and food tips posts starting to pop up alongside my regular programming, starting today where I thought I’d give you a bit of an insight into my day to day, getting into my tiny, black and white Fulham kitchen, looking at just one of the ways I come up with ideas for my recipes.

Cooking from Half Baked Harvest
MyPersonalCase iPhone Case

As you probably noticed in my intro, this post is sponsored by the guys over at MyPersonalisedCase, which is basically a fun online service where you can make your own phone case. Why, may you ask am I plugging phone cases in a blog post about recipe development. The simple answer is that while I do get a lot of recipe ideas from cookbooks, magazines, eating out and scrolling through other people’s Instagram feeds, I also cook an awful lot of other bloggers ideas if I spy a technique or flavour pairing in a recipe that interests me or I think may be right for a recipe I’ve been working on but just can’t get right. I’m typically reading these recipes off of my phone or iPad (whichever has the most battery!), and a case is very important to keep my phone clean and unscratched, especially in my tiny (and usually rather messy!) kitchen. I’ll also admit to being that person who is stirring creme patisserie with one hand, and again, scrolling through Instagram with the other.

So, what do I love about my new phone case? Well, it is strong. Very strong; I drop my phone so many times I’m honestly really surprised I’ve never smashed one. Also, it is pretty. My last case was Kate Spade (I’ve had loads of them) and the one before that was a Grey Malin print case, which I loved but was just not strong enough – I changed it after a few months as the amount of cracks were starting to worry me! You’ll get endless options with one of MyPersonalisedCase’s personalised phone cases, and they’re a lot cheaper than the designer ones!
Cooked Rice Noodles
Sweet Chilli Sauce
Mango Chilli Sauce

Back to the recipe development. I use Evernote to clip blog recipes to my desktop, tagging them with their key ingredients and recipe name (e.g. tomato, beef, pasta, mozzarella and lasagna for a lasagna recipe) for easy searching. Browsing through one of my favourite food blogs for photography and ideas (Tieghan’s style is for lots of flavours, so I like to take elements from her recipes and use them in dishes that are a bit paired down!), Half Baked Harvest I liked the idea of the Sweet Chilli Mango Sauce in her Vietnamese Shrimp Spring Roll Bowl with Sweet Chilli Mango Sauce. I made it to go with my usual, fridge clearing noodle bowl.

Fresh Cut Mango

I liked the recipe, but I found it a bit too runny for my tastes. However, I think the juicy chunks of mango in the sauce were a massive win, so the next time I create a Thai or Vietnamese, fish based chilli sauce I’ll be sure to include some. Cooking that one small element from someone elses recipe has squirrelled an idea/ lesson away for future use! On the matter of lessons, I thought I’d include another of my kitchen value tips: never pass up a good offer if you have a freezer. While I only needed 1/2 a mango, at best and I was going away the next day I found 3 perfect mangos for £1 on the market, so much cheaper than Waitrose so I knew I had to pounce. I cubed it all into easily stackable, leftover takeaway tubs and after eating some for breakfast the next morning I froze the rest; they’ll make much better Frozen Mango Margaritas than my usual pre-frozen, supermarket chunks!

With the new design coming up, I’d love to hear from you if there are any types of recipes or kitchen and food shopping tips type posts you’d like to see here in the latter half of 2018. To get in touch, just leave a comment on this post, email me, or send me a tweet!

This is a sponsored post. To read my policy on sponsored posts, please click here.