As a freelancer and blogger working with health food brands doing social media and content writing, a large part of my role also involves recipe development; working with the likes of Kaizen Living superfoods, PhD Nutrition and PhD Woman protein, Mornflake oats and Vivo Life, using their products in healthy creations.
This element of my work has been one of my passions for many years but has become even more of a key part in my life over the past few months. It’s so important to me that what I create and share with the world is tasty, straightforward to make and doesn’t cost too much, all while being made from clean, healthy ingredients.
I get asked quite a lot how I keep coming up with ideas for new recipes, especially now as part of my job involves creating quite a lot per month for different brands. It got me thinking – where DO I get my inspiration from? I took a step back and realised it’s quite a methodical, research-heavy process; but one I absolutely love devoting time to.
So, if you’re interested and want to get more into recipe creation yourselves, here are some of my top insights:
Create food and flavour mood boards
When I first started properly getting into recipe creation, I filled pages of an A4 notepad with flavour combinations starting from basics like vanilla, chocolate, etc. Thinking about the different seasons and what people WANT to eat really helped to extend these ideas as much as possible.
Not only that, but consider how the recipe can be presented – as a loaf, muffins, as a cheesecake or a traybake? This helps to add options and variety!
Always have a notepad with you
You never know where a random idea will spring into your head; out food shopping, in the shower, when you’re waiting at the tram/train/bus stop. By carrying a notepad and pen with you, there’s no excuse to forget about that weird but genius idea!
Pinterest and Instagram are your best friends
Social media is a big part of my work, and a fantastic source for ideas and inspiration if you look in the right places. Spend time on visual-based sites like Pinterest and Instagram, which have become meccas for foodies all over the world. If you’re looking for a particular cuisine or dietary requirement, make sure you use hashtags to search for the relevant things; it can be overwhelming with the amount of content out there!
Fall in love with food sites
Although my specific focus is on healthy recipes, I use food sites like Delicious, Waitrose Food, BBC Good Food and Yummly as a means of inspiration. In fact, this is where I see what I do as more of a challenge – see what’s popular and try and make my own healthy versions of the recipe. This opens up a whole new area of experimentation!
Experiment with what’s in your cupboards
Sometimes it’s good to NOT plan what you’re making, and literally use what’s in your fridge and cupboards to knock something up. Note that this can either result in absolute disasters (trust me, I’ve been there), or likewise, absolute gems you might not have previously considered to work well. Be daring and use your creativity to try out something new. Plus, it can be quite a cost-effective exercise if it works well!
Use social media for research
You know those polls on Twitter? Use them! Every so often I’ll have a load of ideas in my head – but think, hang on a minute, what do people WANT? So I throw the question out there and see what results come back. I don’t solely use this as a means of deciding what to make, as I like to try spur-of-the-moment ideas and try things I’ve had in my mind for a while. But by getting external input, it helps to steer my direction.
So there you go, an insight into my mind and how I approach recipe creation. A word of warning, and something that I have sadly seen people suffer from: NEVER EVER copy someone elses’ recipe, steal their photos and pass it off as your own. Be inspired, yes – but this is a deal breaker in the food blogging and writing world.