You’ve made a lovely dish but it’s missing just a little something. This is a list of every ingredient I use to perk up those dishes.

Bear in mind I’m a student so you might cringe at some of these suggestions.

Cinnamon

A wise friend once said “The solution to any problem is to add more cinnamon” and I’ve found this to be surprisingly true. Cooked mushrooms, tomato sauces, flans and curries have all been improved with cinnamon. If there’s a food that cinnamon can’t improved I’m yet to find it.

Salt

Generally the first result when you Google how to improve the flavour of a dish. I find a sprinkle of it can bring out the flavour in a dish that has all the right ingredients but the flavours just don’t seem to be coming through. We don’t have salt at the dinner table so there’s no risk of over-salting a dish.

Lemon Juice

A sharp citrus flavour that can add a subtle edge to sauces and curries. I tend to keep a bottle of it around so I can add to any dish, rather than worrying about an actual lemon going off. Don’t forget that lemon curdles milk so be careful about adding it to dishes with dairy.

Mayonnaise

An odd contender, discovered on a whim, that adds some extra depth to macaroni or mashed potato. I haven’t dared to use it in anything particularly unusual like a sauce but let me know if you do.

Chocolate

Black Butler Chocolate ScreenshotFrom the show made entirely of yaoi and food porn

Bare with me on this one. My boyfriend already adds Nutella to his chilli con carne, among many unusual ingredients, to great effect. When Sebastian added chocolate to a curry in Black Butler I felt I had to try it. Amongst much protest I added a large dollop of Nutella to a particularly spicy curry. It ended up working fantastically as the rich nutty flavour of the Nutella provided contrast to the more fiery flavours of the original curry. While we’re yet to add cooking chocolate to a savoury dish we’ll get round to it eventually.

Cream Cheese

A great way of adding a rich and creamy flavour to a dish. I tend to use it in less spicy tomato sauces and some nutty pasta dishes. On a similar note try adding cream or crème fresh, depending on what you’re looking to add to the dish.

Brown Sugar

While adding sugar to a dish is as well established as salt, I stick to brown sugar as seems to add it’s own flavour rather than just sweetness.