This section will have little gems of information I have learnt, or want to learn...
'It is an ill chef who cannot lick his own fingers'
One thing that everyone should do is taste their food, firstly thats how you learn and secondly you will get the food poisoning before your guests. Its the gentlemanly thing to do.
Spyder taut me something that has made all the difference to me with tasting. We were preparing a smallish feast (40 people) with a Arabic theame. She said that each dish should contrast in the meal, something sweet, something salty, something hot, something cold, something sour, something spicy. And from this she said, taste the dish and forget what the dish is and just say "what flavored dish is this, and does it have enough of that flavour?" Does my salty dish need more salt, does my sweet dish taste sweet enough. Its so simple, but just thinking like this cuts away all the other complex flavours you are tasting and allows you to see what you should.
So items to add:
Sweet: Sugar, sugar syrope, fruit, jams, dried fruit
Sour: Lemon, vinegar (careful but), lime
Spicy: Cumin, cindamon
Salty: Salt (duh wha?), stock (vegitable is my favorite, but beef or chicken is good too), bacon, olives
too bland: This is an odd one ive often found the following are really great items for fleshing out a flavour: Corriander (leaves, not powder), stock (powdered), oil, salt, garam masala (for indian), sugar (for thai)
Crisp/fresh: Lemon juice
Hot (chilli): Chillies, pepper, vinegar (or other acid)
My meat is too dry!
Well id suggest you see a doctor!
I once cooked a stew from pork I think. I couldnt undertand it. I bought loverly meat, cooked it until it was falling appart and it still tasted dry, I had no idea. The secret is oil. Oil lubricates the fibres of the meat and will make it that loverly soft texture that we all know and love. Anyone wonder why rabit is often cooked with bacon? and its not because bacon is the universal ingredient (after garlic), its because rabit is so lean that it cannot cook properly.