Monday, 30 April 2012

Making life easier in the kitchen - cooking tips from Snig's Kitchen and beyond

I am always completely up front with the fact that I am an enthusiastic amateur cook with limited skill rather than any kind of expert. My presentation is certainly not going to win me any prizes! But I am always keen to improve.

So I have been thinking about small ways in which we all can improve our cooking, both in terms of the experience and the product. As a result I've been putting together a special page of cooking tips which you can find here:

Here are some other ideas I have picked up over the years:

Peeled and/or chopped potatoes have a nasty habit of going grey as they are exposed to the air. Soak peeled or chopped potatoes in water (fully submerged) to prevent this happening.

Don’t put salt on meat until you are completely ready to cook it. The salt draws out the moisture in the meat. That makes it more likely to be chewy. 

If browning/sealing meat for a casserole, stew or curry, get the pan hot before you start. Then brown in batches. If you put too much meat in the pan in one go, the uncooked meat lowers the temperature of the pan, meaning you won’t get the same searing and browning. The meat starts to cook through.

A really simple tip from Jamie Oliver’s Ministry of Food is to mix salad dressings in a jar. All you need is an old jar you got for free with your jam or what not. You bung all the dressing ingredients inside, lid on, shake up. It’s so quick and clean! You don’t have to look for a whisk which you then have to wash up. And any dressing which is left over can be kept in the jar and put in the fridge for up to 2 days

I recently asked all my friends, be they foodies or reluctant cooks for their cooking tips. I got some really great responses – both serious and humourous.

From Rowena Poole:
If you need a taper, a stick of dry Spaghetti does the trick.
To reduce tears when cutting onions, suck a teaspoon.
When chopping onions, don't cut off the end bits until the last chip. That's the worst but for the tears.

From Lisa Troughton:
Cold hands make great pastry.

From Michael Hubbard:
Keep it simple, good ingredients speak for themselves.

From Michael Chapman:
Avoid lean meat for most recipes - it will lack the richness of fatty meat.

And now for the not-so-serious ones.... which have a lot of truth to them!

From Michael Chapman:
Under No Circumstances go for a pee after chopping chillies.
(Perhaps more applicable to men than women, Mike!)

From Toby Harrison:
Always drink while cooking.

Watch out – I have a special guest post from Uyen Luu coming up in Snig's Kitchen to offer you even more great advice!

What are your top cooking tips? Please share them with me, I'd love to know!

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