If you're at the stage in the kitchen where you want to go up a gear, there are tips that will help you be a better cook. They are smart ways to work and smart ways to use certain ingredients and they will all take your kitchen skills and your food to the next level.
If you tweak recipes to your taste, then make a note of it in the recipe book. It's easier than trying to remember each time you make it.
Buy a really good set of knives and keep them sharp. If you can, have them sharpened professionally on occasion. Also, understand which knife is best for each job.
Thighs are much tastier and cheaper than breasts. If you are making stir fries, casseroles, or anything else really, use thigh.
Ground spices and dried herbs lose their flavor and potency once you open the jar/packet. Use fresh wherever you can. Grow your own herbs and buy whole spices that you can grind as needed. Keep fresh ginger in the freezer.
Yes, it's scary but once you master the art, slicing vegetables is a breeze. And they'll all be the same size!
If you're boiling water for pasta or making stock or broth, the pot will come to the boil much faster if you pop the lid on the pan.
Make things a lot easier by having large mixing bowls. Your salads will toss better, your cakes will be lighter and airier.
Just like knives, Y peelers become blunt. Replace yours regularly.
When frying - anything - do it in small batches. Crowd the pan and it steams rather than fries.
Gasp! Yes! A tiny dash of sugar brings out the natural sweetness of squash, carrots and tomatoes. Every marinara sauce needs some sugar.
Put a damp kitchen towel under your chopping board. It will prevent it slipping.
It's better for grating small amounts and also when you need a fine grate.
Cups and measuring spoons should be made of metal. Plastic warps and distorts over time.
If you love crispy skin on roast chicken, try this. After you’ve unwrapped and rinsed the bird, pat it dry with kitchen paper, salt it generously, and let it stand in the refrigerator, uncovered, for a few hours before roasting. The bone-dry skin will cook up to a crackly, crunchy, golden brown.
Taste and season at each stage. Don't leave it until the end.
Salads benefit from seasoning too.
For some recipes, guessing is not good enough. Use a timer to be precise.
Mise en place is a French term that means putting in place. Get all your ingredients ready before you begin putting a recipe together. This includes chopping everything and weighing out ingredients. A collection of small bowls is ideal for this.
Keep balsamic vinegar, regular vinegar and lemon/limes on hand. a bland or bleugh dish gets an instant lift if you give it a bit of acid.
This is important to one, make sure you have all the ingredients and equipment you need and two, you have the time it takes to make it.
A meat thermometer is needed if you like meat other than well done. An oven thermometer is more reliable and accurate than your oven knob,
Protein should be cooked from room temperature. Cooking meat and fish straight from the fridge causes it to seize which will result in a tough piece of protein.
Don't buy shredded cheese. Yes, it's convenient and time-saving but it is coated in starch to stop it clumping.
Want better salads? The best way to toss a salad is to put the dressing in the bottom of the bowl, then put in the leaves. Toss to give leaves an even coating.
Weighing ingredients created better dishes - particularly when baking.
And finally - always cook with love and enjoy it.
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