Essential Cooking Tips
So your best knife set has gone rusty, your butter burns in the pan and your cake always sinks; check out these simple yet essential cooking tips to turn you into an expert in the kitchen and avoid those pesky culinary disasters.
1. Always read the recipe through from the start – check out best shopping tips – ask yourself – does anything need prepping the day before or hours ahead – do you need to factor in rising, chilling, marinating times? Write yourself out a mental or physical timetable if that’s helpful. Factor in time to let ingredients return to room temperature before cooking if that needs doing. Factor in resting times after cooking for your meat.
2. Seasoning is key to your finished dish, don’t be shy with the salt and pepper (or even sugar)
3. If you’re doing combination cooking eg frying a food off then finishing in the oven – factor in the timing for oven switch on
4. Taste, taste taste your food as you go along – how else do you know how it’s working out?
5. Use substitute ingredients if you’re missing out. Not sure what to use? Tweet me.
6. Get to know your oven – most have hot spots. Is yours too hot or too cold? Adjust temperatures up or down if you find you need it
7. If you’re using a fan option on your oven – reduce standard temperature by 20°C
8. Never put baking into a cold oven or one that hasn’t reached the right temperature. Preheat means just that. Inaccurate oven temperature is the main cause for a cake sinking. Maybe Invest in an oven thermometer if you do loads of baking.
9. Stop onions burning – add a tiny pinch of salt to onions in the pan. Modify heat.
10. Add a bit of oil to butter to stop it burning
11. Let hot soup mixes cool for 10 minutes before putting them in the blender – it can jet up, splash and burn you otherwise
12. Keep your meat and vegetable chopping boards separate – avoid cross-contamination
13. Wash your knives by hand and dry them immediately to keep them in best condition
14. If doing a bit of knife work, sit a damp tea towel under your board to keep it steady
15. Wash your hands after dealing with raw meat- a point I wanted to elaborate a bit further on, as it doesn’t seem to be common knowledge, when I believe it should be. This article at ANIPOTS lists why this is so important to keep in mind, but to sum it up the consequences and possible diseases you could be spreading onto the food your serving are numerous. Be sure to always keep this in mind.
16. Deep-frying rules:
- never over-fill your deep-fat frying pan
- never leave it unattended
- never add too much food at a time as the oil will react and bubble up
- dry food well before adding to oil
- invest in a cooking thermometer for accurate temperature
- watch the colour of the food so you learn to judge when it looks cooked
- always test food properly by cutting into it/using a skewer to check it’s cooked inside
- having a fire blanket in the kitchen is always a good idea