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 e.g. 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.
6. Get to know your oven – most have hot spots. Is yours too hot or too cold? Adjust temperatures up or down if your find you need to.
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 temperatures is the main cause for a cake sinking. Maybe invent 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.
16. Deep-frying rules:
– Never over-fill your deep-fat frying pan
– Never leave it unattended.