If you are someone who does a lot of cooking at home most of these tips will already resonate with you, but if you don’t these tips could turn you from a home cook into a professional one! OK, so they are not super-secret miracle tips, but they are good advice that you should be following…
1. Preparation, preparation, preparation
Check what ingredients and apparatus you need before you start cooking. Nothing is more annoying than finding out you need a zester and having nothing that you can substitute.
2. Buy local, fresh and in season
Go to your local farmers’ market to get the best quality ingredients. Fresh food will be more infused with taste. Go to the butchers for fish and the fishmongers for seafood. And try and buy your herbs in pots so that you can cut off sprigs when necessary.
3. Read a recipe through before you begin
Make sure that you read the recipe all the way through, from beginning to end, before you start cooking. That way there will be no surprises as you continue.
4. And then ignore it!
However, unless you’re making pastry, which is a science in itself, don’t feel the need to stick rigidly to the recipe. If the recipe calls for oregano but you don’t like oregano, then substitute coriander or something else that you do like.
5. Avoid the smells
Crush garlic cloves in a small resealable plastic bag with the back of a knife. This will stop your chopping board and utensils from smelling of garlic.
6. Sharpen your knives
Blunt knives are one of the most dangerous tools in the kitchen. If they are not sharp then you will have to press harder, leading to more chances of injuries. And not only is it safer but it will make your work much more efficient.
7. Perform a taste test
Taste what you make before you serve it. Why would you follow a recipe but not taste the dish as you go to see if it needs more salt, pepper, herbs or spices.
8. Extract the juice
To maximize the juice you get from a lemon or lime, try rolling it under your palm for a minute before juicing. Or you could even pop it in the microwave for ten seconds to warm it up slightly. This helps break down carbohydrates in the fruit and encourages maximum liquidity
9. Don’t cry over onions
There are lots of suggestions to avoid being in tears whilst chopping onions. Try using a sharp knife, cooling your onion in the freezer before you begin and then cut it in a shallow dish of water.
10. Keep your cool
Make sure that you store spices in a cool, dark place, and not above your cooker or kettle. Humidity, light and heat will all cause herbs and spices to lose their flavour.