We sometimes like to make things look like magic but there’s a few secrets and tricks from the professional chef’s world that make our lives so much easier. In turn, your cooking becomes faster, more efficient and even tastier.
I’m going to share some of these tips with you to make your life in the kitchen better and more efficient – just don’t tell anyone that I told you. 😉 ..!
Ever feel like you’re not getting enough juice from your lemon? Try rolling a lemon between your hand and the work surface. This will break down the cells and you, in turn, will get double the amount of juice from it. Another option is to pop it through your juicer, i always do this when I’m cooking, so much easier. Just remember if the lemon isn’t wax free then take off the rind!
De-Seeding a Pomegranate
Often avoided completely as it can be so time-consuming and tricky to know how to work the pomegranate without stand there for an hour with a cocktail stick picking them all out, I discovered a genius way of doing it.
Simply hold the pomegranate stem side up and cut horizontally in half, then take one-half and hold it, with the cut side facing your palm. Take either a spoon or a narrow rolling pin and hit the top of the pomegranate, so all the seeds fall into your hand. Oh and be sure to wear an apron – just in case, it may be fast but its also slightly messy!
This is a very common complaint–how to cook rice, and in the correct quantity! I alway used to end up with double the amount I needed, or could eat. Personally, I find the best way to cook rice is by using a rice cooker. So as so cheap too and a really great thing to have in the kitchen. This way, you can be safe in the knowledge that you will get perfect rice, each and every time, and the perfect amount too. When I worked in Bali, all the locals would watch at me quizzically as to why I would be cooking rice in a saucepan with water! They would all stand laughing to each other. That says it all.
The Perfect Poached Eggs
I get asked about this every time i serve them and quite often get people into the kitchen to teach them how to get the perfect egg.
My secret to creating the perfect poached eggs would be to bring a deep pot of water up to a rapid boil. At this point, I like to add a little vinegar to my water so that there’s some acid in the cooking liquid. This will help keep the eggs in a good shape when they cook.
Once the water is at a rolling boil, be sure to remove the pot about one-third from the flame so that the flame makes contact with the side of the pot, rather than the bottom of it. This does two things: it brings the temperature down so that the rolling boiling is now a hard simmer, and it also helps to give the simmer a flowing direction, which will make it easier for the water to catch your egg and roll it into the shape you want.
It‘s a very proud moment for me when I’m on a retreat and I have to poach about 30 eggs at once and get them all perfect–the guests wonder why I’m staring at them all with a big grin on my face while they eat their breakfast!
To keep vegetables looking bright and beautiful, try adding a pinch of bicarbonate of soda to water, especially when boiling green vegetables such as broccoli and cabbage. The bicarbonate of soda helps to soften the vegetables but will retain their bright colours; giving you perfectly cooked and colourful vegetables to adorn your plate.
Want to get your onions cooked in extra quick time? Try adding salt while cooking your onions, which will cook them faster. The salt does this by drawing out excess moisture from the onions, making it quicker to cook, fry and colour. Simple.
You know that sinking feeling you get when you notice the guacamole you spent ages working on is already beginning to change colour? We’ve all been there. Next time, when making guacamole do not discard the stone from avocado, instead submerge the stone in guacamole. It prevents it from oxidising and changing colour as fast. Also make sure you are adding lemon or lime juice into your recipe. This will help too.
Rather than spending time carefully peeling the paper skin off a garlic bulb, take a small pan and bash the bulb with the base. The skin will tear and release straight away, saving you precious minutes. If you need to keep the cloves whole, separate them from the bulb, place the number required into a small sauce pan with the lid on tight and shake. This will release the skin without damaging the cloves.
Another garlic tip for you: After working with garlic, rub your hands vigorously on your stainless steel sink for 30 seconds before washing them. It will remove the odour. Very useful tip, that I use each and every time!
Not only are cutting boards that slide on the counter annoying, they’re extremely dangerous when you’re holding a knife and trying to chop something. If you don’t have a wooden chopping board, then try wetting a paper towel and place it beneath the board and it won’t budge! Safety first 🙂
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