1. A few chopped anchovies added to a stew will bring out the flavours without making it taste fishy.
2. Soy sauce splashed over meat and fish before grilling adds extra aroma.
3. Balsamic vinegar will impair a spicy, yet slightly sweet flavour to your cooking. Used sparingly, it can transform a casserole. Sprinkle over cherry tomatoes and strawberries, add some olive oil, and you have the most delicious salad.
ever so yummy!
4. When grilling meat, a couple of slices of bread put at the bottom of the pan, under the rack, will absorb the dripping oil and make the cleaning easier.
5. Always slash poultry flesh before marinating, to make sure the flavours are totally absorbed.
6. Duck’s skin will be crispier if you plunge the bird for a minute in boiling water, before roasting.
7. Casseroles are best cooked in the oven with the lid “ajar”
8. Do not peel carrots since the best part is in the skin. Just scrub and wash them.
9. Do not wash peppers, as this washes the oils and the flavour. Just wipe them with a dry cloth.
10. Skinning tomatoes is easy if you cut them in half and place cut side down on a plate, then “cook” them in the microwave for 5 minutes. Use a fork to slip off the skin- no problem.
11. To remove the skin of grilled peppers, cover them with a tea towel, or pop them into a plastic bag, while still hot. When cool, the skin should slip off easily.
12. Store garlic in the freezer, it will last longer.
13. To ripen avocados, wrap them in a paper bag with an apple or a banana, and leave them to rest at room temperature.
14. To prepare in advance avocado soup, salsa or guacamole, and prevent discolouring, bury the stones in the mixture and cover with cling film. Remove them before serving .
15. For the best tomato sauce, use equal quantities of fresh and tinned tomatoes.
16. When mayonnaise curdles, put a tea spoon of hot water into a bowl and pour the mayonnaise into it, stirring constantly until you achieve the right consistency. Then add another tablespoon of hot water to stabilise the mixture.
17. Clear water jugs look particularly attractive if you add “pretty as a picture” ice cubes. Fill each compartment of your ice box with flowers – rose petals, violets, pansies… or sprigs of herbs – basil, rosemary, mint… before adding water and freezing. Look out for organic farms which sell trays of edible flowers that can also be used to decorate salads (such as maddocksfarmorganics.co.uk).
18. To get more juice out of lemons and oranges, microwave them for a few seconds before squeezing.
20. When a recipe requires white wine and you don’t want to open a new bottle, the alternative is to replace it with white wine vinegar, and add a little water and sugar.
21. Quail’s eggs are synonymous with posh picnics at Ascot and Henley. The easiest way to peel them after they are hard boiled, is to put them in the freezer for 10 minutes before peeling.
19. Truffle oil can enhance the simplest dish with gutsy, earthy flavour. It is delicious over risotto, pasta or any mushroom dishes. I love a few drops in mashed potatoes. Yes it’s expensive, but you only need a few splashes to elevate a dish.
Go for it!
25. There are many tips about preventing tears when peeling onions. I wet them under the tap before peeling. It eases the pain.
22. When roasting meat or fish with herbs, moisten the herbs with water to enhance their flavour.
23. Before boiling milk, rinse out the pan with cold water before pouring milk in. It will stop some of it sticking to the pan.
24. To stop liquid overflowing when boiling, put a wooden spoon across the top of pan. Don’t ask me why it works, but it does.
26. If you serve meat underdone but some of your guests prefer it well done, pour some boiling gravy over the underdone slices, and everybody will be happy.
27. When preparing a potato salad, the dressing should be incorporated while the potatoes are still warm. Add a spoonful of white wine, it will stops the potatoes absorbing too much of the dressing.
28. Grated cheese kept in the freezer is ready to use when you want to sprinkle it over a dish, before putting under the grill or in the oven. Saves time.
29. The skin off a saucisson and salami will come off easily if you wrap them in a wet cloth for about 20 minutes before slicing.
30. When tasting a sauce, if you found it’s too salty, place a sugar cube in a spoon and hold it in the sauce for 20 seconds. The sugar will absorb some of the salt.
31. Don’t bother buying granulated sugar, use caster for everything.
32. Eggs are best kept away from strong smelling food, especially cheese, as their shell is porous. I am told French chefs sometimes store eggs along side vanilla pods, thus giving a vanilla taste to the eggs when used for baking cakes.
33. When baking a cake, to avoid raisins falling to the bottom of the tin, dust them with a little flower before incorporating to the paste. Rinsing glacés cherries under the tap will also stop them falling at the bottom.
34. A cake will not reduce size if you let it cool in the oven.