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Culinary tips that have changed your life

(128 Posts)
ParsingFancy Sun 18-Aug-13 12:51:51

Haven't had one of these threads for a while!


You can loosen the paper on garlic by twisting the clove. Better still, thwack clove with flat of knife to crush, pick paper off.

To chop herbs or anything small, hold the end of a curved chef's knife on the board with your spare hand, and just see-saw it up and down, back and forth.

To shred cabbage/lettuce/any leaves, roll leaves up like a cigar and slice.

To skin celeriac or swede, slice into discs, then place flat on board and cut down round the edges. Also works with pumpkin, though you don't actually need to peel butternut squash.

Anyone else?

Laquila Sat 24-Aug-13 19:51:00

Carpe I'd say I use approx 70% natural yog and approx 28% milk, with a splash of lemon juice or vinegar to make it up (I'm not usually so precise in my calculations!...)

Let it stand for 5 mins before using. Whilst we're on the subject of buttermilk, my fave recipes using it (or fake buttermilk...;) are this one for scones and a mash-up of this Lorraine Pascal soda bread and this Nigel Slater one. Mmmmmmmmmmmm soda bread smile

CarpeVinum Sun 25-Aug-13 10:46:01

Thanks Laquila

I have a stash of buttermilk dependant recipies I've not been able to try that can now get an airing.

MeanAndMeaslyMiddleAges Sun 25-Aug-13 21:10:22

Yy to using scissors to cut meat - it's a game changer!

Hopefully these tips aren't too off-topic but I find extremely useful:

Always make sure you have your staple ingredients in stock, particularly when you like to cook the same types of meals. I cook a lot of stir frys so I always have in soy sauce (light/dark/low sodium), Worcestershire sauce, sesame oil, honey, ginger, garlic, brown sugar etc. it's very freeing.

If you use Pinterest to get recipes, always remember to look at the 'other people who pinned this also pinned' section. Not only will you likely find inspiration for new dishes similar to those you like, you're also likely to find variations of the original recipe, which can be helpful if you're missing a certain ingredient.

Also, and this is very important - ginger improves almost everything, and cinnamon goes great with beef - particularly steak or bolognese sauce.

Iheartcrunchiebars Sun 25-Aug-13 21:13:53

When making individual tarts and baking blind use cake cases and fill with baking beans rather than cutting p bits of bake well.

Brices Sun 25-Aug-13 21:35:21

MrsMarigold Fairy Power spray is all you need to know

Will never peel garlic again thank you for grating advice

multitaskmama Wed 04-Sep-13 15:05:48

My life saving tips.

1) I make a lot of curries so blitz three tins of plum tomatoes and place in a jug in the fridge

2) I buy ready made garlic and ginger paste (fresh used when time permits)

3) A few large onions chopped and frozen in small freezer bags, ready to use when making a curry

4) Keep naan in freezer and use as a base for last minute pizza. Works well with pitta bread

5) Keep a stock of boiled chickpeas, kidney beans etc as store cupboard ingredients

6) When making pilau rice, and you don't have all the whole spices to hand, just drop a masala teabag to get the same flavour. You'll be surprised you don't get the tea flavour as there is so much water you can't taste the tea

7) If you don't have breadcrumbs, just bash some cornflakes in a bag to use for home made fish fingers or chicken

8) Pop a fresh lemon in microwave for 15 seconds to get most juice

9) Corn on the cob can be made in 4 minutes in microwave rather than boiling.

10) Try to bake food so you can go off and do chores. I brush samosas with oil and pop them in oven. Saves time otherwise spent standing over the stove.

LimburgseVlaai Thu 05-Sep-13 12:21:20

I no longer bother rinsing rice (let alone 'until the water runs clear' - you'll be there for months). Just tip it into a sieve when it's cooked and give it a very quick rinse, then sit the sieve on top of the saucepan for a couple of minutes. Stir with a fork to separate the grains.

FlyMetotheMoon0 Fri 06-Sep-13 17:27:47

A pinch of sugar in tomato based dishes (bolegnase) or dishes with tomatoes in them (such as certain curries) takes a bit of the tang away

FlyMetotheMoon0 Fri 06-Sep-13 17:32:11

Frozen veg such as sweetcorn, green beans etc are handy to have on the freezer incase you haven't had time to go shopping, I've read that they are better than eating veg that's about to spoil as freezing retains more nutrients
Iceland do bags of veg at a £1 per bag and they taste as good as more expensive brands

FlyMetotheMoon0 Fri 06-Sep-13 17:35:03

For perfect jacket potatoes put them wrapped foil in the oven for about 20mins then finish off in the microwave for 5-10 mins
The skin comes out perfect every time

crazy8 Fri 06-Sep-13 18:14:02

On the subject of buttermilk I just use runny yoghurt without adding milk and lemon juice. It works perfectly well. I've used it in cakes and muffins. It's amazing how moist the cakes are when you use yoghurt.

crazy8 Fri 06-Sep-13 18:14:41

Frozen chopped onions are a godsend.

crazy8 Fri 06-Sep-13 18:16:37

Freeze slices of lemon and water in a muffin/cake tin for extra large ice cubes for pimms etc

crazy8 Fri 06-Sep-13 18:18:16

Also freeze a quarter filled bottle of water overnight and then just add some water to the bottle in the morning for ice cold water without waiting for the bottle to thaw.

CheerfulYank Sat 07-Sep-13 04:53:00

Marking my place, these are awesome. smile

Romann Sat 07-Sep-13 21:03:31

The 20 minute rice thing.

For poached eggs: put the whole egg in the boiling water for 10 seconds first, then fish out and poach as normal. For some reason it doesn't fall apart when you do this.

Give children couscous. Absurdly easy.

Use scissors for cutting up pizza.

Slice chicken to make nuggets when it's still a bit frozen.

Squash mince really flat before you freeze it and it defrosts really quickly.

Make roast chicken in the slow cooker (4 hours on high).

You can revive sad-looking salad leaves by soaking in iced water for a bit.

And thank you aturtle I can never get the egg thing right. Is that OK with an egg cold from the fridge or room temp?

chicaguapa Sat 07-Sep-13 21:47:44

Frozen meat placed directly on a baking tray will defrost more quickly than at room temperature.

1ml of milk/water weighs 1g, so you can weigh them to get the desired volume.

HorseyGirl1 Wed 11-Sep-13 11:15:15

Love cinnamon so will def try that.
Few country ideas here but they do work - if you have a garage and spare sand. Cover your carrots / parsnips. Keeps them fresh much longer. I haven't tried it with turnip yet but think that would work just as well.
Also lady mentioned putting spring onions in soil to keep them fresh longer - this works with leeks also.
Also if you want to peel potatoes / apples in advance - cover in water and add a squeeze of lemon juice - stops them turning brown

DoJo Thu 19-Sep-13 22:15:21

Freeze fresh chillies then use a fine grater instead of chopping them - easy, quick and you don't run the risk of ending up with a surprising chunk of chilli in your food when you least expect it.

Crikeyblimey Thu 19-Sep-13 22:41:56

For boiled eggs, always make sure the eggs are a few days (or more) old. They will peel so much easier. The air pocket in the egg gets bigger over time so the shell comes off better.

For poached eggs, use as fresh as possible. The whites hold together better. Oh, and the whole egg in the water for 10 seconds before cracking works a treat.

sashh Fri 20-Sep-13 06:41:04


Boil a brillo pad in them for an hour - this is what my mum used to do, I don't know if it works because I cannot stand the smell.

You can freeze fresh coriander. Roll it in newspaper and stick in the freezer, when you want to add it to curry just crumble straight from the fridge (tip given by elderly market stall holder who speaks very little English and was selling 3 bunches of coriander for £1.

LeGavrOrf Fri 20-Sep-13 07:10:31

The bags of chopped frozen garlic from Waitrose for £1.50. If you have tried frozen garlic before (the ones in the ice cube like trays) and thought it was shit (because it is) I really recommend you try the waitrose ones. You use it straight from frozen, it is all in little bits so you can use as little or as much as you like and in more stinky fingers from garlic chopping.

How to make perfect pancake or Yorkshire pudding batter is not to weigh anything but to go by volume. So you measure your eggs in a cup first, however many you want to use, and then measure the flour and milk to the same volume as the eggs were (iyswim). Perfect batter every time.

Go to Asian grocers for the freshest garlic, ginger, onions and herbs which cost tuppence. I don't know where they get their veg from but it s far fresher than any supermarkets.

LeGavrOrf Fri 20-Sep-13 07:13:47

That is a great idea about grating chillies, I am going to try that.

TheDietStartsTomorrow Fri 20-Sep-13 10:30:37

I make burgers with 1 part veggies to 3 part mince. Use whatever hard veg you can find but I find carrots, , cabbage, celery, onions, swede work best. Chop them up in the food processor until they are the consistency of mince meat and then add to the mince . Children can't tell the difference and its makes the burgers more succulent and juicy IMO.

BreastmilkDoesAFabLatte Fri 20-Sep-13 18:24:39

<peers into fridge for egg, just to see what happens when you sieve it>

Toddlers like peas.

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