Kitchen Tips & Tricks
One of my resolutions for the year was to really get back into home cooking – it's a little all over the shop, if I'll be honest! I started to compile a list of tips & tricks (aka kitchen lifehacks!) of things that help me out when cooking and I wanted to share them here. These might be super obvious but have been really handy revelations to me! Listen! This is such a simple cooking tip but I never even realised how important was until I did a day at The Cook School in Kilmarnock. It makes life so much easier when you're cooking away to have one (or two) ears focused on what's happening on the stove – you'll easily be able to tell if something if cooking at too high a temperature. I'm very much a multi-tasking cook so am normally chopping away, and really appreciate being able to tell if things are going wrong without constantly checking with my eyes.
How to open a coconut: I had a nightmare of a time recently trying to open a coconut. Nothing would work – I'd watched all the YouTube videos I could find and still, no coconut. I finally stumbled upon this trick. Drain the coconut through the eyes as usual (be careful not to stab yourself – I used a meat thermometer which I'm sure wasn't the best idea). Heat your oven to 180 C and pop the coconut in for about 15 minutes. Remove using an oven mitt and hopefully it will have cracked. Then you'll find getting the flesh out much easier!
The best way of cooking bacon: I've been cooking bacon in bulk recently, a whole packet at a time. It is so much easier to spread it out on baking paper and put it in the oven rather than pan fry it. I find it takes about 15 minutes at 200 C and the result is perfectly crispy bacon.
The easiest way to cut bacon: This is definitely from a Life Hack I've read somewhere. Forget about chopping bacon with a knife – just get out the kitchen scissors and chop away. You can do about 4 slices at a time as well, saving time.
Keeping your herbs super fresh: I love herbs but hate the price and the waste. I decided to switch to packets of frozen herbs until I realised they really don't have enough flavour. When re-reading The Stone Soup e-books I got a while back, I saw her tip for keeping herbs fresh. Simply use some, and pop the rest in a glass of water in the fridge. You'll extend their life by quite a few days – I found coriander lasted for about a week when it was normally just 2 days.
Perfectly ripe avocado: I've fallen for the labels before – and always been disappointed. So much so that I'd stopped buying avo in the UK as it was never ripe the way I liked. Joanna Blythman's fab book "What to eat" gave me the tip of putting avocados in the same bag as bananas to help them ripen. You still need to beware of oven-ripening but has now saved me from avo wastage.
Simple tips & tricks, but these have saved me lots of time & money! Have you got any great tips or tricks you'd like to share?