You don’t need to go to chef school or even take a cooking class to become a whizz in the kitchen and whip up fantastic recipes to wow anyone and everyone who you have the pleasure of feeding.
There are plenty of small cooking tips that you can put into practice every day to become a little better in the kitchen and a lot better at cooking. I’ve learned a lot over the years, whether it’s from my family who cooked for me and my sisters every single day, my GCSE food technology lessons or from teaching myself by looking online for them and finding more things to cook and more ways to get the most out of food.
Make Notes in Your Cookbook
Chefs and cooks develop recipes all the time and of course, most of them bring out cookbooks and the like to make a bit of money on the side. These recipes are great, but should just be a starting point for developing your own.
Make the recipe in its entirety all the way through, following the instructions to the letter but taste all the way through and make notes in the cookbook for alterations and individual tastes.
Maybe it needed more seasoning than the recipe suggests, or maybe it would benefit from a little something to make the meal pop? Sometimes, you need to alter cooking times for your individual oven.
Keep Your Knives Sharp
Sharp knives are the first step to being a good cook. They make your life so much easier and will be safer if they’re sharper. Blunt knives require more force and more force increases the chance of something going wrong, so make sure they’re always as sharp as can be.
When you’ve got sharp knives, it makes cutting things up correctly so much easier. The first step to cutting correctly it to stop using a sawing motion when cutting anything – especially vegetables, the movement should be a rocking movement that slides through the food easily.
Keep an Eye on Those Ground and Dried Spices
Ground and dried spices actually go off really quickly. You’d think because they’re designed to last longer than fresh herbs and spices that they’ll last forever. But they absolutely don’t.
Smell them regularly to make sure they still have some sort of smell to them before you use them. If they have no smell, they have no taste. If they have no taste, it’s pointless putting them in any recipes.
Always Have Extra Grains on Hand
Whenever you make a meal that includes things like rice, quinoa, bulgar wheat etc, cook extra and keep it in your fridge.
If you always have cooked grains in your fridge, then there’s always going to be a meal or a salad ready to go in a flash.
Make Sure You Regularly Replace Your Sponge
Guys, sponges are gross. We use them to scrub all the filth and old food from plates and utensils and then we leave them to fester in the damp sink for hours until we need to use them again to dive them into more filth and bacteria.
Do you really think that’s healthy? It’s probably filthy and smelly so replace it once a week at the very least.
Water Boils Faster if Covered
When you’re boiling water for pasta or potatoes or anything else, make sure you cover the pot to make it boil faster. There’s a reason most pans come a lid, it can make the process of boiling water so much easier as it keeps the heat in the pan and warms it up faster. Also, keep the lid on during cooking.
Bread Keeps for Longer in the Freezer
This one might seem obvious, but not many people take advantage of this fact. If you find some amazing, bakery-made, fresh bread, then buy more than one loaf and store it in your freezer, wrapped in foil and sliced or unsliced.
Air is the enemy when it comes to food, it’s what causes things to oxidise and makes things go moldy faster.
Sugar is Great for Roasting
Some vegetables are great when roasted with sugar. Carrots, squash, and tomatoes are especially great when roasted this way as they have a natural sweetness that is enhanced by the sugar. Sprinkle a little brown sugar over the top before you pop into a preheated oven for beautifully glazed vegetables.
Salt Your Salads
People seem to skip out on this all important seasoning method. Salt can add a bit of extra texture to a salad snd can help bring out some of the flavours of a salad.
You should salt everything in moderation, it really is the most simple but most amazing seasoning.
Don’t Refrigerate Butter
I don’t know where people got the idea that butter needs to be stored in the fridge, this is wrong! Butter is fien to be kept out, as long as it is stored covered in a butter dish and capsule and checked reguylarly for deterioration.
Serving cold, hard butter sucks. don’t be that person.