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CHEF'S KITCHEN AND COOKING TIPS


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EGGPLANT/ AUBERGINES
-Buying – select firm ones with a glossy shine; dull ones are overripe & may be bitter
-Slicing – rub cut surfaces with a little salted oil to avoid discolouration
-Soak cut slices in salted water to prevent discolouration

STRAWBERRIES
-Wash with hulls attached, to prevent the water from breaking down the texture & altering the flavour

EGGS
-Freshness test: gently drop raw egg into a basin of cold water (depth should be at least twice the length of the egg).  Eggs are freshest when they sink to the bottom; they are stale but usable if they remain under the water but hang suspended; they should not be used if they float
-Store egg whites in a jar - 7 large egg whites fill 1 cup (250ml).  Once thawed, they can be used in any recipe that requires egg whites.
-Leftover egg yolks need to be stabilised - simply stir in a little salt or sugar and stir - this eliminated any trapped air that might oxidise the yolk.  Freeze in ice-cube trays, and then pop them out into a freezer bag - about 13 make up 1 cup (250ml)
-Add a little vinegar & salt when boiling eggs for whiter eggs, easier peeling & faster coagulation

BEANS
-Do not add baking soda to soften the beans, as it actually prevents them from absorbing water & destroys some nutrients
-Cook without adding salt for perfect texture; add salt once beans are cooked

CHILLIES
-if required to be ground up, soak them first to soften, as this will produce a finer paste

CITRUS FRUITS
-Lemon & lime zest can be used as a flavour booster to many dishes, such as soups & roast meat, as they contain essential oils
-For a natural air freshener to help neutralise strong cooking odours, simmer about 6 slices of lemon, lime or orange with a handful of cloves in a pan of water for about 10 minutes while you clean up, or while you cook.
-Store lemon & orange rind and chopped herbs in freezer bags, or portioned in ice-cube trays covered by a little water
-To extract the maximum juice, warm the citrus fruit slightly (soak in hot water for a few minutes, or microwave for a few seconds) and squeeze gently prior to cutting & juicing
-Rather than discarding lemons after squeezing, add to a pressure cooker when cooking to prevent the cooker from turning black inside
-Rub chopping boards with the cut surface to remove strong odours, such as garlic, fish & onions 
-Add a squeeze of lemon juice to rice, halfway through the cooking process for a whiter colour
-Remove seeds when adding lemon to tea, otherwise it will impart a bitter taste

ICE CREAM
-Ice cream sets faster in aluminum canisters

FRYING
-Add a teaspoon of vinegar to oil being used for deep frying to prevent the food from absorbing too much oil

SPICES
-Warm spices slightly before powdering to release essential oils, and to get a finer powder
-Spices, stored in the freezer, should be stored in air-tight bags or containers

NUTS
-Dip nuts in milk prior to placing them on the top of cake & bread batter, to prevent them from falling off the cooked product
-Powdered cashews can be used to thicken milk, gravy & sauces
-To take the flesh out of the shell in a single piece, soak in hot water for about 5 minutes before breaking the shell

DRIED FRUIT
-Prevent dried fruit from sinking in cakes & breads by coating them in a little flour prior to adding them to the batter

OIL
-Add a teaspoon of vinegar to oil being used for deep frying to prevent the food from absorbing too much oil

CREAM
-Whipped cream retains its peaks by adding a teaspoon of honey before whipping

ONIONS
-Rub chopping boards with the cut surface of a lemon to remove strong odours, such as garlic, fish & onions

BAKING
-Dip nuts in milk prior to placing them on the top of cake & bread batter, to prevent them from falling off the cooked product
-Prevent dried fruit from sinking in cakes & breads by coating them in a little flour prior to adding them to the batter

FROZEN FOODS
-Do not thaw frozen fish or meat at room temperature, as the surface temperature rises, allowing bacteria to multiply, while the centre is still frozen, making it potentially unsafe to eat
- Spices, stored in the freezer,  should be stored in air-tight bags or containers

MEAT
- Do not thaw frozen meat at room temperature, as the surface temperature rises, allowing bacteria to multiply, while the centre is still frozen, making it potentially unsafe to eat

GARLIC
-Rub chopping boards with the cut surface of a lemon to remove strong odours, such as garlic, fish & onions
-If storing cut garlic for a few days prior to use, remove the centre shoots, as they can impart a bitter flavour into the garlic

VINEGAR
-Add a teaspoon of vinegar to oil being used for deep frying to prevent the food from absorbing too much oil

HONEY
-Whipped cream retains its peaks by adding a teaspoon of honey before whipping

CARROTS
-Large & mature carrots can be bitter; cut lengthways and remove the core

BREAD AND DOUGH
-Remove strong smell from fridges by placing a slice of fresh bread inside; this will absorb the odours
-‘Freshen’ stale bread by sprinkling with water, and placing it in the oven, wrapped in foil at 200 degrees C for about 5-10 minutes

-If refrigerating dough, cover with a thin layer of oil to prevent it from drying out

COCONUT
-To take the flesh out of the shell in a single piece, soak in hot water for about 5 minutes before breaking the shell

KITCHEN ODOURS AND SMELLS
-Remove strong smell from fridges by placing a slice of fresh bread inside; this will absorb the odours
-Remove lingering odours from saucepans by boiling tea in the pan for about 10 minutes
-For a natural air freshener to help neutralise strong cooking odours, simmer about 6 slices of lemon with a handful of cloves in a pan of water for about 10 minutes while you clean up, or while you cook
-Rub chopping boards with the cut surface to remove strong odours, such as garlic, fish & onions

FISH
-Do not thaw frozen fish at room temperature, as the surface temperature rises, allowing bacteria to multiply, while the centre is still frozen, making it potentially unsafe to eat
-Rub chopping boards with the cut surface to remove strong odours, such as garlic, fish & onions

NON-STICK COOKWARE
-Avoid cooking acidic dishes, as they may break down the non-stick coating

PANEER (INDIAN HOMEMADE CHEESE)
-After frying, put hot pieces in cold, salted water; add them to the dish towards the end of the cooking process

 

This is intended as a reference guide only.



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