Handy Kitchen Tips

Welcome to my handy kitchen tips page. I love a good handy hint, but it must be actually useful and not obvious or patently ridiculous. If you have a handy kitchen tip you’d like to share, email me at theabbotsfordkitchen@gmail.com and if I try it and like it I will publish it.
Rebecca
  • Coconut oil has a high smoking point which means it doesn’t burn when heated to high temperatures, unlike most oils. It’s great for so many things: making popcorn, toasted sandwiches, fried eggs, panfried potatoes etc. It does not have a coconut taste when cooked.
  • Reduce food waste and save money: when you bring spinach, silverbeet or kale home, immediately wash in a large bowl or sink of cold water, trim the leaves from the stalks and put the wet leaves in a plastic bag, tie up and put in the fridge. They are ready to use whenever you need them, and the water on the leaves will keep them fresh inside the plastic bag.
  • Do you have cookbooks you’ve hardly used? Keep one next to your bed always – if you read them like you would a novel, you’ll be more likely to have your interest sparked. Keep a little pack of stick-on tabs with them, so you can mark the recipes you want to use.
  • Clean your barbecue grill with spray on oven cleaner.
  • Crack an egg on a hard flat surface instead of against the edge of a bowl.
  • Pound saffron strands in a pestle & mortar with some salt, for better colour in your dish.
  • When steaming rice, soak the rice for as long as you can first. Two hours is great, overnight even better. Rinse until clear before adding to the pot/rice cooker. You’ll have fluffier, drier rice.
  • When sautéing garlic and onion, hold the garlic and sautee just the onion for about 5-7 minutes, then add the garlic. This way the flavour of the onion will intensify, and the garlic won’t burn and turn bitter.
  • Use a vegetable peeler instead of a knife for finely slicing fennel – you’ll get lovely uneven paper thin shaved pieces.
  • To sharpen your kitchen scissors: fold a piece of aluminium foil up four times, cut through with the scissors half a dozen times.
  • This tip comes from my friend Lina’s mother: put tomato paste on a burn. Is there anything tomatoes can’t do?!
  • Where recipes call for straining or draining with a piece of muslin, which can be hard to find, you can use an unused chux or other kitchen wipe instead.
  • Don’t discard the yellow inside leaves and stalks of a bunch of celery, they are full of sweet, delicate flavour. Chop them up and throw them in your soup, casserole, stock or use them as salad leaves.
  • Make your cupcakes as even on the top as you can by swirling the mixture in each one around with a skewer before baking to level the batter out.
  • You can freeze egg whites instead of wasting them when a recipe calls for yolk only, then defrost and use when you need egg whites only.
  • Stop frozen leftovers becoming soggy by putting a piece of bread in the bottom of the container you are using, it will absorb the extra ice and moisture that forms in the freezer.
  • To caramelise onions without using sugar, cook them over a low-medium heat with a lid on for about 15 minutes, stirring frequently.
  • When cooking muffins, biscuits or cakes for kids, use wholemeal instead of plain flour, it’s more nutritious and it will taste just as good. Just add a little extra baking powder for recipes that need to rise.
  • Add a few chicken wings when making your chicken stock, they help make it richer and gelatinous.
  • Use a little of the water you have cooked your pasta in for the sauce, especially if it’s a drier sauce. It helps to coat the pasta and adds creaminess. This is especially good with pesto.
  • Don’t throw out vanilla bean pods after you’ve used them. Put scraped pods into the jar you store your caster sugar in, and you’ll have lovely vanilla-scented sugar for use in cakes and desserts. Of course if you’ve used the whole pod in a pudding or such, then you should just discard it.
  • Store your food in see-through containers, you will be more likely to use it if you can see it. If you have non-see through containers you don’t want to get rid of, use them for things that you know you will use every day and keep in the same place, like coffee. Or use them in the shed/laundry instead.
  • Clean the inside of the mircrowave by heating up a bowl of water with some washing up detergent in it, on high, for about 3 minutes, or longer, until you can easily wipe away the mess.
  • Flatten mince meat out to a thin, even slab in a sealed plastic bag before freezing, that way it will defrost very quickly.
  • If you have little pieces of stray eggshell in your cracked eggs, scoop them out with a larger piece of shell, it works better than anything else.
  • When browning sage leaves in butter, squeeze over lemon juice once they are browned to stop the cooking process and prevent them from burning.
  • If you don’t have a salad spinner, dry salad and other leaves by putting them in a plastic bag with a few paper towels and shaking the bag around.
  • Roll lemons, limes or other citrus firmly on the kitchen bench a few times with the palm of your hand before cutting open to juice.  You’ll get much more juice out of them. You can also microwave them for 10 seconds to get more juice.
  • Effectively rid your fridge of a lingering bad smell by putting fresh ground coffee on a saucer in the fridge. Of course, you have to eliminate the source of the smell and clean the fridge first. After a few days, the coffee grounds will lose their aroma and have absorbed the bad smell (and will smell themselves!) so throw them onto your garden.


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2 thoughts on “Handy Kitchen Tips

  1. http://tinyurl.com/thehspeed29375 January 17, 2013 at 2:27 pm Reply

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  2. Yasmin February 28, 2013 at 6:40 pm Reply

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