5 top tips on how to cook with ease
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I love cooking.
My love for cooking stems from watching my mom effortlessly prepare all kinds of yummy dishes.
Whether she’s making a three-course Sunday lunch or an impromptu dinner when unexpected visitors pop in, she does it with finesse.
Over the years, and cooking alongside her, I’ve picked up a few tips and tricks and learnt how she manages to make cooking look so easy.
Here are a few tips and tricks I use to make cooking easier.
Make sure your knives are sharp
A good knife is one of the most important, and needless to say, essential kitchen tools. Invest in a good chef knife and keep it sharp.
Have you ever tried to chop onions or tomatoes with a blunt knife? A blunt knife will slide over the food rather than through it. Not only can this be dangerous but it’s time- consuming and frustrating as well. A sharp knife allows you to work faster and with precision.
You’d be amazed at how handy a simple pair of kitchen scissors can be. They are perfect for cutting chillies! I love cooking with fresh chillies and using scissors prevents getting them on your fingers. And we all know what just a drop of chilli can do to your eyes.
Scissors make chopping fresh herbs a breeze. After washing my herbs, I like to roll and bunch them tightly and simply cut them into my dish. No cutting board needed.
Clean as you go
If there’s one thing my mom does without fail is clean as she’s cooking. There’s nothing worse than a sink full of dishes after you’ve spent so much time cooking.
While your pot is going, tidy up your surfaces and clean any utensils or bowls you’ve used while prepping.
By the time your dish is done, your kitchen should be clean.
Use your microwave to par-boil veggies
This trick is especially handy when making dishes like roast potatoes. Par-boiling is a time-saver! Pop your peeled and chopped potatoes, or any veg you want to roast, into the microwave just long enough to soften it. Then all you need to do is place the semi-cooked veg into a hot oven to brown and crisp.
When par-boiling your vegetables take care not to over-cook them. You can’t save mushy potatoes!
One pot, pan
This is by far my favourite style of cooking. Fewer dishes. Less stress. All you have to do is get your time right.
Making roast chicken? Simply add chunky chopped vegetables and your potatoes in the same roasting dish and voila! Supper is served.
Making a quick fried breakfast doesn’t mean using separate pans. If you use a big non-stick pan you can make your bacon on one side, fry some tomatoes on the other; even place a few sliced mushrooms in a different space. Crack an egg in the middle and your breakfast is done.
A few other pointers while cooking:
Boil a kettle full of water before you start cooking. When you need to add water to your dish, use the hot water. Using cold water will slow down the cooking process.
Taste your food as you go. Every time you add a different ingredient to your dish, taste the food.
If you’re trying a new dish, read through the recipe carefully, measure all the ingredients, and don’t forget to pre-heat the oven if needed.