Tuesday, 2 July 2013

13 Time-Saving Thoughts for Cooks

Thirteen is my luckiest number, so here are that many ways of saving a little time in the kitchen. If, like me, you're often prepping food in a rush, there might be something here which is worth a go.

 1  Salad dressing: put all ingredients into a small jam jar, seal and shake vigorously (the 
         jar that is). Will keep well in the fridge for a while.

 2  Grate cheese onto a piece of kitchen paper or greaseproof (rather than a chopping 
         board), then fold and pour.
Strawberry huller
 3  Prep strawberries just before they're needed: use a huller (cheap like the one above, or
         slightly smarter, e.g. from Lakeland), then wash.

 4  If spreading Marmite in baking, for example onto puff pastry, put the required amount
         into a small microwaveable bowl and microwave for 10 seconds. It'll be runnier
         and easier to spread, and will go further - usually needs to be used sparingly anyway.
 5  Use scissors to top & tail gooseberries. If they have that mildew thing, soak in water
         for a while then just rub the skins clear. Scissors are also quickest for 'chopping'
         herbs or dried chillies.

 6  To skin tomatoes quickly, slash the skins a couple of times then put into a bowl of
         just-boiled water for a couple of minutes. The flesh expands and, hopefully, bursts
         out of the skins.

 7  When a cooked dish needs reheating in the oven (e.g. pastry based which would go
         soggy in the microwave), it's still worth microwaving for a couple of minutes while
         the oven heats up - saves quite a useful amount of time.
 8  Freeze freshly washed (and patted dry) mint, thyme, sage or parsley leaves whole.
        When needed, take the amount out and just crumble it straight away.

 9  If freezing a large quantity of fresh veg, prepare the approx number of freezer bags first.
         Put the portion size you want in a bag and weigh it, then duplicate the weight for
         other bags until all the veg is packed. Saves time judging the portion each time.

10 I've mentioned this one before: when a recipe says to rub butter into flour, I find it still
         works if you use melted butter from the microwave and just mix it into the flour. If
         you try this, it might be best to experiment first! It can same time, effort and mess.

11 An oldie but worth a mention: when cooking on the hob, use a lid. Boils more quickly
         and needs slightly lower heat to maintain cooking, saving time and fuel.
12 Use a potato peeler to make ribbons from courgettes, then marinade them in dressing -
         no need to cook. Same for raw, peeled carrots.

13 To make biscuit crumbs, for example for a cheesecake or banoffee pie, put the whole
         biscuits into a large polythene bag and use a rolling pin to crush. Quicker than
         getting out the blender then washing and putting it away.

So that's my thirteen. If you carry out each one just once, you should save enough time to make a lemon drizzle cake. That's what I'd do.

1 comment:

  1. How organised you are ... maybe that's I'm just not good at cooking (sighs)