Whether you’re a cooking novice or a dab-hand in the kitchen, it’s always helpful to brush up on
some invaluable tips and tricks for efficient, fuss-free cooking. They will save you time and make
meal prep so much easier!
Read on to discover my favourite cooking tips, so you can make every meal a success:
Use a damp towel to keep your cutting board in place
Does your cutting board slide about on the counter as you chop? Place a damp kitchen towel or a
damp tea towel underneath it, to keep the board securely in place.
Invest in quality knives
Knives are arguably the number-one most useful kitchen utensil. In fact, the right knives can
transform meal prep from stressful and time-consuming to easy and efficient. So it pays to invest in
a good quality knife set that will stand the test of time....And keep those knives sharp.
Did you know dull knives are more dangerous than sharp ones? That’s because a dull blade is more likely to slip when cutting. Sharp knives, on the other hand, enable you to chop faster and with precision. It’s also a good idea to watch video tutorials on basic knife skills, such as how to hold your knife. With a bit of practice, you’ll find chopping and slicing a breeze.
Mise en place to stay organised in the kitchen
Mise en place is French for “put in place.” It refers to how professional restaurants prepare and lay
out all ingredients before cooking, to make the process more organised. Adopt this approach in your own kitchen and you’ll find meal prep relaxing and enjoyable – and you’ll never forget to include an ingredient again!
Shake garlic for easy peeling
If you love garlic, you’ll love this simple method for peeling several cloves at once: remove as many
cloves as you need from your garlic bulb and put them in a jar or container. Cover with a lid and give it a vigorous shake for 10 seconds. This will cause the skins to break away, resulting in perfectly peeled cloves.
Dry meats before cooking them
Before you throw meat in the pan, pat it dry with a paper towel. Why? Meat has a layer of moisture that stops it searing properly. Whether you’re roasting or frying, dry meat will brown much more effectively. And if you’re cooking poultry, drying it beforehand will also result in golden crispy skin. The same principle applies to chickpeas and veggies, too; pat them with a towel before roasting to improve their texture when cooked.
Don’t crowd the pan
Similarly, whether you’re oven baking or frying it’s important to avoid crowding the pan.
Overcrowding reduces heat and encourages a slow-release of moisture. The result is food that’s
steamed and soggy instead of crisp. So for best results, give your food space to breathe.
Read the whole recipe first
This one might sound obvious, but if you’re in a hurry it’s easy to get tripped up by missing an
ingredient, or a too-hot oven halfway through cooking. Read the whole recipe upfront and you’ll
save yourself time in the long run.
For maximum flavour, toast the nuts and spices
Toasting the nuts and spices really brings out their flavour and will take your dish to the next level.
It doesn’t take long, either. For spices, simply heat in a dry pan, stirring until fragrant; for nuts, pop
them in the oven for 10 minutes before cooking with them.
Pre-chop and freeze onions
Recipe staples like onions, garlic and peppers freeze surprisingly well. Store them in Ziploc bags or
even ice-cube trays, and you can grab what you need from the freezer after a busy day – making
weeknight cooking faster and easier. It’s a good idea to store peeled ginger in the freezer, too: not
only does it last longer, it will grate more easily.
Keep salad leaves and herbs Fresh
To make herbs and salad leaves last, put them in a resealable plastic bag or container with a paper towel and store in the salad drawer of your fridge. The paper towel absorbs moisture, helping your leaves stay crisp for longer.
Collect food storage containers
Food containers like plastic tubs and glass jars are ideal for storing pre-prepped veggies, meats and grains. It can be handy to splash out on some quality ones with rubber seals that are dishwasher, freezer and microwave safe, too.
Prep grains in advance
Preparing grains can be the most time-consuming part of a recipe. On the other hand, rice, quinoa
and bulgar wheat can last a week in the fridge. It’s a good idea to prepare some on the weekend or a quiet day so they’re on-hand for the week ahead. After a long day at work, you can whip up a stir-fry or rice bowl in minutes.
Season well and often
Salt accentuates the food’s flavour (even many desserts call for a pinch of salt) so if your dish is
tasting bland, you might want to add a little salt rather than adding more ingredients to the mix. It’s
best to add a good pinch at the start of cooking as well as the end. Alternatively you can season at every stage, tasting as you go.
Add acid to brighten up a dish
If your food tastes flat and you’ve already added salt, chances are it needs a touch more acid. Acidic ingredients such as a squeeze of lemon or a dash of wine or vinegar will brighten and enhance flavours.
I hope you’ve found these tips useful! Which tips are you going to try when preparing your next
dish? Do you have any cooking tips you’d like to share? Let me know in the comments below – I’d
love to hear from you.
And if you’re feeling inspired to cook something new, check out these delicious recipes.