Everyone has their own unique tips and techniques for saving on preparation and cooking time and making restaurant quality food. But even the most seasoned cooks know that effortlessly floating around a kitchen is a learning process, one that takes a fair amount of time and practice and there’s always room for new tricks. Here are some tips from our restaurant chefs that you may or may not know to add to your cooking arsenal.
Recipe for disaster
If you haven’t tried a recipe before, take the time to read through it thoroughly before you begin. That said, a recipe is a guideline so, with time, allow yourself to unleash your confident inner chef by replacing ingredients with other similar ingredients. For example, in certain sauces you could use plain yoghurt instead of cream. Try not to be to hard on yourself. Sometimes a mistake can enhance a dish.
Punishable by rolling pin
However, some bakers would argue that baking is a science that requires strict measurement. Most serious bakers would argue that there are no shortcuts when it comes to baking and that you should always have your ingredients prepared on your counter.
Sharpest tools in the cooking shed
A sharp knife being better than a dull knife is stating the obvious but statistics show that a sharp knife incurs less cutting mishaps than a dull one. Restaurant chefs tend to agree that a dull knife is more likely to slip off the food item being sliced, diced or chopped. When this happens, fingers tend to suffer. In addition to being safer, a sharp knife also requires less pressure, which saves time and makes cooking more pleasurable.
The shocking truth about vegetables
If you place your veggies in ice water after blanching them, the ice water shocks them into remaining crisp and retaining their bright colour. Speaking of colour, if you’re cooking cauliflower, adding a splash of milk to the water will help to preserve its colour.
Surefire crispy-skin fish
The simple trick to crispy fish skin is to allow the skin to dry out pre-cooking it. This can be done in various ways: including placing them on a plate, skin side up and putting them in the fridge or resting them on paper towel skin side down for a minute or two. In a pan, sauté your fillets skin side down and flip them over for the last few minutes. Always make sure the handle of your pan is turned away from you so that you don’t bump and knock it from the stove, to avoid ruining your meal and injuring yourself in the process.
A marriage of pasta and sauce
Federico Fellini, the famous screenwriter and director said, “Life is a combination of magic and pasta”. And let’s be hones, pasta is the perfect go-to dish, if cooked properly. Underdone pasta is akin to chewing gum. Overcooked and it’s mush. Drain your pasta a minute or two earlier than the recipe calls for, and allow it to cook the rest of the way in the pan containing your pasta sauce. Delizioso!