Here is a list of tips to help you generally become more efficient in the kitchen. These do not necessarily relate to individual recipes, but hopefully when used alongside our great recipes will turn you into a culinary master. Well, if not a master, at least someone who can cook and prepare ingredients competently (hopefully impressing their friends and family at the same time).
The first tip is age-old. A simple way to test whether an egg is fresh is to see if it floats. Fill a transparent receptacle e.g. a glass with standard tap water. Ensure that the glass has a diameter that is wide enough to let the egg float or sink without becoming stuck on the sides. Place your egg (whilst still raw and in its uncracked shell) in the glass. If it floats to the top, we suggest that it may be bad and should be disposed of (assuming these are every-day chicken eggs available at most shops and supermarkets). If it floats half way, again, be careful. The egg may be bad and you should consider discarding it, especially if it is past it use by date on the box (if no date, discard anyway). If the egg sinks, this is a good sign that the egg is fresh and can be cooked. This tip is only an indication. Please use common sense and judgement depending on when the egg was purchased, how it was stored and any use by dates that may be on the egg or packaging. Never use an egg beyond its use by date (unless your intention is to throw it in a naughty way, which of course we don’t condone at all i.e. it should never happen).
The second tip is a great way to help restore the bubbles in your bubbly. Dry sparkling wines such as Champagne and prosecco can be amazing. A small glass of prosecco as an aperitif is excellent. Try a couple whilst nibbling on some fresh crusty bread served with quality extra virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Perhaps an olive or two and some diced sun-dried tomato on the side. This is a great starter for any meal. Obviously ensure that you and all your guests are able to drink alcohol before serving. If the wine is open for a couple of hours and it becomes flat, you may be able to reinstate the fizz my adding some simple sugars. Only add a small amount. This can be done by adding some high fructose content dried fruit such as raisins or sultanas. Just try adding two or three to the bottle and watch what happens. Check for allergies before doing this.
The third tip is one that helps you prepare and serve salads. This may also work for vegetables that are served uncooked. Lettuce leaves and other salad ingredients may go limp. This is especially true in warmer climates and if the lettuce has been sitting a while. Before serving, not only should you wash the salad, but you should let leaves, radishes, tomatoes, carrots, celery and cucumber sit in some cold (35 to 50 degrees Fahrenheit or 2 to 10 degrees Celsius) fresh water for 30-60 minutes. We recommend adding a slice of raw white potato to the water. The starches and other constituents can help ‘plump up’ certain salad ingredients. Ensure everything is fresh and washed thoroughly before serving.
The fourth tip here is one that is often used when people get home from the supermarket or shop. We all buy on impulse (at least occasionally). If you have seen some tasty looking plums in a shop, you may want to eat them sooner rather than later. What happens if the plums are not ripe? The simple answer is leave them in a brown paper bag in a warm place (between 65 and 85 degrees Fahrenheit or 18 to 30 degrees Celsius) with half a fresh apple for up to 90 minutes. Check the plums and you may find that they have ripened beautifully. If so, enjoy. Please note that this is a warm rather than hot place. Do not set the bag on fire!
Please note that alcohol is mentioned above. Only people legally able to drink alcohol should do so and all alcohol consumption must be done safely and in moderation. Never drive, operate machinery or do any important task that requires concentration and/or dexterity after drinking alcoholic beverages. Always use common sense and keep safe. The above is for information, ideas and entertainment only.
Why not check out these great ideas for kitchen worktops and other accessories here.