Top 10 Cooking Tips

We have put together our top 10 cooking tips from a professional chef to help you improve your cooking skills and make your dinner parties more memorable.

1. Buy Quality Produce

It doesn’t matter how good a cook you are, if you don’t buy quality produce don’t expect a quality end product. Spend time to source your ingredients.

2. Where to buy

Always try to buy your meats from your local butcher. The quality of supermarket vacuum packed meats is of very low grade with unnormally long shelf life expectancy. Plus, you’re supporting a local business owner.

3. Bringing Roasting Joints

When roasting, you cook at high temperatures for long periods of time. By brining the meat before roasting it will remain more moist giving you a more juicy meal.

4. Probes

Even though brining your meats will make them juicier there is the risk of overcooking them. So buy yourself a probe.

5. Keeping it Green

Adding salt to the water when cooking green vegetables avoids them fading their colour or turning grey.

6. Chill it

When blanching vegetables always do so in boiling water and then chill in iced water. This method instantly stops the cooking process and helps vegetables keep their vibrant colour.

7. Have a Pulse

When cooking pulses don’t add salt to the water as they will take longer to cook.

8. Taste

Tasting your food as you go is extremely important. If you leave it to the end you won’t give yourself any time to correct the seasoning.

9. It Needs to be Done

Clean as you go. However big your kitchen is, its rarely big enough so keep all work tops as clear as possible.

10. Personal Chefs make it Easy

If you have any problems in the kitchen, consider hiring a personal chef!

Please let us know if this post has been helpful.

Make a Smoker on the Cheap

To make your own stovetop smoker, find a large stockpot with a tight fitting lid. Double line the bottom of the pan with tin foil. Add a handful of chips and cover with another layer of foil. Using an old deep fryer wire basket that has straight edges place upside down in your pot. If the handle prevents the basket from fitting inside the pot remove with wire cutters. Place the pot over the burner on high, after a few minutes gently lift the lid an inch. You should see wisps of smoke, signaling the chips are starting to burn. Put your food item inside, add lid and seal with extra foil.

Improvising a smoker like this will get very hot so reduce the smoke time by half. If smoking meats then finish the cooking process in the oven.

Lemon and Honey Rum Baba

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Serves 6

 

250g plain flour

1 teaspoon fine seasalt

15g fresh yeast

zest of 1 lemon

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

6 medium eggs

100g softened unsalted butter, extra to grease moulds

70g sultanas

250ml hot stock syrup

90ml rum

  1. Sift the flour and salt into a large bowl. Finely crumble in the fresh yeast. Add the lemon zest and mix in.
  2. Warm the honey until slightly runny, in a bowl whisk together the honey, vanilla extract and 3 eggs.
  3. Beat the 2 mixtures together with the softened butter for 3 minutes with an electric mixer.
  4. Beat the remaining eggs and gradually work into the dough, should be around 5 minutes on the medium setting. Add the saltanas with the last of the egg.
  5. Cover the bowl and leave the dough to prove in a warm place.
  6. Liberally grease 6 baba moulds. Gently knock down the dough and divide into 6 pieces. Place in the moulds and leave to prove again for around 30 minutes until the dough has risen to ¾ up the tin.
  7. Preheat the oven to 190C.  Bake for 20 minutes until golden brown and firm but have some spring when pressed. Leave in the tins for 5 minutes before turning out.
  8. Leave to cool until warm then prick the tops with a skewer. Return to the moulds. Mix the rum and stock syrup together and pour over the babas.
  9. Once the syrup has been absorbed chill until ready to serve. Serve with chantilly creme and poached apricots.

Quick & Easy: Vegetarian Barbecue Recipe

Enjoy great barbecue ideas this summer

 

 

 

 

 

 

While the meat eaters are tucking in to their Chorizo and Secreto here is an easy one to try as a barbecue Mexican sandwich.  

Serves 4

8 tortillas 200ml sour cream 120g grated cheese of choice (I always use a monetary jack) Jalapenos

Black bean Puree 

250g cooked black beans ½ bunch of coriander (picked) Juice of 1 lime ½ tsp cayenne ½ tsp cumin

The Salsa

½ finely diced red onion Tbsp lemon juice 3 spring onions 4 plum tomatoes 1 clove garlic ½ bunch coriander (picked) 2 avocadoes

Start with the black bean by putting all the ingredients to a food processor and pulse until smooth.

For the Salsa

First soak the onion in the lemon juice. Chop the spring onions, avocadoes and tomatoes into small cubes and add to the onion. Puree the garlic and roughly chop the coriander and add to the mix, toss together gently not to mash the avocado.

Building the Quesadilla

Place a tortilla on your board and spread the puree over the tortilla leaving around 1.5 to 2cm from the edge. In one half add the sour cream and on-top add the salsa. Sprinkle with cheese and add as many jalapenos as you like then fold over the tortilla.   Repeat the process for the remaining tortillas.   Place on the barbecue or griddle pan at a medium to high heat. The filling should be warm and the tortilla slightly charred.  It will only take 2-3 minutes Slice at an angle and serve with the remaining salsa and picked coriander leaves.

 

5 Tips to Improve Flavor

With Valentines coming up you maybe thinking about cooking for your other half. Her are our 5 do’s & don’t to improve your cooking skills.

1. Temperature

Getting the Correct Temperature is vital to cooking anything well. When cooking proteins you need a hot pan to create what’s called the maillard reaction. This is the name granted to the browning that gives the item a good colour and where different flavor compounds are created. If the pan is too cold the item will not acquire flavor and will instead almost steam in its own juices.

2.

Use the correct sized pan. Once you have got your pan to the correct heat, it is time to put that beautiful piece of bass in. But what if the frying pan you are using is way too big for the fish?. What will happen is that the outside of the pan will heat much quicker than the center where the fish is, so the edge of the fish will be brown or even blacken. Meanwhile the center will not have a crisp skin which is what you should be looking for.

3. Season.

When I say season, I mean Salt. Adding salt will enhance flavor while adding pepper will add or change the flavor. Thomas Keller of the French Laundry encourages chefs to season their roasting joints the day before so the salt can penetrate, giving a better flavor.

4. Cook in batches.

This also comes back to getting the correct temperature. When you add the food to a hot pan the temperature instantly drops. A great example of this is when boiling vegetables. Green vegetables are mostly affected by this mistake as they should always be cooked in boiling salted water. Cooking in boiling water will prevent the loss of colour and the vegetable being soggy.

5. Wine.

When cooking with wine remember this, if it is not good enough to drink it is not good enough to cook with. You don’t need to go mad but cheap wine that’s highly acidic will affect your end result