Culinary tips that have changed your life

(128 Posts)
ParsingFancy Sun 18-Aug-13 12:51:51

Haven't had one of these threads for a while!

Mine:

You can loosen the paper on garlic by twisting the clove. Better still, thwack clove with flat of knife to crush, pick paper off.

To chop herbs or anything small, hold the end of a curved chef's knife on the board with your spare hand, and just see-saw it up and down, back and forth.

To shred cabbage/lettuce/any leaves, roll leaves up like a cigar and slice.

To skin celeriac or swede, slice into discs, then place flat on board and cut down round the edges. Also works with pumpkin, though you don't actually need to peel butternut squash.

Anyone else?

PoppyAmex Sun 18-Aug-13 14:08:56

Madame is right; with the absorption method you get perfect fluffy rice every time. Just don't think of stirring, lifting the lid or messing with it before its time.

RobotHamster Sun 18-Aug-13 14:11:06

If you want to remove the seeds from chillies, roll between your thumb and finger to loosen the seeds, cut the top off and tip them all out. You might need to squeeze the last few out. Works best with older chillies.

ilovepicnmix Sun 18-Aug-13 14:13:03

What kind of rice for the 20 min method please?

RobotHamster Sun 18-Aug-13 14:14:39

Peeling hard boiled eggs is easier if you roll them under your hand like a rolling pin, crushing the shells. It should almost fall off.

RobotHamster Sun 18-Aug-13 14:15:42

Cut a pepper around the stalk, rather than slicing into it. If you just cut off the rounded bits that stick out, you are left with just the core and stalk

ParsingFancy Sun 18-Aug-13 15:04:25

Mumsnet microwave cheese sauce:

300ml milk
25g flour
25g butter
50g grated cheese

Use a Pyrex jug/bowl, ideally more than 0.5 litre because the sauce may rise as it boils towards the end.

Put milk, flour and butter in bowl. Whisk very briefly.

Microwave for 1 minute on high, whisk. Repeat till sauce has been microwaved for 4 minutes and has thickened.

Stir in grated cheese.

ParsingFancy Sun 18-Aug-13 15:08:31

White sauce also freezes. It can separate slightly, but whisking recombines it.

So freeze on its own and make up cauli cheese/whatever after defrosting.

SirChenjin Sun 18-Aug-13 15:12:47

How do you sieve an egg before poaching it? confused

mrspaddy Sun 18-Aug-13 15:15:35

Great thread.. never thought of the lettuce one and defo going to try rice that way.

Easy pancakes -
one cup plain flour
one cup milk
one egg

whisk - leave to set in fridge for little while.. perfect batter.

MooncupGoddess Sun 18-Aug-13 15:18:56

I think the point with the egg is that put it in the sieve to drain away the watery bits and then cook what remains. So it's not straining as such!

ParsingFancy Sun 18-Aug-13 15:27:35

Oh god yes, MrsSchadenfreude, ready made, ready rolled pastry. That's actually changed my diet.

That and learning posh tart (score 1 inch margin round edge of pastry; spread middle with choice of yummy stuff, eg bacon, leeks & cheese, or caramalised red onion & goats cheese; bake at 200° C for 15-20 mins).

Om nom nom...

SirChenjin Sun 18-Aug-13 17:14:49

But doesn't the egg white starting seeping through the sieve? <realise I may be overthinking this>

Oblomov Sun 18-Aug-13 17:18:59

I use scissors for everything. Assume everyone did.

Dancingqueen17 Sun 18-Aug-13 17:27:42

Silicon for flapjacks!
Toasted seeds on salads jazz them up nicely.

CarpeVinum Sun 18-Aug-13 17:34:45

If you scrumple baking parchment, then wet it, squeeze out most of the water (gentley) you can mould it easily around whatever shaped tin/container you are wanting to line.

My mate showed me. Must be an Italian trick. Works though. I'v got banana bread in a man cornered tin in the oven and the (wet) paper hasn't been the nightmare it usually is when dry.

snowlie Sun 18-Aug-13 19:01:06

Butterfly a chicken using sharp scissors - you will reduce cooking time and the breast meat will still be moist.
Invest in a good meat thermometer - I have a thermapen - no longer do I have to guess whether meat is done, cooking time has been reduced and the meat tastes so much better.

So many egg sieving questions! The egg stays together but the watery bits drain away so when you poached it you don't get any stringy white bits. Honestly it works. My poached eggs were rubbish until I started doing this. It only works with pretty fresh eggs though, you lose too much white with old ones.

Parsnipcake Sun 18-Aug-13 19:58:31

Put a piece of wet kitchen toll under your chopping board and it will stay in place while you chop/ carve etc.

We use basmati rice as lower GI apparently.

MaryIngalls Sun 18-Aug-13 21:08:30

sieving eggs...had to google it, I was so intrigued!

LowLevelWhinging Sun 18-Aug-13 21:31:09

the egg thing... is it because very fresh eggs are all firm and poach well, but older eggs get watery and so you get that wispy effect when they're poached?

so sieving fresh eggs wouldn't lose much, but sieving older eggs would get rid of what would become the wispy bits?

PicklePants Sun 18-Aug-13 21:46:41

Not exactly life-changing, but if you're making stock from a cube, just crumble the cube straight in, and add the right amount of water. Saves on the washing up!

CarpeVinum Sun 18-Aug-13 21:54:02

Oh I have another one. If you are prone to having to choose between a burned bottom or a slightly undercooked cake due to a cantakerus oven.... line the oven shelves with foil, shiney side down. Not just the one the food is on, but the one right at the bottom as well.

Not had a burned bottom since I started doing that.

I think the heat must slide up the unfoiled sides of the shelves and whirl around more uniformly. Or something highly technical along those lines.

lowlevel that's it exactly. No point doing it with eggs that are too old as you end up with all yolk. With fresh eggs you just end up with lovely firm whites. The link up there ^^ explains it better than me.

bugster Sun 18-Aug-13 21:59:05

Can't agree about the ready made pastry, schadenfreude, except for puff pastry. Home made buttery pastry is sooo muchnbetter than bought short crust, and makes a huge difference.

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