HANDY HINTS AND INFORMATION Top
Fresh herbs can easily be cut, using a pizza cutter top
Adding 1 Tblspn vanilla instant pudding mix to 300 mls cream makes a firmer mixture.
Evaporated milk can be used to replace fresh milk
When making curries, prepare up to 3 days in advance, as this intensifies the flavours.
Freeze leftover wine in ice cube trays. That way, you'll always have some on hand to add to casseroles and sauces.
To obtain maximum volume when beating egg-whites, always have clean and dry bowl and beaters.
Never add salt to mushrooms until after they have been cooked. Salt will draw out the moisture and make them go tough.
Save juice from tinned fruit and thicken with corn flour or custard powder. This can be used for a sweet sauce for puddings.
Cream, custard, yoghurt, milk and cream cheese may separate if they are frozen.
Half a cup of lemonade added to fruit salad will keep it fresh for several days.
To ripen avocado's faster, place in a brown paper bag with a banana and keep at room temperature.
Copha / Kremelta is solidified coconut oil and is mainly saturated fat.
Crudites are a collection of finely sliced, raw vegetables and are usually served with a dip.
Unless a recipe states otherwise, always use eggs at room temperature.
Salt is often added to cake recipes. This is to bring out the flavour of certain ingredients, such as chocolate.
Spoon natural yoghurt, sweetened with honey, over crumbles or pies in place of cream.
Salted butter often contains more moisture than unsalted butter, but can usually be substituted for the other.
Never store potatoes in a plastic bag. This causes them to sweat and go rotten.
For extra-light pancakes, separate the eggs. Mix yolks into the batter first. After adding any other ingredients beat the egg-whites and fold in.
To prevent 'tears' when cutting onions, leave the root intact while cutting.
To stop celery wilting, cut it in half, wash and dry and seal in a container. Keep in the fridge.
Spray cups and spoons with a little oil, when using to measure sticky ingredients like honey or golden syrup.
Grated apple, added to sausage fillings, like sausage rolls, will take away any fatty taste.
Wheatgerm makes a good low-fat alternative to pastry, for quiches. Grease the quiche dish evenly, then scatter the wheatgerm over. Add the filling as normal.
For extra light shortcrust pastry, replace the water with soda water.
Lemons originated in Kashmir and were taken to Australia in 1788 by Captain Arthur Phillip.To get more juice from a lemon, microwave on HIGH for 20 seconds, before juicing.
To test if oil is hot enough for deep-frying, drop in a cube of bread. it should sizzle and turn brown in about 10 seconds.
Seasoned flour is plain flour mixed with salt and pepper.
When cooking with tomatoes, add a good pinch of sugar. This helps to balance the acidity of the tomatoes.
To remove cabbage odours while cooking, place a stick of celery in the boiling water. Cabbage is an excellent source of Vitamin C and Betacarotene which converts to Vitamin A in the body..It is a very good source of fibre and almost fat-free. 100 grams provides 65 Kc.
Brie is a soft, ripened cow's milk cheese, that originated from France.
A teatowel placed underneath your chopping board, will prevent it slipping.
Allspice is also known as Pimento. It is a small, sun-dried berry that is mainly grown in Jamaica.
Ascorbic Acid is also known as Vitamin C.
Make no-oil salad dressings, by whisking together, citrus juices, vinegars, seasonings, mustards and herbs of choice.This is fat-free.
When eggs are stuck to the carton, wet the box and the eggs will be able to be removed with no breakages.
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When dusting cakes and desserts with Icing Sugar, add a little Cornflour. This will prevent the sugar from soaking into the top of a moist cake or dessert.
Cauliflower will keep it's white colour if a strip of lemon peel is added to the water.
A mini marshmallow placed in the bottom of an ice cream cone will prevent drips.
When making icing, add a dessertspoon of Condensed Milk to the mixture. This will ensure the icing is firm but soft enough to spread. It will not crack when it sets.
Rest roasts for 10 - 15 minutes before carving. This will help to minimise any loss of moisture.
Lime juice used in place of lemon juice will add an extra tang.
To prevent an Avocado from going brown, leave the stone in and wrap in a wet paper-towel. Keep in refrigerator.
When making batter for fritters, replace the liquid with Beer. This will give a lovely taste and be nice and light.
Top a savoury dish with crumbs from cheese biscuits instead of breadcrumbs, for a change.
To soften pumpkin skin, to make it easier to remove the skin, microwave pumpkin for 1 minute.
If you only want a little lemon juice, pierce the lemon with a skewer and squeeze.
Soak wooden skewers in water for 20 minutes before using, to stop them burning.
Refrigerate crumbed foods before cooking to help the coating stick.
If honey has gone 'sugary', pop in the microwave for a few seconds. Honey is made up of equal portions of glucose and fructose. It contains anti-bacterial properties and has a mild laxative effect
Don't add oil when cooking pasta. The oil will coat the pasta and prevent sauces from clinging.
Soda water replacing water in cakes, gives a much lighter cake.
Garlic cloves, minced and covered in oil, will keep well in the refrigerator.
Mushrooms should be stored in a brown paper bag, or in a bowl, lined and covered with paper towels.
An easy way to cut noodles, is to put them in a bowl and cut them with kitchen scissors.
Turning jars of half-used tomato paste, upside down in the refrigerator, usually stops any mould.
When boiling a pudding, place a 20c coin in the base of the pot while simmering. It will rattle while the pudding cooks. if the water in the pot has dried up, it will stop rattling.
When cutting fresh chillies, wear gloves. If you don't, make sure skin or eyes are not touched. Wash hands immediately after finishing. This is because there is something in the fresh chilli that can cause irritation and burning.
To easily peel stone fruit, pierce the skin in a few places. Drop into boiling water for 1 minute, drain and plunge into cold water. Skin will peel off easily.
Brush filo pastry with a little water, instead of butter or oil. I will be crisp and golden, without the added fat.
For light and fluffy mashed potatoes, heat the milk just before it is added to the cooked potato. Then place in the microwave for a few seconds.
To bake "blind" means to cover uncooked pastry with baking paper and top this with dried beans or rice. This stops the pastry from puffing up. Keep the beans or rice in a jar and re-use.
Never dress a salad until ready to serve, unless recipe states otherwise.
A 1 x 7gram packet of dry yeast is equivalent to 15 grams of fresh or compressed yeast.
To make a healthier quiche, replace the cream with natural yoghurt. This will make a lighter quiche and also one with lower fat.
Keep any left-over egg-yolks in the refrigerator, in an air-tight container. These can be used to make, custards, creme caramel, thickening sauces, making mayonaises and as a base for coating foods with breadcrumbs.
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Store mushrooms in brown paper bags, not plastic ones, as this will cause them to sweat.
Creme patisserie is a type of custard filling.
Dips can be prepared several days in advance and kept in the refrigerator. Must be kept covered.
Aioli is a garlic flavoured mayonaise.
Cottage cheese is a low-fat, unripened cow's milk cheese that is high in calcium.
To get the best flavour from spices, always cook until aromatic before adding other ingredients.
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Chocolate comes from the fermented, dried, roasted and ground, beans of the cocoa tree. This is native to Mexico and South America. Couverture has a higher proportion of cocoa butter.
Carob is often substituted for chocolate. It comes from a brown seed pod of a native Mediterranean tree. The pulp is very rich in sugar.
Add flavour to mayonaise or salad dressing by adding some chopped, fresh herbs, of your choice.
To keep asparagus, fresh a little longer, straight after purchase, trim stems and stand asparagus in a glass of cool water. Cover with plastic wrap and keep in the refrigerator. Asparagus is a member of the lily family.
Buttermilk is the low-fat liquid left after the cream has been removed, when making butter, the traditional way.
Use a potato peeler to slice strips of cheese, for a salad.
After washing cake and biscuit tins and trays, put them into a warm oven to dry thoroughly. Will prevent rust.
Camembert is a soft cow's milk cheese which originated from France. It was first made in 1791.
Baking Powder is a mixture of Bicarbonate of soda and an acid, such as cream of tartar and a small amount of starch.
To make good muffins, stir the mixture as little as possible. Overmixing results in tough muffins.
Creme fraiche is a smooth, velvety sour cream that has matured naturally until it thickens. It has a sharp flavour.It has 48% fat content and doesn't curdle when boiled.
Never use castor sugar when making caramel or toffee. it is too fine and won't reach a high enough temperature.
Amaretti are also known as almond biscuits or macaroons. They are made from, almonds, egg-white and almond essence.
"Baste" means to moisten food while it is cooking. It is usually done by spooning, cooking liquid over.
"Bouquet Garni' is a small bunch of herbs, tied together with a long thread and used for flavouring, but discarded before serving. Usually has thyme, parsley and a bay leaf and sometimes majoram. sage or rosemary.
To make vanilla sugar ,place a vanilla bean, in a jar of sugar and seal. Leave 1 month, before using.
When making kebabs, use twigs of rosemary, instead of wooden skewers.
To cut a cake in half, with the minimum of fuss, use dental floss. Wrap it around the outside of the cake, where you want to cut it ,cross the ends of the floss over each other and pull evenly.
To get rid of lingering kitchen odours, bake orange peels in the oven, for 15 minutes at 160c
To prevent lumpy custard, add the sugar to the custard powder, instead of the milk.
To soften butter in a hurry, either grate or use a vegetable peeler, into a warm bowl.
A healthy alternative to oil, in a carrot cake, is to substitute it with yoghurt. it will still taste fine.
If, you have trouble opening a jar, turn the jar upside down, and hit firmly, with the palm of your hand.
Slice raw mushrooms, evenly, by using an egg-slicer
Don't discard any squeezed lemons. When washing the dishes, place lemons in the sink. The acid in the lemons, helps cut through grease, and gives the dishes, a fresh, lemon smell.
When working with filo pastry, keep any, not being worked with, under a damp tea towel. Will prevent it drying out.
If a soup or casserole is too salty, try adding 1/2 tsp baking soda. Will decrease saltiness.
Rub a cut lemon on your chopping board, to keep it fresh and rid it of any food odours.
Before cutting marshmallows, dip scissors in cornflour and they won't stick
For a quick and easy chocolate cake icing, use Nutella
1 Tblspn of butter = 20g
To make dates easier to cut, microwave them for a few seconds, first.
When making custard, adding a bit of lemon rind to the milk, while it is heating, will result in a lovely flavour
To stop foil from sticking to the food it is covering, spray the underside of the foil, with a litttle oil spray.
Rice types and their usage :
Long-grain rice is an all-purpose rice, which is great for fried rice.
Short grain rice is great for rice puddings. The shorter the grain, the moister
the rice will be.
Arborio rice is for risottos and paella
Jasmine rice is soft and slightly sticky. It is a long-grain rice and is best for
Basmati rice is aromatic and when cooked is dry, with each grain separate. It
is best for curries and pilafs.
Mascarpone is a dairy-product with a very high fat content. It is made from the cream from cows. It is soft and smooth and very creamy
Ricotta is a fresh dairy-product, that is made from either, sheep or cow's milk, whey. It has a white and crumbly texture and a delicate, creamy taste.
Sour Cream is thick cream with a 35 % fat content. It has been soured by the addition of a harmless bacterial culture that gives it a slightly, tangy flavour
Tabasco sauce, is the brand name, for a very hot, peppery sauce. It is made from tabasco berries. Originating in Louisiana, it is still made by the McIlhenny family.
Worcestershire sauce originated in England. It is a dark, strong-tasting sauce and it's ingredients include : anchovy essence, tamarind, soy sauce, malt vinegar, molasses, garlic and meat extrac
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