Some great cooking tips

.Store spices in a cool, dark place, not above your stove. Humidity, light and heat will cause herbs and spices to lose their flavour.

.Always make stock in a large quantity and freeze in plastic bags. That way, when you want to make a nice soup or boil veggies, you can simply pull a bag out of the freezer.

.If you’re cooking for someone important – whether it’s your boss or a date – never try a new recipe and a new ingredient at the same time.

.Cook pasta for 1 minute less than the package instructions and cook it the rest of the way in the pan with the sauce.

.After making eggs sunny-side up, deglaze the pan with sherry vinegar, then drizzle the sauce on the eggs to add another dimension to the dish.

.After working with garlic, rub your hands vigorously on your stainless steel sink for 30 seconds before washing them. It will remove the odour.

.If you find you need more oil in the pan when sautéing, add it in a stream along the edges of the pan so that by the time the oil reaches the ingredients being cooked, it will be heated.

.When you deep-fry, hold each piece of food with long tongs as you add it to the oil. Hold it just below the oil’s surface for 5 seconds before releasing it. This will seal the exterior and stop it from sticking to the pot or other food.

.For rich, creamy dressings made healthy, substitute half the mayo with Greek-style yoghurt.

.When chopping herbs, toss a little salt onto the chopping board, it will keep the herbs from flying around.

.For best results when you’re baking, leave butter and eggs at room temperature overnight.

.Instead of placing a chicken on a roasting rack, cut thick slices of onion, put them in an oiled pan, then place the chicken on top. The onion will absorb the chicken juices. After roasting, let the chicken rest while you make a sauce with the onions by adding a little stock or water to the pan and cooking it for about 3 minutes on high heat.

.After cutting corn off the cob, use the back side of a knife (not the blade side) to scrape the cob again to extract the sweet milk left behind. This milk adds flavour and body to any corn dish.

.Take the time to actually read recipes through before you begin cooking.

.Recipes are only a guideline, not The Bible. Feel comfortable replacing ingredients with similar ingredients that you like. If you like oregano but not thyme, use oregano.

.A braised or slow-roasted whole beef roast or pork shoulder can be made into several dishes and sandwiches all week.

.Taste as you go.

.Anytime you are using raw onions in a salsa and you are not going to eat that salsa in the next 20 minutes or so, be sure to rinse the diced onions under cold running water first, then blot dry. This will rid them of sulphurous gas that can ruin fresh salsa. It’s really important in guacamole too.

.Do not use oil in the water when boiling pasta. It will keep the sauce from sticking to the cooked pasta.

.For safety, put a wine cork on the tip of a knife before putting the knife in a drawer.

.When you’re going to sauté garlic, slice it rather than mince it. It’s less likely to burn that way.

.When you’re browning meat, you should blot the surface dry with a paper towel so the meat doesn’t release moisture when it hits the oil. Too much moisture makes the meat steam instead of sear, and you will lose that rich brown crust.

.To cut pancetta or bacon into lardons, put it in the freezer for 15 minutes. This will firm up the meat and make it easier to cut.

.Crush garlic cloves inside a resealable plastic bag with the back of a knife. That way, your cutting board and knife won’t smell.

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