Food is delicious, but only if it’s well-prepared. If your culinary skills are lacking, or you could stand to improve, take a little time this weekend to learn some new tips, tricks and skills to help you cook and bake a whole lot better.
Before diving in to all the tips, the best thing you can do is get yourself organised and prepared to cook well and efficiently. Be sure to read our station-by-station guide to becoming a kitchen pro so you’re ready to cook like the best.
Start With Some Great Recipes
If you’re a fan of fast food, however, and would like to learn how to make some of your favourites at home, we’ve got 10 great fast food recipes you can replicate yourself. Outside of our collection, Gojee is a great place to find a lot of great options. So is Epicurious, How2Heroes and Cookthink.
Effortlessly Prep Your Ingredients
Garlic is a perfect example, as you can shake an entire clove in a bowl to peel it in 10 seconds. De-seeding a watermelon is also very simple if you simply know where to cut. Similarly, if you cut an onion properly you won’t have to worry about any eye irritation.
There is also a best method for slicing and dicing an onion quickly and easily. (Once you have a handle on prepping garlic and onions, you should learn how to get the most out of them in your cooking.) Whatever tricks you’re using to get the job done faster, you’ll save yourself even more time and effort by prepping in an assembly-line style. This not only makes it easier while you’re cooking, but also saves a lot of time when cleaning up as well.
For more great skills you can pick up quickly, check out our top 10 how-to cooking videos.
Learn A Few New Cooking And Baking Techniques
Sometimes great techniques just involve a few little alterations. Marinating hot dogs, fruit and steaks can add a lot of extra flavour when grilling. You can make better smoothies and desserts with the syrup from canned fruit.
If you’ve fruit or veggies that could use some refreshing, an ice bath is good for lettuce and hot water will keep the mould off your berries. If you want to cookie pasta fast and with an easy sauce, cook it in a frying pan with cold water.
For a fun project, make your own cake pops or create your own cookie cutter shapes from a foil pan. And finally, one of our favourite tricks is making biscuit bowls by baking biscuits on an upside-down muffin tin.
Cook Quickly And Easily In The Microwave
You may not look at your microwave as much of a cooking tool but, rather, just a reheating mechanism. While it’s not going to replace your oven or stove, there’s a lot it can do in the cooking and baking department. Also, for those times you’re reheating food, there are several ways to do it better. But before you go off and microwave anything, know the best placement for your food.
Microwaves, of course, were made for heating or reheating, not cooking, but they don’t always leave food in the crispiest condition. There are ways around this. Parchment paper is one of them. When you’re reheating pizza, for example, using a sheet of parchment paper will help keep it crispy. Microwaves are also great for restoring stale foods like bread. Even if your food isn’t stale, sometimes a few seconds in the microwave can help as well. This is the case with cheese, for example, as it helps bring out the flavour.
For more microwave cooking tips, and just some other cooking skills that’ll save you time, check out our guide to low-effort cooking.
Image: Vanilla and Lace.
Got any other great culinary tips you love? Share ’em in the comments!