While food trends might change from time to time, the building blocks generally remain the same. Kitchen skills depend on your ability to follow the fundamentals of kitchen rules and build something amazing as a result. The more you hone simple skills, the easier it is to build a body of knowledge that helps you to succeed as a cook.
Here, you’ll find a list of some of the most helpful food tips to help you make the most of your kitchen and your cooking skills in the months to come.
If your scrambled eggs never turn out how you plan, then you can make sure that you always get soft and creamy curds with a few basic tips. The key to success with eggs is being gentle. Proteins start to harden in eggs at around 63 degrees Celsius, and when the eggs reach 85 degrees Celsius, all of their proteins will solidify. If you turn the heat up too far, then you’ll end up squeezing out the water.
When it comes to boiled eggs, it’s important not to actually boil the eggs. Simmering the eggs will deliver a better outcome. If you boil eggs the shells can end up cracking as the water bashes them against the side of the pans. Make sure that you place the soft boiled eggs in a pan with a layer of cold water and place them on high heat for five minutes to keep yolks runny.
For amazing scrambled eggs, whisk your eggs in a bowl about fifteen minutes before you start cooking, and add a small pinch of salt for every egg to stop the proteins from bonding too strongly. A few teaspoons of milk for each egg will lead to a creamy scramble too.
When you’re poaching, put a small pot of salted water on medium heat and just make a gentle whirlpool with your spoon when you’re ready to cook, breaking the egg into the centre of the pan will keep it from touching the sides.
Finally, when you’re frying eggs, make sure that you stop the gg’s desire to stick to anything hot. You’ll need to fry eggs at a temperature of around 130C, to make sure the butter sizzles without browning.
Getting Pork Skin to Crackle
As pork gets hot and the fat renders, the temperature inside of the skin begins to soar. The moisture creates steam which forces the skin to crackle. Preheat your oven to 240 degrees Celsius at least if you want to create pork crackling, then score the skin and fat of your pork with a sharp knife. Make sure you don’t cut into the meat.
Rub the skin of the pork with salt and olive oil and place the meat in a roasting dish in the oven. Crackling will take about 30 to 45 minutes in total, depending on the kind of pork you choose and the oven. When the skin is blistered, reduce the heat to around 170 degrees Celsius and cook till it’s done.
How to Peel Garlic
When garlic is harvested first, the skin remains soft. It’s only after weeks to the skin dry and hardens to protect the garlic bulb. This means that skin is harder to remove from cured garlic. If you want to peel garlic properly, remove the individual cloves from the bulb, and then take a sharp knife and cut a tiny amount off near the end of the clove. You can use the blade of the knife or your fingernails to peel the skin.
If you’re chopping your garlic, simply place the clove on a chopping board, lay the flat blade of the knife on top and give the whole thing a whack with your palm.
Roasting and Baking Potatoes
To roast and bake potatoes, start by choosing the right potato, like Dutch cream or Sebago. Clean your potatoes under running water Poke around holes around the potato with a metal skewer and place everything into the center of the oven. Bake for up to 60 minutes until the skewer slides through easily.
For crunchy roast potatoes, use mid-sized potatoes and scrub them clean without peeling. Place in a saucepan covered with water and boil at high heat, then simmer the vegetables for about 15 minutes until they’re a little softer. Cut the potatoes into quarters and drizzle them with olive oil, then season with salt and pepper, oil and another seasoning. Spread the potatoes over a tray and cook until golden brown for about 25 minutes.
Cooking Rice without a Rice Cooker
To cook rice without a cooker, take your long-grained rice and rinse it with a sieve under cold water to remove the starch. Soak for about half an hour and use one and a third times the amount of water to soaked rice. If you place a finger on top of the rice and cover it with water until it comes above your first knuckle, you’ll be on the right track. Place the pot on the stove over medium heat and bring to the boil. Allow the water to boil until all of the water disappears and you’re left with a series of holes in the rice. Cover the rice with a lid and reduce the heat to low to allow the rice to continue absorbing water.
How to Cook Legumes from Scratch
Australia is a great place to grow things like kidney beans and chickpeas, but you’ve got to know how to cook these foods. Legumes like split peas and lentils cook rapidly. Soak other varieties for about four hours before you start cooking and add a pinch of baking powder to the water to help them soften their skins. Cover the beans with water and don’t let them swim as they cook, as this will leach too many nutrients. Top up the water while you’re cooking if necessary and avoid adding acidic ingredients like lemon or tomatoes until the end of cooking.
Poaching and Jointing Chicken
If you want to poach a chicken, start by washing the whole bird very well outside and in and allowing it to drain. Take a large pot and add some herbs, onion and chopped celery. Bring the food to the boil and immerse the chicken in water with the breast facing down. Let the pot simmer and cook for about 10 minutes covered. Take the pot off the heat and let it cool for about 45 minutes, then remove the chicken and allow it to drain. Place it on a plate and refrigerate, and the chicken should be cooked through.
If you want to joint a chicken place the bird on its back with the neck facing away from you and open the leg to see where it joins onto the body. Cut down close to the body until you reach the joint and cut through with a knife, then repeat on the other side. Use the knife to remove the drumstick from the thigh and move onto the wings. Make a circular cut around the wing to make a meaty segment at the end of the wing joint.
To remove chicken breasts, find the breastbone and slide the knife along as close as possible to the rib cage and around the wishbone. Repeat the process on the other side.
All you need for a simple salad dressing is three parts oil to a single part of acid. Put three tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil, a little French mustard, and one tablespoon of white wine vinegar into a jar and shake it very well. Add a twist of black pepper and shake again. The oil will be great for moving the waxy covering of leafy greens, so make sure that you dress your salad just before serving.
Preventing Food Poisoning
Finally, remember that food should be kept at either above 60 degrees, or below 5 degrees Celsius to prevent bugs from growing. Between those temperatures, bacteria are able to grow which leads to food poisoning. If your food has been in this zone for less than 2 hours you can put it back in the fridge. If the food has been in the zone for between two and four hours you can eat it straight away but can’t put it back in the fridge. If you have had your food in this zone for longer than four hours, don’t use it.
Undercooked pork is dangerous to eat in countries where trichinosis is common. Fortunately, we don’t have that issue in Australia which means that slightly pink pork can be safe to eat if it’s well-handled from an Australian farm.