Wednesday 23 July 2014

6 Easy Ways to Improve Your Cooking Skills

Not everyone is a whizz in the kitchen, but there are some relatively simple things you can do to improve your cooking skills and ensure your next meal is something to be proud of. Take a look…

Start with the best ingredients

If you don’t have decent ingredients then you’re already at a big disadvantage. Better ingredients may be a little more expensive but the difference is huge and you’ll instantly notice the difference one you use them. For example, fresh pasta is nicer than dried pasta, whilst fresh fruit is better than tinned. Think about where the produce comes from, so get Italian food that comes from Italy, etc.

Buy some good knives

You may think that there’s not a huge amount of difference in the knives you use to prepare ingredients but you couldn’t be more wrong! A good set of knives will make chopping so much easier and quicker, so you can spend more time on other things. As well as the sharpness of the knife, also make sure that it’s weighted correctly. Knives can be expensive so if money is tight then choose a chef knife, paring knife and fillet knife. See here for more information on how to choose a good kitchen knife.

How good is your cooker?

As with the knives, it’s important your cooker is up to scratch or you’re going to run into problems. For example, is your oven distributing the heat evenly? If not then you will end up with hotspots which could burn your food. Neff ovens and cookers are some of the best around and should ensure your food is cooked properly.

Don’t rely on timers

Even though a recipe might tell you how long to cook something for, only use that time as a guide, not a rule. Cook until the food is done rather than stick to a strict time. Over time you’ll get better and better at recognising when the food is cooked.

Let meat rest

When you cook meat, all the juices are pushed to the centre of the meat. If you serve it straight away after cooking then the juices haven’t been given time to redistribute throughout the meat and it will be dry. Leave the meat to stand for half the time it took to cook before serving and it will be much moister.

Expand your repertoire

Test yourself and don’t rely on the same old dishes and techniques. You may be able to make a cracking fry-up, but how about trying eggs benedict instead? This means you’ll need to poach the egg, and try making your own hollandaise sauce to go with it. Do you know how to sauté or braise? Pushing yourself to learn new things will make you a better cook, even if you fail the first few times you try. 

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