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COOKING AND FOOD RELATED TIPS

Useful ideas to save time and to add that extra special something to dishes.

  • When defrosting meat from the frig, pour over vinegar ( ex pickled onion vinegar is good!). This lowers the freezing temperature of water in the meat, i.e. defrosts faster and tenderises the meat.

David Lovering

  • Chicken Dhansak cheat - One can now buy those nasty powdered instant soups in Tomato and Lentil in ASDA. Saves the tedium of overnight soaking and long cooking of the lentils - adds tomato at the same time, which is not strictly correct, but Brits like their curries with tomato puree` ! Shame about the sugar and salt content, but sometimes speed is more important than exactitude.....

David Lovering

  • I have tried all sorts of strategies to keep fresh leaf coriander in the refrigerator.  The best way, I find, is to loosely wrap in aluminium foil, leaving an opening at the top.  Doesn’t go mushy, doesn’t dry out, lasts a week or more!

Andy Castle

  • Stock from Leftovers - add the leftovers from roast chicken to your crockpot along with carrots, onion, celery, and herbs and let cook on low overnight. In the morning, let it cool, strain and discard solids, and season, and you will have flavorful chicken stock to use in other recipes.

Kathy Green

  • Pastry mix - Save precious time by mixing your pastry to the "breadcrumb" stage i.e. rubbing in the flour and fat and then put this mixture into a freezer container.  It is a good idea to make quite a large amount.  When you want to make pastry, take out enough of the dry mixture for your requirements and add the water in the usual way.
     

  • This mixture can also be used to make crumble by just adding sugar.

Thanks to Brenda Roff for this one.

  • Chicken and dumplings (Southern style) - take a packet of flour tortillas, floured on both sides and cut in strips.  Put them in with your chicken and broth and let them cook (just like the old fashioned kind).  Add a can of cream of chicken soup for extra richness and a dash of yellow food colouring for that "extra rich look" and there you have it - Chicken and Dumplings Southern style!
     

  • Burritos are wonderful and so easy.  Purchase large tortillas, take any kind of meat you like and cook it until it is tender, then grind (mince) it up.  You could also use leftover meat which has been ground/minced.   Brown meat, mixing in any variety of seasonings.  Cumin is a mainstay in this type of food.  When the meat is all finished (and I usually add a little wine or water and cook it down), add in refried beans.  Warm the tortilla, either in the microwave or on a skillet.  Place a dollup of meat mixture to one edge of the tortilla, add sour cream, grated cheese, salsa, whatever topping you want and roll away. mmmmmmmmmmm !!!!!!                                                  

Thanks for this mouthwatering offering Pam

  • A tip received from R. Muniz to make "4 for 1$ mac and cheese kits" more enjoyable.  Add a little more margarine until melted.   Then add the cheese powder. Omit the salt and the milk.  Mix well.  This makes a more flavourful and deeply coloured side dish with a cheesier taste.
     

  • When drying herbs use the clean bags provided with the tablets for washing machines.  Put in the fresh herbs, hang them to dry, when ready just rub between your hands onto a piece of paper and then store them in empty herb jars.  All the stems will be left in the bags so it is very quick and easy.

Courtesy of Brenda Roff

  • Use condensed soup as a quick and easy sauce.  e.g. cut some leftover chicken into cubes and mix with either condensed chicken or mushroom soup and serve on a bed of rice.  "Chicken la King" in minutes.
     

  • To make mince go further add some breadcrumbs or carrots into the recipe.
     

  • Add Worcestershire sauce to baked beans or scrambled egg to give them that extra zing.

Alternatively,  add a spoonful of ready mixed 'curry' cooking sauce. Pataks is best (by a large margin). Enough to wake anybody up in the morning!

David Lovering

  • To make a few sausages go a very long way;  make "Toad in the Hole" by cutting the sausages into small pieces and using a bun tin to make individual portions.  Add chopped onion for an extra twist.
     

  • What is "Toad in the Hole"? It is a batter made with flour, egg and milk, which is poured over sausages and baked in the oven.
     

  • Fold some orange liqueur and orange rind into whipped cream to add that special "something".   Particularly nice with fresh fruit salad.
     

  • Pipe whipped double cream into rosettes onto a tray.  Open freeze, then pack carefully.  These can be used as decorations for desserts, cakes etc. Allow 30 minutes at room temperature to defrost.
     

  • For something a little different, stir a little natural yoghurt into fresh cream.  This can be used on both sweet and savoury dishes.
     

  • Slice fresh lemons, open freeze on a tray, then pack in the usual manner.  Always there for that gin and tonic!
     

  • After washing and drying, freeze fresh sprigs of herbs, which can either be used whole or crushed whilst frozen - no need to chop.
     

  • In order to find any lumps within dry ingredients e.g. when rubbing fat into flour, just gently shake the container and this will make any lumps rise to the surface.

Come on, add your own little gem to our page by contacting us on june@hintsandthings.co.uk - we look forward to hearing from you!

More kitchen hints.

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Aga tips.

How to cook eggs to perfection.

 

 

 

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