Something I talk about a lot on this blog is the importance of learning the basics of cooking. It’s great being able to cook a complex recipe, but to truly feel comfortable cooking you need to know how to peel an onion quickly…how to cook asparagus without it being too hard…or when to add a drop of lemon or pinch of salt.
With that in mind, here are five easy cooking tips that I think everyone should know about.
1. Slow Cookers Are Your “Cheat Code” for Healthy Foods
It would be great if we all had time to cook healthy meals every evening – but most of us are too busy (especially when you factor in washing up). With longer work days and less free time, it’s not surprising many people favour junk food.
Fortunately, there’s an easy way to cook large batch meals without needing to spend your evening in-front of a cooker. It’s called a slow cooker – and it’ll change your cooking life.
The big thing to remember is that slow cooking requires less liquid than regular cooking. So when you’re cooking your favourite stew or casserole, reduce water by around a half a cup. Also, make sure you cut the vegetables to the same size, otherwise they won’t cook evenly.
2. Don’t Crowd the Pan
A common mistake many beginners make is to crowd the pan. If you put too much into a pan, the heat won’t be able to distribute as effectively. This doesn’t just reduce the flavour of your dish – it can also stop food cooking through, which could be dangerous.
For this reason, make sure there’s at least a couple of inches between things in the pan.
3. Add Salt When Boiling Pasta
When you’re making pasta, remember to add salt before you start cooking. This adds some extra flavour that’s sealed inside the pasta – which you can’t get from adding salt later.
Don’t add too much though. One tablespoon in a pot of water is enough. It can make a big difference to the taste of your meal though.
4. Cut Onions Correctly.
When you’re cutting an onion, don’t remove the root. Peel the onion while keeping the root in one piece, then slice horizontally. You can then cut vertically to create small and evenly sized pieces (try that without keeping the root intact – I bet you can’t do it!)
5. Allow Red Meat to Sit
Do your steaks often taste dry? If so, you may need to let it sit longer before you cut it.
In fact, all red meat should be allowed to sit in foil for around five minutes. This lets all the juices inside the meat settle before you start cutting.
Keep in mind that the steak will carry on cooking in the foil. So if you want a medium-rare stake, you’ll need to take it out of the pan fairly quickly.