Kitchen Cooking Hacks
Get clued up on the top tips and tricks from the Food&Home team
Words by Kirsty Buchanan
What is granola without almonds, carrot cake without pecans or pad thai without peanuts?
Using nuts in your food not only adds extra flavour, but also an exciting layer of textural crunch. To get the most out of raw nuts, make sure to roast them. This enhances their flavour by 10-fold, giving them much more value in whatever you’re creating. To roast them, spread out your nuts evenly on a baking tray and place in a 180ºC oven for 10 min until they smell toasty. Let them cool, then store in a jar or container. For long-term storage, freeze nuts in a sealable bag.
Using up your leftover broccoli & cauliflower stems
More often than not, we cut the florets off heads of broccoli and cauliflower and toss the remaining stem. Here are some ideas to give the stems a place in your cooking:
- REMOVE the woody, outer layer to reveal the tender core, if necessary.
- BAKE into fritters, frittatas or quiches
- GRATE into coleslaws and salads
- BLITZ into homemade pesto
- SLICE into thin discs and cook with your florets
- ADD to dishes like stir-frys, soups, stocks or potato bake
- FRY in olive oil, garlic, chilli and salt, then toss in pasta or serve as is with your dinner
Ovens with a thermofan setting have a fan with a heating element around it, which creates evenly distributed heat around the oven. This allows you to evenly cook, brown and crisp multiple dishes at once. Thermofan ovens create more intense heat than conventional heating so make sure to reduce the temperature by about 15ºC when using it. By cooking at a slightly lower temperature compared to conventional heating, meats dishes are kept more succulent. Thermofan is ideal for things that bake quickly at higher temperatures or require drying, like choux pastry and rusks; however, it should not be used for items that need to be baked longer at lower temperatures, like cakes.
The ultimate crispy chicken skins
Chicken skins are arguably the best part of cooking chicken for dinner, so why not make make them the star of the show? Similar in taste to puffed pork belly crackling, crispy chicken skins can be crumbled over dishes, whipped into butter or enjoyed as a tasty snack. To make them, remove the skins from your chicken pieces and lay them out flat on a tray lined with baking paper. Sprinkle over a pinch of flakey salt and cover with a second piece of baking paper and another tray. Place in a 180ºC oven for 10-15 minutes until golden and crisp. Drain on paper towel to remove excess oil and enjoy!
The easiest way to deseed a chilli
To take the spicy bite out of fresh chillies, you need to remove the seeds and white membrane. To easily deseed a chilli without the fear of getting the spiciness all over your hands (and in your eyes!), chop off stalk and roll the chilli between your hands over a bowl to dislodge the seeds. Firmly tap the chilli to knock out any stubborn seeds, then chop up for your meal.