Kitchen 101 : Hacked
No need to struggle with broken bits of eggshells, stinging eyes as you chop an onion or the hassle of peeling ginger. We’ve revealed a few of our top tricks to make cooking a little easier!
Words by Kirsty Buchanan
Images courtesy of Pexels
No more eggshells!
One of the most frustrating things when baking is when you get a piece of eggshell in your bowl and have to chase it around for ages to get it out. To avoid getting shards in your bowl, don’t crack eggs on the side of your bowl, but rather straight on your countertop. Always crack open eggs in a separate bowl first. And if you need to fish out bits of eggshell from your mixture, use one of the eggshell halves to scoop it out – it works like a charm!
How to peel ginger
By removing the peel from fresh ginger with a vegetable peeler or slicing it off with a knife, you often end up cutting away lots of the precious ginger itself. Our hack: use a spoon! By using a spoon, you’re able to scrape away all the peel easily and reach into all the nooks and crannies without sacrificing any ginger. Spoons with thinner edges work best.
Why is it always the case that one often has lots of overripe bananas when you don’t need them, but when you’re craving banana bread, you don’t have any on hand? Overripe bananas are essential for baking as they have a far sweeter flavour and a softer texture. To quickly ripen bananas, place them on a lined baking tray in a 150ºC oven for 15-20 minutes – the skins will go black, but the insides will be perfectly softened. Allow to cool before using.
Repurpose your pickle juice
Next time you finish your jar of pickles, don’t throw away the juice. Pickle brine is a great way to add extra depth of flavour to dishes. Use it to make salad dressings or simply reuse it to make your own pickles. It’s a great tenderiser for meat so works well in a beef marinade. Elevate your fried chicken by adding some pickle liquid to the wet mix when you’re dredging. Pickle brine can also add a delightful zing to potato salad and to things like store-bought barbecue sauce. Get creative – pickle juice lends itself to so many applications!
Dice it right
Dicing onions is one of the first steps in most recipes and is an essential skill to master. To start, slice off the stem end of your onion, leaving the root end intact (this is essential as the root section will hold all the onion petals together as you’re slicing). Slice the onion in half through the root section, then peel off the papery skin. Lay one onion half flat on your chopping board and make vertical slices in the stem-to-root direction, but not cutting all the way through to the root end. Then carefully make 1-2 horizontal cuts through the onion towards the root end, again not slicing all the way through the root. Now, holding the onion firmly to hold it together, chop it up crosswise and watch your diced pieces magically fall onto your board. Repeat with the other onion half.
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