Everyone wants to feel like a pro in the kitchen. We’ve collected some of our favourite tips & tricks that can make life a little bit easier, healthier, greener, more delicious and fun.
Use beans to add protein
Add beans and lentils to mince dishes, casseroles, or curries to reduce meat or bulk out meals.
Wrap a cube of Feta cheese in a fresh basil leaf with sundried tomato and pin with a toothpick for a three-for-one bite on an antipasto platter.
Store canned goods correctly
Tins are easy to stack and store. They’re best kept in a cool, dark place, away from any appliances that produce heat.
Sprinkle a little water onto the plate before adding pizza slices for reheating in the microwave. It takes the stiffness out of the refrigerated crust.
Swap dry beans for canned beans
For recipes that call for dry beans, you can easily swap these out for canned beans. Since dried beans essentially double in weight when soaked, a good rule of thumb...
How to open a tight lid
The key to opening most stuck bottles or jars is to break the vacuum seal that holds them in place. This seal is important for the quality and food safety...
Pasta frittata anyone?
Did you know leftover pasta is great in a frittata? Simply mix the pasta with eggs and any other ingredients you want to add, cook and serve.
Pesto whenever you need it
Did you know you can freeze pesto? Spoon it into ice cube trays, freeze and then pop the frozen blocks into a plastic bag.
Sub out fresh garlic for crushed garlic
One clove of garlic is equal to one teaspoon of crushed garlic.
Avoid bitter Basil Pesto
Never heat Basil Pesto – the basil will turn black and taste bitter.
Subbing out fresh and dried herbs
You can sub out fresh for dried herbs and vice versa. Use the below ratios as a guide and never be caught short when recipes call for herbs that aren’t...
Alternative uses for your pasta sauce
Prepared pasta sauces are also great for using in soups, stews and other cooked dishes as well as being perfect as pizza toppings when thickened with tomato paste.
How much juice is in a lemon?
One lemon, juiced, is approximately equal to 4 tablespoons of lemon juice.
Removing fat from a stew
An ice cube placed on a dessert spoon and run through a stew, will attract excess fat for removal. Stale bread or crackers can also be used to do this,...
How much juice is in a lime?
One lime, juiced, is approximately equal to 1 ½ – 2 tablespoons of lime juice.
Use one part cornflour to two parts water for a quick sauce or gravy thickener. Stir in small amounts at a time until satisfied with consistency.
Pasta water for plants
After boiling pasta, potatoes or other vegetables, allow the water to cool and use it to water your houseplants. The water contains nutrients that your plants will love, plus you’re...
What is the Mother of Vinegar?
The odd looking white filmy material you sometimes see in vinegar is called Mother of Vinegar and is a result of unfermented sugars in the vinegar. It is harmless and...
Make the most of your non-stick spray
Spray a grater with non-stick cooking spray to stop foods from sticking and make cleaning easier. Plus, it’s also good for measuring cups to help weigh up sticky liquids.
Salted Pasta Water
Adding salt to pasta water will not make it boil faster, though it will add some flavour.
Make your sauce stick to your pasta
It’s notoriously difficult to get creamy sauces to stick to your pasta, but here’s how chefs do it. After you’ve drained your pasta from the water, grate and mix in...
When to add your pasta to the water
Pasta should be added to boiling water, not in the pan while the water heats up.
Reheating pasta successfully
Microwaving pasta often ends up with the pasta heating through unevenly. To stop this from happening, simply make a hole in the middle of pasta on the plate and it...
Don’t add oil to your pasta
Oil should not be added as it will cause any sauce to run off the cooked pasta.
Miracle Chickpea liquid!
The liquid in tinned Chickpeas is called aquafaba, and it’s a kitchen staple in itself! When you drain a tin of chickpeas, reserve the aquafaba and use it as a...
Should I rinse pasta?
Good pastas do not need to be rinsed. Rinsing will remove the starch making it harder for sauces to stick.
To protect your knife blade, use the back of your knife to scrape diced products like onions or peppers from your cutting board.
Wait to drain your pasta
Make sure everything else is ready before draining pasta as it will go cold faster than sauces will.
Stop tomatoes from staining your plastic
To keep your plastic containers from getting stained from coloured foods like tomato or turmeric, rub the inside with oil before placing the food in the container.
How to cook Gnocchi
When cooking gnocchi in a fry pan use a mix of oil and butter. The oil will stop them sticking and the butter will make them go golden brown.
If you don’t want an overcooked dinner…
You can cook food more, but you can’t cook food less. Test as you go and remove foods just before they are cooked; then allow them to finish in their...
Mixing sauce through pasta
If you want to mix your sauce through your pasta, rather than pouring on top, drain the pasta then return it to the pot and then add the sauce. Stir...
Use a tea strainer to sieve out lumpy gravy. It will be faster and more effective than trying to de-lump in the pan.
Stirring to avoid clumpy pasta
No matter what type of pasta you’re making, it’s important to occasionally stir the noodles as they cook so they don’t clump together.
Use by vs best before
Use by dates mean exactly that. Be very cautious of food that has expired. Best before dates are flexible, but use your common sense when dealing with any older product.
Change the way you cook Ravioli
In some parts of the world ravioli is fried almost as often as it is boiled.
Freeze in the flavour
Freeze fresh herbs in oil to store them and then use as a starting point for cooking later. Make up blends of herbs and spices you use regularly to have...
Quick Layered Dip
Make a quick layered dip by half filling a bowl with sour cream, adding a thin layer of sweet Thai chilli sauce and topping up with hummus.
Freeze liquids like wine or stock for cooking in smaller portions to use when needed.
Retaining flavour while reducing spice
A lot of the heat in chillies and peppers comes from the seeds and pith. Remove these to reduce the heat and still retain the flavour.
Richer Tomato Sauce
To add richness and depth to tomato sauces add a tablespoon or two of butter or olive oil just before taking off the heat.
Keeping spices fresh for longer
Whole spices last longer than ground and can be used as needed. A coffee grinder will work on spices the same way it does on coffee beans.
Enhance your Macaroni
Mustard is a natural flavour enhancer for macaroni cheese. Use a light sprinkle of mustard powder or a teaspoon of jar mustard. Dijon is an excellent option
Sweeter Tomato Sauces
Carrots add a natural sweetness to tomato sauces. If grated they will cook into the sauce completely.
Substitutes for salt
Instead of adding more salt, try adding a splash of vinegar, lemon or lime juice. They can make flavours more lively without over salting the dish.
Perfecting onion and garlic
Sauté onions first and then add any garlic. Garlic takes much less time to cook so cooking them at the same time will overcook the garlic making it taste bitter.
Level up your ice game
Use a muffin pan to make larger ice cubes. Add slices of lemons,strawberry halves or fresh herbs like mint to add colour and taste when served in drinks.
Separate stuck glasses
If two drinking glasses become stuck together after stacking, put ice water in the inner glass and wait a few minutes. The cold glass should contract, making the glasses separate...
The best way to chill wine?
Freeze a small bag of green grapes to have on hand for chilling white wine on a warm day. They will keep the wine cool without diluting the flavour.
Cutting cakes or soft cheeses
Dental floss or dental tape can be used to cut soft cheeses and cakes. Dividing a whole cake up is easier when cutting from both ends, just make sure it’s...
The perfect pancake, every time
Place pancake batter in an icing bag or a plastic bag to control the amount of batter you put in the pan for each pancake.
Bring out the flavour of chocolate
Add a tablespoon of cold coffee to chocolate cakes and brownies to bring out the cocoa flavour.
Keep biscuits the size you want
Biscuits and cookies will spread out on the pan if your dough is too soft or pliable. To stop spreading, refrigerate the dough for an hour before baking.
The safest way to open tins
When emptying a tin with a tear top lid; open the tin 90% of the way, empty the contents and then fold the lid back into the can to reduce...
Stop meatballs from splitting
Place meatballs in the fridge for twenty minutes before cooking to stop them splitting.
A secret ingredient for tasty burger patties
When making mince patties for burgers, add in some chopped bacon for extra flavour and a natural oil to fry in.
Poke a hole in the middle of the hamburger patties while shaping them. The burgers will cook faster and the holes will fill in during the cooking. If they don’t...
Dry style meat
Cook meat, especially steak, dry style. Water in the pan or on the meat will interfere with the process by which food browns from searing, the Maillard process.
The best way to BBQ
Use tongs or a turner when cooking meat on the BBQ. Puncturing meat with a fork allows the natural juices to escape, making it chewy and less flavourful.
Slice meat with ease
Freezing meat for 45 minutes to an hour before cooking makes it easier to cut into strips without affecting the cooking time.
Give it a rest
It's important to let roast meats and poultry sit a little while before carving to retain the juices. If you cut it too soon, it will allow the juice out;...
Where to thaw meat
Thaw frozen meat and poultry in the refrigerator and not on the kitchen counter where bacteria can grow.
When to use olive oils?
Make sure you use pure or lite olive oil for cooking and extra virgin olive oil only for salad dressings; using extra virgin in cooking can overpower the flavour of...
Your next salad addition
Unpeeled, sliced courgettes make an attractive and crunchy addition to salads, sandwiches and rolls.
Always make vinaigrette dressing at least ½ hour prior to using to allow the flavours to combine.
Green or Black Olives
Green Olives are the unripe fruit of the olive tree and are firmer with a sharper flavour. Black olives are the ripe fruit and are more rounded in flavour and...
Try Roasted Olives
Roasting olives in the oven and eating them warm is a delicious and different way to enjoy them.
A new way to add Capers
Quick frying capers in oil or butter will change the taste and texture. Fried capers are delicious in salads or added to a fish dish.
Capsicum bowls for your dip
An attractive and natural bowl for hummus or dips can be made by halving and deseeding a capsicum.