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It seems that everyone has got into cooking recently, due to being trapped in their homes over the lockdown period. I mean, who remembers the time at the start of lockdown when everyone was making banana bread? That seems like ages ago now doesn’t it? Even if you are not the best cook, there are plenty of easy recipes you can try out as a beginner. As well as using easy to follow recipes, I have some cooking hacks that will blow your mind!
You can poach an egg in the microwave
I can’t believe the number of people I come across that doesn’t know this simple hack. There is no need to buy microwave egg poacher or anything fancy. Simply fill a mug about half full with water, add a splash of vinegar, then crack the egg into the water. Put a plate over the top. You need to get used to your microwave, so check the eggs every ten or twenty seconds.
Make hash browns in a waffle iron
Buying a waffle iron was probably my most sound investment. Not only does it make delicious waffles, but you can also use a waffle iron to make hash browns. Simply follow a standard hash brown recipe and put it in the waffle iron rather than frying.
Use a wok for fried chicken
I happened across this one when I was perfecting my fried chicken recipe. We didn’t have a fryer so I filled the biggest thing I could find with oil, which was my trusty wok. Since then I have realised it is the perfect size for frying enough chicken for two people.
Run water on stale bread and put it in the oven to give it back some crunch
I was pretty sceptical about this one until I tried it on some crusty rolls. It’s not perfect, but if you want to get the most out of any rolls or crusty bread then it’s worth a try. Try not to leave them in too long or to have the oven too hot in case you end up burning them.
Cook your mashed potatoes in cream instead of water
I know quite a lot of people add cream to their mashed potatoes after they are cooked. While this is a fairly solid strategy, you haven’t lived until you have tried boiling the potatoes in cream. It’s magnificent.
Grate butter so it’s easier to use while backing
I’ve always thought if you own a cheese grater you can accomplish anything in life. When I’m baking, I tend to find that I get in quite a kerfuffle with the chopping of the butter. It almost always takes AGES to cut up and ends up being too hard to knead into whatever I am making. Grating it solves this problem pretty effectively.
Put oil and salt on a jacket potato
This is another one that sounds obvious when you hear it, but until you try it you don’t realise how good it is. Rub a bit of oil and salt as well as some love and care into you jacky p before you cook it. Cook for the normal amount of time and you will be rewarded with the crispiest potato skins known to man. I wouldn’t lie to you about potatoes.
Freeze diced onions for further use
As soon as I get around a good kitchen knife, I get a bit chop happy. I can chop onions without crying, so there is no stopping me, Unfortunately, once I try and add them to my recipe I realise I’ve gone a bit too far with the onion chopping. No problems, I just bag them up and freeze them.
You can also poach eggs in the oven
I realise I have already told you the quick way to poach eggs in the microwave, but who doesn’t love an egg? All you need to bake eggs in the oven if a muffin tin. Butter each of the holes and crack your eggs in then cook them for around twenty minutes.
Whip cream in a jar
Whipped cream was my nemesis at one point during lockdown when I kept finding the most amazing strawberries at this local produce shop. I’m either not strong enough or patient enough to mess around with whipped cream. Simply take an extra jar you have lying around, put a cup of whipping cream in with a pinch of sugar and a dash of vanilla extract and shake.
Make DIY cake cases with greaseproof paper
There’s nothing worse than making preparations to make fairy cakes and realising that you have no cake cases. Especially if you have promised the kids you are going to do some cooking. All is not lost. Simply cut some squares of greaseproof paper, and use some butter to get them to stick to the lining of a muffin tin.
Peel garlic without peeling garlic
Let’s be honest: no one LIKES peeling garlic. It’s smelly and fiddly and it’s pretty easy to cut your hand off. This is why I am sharing my ultimate garlic secret with you. Put the garlic in the microwave for twenty seconds, and the peel will just slide off.
Pour pancake batter into an empty condiment bottle
I don’t mean the glass ones. You can use the squeezy ketchup bottles to store pancake batter. Then you can squeeze it out efficiently without accidentally pouring too much batter in. The bonus to this one is that there is a lot less mess!
Make a brush
Have you ever been following a recipe and realised you don’t have a kitchen brush? I mean only people that have seriously got their act together enough to own a kitchen brush. If you need to baste something, you can easily make a disposable one. Just roll up some greaseproof paper and cut one end like a little fringe. Viola!
If your house is any of my mate’s houses, leftover wine is NOT a thing. However, if you are normal, you can freeze leftover wine in ice cube trays, and use them for sauces. If you don’t want to use them to cook, you can always use the ice cube wine in more wine. Everyone’s a winner.