Some people find cooking easy, others hate it! Either way, we can all benefit from some cooking hacks to make life easier in the kitchen.
Ingredients at the Ready
When starting a meal, it helps to have the necessary ingredients all laid out ready. Not only does this ensure you’ve got everything in stock, but can make the entire cooking process quicker because there’s no going to fetch or find anything from cupboards. Like everything in life, a little bit of organisation can go a long way!
Washing Up… Already?
We all know it’s the worst part of cooking. Washing up can be tedious, especially when there’s lots to wash up! To ease this load, have a hot soapy bowl of water ready for when you finish cooking. That way, you can dump the dirty cutlery and utensils in the sink straight away for them to soak, ready to be washed when you’ve eaten your hard-earned meal! Sometimes, it can also be a good idea to wash up as you go. For example, if you’ve cut up some bacon for a stir-fry, while it’s sizzling away, quickly wash the scissors so there’s less to do at the end!
We’ve all been guilty of skim-reading past the bit of the instructions that says to pre-heat the oven at one point or another, but it’s an important step if you want to cook things properly! Along with pre-heating to the correct temperature, it’s important to keep a timer on when things are in the oven. If you prefer to ‘cook by sight’, rather than timing how long things have been in for, that’s fine… until the one time you forget there’s something in the oven and start to smell burning! Nothing’s stopping you from cooking by sight, but at least set a timer for the maximum time something could be in the oven, so that there’s a safety net to prevent cremating your meals!
Oh No! I’ve made too many peas…
…is something I’ve exclaimed to myself many times in the kitchen (we’ll not discuss how often I talk to myself out loud!). If you’re anything like me, you also find it deceptively tricky to cook the appropriate amount of anything. Fortunately, I have a hack to help with this. For peas (and veg), try pouring them out into the saucepan before the water. This means you get more perspective on how many you’re going to cook, because they look like they will on the plate! For spaghetti, you can buy ‘spaghetti measurers’ that give you the correct amount to make. Or, most kitchen utensils (like big spoons, draining spoons and the like) have a hole in the handle. This hole can sometimes be used to measure spaghetti, but not always, so maybe have a check!
And Finally… Boiling Over
We’ve all done it. You look away from the spaghetti for one second and BLAM- the water’s boiling over (much like the weeping angels in Doctor Who, I suspect saucepans of spaghetti cannot boil over whilst being observed)! For the final – and perhaps best – cooking hack, I will now offer a solution to this common problem… a wooden spoon. This sounds ridiculous, but if you place a wooden spoon horizontally across the top of the pan, the water will not boil over! Seriously, try it, this truly saved my bacon (well, my spaghetti to be more specific but you get the point).
Cooking doesn’t have to be difficult. Whether you’re a novice, or you’re Gordon Ramsay, I hope these cooking hacks will make life in the kitchen that little bit easier!
(Has reading this article made you hungry? It has me!)