Mar 22, 2013

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Essential Kitchen Tips

Store Cupboard EssentialsBeing a whizz in the kitchen doesn’t only mean being an innovative chef. Organisation, classic recipes and cleanliness also play a part. A kitchen is the hub of a home, so being on top of things will have an effect on the smooth running in the rest of your household. Read on for top kitchen tips, which should transform you into a domestic god or goddess in no time!

Store cupboard essentials Cooking some recipes can require tricky-to-find items, though to deliver day-to-day meals a few store cupboard ingredients will enhance your dishes. Make sure cupboards are kept stocked up, so you’ll always have things to hand to whip up a meal in no time.

  • Tinned tomatoes: a cheap and tasty base for everything from stews to soups.
  • Herbs and spices: keep a range of dried and fresh varieties to add instant flavor.
  • Lemons: a squeeze will add zing to a salad in summer and cooked root veg come winter.
  • Vegemite/Marmite: love it or loathe it, a small jar will last for weeks and can be added to give body to dishes.
  • Tinned beans/chickpeas: a low-cost alternative to meat, pulses will instantly transform a light stew or soup into a hearty evening meal.

Don’t chuck leftovers! Tons of food is wasted each year as families throw out uneaten leftovers. Invest in a selection of plastic tubs and use these to store leftovers, which can be reheated to save time and money in the future. Buy a reel of plastic labels and ensure you label each tub with the date you cooked your items.

Choose your chopping board Hygiene in the kitchen is essential, so be mindful when preparing food. Use different chopping boards to prepare different items: cooked and raw meat and fish, veggies and baked goods should not be prepared together. If using plastic boards choose a variety of colours, or else clearly label a number of wooden boards.

Natural cleaning Chemical cleaners can be harsh on some kitchen surfaces and also irritate and cause allergies for some. For something a little gentler, use natural products which you may already have in your cupboard at home:

  • Baking soda mixed with water can be used to clean tiled floors and splashbacks.
  • Vinegar diluted in warm water gives shine to wooden floors.
  • Ketchup can be used to remove tarnish marks from copper and brass fixtures. Simply squirt a little ketchup on a damp cloth and gently rub, rinsing with warm water.
  • Clean a cast-iron pan by rubbing it with a few tablespoons of salt and a paper towel, and rinse.

Bake the perfect cake Your kitchen may look great with all that cleaning, though to really impress friends and family, why not treat them to a perfectly baked cake? A classic Victoria sponge uses 230g (8oz) of butter, 230g (8oz) of caster sugar, 230g (8oz) of self-raising flour and 4 medium eggs, cooked at 180C for 20-25 minutes. The secret? A lengthier creaming time allows more air bubbles to form, ensuring a perfectly-risen cake.

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