LIFE-STYLE RECIPES

BACK TO BASICS! SIMPLE KITCHEN HACKS – FOR YOU!

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Okay, we are taking it back to BASICS! It’s unfair to expect that every single person is kitchen savvy, so I’ve jotted down a few “good-to-knows” for when you’re in the kitchen next that will make your cooking life a little easier!

I would like to remind you that this is just an example of ways that I personally have been taught to cook, taught myself or tips I have learnt along the way!!! Please feel free to leave a comment if you know any other awesome tricks! Let’s all help each other out!

HOW TO COOK;

BROWN RICE

  1. 2 x cups of water per 1 x cup of rice
  2. Put it in a pot and salt the water
  3. Bring to a boil, cover with a lid, lower the heat
  4. Cook for 30 mins
  5. Turn off heat and let it steam for a good 10 mins

QUINOA

  1. Rinse the quinoa BEFORE you cook it (Removes quinoa’s natural coating called saponin, which can make it taste bitter or soapy)
  2. Dry roast the quinoa in the pot until it’s fragrant
  3. Add boiling water – 2 x cups of water per 1 x cup of quinoa
  4. Cover with lid, lower heat
  5. Cook for 20 minutes
  6. Turn it off and let it sit in the pot for 10 mins
  7. Using a fork, fluff up the quinoa

GARLIC WHITE RICE (works best with Jasmine rice…My step-dads specialty!)

  1. Brown 2-3 cloves of garlic (chopped) in olive oil in the pot
  2. Add 1 x cup of rice and stir it in the oil & garlic for 2-3 mins
  3. Add 1.5 x cups of water per 1 x cup of rice
  4. Add salt, bring to boill
  5. Once it’s boiling, lower the heat to the lowest setting possible and pop on the lid
  6. Leave for 10-12 mins

VEGETABLES

BOIL – (Most common vegetables I boil are; Broccoli, Sweet Potato, Potato, Carrots, Pumpkin, Beetroot)

  1. Prepare your vegetables by rinsing them under cold water and then either peel the skin or remove the stems where needed, chop them into little chunks.
  2. Place a sauce pan on your stove top and fill with water (If you add water thats freshly boiled off the kettle it will be much faster!) add your vegetables to the water (feel free to salt the water if desired!)
  3. Bring your water to boil
  4. Test to see if your vegetables are ready by trying to spear a fork through a piece. If it goes through easily then it’s ready! If it’s still tough leave it for a little longer. Usually takes between 5-10 minutes, depending on the size of your vegetable chunks!

ROAST – (Most common vegetables I roast are; Sweet Potato, Potato, Pumpkin, Cauliflower, Zucchini, Whole baby Carrots, Brussel Sprouts)

  1. Preheat the oven to 180-200 degrees Celsius
  2. Prepare your vegetables by rinsing them under cold water and then either peel the skin or remove the stems where needed, chop them into little chunks! If you like mixing in some garlic, chop that up as well as you do this!
  3. Place your vegetable chunks into a baking dish and drizzle a little bit of olive oil on top, using both hands, sway the dish from side to side to coat all the chunks in a little bit of oil. Add in garlic if desired.
  4. Sprinkle Salt, pepper and any other spices on top (Paprika is great for your Potatoes)
  5. Pop it in the oven un-covered
  6. Potatoes take between 35-45 minutes depending how small you cut them
  7. Brussel Sprouts, Zucchini & Cauliflower take between 15-25 minutes
  8. Test to see if they are ready by spearing a chunk through with a fork, if it goes through easily, it’s ready! If not, leave it in for a few more minutes and then keep checking

STEAM –  (Most common vegetables I steam are; Baby Bok Choy, Spinach, Chinese Broccoli, Green Beans)

  1. Prepare your vegetables by rinsing them under cold water and then remove the stems where needed. You probably won’t chop these into little chunks! Keep them whole if possible.
  2. Line a bamboo steamer with baking paper
  3. Put the steamer into a saucepan (I use a Wok) that has been filled with water to just below the bottom of the steamer. Add your vegetables and close the lid!
  4. Some vegetables take longer than others but usually they are done after 5-10 mins!
  5. Sprinkle some salt or soy sauce (tamari for GF) on top to serve!

COMMON KITCHEN MATH

5 ml = 1 x Teaspoon
15 ml = 1 x Tablespoon
240ml = 1 x Cup

1/8 cup = 1 x Tablespoon
1/4 cup = 4 x Tablespoons
1/3 cup = 5 x Tablespoons + 1 x Teaspoon
1/2 cup = 8 x Tablespoons
3/4 cup = 12 x Tablespoons
1 cup = 16 x Tablespoons

300′ Fahrenheit = 150′ degrees celsius
350′ Fahrenheit = 180′ degrees celsius 
400′ Fahrenheit = 200′ degrees celsius 

KNOW YOUR ONIONS

Brown/Yellow Onion – Most common type of Onion to use – especially when the recipe calls for “onion”
Red Onion – Best for eating raw (guacamole)
White Onion – Crunchiest & has the sharpest zing.
Sweet Onion – Best for frying & for french onion soup
Schallots – Milder taste, best for garnishes & vinaigrettes
Spring Onion – Good for salads, dips & stir-fry’s
Leeks – Great for soups (especially pumpkin soup!)

HOW TO TO REMOVE THE SKIN FROM GARLIC

Place the clove flat on a chopping board. Using a wide chopping knife, lay the flat part down on top of the clove with the sharp edge facing AWAY from you.
Using the palm of your hand apply pressure to the clove so that it crushes under the strength of your hand. Skin should peel off immediately!

MOST COMMON HOUSE HOLD SPICES

I once read this great sign that said “Food isn’t made out of ingredients, Food IS ingredients” I avoid buying pre made sauce or spice mixes for food and have instead invested in buying my own spices and creating my own. You would be surprised how many of the pre made stuff have numbers in them! Buying them from an organic store can leave a little dent on the wallet when you first start, so perhaps if this is new to you, buy a few from your local Woolworths or Coles and see how you go with learning how to cook with them. Once you fall in love with the process you will willingly spend the $ on larger quantities!

Here are some of the best spices to start with!

  • Paprika – Perfect for your roast veggies, marinating your chicken & almost every Mexican dish
  • Cumin – Again, used in almost every Mexican dish!
  • Oregano – Perfect for all your Italian dishes, sauces and marinades
  • Curry Powder – Pretty self explanatory… Curries!
  • Cinnamon – An anti-inflammatory that will cater to all your sweet AND savoury needs!
  • Himalayan Pink Salt – Much better for you then regular table salt
  • Ground Black Pepper – Also better for you then your regular powdered pepper

If there were any 7 I would suggest to START with, these would be it! Then eventually you can work your way to many more!

BOILING EGGS

0-4 mins – All runny
5 mins – Whites set, runny yolk
6-7 mins – Yolk almost set
8 mins – Softly set yolk
9-10 mins – Perfectly boiled hard egg

EGG SHELLS CAUGHT IN YOUR EGGS?

Wet your finger with cold water to easily remove the egg shell.

BANANAS OVER RIPE?

Don’t throw them out! Freeze them for a super sweet smoothie and for future banana bread making!

WATER KEEPS BOILING OVER THE EDGE OF THE POT?

Rest a wooden spoon vertically on top of your pot as your water is boiling. This will stop the over flowing!

DON’T KNOW IF YOUR AVOCADO IS RIPE?

Remove the stem at the bottom (looks like a button) and check the colour of the flesh.
Green – Not ripe just yet
Yellow/Light brown – Just right!!
Dark Brown/Black – Over ripe

Also, instead of cutting your avocado out with a knife, scoop it out with a table spoon instead!

WORRIED YOUR CHICKEN ISN’T COOKED THROUGH?

Instead of chopping it apart and ruining your pretty picture, keep a thermometer handy.  The safe internal temperature for cooked chicken is 75° Celsius (165° Fahrenheit)

WILTED PRODUCE?

Has your salad mix gone soft? Not to worry! Get it crunchy again by filling a large bowl of water with ice, add your vegetables and let it soak for 20 minutes!

SAFETY FIRST

When cooking on the stove top make sure that the handles of your pots are horizontal and facing away from you. This is to avoid accidentally knocking the handle and sending all your contents on the floor, or worse, on YOU!

That’s all I have off the top of my head! Please feel free to comment below & share with us your own kitchen Back to Basics tips!!! I would love to hear some more!!!

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