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People can be divided into two categories: those who cook and those who don’t. Devotees of the culinary art are often self-taught or have learned watching mum or granny, so they often resort to solutions that are dictated by habit. In actual fact, such methods may turn out to be laborious or complicated or – more often – simply wrong.
So here are 15 common errors we all tend to make in the kitchen, more often that we think.
1. HOW TO PEEL BANANAS
Let’s start from basics. Don’t start to open your banana from the stalk, but from the other end. If you press it slightly, it will not be difficult to peel off the point.
2. HOW TO EAT AN APPLE
You should always start eating an apple from the bottom to avoid wasting any. This is the best way not to miss the healthiest part of the fruit: its seeds.
3. HOW TO PEEL CITRUS FRUITS
Citrus fruits do not need to be completely peeled, just cut the two ends and make a vertical slit to have all the segments ready to eat, with clean hands.
4. HOW TO SHELL EGGS
Let’s go on to talk about eggs. Do you need to remove the shells? A little piece at a time is not the right way. Use the Columbus method and you will have a perfect egg in a few seconds.
5. HOW TO BREAK EGGS
To break an egg, there is no need to tap it on the edge of a bowl, but knock the egg against the worktop. In this way, any stray pieces of eggshell will remain on the top and not finish up in the bowl with the egg.
6. THE BEST SCRAMBLED EGGS
Scrambled eggs? You have always done this the wrong way! Here is Gordon Ramsey’s method. First of all, the eggs go into a frying pan and are beaten with a piece of butter, then it is all a question of placing them on and off the heat.
7. BOILED (AND BOILING) POTATOES
Boiled potatoes should be peeled with the icy water method, not only to prevent your hands from getting burnt but also to save a good deal of time.
8. PERFECT OVEN-ROASTED VEGETABLES
Perfectly roasted, crisp and delicious vegetables? First of all, you need to cut all of the vegetables into pieces of the same size, then wash and dry them well. Preheat the oven to about 200° C with the baking tray inside, heating up. When the oven is hot, spread out the vegetables on the baking tray, seasoning with oil and make sure they are not too crowded. Turn them over after 15 minutes and after a further 10 minutes approximately, they will be done. If they are nicely browned but still a bit raw inside, add a drop of water, reduce the temperature and let them finish cooking.
9. CARAMELIZED ONIONS
Are caramelized onions your undoing? Here’s where you go wrong: first of all, the onions have to be cooked on a very low heat for one hour. Increasing the heat in the hope of getting it done sooner defeats the object. After adding the butter, let the onions become golden and soft for 5 minutes and once the sugar has been added, they have to be stirred constantly and patiently, while they become evenly brown and sweet. Do it any differently, and all you will get are some delicious fried onions. So long as you know.
10. THE BEST WAY TO DEAL WITH BREADED MEAT AND VEGETABLES
Does the breadcrumb coating all end up in the bottom of the pan? This indicates that there is something wrong with your method. Slices of turkey, chicken or aubergine, once placed in the hot frying pan, should not be touched until it is time to turn them. It is difficult to resist the temptation to move them or touch them, but you must be strong! To understand when is the right time to flip them over, just insert the fish slice underneath: if the slice does not stick to the pan at all, turn it. Otherwise leave it where it is.
11. HOW TO DRESS A MAIN COURSE SALAD...
The main course salad you think is perfect is actually all wrong. To start with, the tomatoes should be salted separately so that they start to release their delicious juices. After at least ten minutes, add the salad leaves and then all the other ingredients leaving the heaviest until the end (sweet corn, nuts and olives). Now you can add the oil and toss.
12. ... AND ON THE SUBJECT OF TOSSING IT
Pay attention to how you toss the salad after adding the dressing: salad servers are banned! You must toss salad with your hands to distribute the oil, salt and vinegar evenly. Try it once and you will be impressed by what a difference it makes.
13. FOREST FRUIT CAKE
Blueberries are much heavier than cake mixture: to prevent the disastrous result of having all your fruit lying on the bottom of the cake, just coat your fruit with a little flour and then stir it gently into the cake mixture. The flour will help the fruit stick to the rest of the mixture. Of course you should use the flour required for the recipe without adding any more.
14. APPLE PIE
Admit it, when you take your apple pie out of the oven, the fruit is always lying on the bottom. This is because you have got it all wrong – or almost. To make a perfect apple pie, the apples must be cut into fine slices so that they cook more quickly and evenly and the steam is not trapped between the pastry and the fruit, making the base heavier. The second essential rule, which also applies to strudel, is to make little slits in the pastry so that the steam is released and the result is more compact.
Despite the increased popularity of these little cakes, you probably do not know how to go about eating one. To do so elegantly, cut off the base of the cake and turn it upside down to fill it with butter cream. In this way, you will avoid getting in a mess and the cream will blend better with the cake.