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Cooking and food related tips – Useful ideas to save time and to add that extra special something to dishes.


Useful ideas to save time and to add
that extra special something to dishes.

  • When defrosting meat from
    the frig, pour over vinegar ( ex pickled onion vinegar is good!). This
    lowers the freezing temperature of water in the meat, i.e. defrosts
    faster and tenderises the meat.

David Lovering

  • Chicken Dhansak
    – One can now buy those nasty powdered instant soups in
    Tomato and Lentil in ASDA. Saves the tedium of overnight soaking and
    long cooking of the lentils – adds tomato at the same time, which is not
    strictly correct, but Brits like their curries with tomato puree` !
    Shame about the sugar and salt content, but sometimes speed is more
    important than exactitude…..

David Lovering

  • I
    have tried all sorts of strategies to keep fresh
    leaf coriander
    in the refrigerator.  The best way, I find,
    is to loosely wrap in aluminium foil, leaving an opening at the top. 
    Doesn’t go mushy, doesn’t dry out, lasts a week or more!


  • Stock from
    – add the leftovers from roast chicken to your crockpot
    along with carrots, onion, celery, and herbs and let cook on low
    overnight. In the morning, let it cool, strain and discard solids, and
    season, and you will have flavorful chicken stock to use in other

Kathy Green

  • Pastry mix – Save
    precious time by mixing your pastry to the “breadcrumb” stage i.e. rubbing in
    the flour and fat and then put this mixture into a freezer container.  It is a good
    idea to make quite a large amount.  When you want to make pastry, take out enough of
    the dry mixture for your requirements and add the water in the usual way.

  • This mixture can also be used to make crumble by just
    adding sugar.

Thanks to Brenda Roff for this

  • Chicken and dumplings (Southern
    – take a packet of flour tortillas, floured on
    both sides and cut in strips.  Put them in with your chicken and broth and let them
    cook (just like the old fashioned kind).  Add a can of cream of chicken soup for
    extra richness and a dash of yellow food colouring for that “extra rich look”
    and there you have it – Chicken and Dumplings Southern style!

  • Burritos are wonderful and so easy.  Purchase large tortillas, take any kind
    of meat you like and cook it until it is tender, then grind (mince) it up.  You could
    also use leftover meat which has been ground/minced.   Brown meat, mixing in any
    variety of seasonings.  Cumin is a mainstay in this type of food.  When the meat
    is all finished (and I usually add a little wine or water and cook it down), add in
    refried beans.  Warm the tortilla, either in the microwave or on a skillet. 
    Place a dollup of meat mixture to one edge of the tortilla, add sour cream, grated cheese,
    salsa, whatever topping you want and roll away. mmmmmmmmmmm !!!!!!

Thanks for this mouthwatering offering Pam

  • A tip received from R. Muniz to make
    “4 for 1$ mac and cheese
    more enjoyable.  Add a little more margarine
    until melted.   Then add the cheese powder. Omit the salt and the milk.  Mix
    well.  This makes a more flavourful and deeply coloured side dish with a cheesier

  • When drying herbs use the clean bags provided with the tablets for
    washing machines.  Put in the fresh herbs, hang them to dry, when ready just rub
    between your hands onto a piece of paper and then store them in empty herb jars.  All
    the stems will be left in the bags so it is very quick and easy.

Courtesy of Brenda Roff

  • Use condensed soup as a quick
    and easy sauce.
      e.g. cut some leftover chicken into cubes and mix with either
    condensed chicken or mushroom soup and serve on a bed of rice.  “Chicken à la
    King” in minutes.

  • To make mince go further
    add some breadcrumbs or carrots into the recipe.

  • Add Worcestershire sauce
    to baked beans or scrambled egg to give them that extra zing.

Alternatively,  add a spoonful of
ready mixed ‘curry’ cooking sauce. Pataks is best (by a large margin).
Enough to wake anybody up in the morning!

David Lovering

  • To make a few sausages go a
    very long way;
      make “Toad in the Hole” by cutting the sausages into
    small pieces and using a bun tin to make individual portions.  Add chopped onion for
    an extra twist.

  • What is “Toad in the
    It is a batter made with flour, egg and milk, which is poured over
    sausages and baked in the oven.

  • Fold some orange liqueur and
    orange rind
    into whipped cream to add that special “something”.  
    Particularly nice with fresh fruit salad.

  • Pipe whipped double cream into
    rosettes onto a tray
    .  Open freeze, then pack carefully.  These can be
    used as decorations for desserts, cakes etc. Allow 30 minutes at room temperature to

  • For something a little different, stir a little natural yoghurt into fresh cream.  This can be
    used on both sweet and savoury dishes.

  • Slice fresh lemons, open
    freeze on a tray, then pack in the usual manner.  Always there for that gin and

  • After washing and drying, freeze
    fresh sprigs of herbs
    , which can either be used whole or crushed whilst frozen – no
    need to chop.

  • In order to
    find any lumps within dry ingredients
    e.g. when rubbing fat into
    flour, just gently shake the container and this will make any lumps rise
    to the surface.

Come on, add your own little gem to our page by
contacting us on june@hintsandthings.co.uk
– we look forward to hearing from you!

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