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#1 Wed 21 Aug 13 5:19pm

Merlin

Member
Occupation Editorial assistant/general online chap
From London
Member since Wed 24 Oct 12

Cook clever

Hit us with your very best tips for being wise and creative with your ingredients and equipment in the kitchen!

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#2 Thu 22 Aug 13 11:43am

The White Rabbit

Forum super champ
From Sydney, Australia
Member since Tue 22 Jun 04

Re: Cook clever

Like Delia smith says, keep your appliances on the bench so you'll actually use them.

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#3 Tue 27 Aug 13 12:12pm

Merlin

Member
Occupation Editorial assistant/general online chap
From London
Member since Wed 24 Oct 12

Re: Cook clever

Nothing else guys? I'd have thought you'd be overflowing with them.

My personal favourite is the rubbish bowl for peelings and waste scraps. Totally invaluable in keeping your space organised when cooking.

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#4 Tue 27 Aug 13 3:53pm

mummza

Forum super champ
Occupation avoiding housework
From The land of song.
Member since Tue 04 Oct 05

Re: Cook clever

sorry Merlin been I've  really busy recently hadnt had miuch chance to reply.....

I agree with white Rabbit , things like food procesors, breadmakr , liquidisers are best keft on the worktop so that they will be used......once they go into a cupboard they often stay there !

Peeling vegetables directly over a bucket or big bowl saves cleaning up time and then the peelings can be quickly taken to a compost bin in the garden if you have one.

I often add things like clean carrot or parsnip peelings to a vegetable stock if I am making it . I try to make pots of vegetable stock and keep them in the freezer.

If I am making a slow cooked meat casserole in the slow cooker I usually make a large quantity as ome can then be frozen to use at a later date.
If you are doing this its worth ptting some by to make indervidual meat pies.
to do this simply place a small food grade plastic bag into a small oven and freezer proof pie dish ,
fill the plasic bag whilst its sitting in the dish with the slow cooked meat and gravy from the slow cooker. I never fill the pie dish to the top as I like a gap between the top of the meat and the pastry pie top as I find the pastry cooks better.
seal the bag ( I use a plastic clip ) and place the filled bag still into the dish in the freezer.
once frozen the bag of cooked meat can be removed from the dish and stacked with other simiar pie fillings ,,, dont forget to label it.
If you get some flakey pastry you then cut an area that is larger then the pie dish you have just use so that the pastry can fold over the side of the dish for cooking , make a ver small slit in the top if the pastry so that there will be a steam vent when cooking the pie/.
layer the ready cut pastry pie tops together placing a sheet of baking parchment between each layer so that they do not stick. Place them in a poly bag , seal the bag and freeze the pastry shapes flat.

To cook the pies simply remove a bag f cooked pie filling , remove it fro the plasic bag and place the frozen pie filling back into the same small pie dish that you used to freeze it in. ( at this point I usually cover witha bit of cling film and leave it ti thaw but depending on the size I do sometimes cook from frozen )

Get one of the pastry shapes from the freezer  ( because thay have been layered with baking parchment they should seperate easily )  .
Brush the rim of the pie dish  with a little water and place the pastry shape over the dish .
Put the filled pie dish nto a baking tray and cook in the oven.
As the pie cooks the frozen pastry should fall over the sides of the dish and seal the pie.
The gap you have left between the meat in the pie and the top of the pastry creates a space for steam to develope, some of which will escape through the vent but the rest that is trapped will help the flaky pastry to rise.

This makes for a quick supper or lunch if you are  busy or unexpected guests turn up and is paricualy usefull to have in the freezer for times like christmas when time is very tight.

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#5 Tue 27 Aug 13 4:05pm

mummza

Forum super champ
Occupation avoiding housework
From The land of song.
Member since Tue 04 Oct 05

Re: Cook clever

thinking of Christmas ...heres a good tip if you make your own mince pies.
( the sweet kind made of dried fruits and eaten in the UK around the christmas period )

once you have made them , freeze them uncooked in the little bun tin .
when frozen get the tin out of the freezer knock the base of the tin to losen the uncooked and frozen mince pies then remove them placing each one in a plastic food storage box between eack layer put a sheet of non stick baking parchment.
when you are ready to use the mince pies or if you have unexpected geuests call by you simply take as many uncooked muince pies out from the freezer and place them back into the same bun tin that you froze them in .
top them as you would normally ....  ( my favoriye way...is to brush them with a thin layer of lightly beaten egg white and sprinkle them with caster sugar as this gives a delicious topping.)
Them bake in the oven as you would normally do .
They cook from frozen and theey take only a little time extra to the time you would cook then if they hadnt been frozen.
great tip , getting the mince pies ready like his means that they are always freshly baked .

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#6 Thu 05 Sep 13 1:13pm

The White Rabbit

Forum super champ
From Sydney, Australia
Member since Tue 22 Jun 04

Re: Cook clever

We're quite busy during the week so frozen stews, curries and Bolognese are good. We use the Bolognese as a pizza topping more than with pasta. For the curries I sometimes portion it small so that mr rabbit and I can have a small amount of two different curries so it seems more like a meal and less like leftovers. I've even heated up a plain stew with a spoon of curry paste to break the monotony of dozen leftovers of a large batch of stew.

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#7 Thu 05 Sep 13 4:10pm

Merlin

Member
Occupation Editorial assistant/general online chap
From London
Member since Wed 24 Oct 12

Re: Cook clever

Guys these are ace, thank you. We just may be able to feature our favourites on JO.com soon, so if you're holding back - well, don't!

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#8 Thu 05 Sep 13 10:47pm

The White Rabbit

Forum super champ
From Sydney, Australia
Member since Tue 22 Jun 04

Re: Cook clever

We're not it's probably that our cooking optimisation is so ingrained that we're not aware of it.

When I open a bottle of passata I try to freeze what I don't use in roughly the volume I'll use for other recipes. Same for coconut milk.

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#9 Thu 05 Sep 13 11:20pm

MsPablo

Forum super champ
Occupation Just being me
Member since Fri 28 Mar 08

Re: Cook clever

I do the same TWR.

If there's just a little wine left in the bottle, I freeze it and use it in cooking later.

I freeze nuts, coconut and sometimes chocolate bars (too hot to keep them in the cabinets in summer) so that I always have something fun for baking projects.  I keep wild blueberries in the freezer because they retain their healthful properties after freezing and cooking and they will last for months.  Powdered buttermilk is a nice baking ingredient to have on hand.  It's great for making American-style biscuits, pancakes, corn bread and is a good way to help the leavening work in gluten-free recipes.  It's also naturally low-fat.

The slow cooker is great in summer to avoid heating up the house with the stove and it also is nice to be able to leave the house while using it, something I wouldn't do with the stove or oven on.  It's great for making a basic chicken stock.  If you don't have the makings for stock, you can always use chicken wings which are often the cheapest choice if buying cut up chicken.

Fruity yogurts are a quick way to flavor pancakes and they keep longer than fresh fruits.  Yogurt is also higher in calcium than milk.

Last edited by MsPablo (Thu 05 Sep 13 11:24pm)

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#10 Fri 13 Sep 13 4:15pm

oliviascotland

Forum champ
From Scotland
Member since Wed 06 Apr 05

Re: Cook clever

Keep mushroom stalks and turn them into a cream of mushroom soup, with an onion, some garlic, a bit of thyme, some rehydrated dried porcini mushrooms if you have any and some chicken stock.  If you puree it and freeze it before you add the cream, then you can defrost it, add cream, and have a filling, main meal soup in minutes!

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