As you may have seen from my instagram, I'm in the middle of testing a few recipes, like this mushroom ragu (!), so for today's post I'm going to share my top 4 kitchen tips. Some may sound a little silly and straightforward, but sometimes I can get in a sort of routine or rut when I cook and these tips I've heard or read have proved to be great time-savers.
Let's start with breakfast. My go-to breakfast, especially in the winter, is a big bowl of porridge topped with dried fruit, peanut butter and some pumpkin and sunflower seeds. So, one of my kitchen staples now is to have a jar of toasted seeds always on the go as they take on a roasted, nutty flavour that they lack in their raw state. In a large frying pan, add ½ cup of pumpkin seeds and ⅓ cup of sunflower seeds. Turn the heat on to medium and toast for 5-10 minutes, giving the pan a good shake every couple of minutes, until they're golden-brown. Be careful as they burn easily. Let cool and store in an airtight jar.
Moving on to lunch, diluting either pesto* or hummus with water makes a super quick and delicious salad dressing. Perfect for when you're pressed for time and feel like something light but more exciting that just olive oil. Add 1 tbsp of water to 1½ tbsp of pesto or 2 tbsp hummus (you may need to adjust this depending on the thickness of your hummus). Stir thoroughly (or transfer to a jar with a lid and give it a good shake) then pour over your salad.
*I use a 'free-from' pesto that doesn't have cheese and is totally vegan and just as delicious!
Something to make prepping meals easier (and potentially save you a finger) would be to invest in a knife sharpener. There are plenty of inexpensive ones around. A quick sharpen before you cook will make your knife last longer, chopping much easier – and also safer (blunt knives slip). I prefer to use the modern 2-stage pull-through sharpeners than the more traditional ones. This is the one I use (UK / US).
And finally - I'll finish this post like finishing a fancy dish - the garnish! Translucent plastic squeezy bottles are really handy for storing extra-virgin olive oil. One quick squeeze over your pasta or salad elevates the dish to next-level delicious. Nothing like ruining your food by glugging on way too much oil from the bottle or can! I also keep a squeezy bottle of groundnut and sesame oil to hand for when I'm frantically stir frying. These bottles are much more manoeuvrable and you can squirt oil around the circumference of the wok, which then drizzles down, coating the whole surface.
Do you have any top kitchen tips? Let me know in the comments below or drop me an email!