In the comfort & convenience of your own home, or that of kindred spirits, the atmosphere at our cooking classes is always relaxed. The kitchens buzz with anticipation & fun…. No-one panics if things don’t turn out as exactly as expected, we just turn it into something creative. The focus is always on joyous learning.
Naturally, given our years of experience in kitchens everywhere, we have encountered some common cooking stumbles. Ones easily corrected, adding to our newfound skills & making end results much more rewarding for us….
- Kitchen Hygiene:
You even see TV personalities kneading, mixing, chopping, with rings, watches, bracelets touching the food. Not much point in changing boards or even washing your hands with jewellery dangling in the food. So remove it before you start.
And shoving your hands under a running tap is not making your hands clean. I’ve been to hand-washing school & you’d be amazed at what you miss when you see your hands under an ultraviolet light.
- Use Quality Ingredients:
The phrase “Do not cook with it if you cannot drink it” is so true for wine, as well as every other ingredient!
The dishes you cook will be as mediocre, good or excellent as the ingredients you use.
Try to choose high-quality ingredients whenever available & affordable. Quality products are much more readily available these days so always shop around for the best ingredients you can find in your area.
Support the efforts of your local producers & give them the credit they deserve.
- Overcrowding the Pan:
Cardinal sin…that’s probably a bit harsh, but this will make all the difference to your success.
Food releases moisture when cooking, so room must be left for the steam to evaporate, in order to prevent soggy food.
If frying, this rule becomes even more important. Adding too much food to sizzling hot oil will reduce the oil’s temperature, making it longer to fry. The result will be oily & saturated rather than crispy & dry. Pretty yuk!
- Stirring & Turning:
One of the basic lessons in cooking is learning to leave food alone, resisting the temptation to stir, poke or turn.
In order to develop a nice crust, you need to give it time & allow it to cook properly.
Continuous stirring interferes with the searing process, you release moisture & get soggy vegetables.
- Taste As You Go:
With every good cook, tasting will be automatic. You taste or smell the ingredients before you start cooking… Is this cheese salty, or creamy, or the garlic sweet, the paste spicy, the lime bitter….This helps you adjust the recipe as you go.
Salt enhances flavours. I strongly suggest you taste as you go & decide if it requires more.
This “cheffy trick” of sprinkling salt more than 30 cm above the food, helps to spread it more evenly, resulting in a more consistent taste.
In recipes, cooking times are often estimates, results vary greatly depending on many factors. Not only on your ingredients, but also your stove, your equipment, your kitchen humidity etc….. Taste! Taste! Taste!
Your palate is the control factor, so use it!!!
Finally… your energy is the most important ingredient! Relax & enjoy!
More tips here… http://www.lovesicily.com/