Local chef extraordinare and all-round nice guy Luke Mumberson from Mumbles Munchies gives us his top 10 tips on saving time and staying organised in the kitchen!
1) Sharp knives
A sharp knife is safer than a dull knife. A dull knife can slip off food resulting in you cutting yourself. The excessive force needed to make a dull knife cut food may cause you to lose control. A sharp knife requires little force, so it’s easier to control and cuts where you intend it to. Also, you are more likely to treat a sharp knife with the respect is deserves!
2) Clean as you go
There nothing worse than enjoying a great meal then seeing a sink full of pots, pans, etc. So fill the sink with hot soapy water and wash up as you go, especially those big pots that won’t fit into the dishwasher.
3) Read the recipe from start to finish
If you’re cooking something for the first time, its best to read the whole recipe through first. If you know what’s coming you can be ahead of the game thinking of the next step.
4) Preparation is key
Also called “mis en place” in a commercial kitchen, preparation is at least 80% of cooking. For example if you’re having a fresh stir fry for dinner, then prepare your aromatics, veggies and meat in the morning. Then all you need to do is throw it in the wok and dinner is ready in 5-10 mins.
5) Cook in bulk
No we’re not talking about feeding a Army with 100’s of troops. But when cooking curry, stews, bolognese, and casseroles why not cook extra and save yourself some time. Instead of cooking 4 serves for 4 people why not cook 8 or 12 serves and then place the leftovers in the freezer in containers or handy zip-lock bags laid flat. Perfect for those lazy or super busy days when you just don’t feel like making dinner or the fridge is bare! Throw in heaps of vegetables and make it a square meal so all you need to do is cook up some salad, pasta, rice or cous-cous to serve.
6) Don’t trust your oven
Ovens vary and each have their own quirks. Place a oven thermometer in your oven and go off that, rather than risk disappointment by burning or under cooking your dish.
7) Scrap bowl
8) Taste as you go
Always taste your dish as you go. If there different elements to the dish try each one. Test and adjust, if it needs salt or some heat add it to the dish.
9) Talk to your suppliers / providores
I can talk about food all day. When you are at the Butcher ask them the best way the cook your cut of meat or where it originates from. The same goes with the greengrocer and fishmonger. Better still if you can, visit your local local farmers market and talk to the person who grew your food.
10) Most importantly ENJOY yourself
Cooking should be fun and enjoyable. Have some music playing, open a bottle of wine, cook with loved ones or while watching a cooking show. If you burn something don’t stress as the local pizza shop is always willing to oblige!
Thanks Luke for those great pointers – its always good to get tips from a pro!
What are your top tips for keeping organised in the kitchen and having fun? Are you a fan of cooking in bulk? What do you do for dinner do on those hectic nights after a busy day?