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    10 Kitchen Staples

    Check out these 10 easy kitchen makes which include our handy tips on how to help you master the staples of cooking!

    "With a new cookbook full of exotic and aspirational recipes coming out every week and competitive cooking shows popping up all over our tv screens, we can sometimes forget the basic skills. The kind of basic cooking that always comes in handy and can turn the humblest of ingredients into a delicious plate of food. So, this isn’t about any fancy recipes, but rather about how to master the staples."

     

    Perfectly Fried Steak

     

     

    • To fry your steak perfectly, you should ideally use a heavy pan with a thick base like a griddle pan or skillet.
    • Cast iron means the pan will get really hot which will give your steak that charred look on the outside.
    • Don’t crowd the pan, it’s better to cook steaks one at a time to get the best results.
    • Season your steak with some salt and pepper, this can be done an hour ahead of the frying, and leave it to get to room temperature before frying (especially if you like your steak rare or medium-rare).
    • Use a little vegetable or sunflower oil and heat it up in the pan to the point where it’s hot but not smoking.
    • Fry the steak according to its weight, one side at a time, until it develops a brown crust.
    • Rest the steak on a warm plate for 5 minutes before serving.

     

    Perfectly Boiled Egg

     

     

    A perfectly boiled egg is all in the timing. No fancy equipment, just a saucepan full of hot water. Bring the water to the boil and then, using a large spoon, gently lower the egg into the water. Now set your timer depending on how you’d like your egg:

    • 5 minutes for a runny yolk egg, perfect for toast soldiers
    • 8 minutes for a soft egg
    • 10 minutes for a hard boiled egg

    As soon as the time is up, drop the egg into a bowl of cold water to stop it cooking.

     

    Perfect Pancake Batter

     

     

    You’ll need…

    • 150g flour
    • 2 eggs
    • 250ml milk
    • Pinch of salt

    How it’s done:

    1. put the flour and salt into a large bowl
    2. add the eggs and milk
    3. bring the ingredients together with a wooden spoon before mixing them with a whisk
    4. keep whisking until you have a smooth batter without any clumps
    5. put the batter into the fridge to rest for 30 minutes
    6. you now have the perfect batter for your pancakes

     

    Homemade Chicken Stock

     

     

    You will need:

    • Around 1kg of chicken wings
    • 1 large celery stalk cut into chunks
    • 1 large onion, unpeeled, cut into quarters
    • 1 large carrot, cut into chunks
    • 1 bouquet garni
    • 1tbsp olive oil
    • Salt & pepper

    How it’s done:

    1. Put the olive oil into a large pot and heat up
    2. Add the chicken wings and fry them until browned
    3. Add the vegetables and seasoning
    4. Cover with 2 l of water and bring to a boil
    5. Now turn the heat down and leave to simmer for 4 hours whilst covered
    6. Once done, pour the stock through a sieve
    7. The stock is now ready to use

     

    The Perfect Vinaigrette

     

     

    Making a vinaigrette is literally the quickest and simplest way to elevate a bunch of humble salad leaves and it really couldn’t be easier. Plus, to cut down on washing-up, the jar used to make the it doubles for storage.

    Ingredients:

    • 1 small shallot, very (very!) finely chopped
    • ½ tsp Dijon mustard
    • ½ tsp caster sugar
    • 3tbsp light olive oil
    • 1tbsp red wine vinegar
    • 1 generous pinch of salt
    • a good grinding of black pepper

    How it’s done:

    1. put the chopped shallot into the bottom of a jar
    2. add the mustard, sugar, salt, pepper and vinegar
    3. screw the lid onto the jar and give it a vigorous shake to combine the ingredients
    4. now add the oil and shake again until well combined

     

    Cooking the Perfect Rice

     

     

    I never use cups as a tool to measure ingredients preferring the accuracy of grams and millilitres. However, this is one of the big exceptions where working with cups (any cup or glass will do, it doesn’t even have to be a measuring cup) is the way to perfectly cook rice.

    Ingredients:

    • 1 cup of rice
    • 2 cups of hot water
    • 1tsp light olive oil

    How it’s done:

    1. Put the rice into a saucepan and add the oil
    2. Heat the pan over a low heat and stir the rice until coated with the oil and warm
    3. Add the water and cover with a lid – do NOT stir
    4. Simmer for 15 minutes
    5. Take the pan off the heat and leave the rice uncovered for a further 5 minutes
    6. Now fluff the rice up with a fork before serving

     

    Melting Chocolate the right way

     

     

    No matter how much chocolate you need to melt, this is by far the best way to do it in order to avoid it overheating or splitting.

    1. Put a saucepan filled to around 1/3 with water on a medium heat and bring to a simmer
    2. Place a heatproof bowl on top of it making sure it doesn’t touch the water
    3. Break the chocolate into small pieces and put into the bowl
    4. Now gently melt the chocolate giving it the occasional stir
    5. Once melted leave to cool a little before using

     

    Making a white sauce with Roux

     

     

    A white sauce is a great base that can afterwards be transformed with spices or even cheese. A roux based sauce might sometimes look intimidating, but is actually really easy to make.

    Ingredients:

    • 250ml whole milk at room temperature
    • 25g butter
    • 25g flour

    How it’s done:

    1. Melt the butter over a medium heat
    2. Add the flour and stir continuously until you have a thick paste
    3. Now slowly add the milk whilst whisking continuously
    4. Continue to cook whilst whisking until the sauce is thickened

     

    Cooking the Perfect Pasta

     

     

    1. It’s important to use a large pot in order to give the pasta enough room to “move”
    2. Bring a large pot of water to a rolling boil
    3. Add a tablespoon of olive oil and a pinch of salt
    4. Add the pasta and keep stirring it
    5. Test the pasta after a few minutes
    6. Test again two minutes before the time indicated on the packet, this is when your pasta will be al dente (just about have a bit of bite) and perfect for serving
    7. Drain and serve straight away

     

    Roasting Vegetables

     

     

    To roast vegetables perfectly, it’s important to use vegetables that need roughly the same roasting time. That means that you will have problems when combining carrots and mushrooms for example, but will get the best results by roasting carrots with parsnips and potatoes. You should also give the vegetables enough space on the tray to not overlap.

    Ingredients:

    • Vegetables like carrots, parsnips, potatoes, onions, squash etc.
    • Olive oil
    • Salt and pepper

    How it’s done:

    1. Preheat your oven to 220C
    2. Clean the vegetables and chop them to roughly the same sizes
    3. Grease a baking tray with olive oil
    4. Arrange the vegetables on the tray ensuring they don’t overlap
    5. Now drizzle some more olive oil onto the vegetables making sure they’re all covered
    6. Season with salt and pepper
    7. Put the tray in the oven and roast for 20 minutes
    8. Turn the vegetables upside down
    9. Roast for a further 20 minutes
    10. When they veggies are done, drizzle a little more oil on top before serving

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