Make an innocent error and your dish will turn into a huge disappointment. And you don’t want this to happen, especially if you are going to serve your friends or relatives. What you need are a few tips to prevent recipe missteps and overcrowded pans. Below are 6 common cooking mistakes that you must avoid.
Not Reading the Recipe
Going through a recipe is as important as reading a map prior to leaving for a trip. The majority of cooking mistakes happen when people overlook an important detail. Actually, they don’t read the recipe properly. For instance, adding cold butter into the batter may leave you with a lumpy and dry cake. In the same way, if you don’t wait for the onions to be fully cooked and add tomatoes into the sauce, you will a spaghetti topper that won’t be smooth or crunchy.
Overcrowding the Pan
If you cover the pan fully, it will trap the heat. As a result, there will be a lot of steam inside the pan. To prevent overcrowding, what you need to do is use a pair of pans instead of just one. Alternatively, you can cook in batches.
Not Preheating the Pan
The surface of the pan must be hot enough to brown the food and seal in the juices. Food will stick to the pan if it’s not hot enough. Therefore, it’s important that you preheat the pan for a few minutes prior to pouring the oil. To check if the pan is hot enough, you can throw a couple of drops of water on the pan. If the water evaporates quickly, you are good to go.
Using too little water
Food, when put in a boiling pot, lowers the water temperatures right away. If you put too much food, the water won’t boil. As a result, the spaghetti will taste starchy. So, what you need to do is use a good deal of water. In other words, the food should swim in the pan. As a general rule, you may want to use a minimum of 5-quart pot for just a pound of paste. Make sure that the water is boiling.
Using Dried Herbs in Place of Fresh Ones
It may be tempting to add some dried oregano instead of some fresh seems. However, the problem is that herbs, such as parsley and basil don’t taste the same once dried. On the other hand, tarragon and oregano become more powerful when dried. so, you should use them sparingly. As a matter of fact, the best way of judging the strength of a herb is by taste. If you have dried oregano and it tastes nothing, you may want to use a heavy hand.
Using oil that is not hot enough
Whether you are deep-frying or pan-frying, make sure that the temperature of the oil is 350 F or more. But if the temperature is lower than that, your food will become greasy and heavy.
So, what you need to do is go for oil that has a high smoking point. Make sure it is hot enough before you put food in it. Some good names are peanut, safflower and canola, just to name a few.
Copper may be the most used metal in the home area. Cookware used to be made out of copper because it was such a good conductor of heat. In recent years, it seems to be making a comeback. Here are its advantages and disadvantages.
- Copper conducts heat at an incredible rate. Professional chefs use copper cookware such as pans to reach the exact temperature stated on the recipe. It also has the ability to change heat as the stove top changes.
- Copper is a lightweight material that won’t apply too much pressure on the stove. It is also heavy enough to remain in place if someone accidentally taps it.
- It also has a beautiful appearance. The rusty colour has a rich look that adds to the quality of the cookware.
- Corrosion resistance is the best part about this cookware. You will have these beautiful economic pots and pans for many years before you have to replace them.
- Unfortunately, although copper has corrosion resistance, it still dulls over time. This element is similar to silver where it loses its shine over time when exposed to air. A bit of polishing will make your cookware look as good as new, though.
- The quality shows in the price. Because it can be used for so long and can retain as well as conduct heat so well, it will be one of the most expensive kitchenware you will own. It also has to be treated so that it won’t get easily dented.
- If you don’t dry this cookware properly you could end up with tasteless spots on the surface. You also can’t put these pots and pans in the dishwasher.
- Keep the copper away from acids. A horrible, dangerous acid could be produced if the cookware is not maintained correctly. This corrosive chemical is known as patina which is often used in pewter and metal impressions to make the metal look old. With time, patina gets more potent so make sure you avoid this damage.
- Lastly, a copper pan will not be compatible with an induction cooktop stove. If you have an electrical stove that uses molecular friction then these pots won’t be a benefit to you.
When it comes to cooking with advanced cookware and pans you need to learn exactly how to use it as well as how to control and handle the speedy cooking process. You need to learn how much cooking oil to use and how often to stir the mixture so that it doesn’t affect the metal. Keep in mind that a copper pan is quite different to stainless steel and non-stick pans.
Steaming is for tender foods. Steaming is using boiling water to steam your foods by slow cooking them. Basically boil water in any pot or pan with a tightly fitting cover. The food is put in bowl or steaming tray above the water and it is cooked by the steam. Steaming is usually done using a steaming pot but can be put in a saucepan with a lid using a steaming tray or a skillet using a bowl. Foods that may be steamed include fish or vegetables. Steaming allows the food to maintain its flavor.
Stewing is a method of cooking using little water and slow cooking. It is a great way to cook cheaper tougher meats for a longer period of time rendering them easier to eat and more flavorful. Stewing can be done in a stew pot or skillet with a lid so that the heat and steam are maintained inside making the meat more tender. It has the advantage of being cooked slowly and without constant care.
Boiling foods like steamed foods are for foods that are tender. Vegetables need to be cooked by putting them into boiling water to cook them fast so they maintain their flavor and minerals. Meats should be put into cold water and brought to a boil. Once the water boils the temperature needs to be lowered until the water is simmering which is when the water is barely bubbling with a little steam. A saucepan is great for boiling foods.
Roasting is for cooking in the oven on a lower heat and adding a little fat to prevent burning and add flavor. Roasting is usually done with meats in the oven with a Dutch oven. Roasting is a great way to cook your meats and vegetables together and keep the flavor.
Grilling is a method of cooking over an open flame using charcoal or gas. It is great for meats and vegetables as it sears in the flavor and actually cooks the fats out of the meats. A grill pan is best for this method of cooking.
Baking is best for cakes, breads, pastries and casseroles. Baking is done in the oven in baking dishes, casserole dishes, pie pans, and on cookie pans. Make sure to cook the food all the way through without burning the outside. It helps to have an oven that is capable of a constant heat at all times.
Frying is on of the most popular methods of cooking. It is done on top of the stove in a skillet, sauté pan or a wok. using varying amounts of oil, fats or grease. The different types of frying include dry frying where no fats, grease or oils are heat used and the foods are cooked over a low heat until browned. Shallow fat frying is done with just enough fat, grease or oil to cover the pan tp prevent the food from sticking, It is usually used for eggs, pancakes and vegetables. Deep frying is the other method of frying. This method requires the food to be cooked in at least 2 inches of heated grease, oils or fats. It is used to fry chicken, potatoes and many other foods.
Cooking is fun when you use the proper method and the correct pot and/or pan. Enjoy creating tasty, healthy, properly prepared meals.
George Bloom learned his love of cooking from his mother and grandmother. Growing up watching them in the kitchen he learned that cooking is the joy of preparing food for those you love. This led to his involvement with pots and pans.
The vacations have set in and it’s time to treat the taste buds of your little ones with lip smacking cakes. So, let’s give you some handy tips and tools to make your cake making process smoother and easier.
1. Measuring Tools:
Taking the ingredients in the exact quantity is the first key to make a perfect cake. So, make sure you buy your Measuring cups and spoons from a reputed baking equipment manufacturer.
2. Silicone Spatula:
One of the most versatile cake making tools is silicone spatula. You will need it for folding the cake batter, for scrapping away the batter into the cake mould as well as for stirring. So, make sure you have quite a few of them in all sizes.
3. Bench Scrapper:
This versatile tool comes in handy for chopping dry fruits, cutting through the dough and scrapping away the dough remains neatly.
4. Cake moulds:
From cup cake moulds to heart shaped cake moulds to teddy bear shaped mould and the regular ones in square and rectangle types, you can win the heart of your loved ones and guests by baking cakes in different shapes. Keep a set of each to suit different occasions. You can even order chocolate moulds online!
5. Icing Spatulas:
Give icing on the cake a professional finish with icing spatulas. You can even use it to loosen up the cake after baking.
Whisking tools are essential for icing and whipping the cream. You can also use it for folding. Depending on the size of the pots, you may need a variety of whisks.
7. Mixing Bowls:
You will need few mixing bowls to for preparing the batter. Most recipes need to mix wet and dry ingredients separately before finally preparing the cake dough. So, mixing bowls are a must.
8. Parchment paper:
This is needed to line the pan and also from prevent the cake from sticking to the sides of the pan. Also, parchment paper makes the pan less messy and easier to clean.
9. Pastry Blender:
This tool is used to prepare the dough, distribute the butter evenly and even for slicing butter.
10. Pastry Brushes:
Give your baked food a smooth, glazed finish with pastry brushes. For best results, choose brushes with soft bristles. The silicone brushes offer the advantage of not holding on to the flavor or color like other brushes do.
11. Cookie cutters:
You may want to surprise your kids with cookies in different shapes. For that, you need to get cookie cutters. These come in variety of sizes and shapes.
12. Silicone Vacuum Lid:
Instead of wrapping the food, cakes etc with plastic, switch to silicone vacuum lids. Preserves food for longer and is safe too!
Baking is fun, especially when you have fantastic and ‘easy to manage’ bakeware in your kitchen. Yes! Most bakers will agree on this. If you are into baking, you know how a inapt bakeware molds can ruin your show at baking. However, bakers have better options in bakeware now. With Silicone molds and baking trays available online in wide range, baking has become more easy. Yes! Baking equipment manufacturers have identified the need for better baking tools and have rolled out high quality and absolute safe silicone baking accessories in the market. If you are still contemplating whether to opt for silicone baking tools online or not, we give you top 5 reasons in its favour which will help you make your decision.
Silicone baking accessories available online are non-stick. Which means no hassles of greasing your trays or molds before you put your cupcakes for baking. However, if you are using them for the first time and want to be at the safe harbor, you may use the lubricating spray on the tray. Buy these baking tools online from a reliable manufacturer and you will never have to worry about the quality issues.
2. No Burning or Dark Edges
Silicone bakeware distribute heat evenly across the tray or molds. So, chances of you getting burnt are close to minimal. Besides, the baking is even and you will find no burnt or dark edges on the bottom of the molds or tray. Most of baking accessories you can buy online as well.
3. Offers Flexibility
Silicone bakeware molds are pretty flexible which helps in removing your pancakes are cupcakes easily from them. All you need to do is twist them a bit or pull gently and your baked cakes sides will easily roll out. No worries about broken cakes anymore.
4. Absolutely safe
The best reason to buy silicone baking accessories is that they are absolutely safe. Whether you put them in the freezer or microwave, refrigerator or oven, or even the dishwasher, they can sustain diverse temperature and handling. Do you need more reasons to invest in them?
5. Low Maintenance
Silicone bakeware is easy to wash and store. And unlike your metal baking tools, these do not stain or rust and thus, last long. At the end of it, certainly a good investment in your baking accessories.
So, go on. Making baking as admirable as your cupcakes. Buy silicone baking equipment online and have a great time with them. Happy Baking!
Whether you are hosting a dinner party or a braai it’s customary to offer your guests a few snacks to enjoy before the main meal is ready. People love to eat, drink and be merry while they are enjoying the company of friends or family. Preparing a few bite sized snacks will make you the star of the party. Here are a few great bite size snack ideas.
• Crackers with Toppings
This is a very common type of bite size snack. You can prepare a platter with crackers and add a variety of toppings. This is where you can get creative. Besides the usual grated cheese choice, you could add cucumber and cheese or tuna mayo. Take a peak at what you have in the fridge or your pantry and get creative. Your guests will enjoy the variety of options.
• Mini Pastries
You can make miniature versions of your favourite pastries. Prepare pies in bite sized options. Use a muffin pan in which to make the pies. Line the muffin tray with the pastry and fill it with chicken, beef, or whichever ingredients you prefer. Then cover each pie with another layer of pastry. Once you’ve baked it, you’ll have wonderful muffin sized pastries. You can do the same with quiche.
• Mini Burgers
Whereas you would usually prepare regular sized burger buns, you can prepare golf ball sized burger buns instead. These will bake into lovely small burger buns. You can then fill the burger buns with minced meat to create cute mini burgers. This will certainly make your guests smile at the idea.
• Cheese Platter
A cheese platter is always enjoyed by guests. Prepare a platter with a variety of cheeses which include blue cheese, brie and camembert. Ensure that you place a cheese slicer alongside so that guests can easily slice a piece of cheese for themselves.
• Biltong Platter
This snack is a big favourite at braais. There are many varieties of flavours of biltong that you can choose from to create a delicious biltong platter. It would be a good idea to get a biltong slicer that suits your requirements. These are very handy pieces of catering equipment that could make your hosting task much easier. You can either choose a biltong slicer that cuts biltong into slices or chunks. Prepare a platter and place the different flavours of biltong on it. For a bit of a flavour twist you could add a dip as well.
CaterWeb stocks a full range of commercial kitchen products and we even offer free demonstrations as well as hands on training if necessary. Visit our website to access our online store or alternatively we welcome you to visit our new showroom.
When we put food in the fryer we expect it to cook quickly so that we can eat it as soon as possible. That’s the joy of frying food but what about the remaining frying oil?
Before putting the oil away for another use in the future you have to make sure that it has completely cooled down. When pouring hot liquids into a cold glass jar, the glass could crack which could be quite dangerous. It also keeps you safe from having any burns in case a drop or two falls on your hand. Furthermore, frying oil gets hotter than water and acts like a sealant so be very careful when handling it.
Strain the liquid so that no particles float around once inside the new container. The last thing you want to taste is stale food from weeks before. You can use a sieve with holes as small as possible. Place coffee filters inside the sieve to catch even tinier particles that you may not have seen.
You can pour the strained oil in either a glass jar or the bottle that it came in. Just make sure that the container is clean and free of dust. To do this neatly, use a funnel over a sink to keep surrounding surfaces clean.
You can store this cool, clean oil in the fridge to keep it fresh for a longer period of time. The oil will retain some of the taste so rather use it for same purpose as before. Avoid reusing it more than twice.
Alternative facts to keep in mind when reusing frying oil:
- Vegetables do lose water and over time the frying or cooking oil will get watered down.
- If placed in the fridge, it will go slightly clouded or murky because it is no longer at room temperature.
- Frying oil poured down the drain could affect the pipes and clog them up over time. You don’t want that to happen so don’t pour it down the drain.
- Cooking oil is edible oil yet it can still be used for small household jobs around the house. Squeaky doors can be fixed with a couple of drops of regular cooking or frying oil.
- Flat foods do not need so much frying oil. Try to save as much as you can when it comes to small appetizers and bread.
- Frying oil will eventually expire. If it starts to smell stale or rancid you need to get rid of it.
- You can throw frying oil away in a sealed container in a bin or call a used oil collector.
If you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen is an advice we often encounter, but like most advice not very helpful or practical. Kitchens are inherently hot places at any time of the year, but while spending time in a warm kitchen is a pleasant thing in the winter, cooking in the summer becomes an exceptionally tiring and draining task as the ambient heat combined with the heat from the conventional gas stove makes the kitchen a furnace. Matters are complicated further in cities with high humidity where heat and sweat make cooking exceptionally challenging in the summers. Fans are of no use, as they disrupt the flames from the burners, leaving the person cooking in a major fix and in desperate need for heat relief. Fortunately, there is help, we have collated a few tips you can follow to beat the heat in the kitchen.
- Ensure proper ventilation: Investing in a good exhaust fan has two important benefits. Firstly, it removes the cooking odour and smoke to freshen the kitchen air, and secondly, it creates an airflow in and out of the kitchen that reduces the temperatures to pleasant levels.
- Skip the oven: Operating heat generating appliances such as ovens are not a wise idea in the summer as they generate heat and increase the temperature. Leave the baking for pleasanter weather or judiciously use your oven during cooler hours such as mornings or at night.
- Prep well to reduce cooking time: Finely chop your ingredients so that they cook faster and reduce time spent in the kitchen.
- Eat foods that do not need heating: Fresh salads, cold soups and fruits are not only lighter and healthier meal options for the summer but also cut down on the heat generated by cooking food. Standing over a wok of hot oil to fry food can be especially bothersome, so do yourself and your waistline a favour and skip fried or oil laden food in the summer.
- Get an induction cooker: This is by far the easiest way to enjoy cooking in the summer. With an induction cooker, you can cook to your heart’s content with the fan on full speed as it is flameless. It also consumes 90% of the heat generated, unlike conventional gas stoves that leak around 70% of the generated heat into the surroundings, thus increasing the temperature. An Induction cooker also consumes very little electricity, something that is important to keep in mind during hot summers when electricity consumption is already high. Cooking is instantaneous and the cool touch features make induction cookers easy to clean, furthering reducing your time in the hot and sweaty environs of the kitchen.
So as you can see, cooking in the summer can not only be made easy but also a very pleasant endeavour. Happy cooking!
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