When cooking goes horribly wrong: The Food24 team shares their tips and tricks to fix common issues
Brought to you by CBS Reality
Just like holidays, diets and cosmetic surgery, sometimes cooking does not always go according to plan! (And if that seems like an obscure reference, be sure to check out DStv this month, as CBS Reality, channel 132, delves into life going horribly wrong in their new series.)
But, first, whether it is your first time trying your hand at a new recipe or making your favourite dish, the wonderful foodies of the Food24 team share their tips and tricks on how to prevent life going horribly wrong in the kitchen, at least. Some of these resourceful tips have been passed down in the family, while we’ve learnt others through trial and error.
Vinegar solves everything (nearly)
We have all been there: we get a bit distracted while cooking or are attempting a few too many dishes simultaneously so we miss the timer on one of them, resulting in a burnt dish.
Commercial editor for Food24 Lauren Goldman shares the perfect trick to combat burnt meat in a stew, saying the solution lies in a dash of vinegar.
“My mom taught me to add a splash of vinegar to the pot if I’ve burnt the meat when making a stew. To be honest, I’m not sure why (I just trusted my mom!), but I’ve always done it and I think it does help. I would guess that it balances the flavour of the burnt meat so that it’s less intense.”
Bring veggies back to life (not literally)
It is important to get our “five a day”, but sometimes our veggies don’t look as vibrant as we’d like. Luckily, Tessa Purdon, head of content for Food24, has the perfect hack to brighten up dull veggies.
“Give them an appetising look by combining a few tablespoons of butter and water with a pinch of salt and tossing it with your veggies until they look glossy.”
Avoid burnt garlic
Another common mistake that can happen when cooking is burning the oh-so-wonderful ingredient that is garlic. But fear not because Tessa has a solution!
“To prevent garlic burning in a pan, add it later in the cooking process. Garlic doesn’t do well with super high temperatures, so don’t add it to a pan that’s smoking hot.”
Lumpy white sauce be gone!
One of the most versatile sauces, white sauce is the perfect accompaniment to many dishes and sometimes the star of the show.
But almost all of us can relate to the timeous work that goes into making a delicious white sauce. And, sadly, despite our best efforts, sometimes we still end up with a lumpy, less-favourable sauce.
Managing editor for Food24 Lauren Josephs shares a quick solution to this.
“I once made lasagne and my white sauce was so lumpy I wanted to toss it! Then I remembered I have a blender. Always hold on to your blender! I used the blending stick in this instance and it saved my cheesy white sauce.”
How to cut mushrooms
Cutting mushrooms can be a tedious affair, with the softer parts often crumbling while you attempt to get the perfect symmetrical slices.
Lauren Josephs shares that one way to avoid this is to simply use an egg slicer.
“My aunt taught me to use an egg slicer to slice mushrooms. Best tip ever! Mushrooms are then less likely to crumble than when trying to slice them using a knife.”
We as the Food24 team can admit that we love a one-pan or one-pot wonder. It results in less clean-up and more time for us to enjoy our favourite dishes with our loved ones.
Bianca Jones, content producer for Food24, points out the best way to avoid your roasted veggies sticking to the baking tray.
“Roasting tip: make sure your sweet caramelised roasted goods don’t stick to the pan by always using baking paper! Also makes the clean-up a dream. I would say this came about due to laziness initially and then it was like oh, wait, game-changer!”
Perfect your rice
Rice is a staple in many homes, but while the instructions may be easy enough to follow, it does not always come out how one wishes. But Bianca shares some top-secret information on how to create fluffy rice every time.
“If you don’t have a rice maker and are tired of either burning your rice or ending up with a starchy, mushy mess, cook rice in the microwave! It’s convenient, works a charm and is seriously foolproof.”
With winter in full swing, a hearty curry is a dish that is on our minds – the deep flavour of the different spices paired with our favourite meat or vegetable is just what the doctor ordered.
One issue we often run into is that the base spices of any curry can easily be burnt. Or, on the flip side, the spices don’t cook through properly, resulting in a grainy and rather undesirable sandy finish.
Ishani Chetty, social media manager for Food24, shares a few tips on how to avoid this.
“I have learnt this from watching my mum and grandmother cook over the years. The two tricks are to bring the heat down a bit once your base of onions, curry leaves and garlic has cooked to medium heat. Add the spices and, if the heat is too hot and the spices start sticking to the pan quickly, add a dash of water to help it cook and avoid the sandy aftertaste.”
There is a saying that goes: “The watched pot never boils, but the unwatched pot always boils over.” Ishani says one simple kitchen tool can prevent the latter.
“I learnt this trick on TikTok: simply place a wooden spoon over the pot while it cooks and it won’t boil over. It works every time!”
When life goes horribly wrong
Speaking of things that could go horribly wrong, CBS Reality, DStv channel 132, has a range of new must-watch shows that look at when facets of life just don’t go according to plan:
- Not for the faint of heart, When Cosmetic Surgery Goes Horribly Wrong, on Friday 24 June at 18:55, provides first-hand accounts of people who underwent cosmetic surgery and were scarred by their experience.
- In When Diets Go Horribly Wrong, on Saturday 25 June at 20:40, several individuals provide first-hand accounts of diets they tried that ended up deeply affecting their lives.