· To slice meat into thin strips - partially freeze and it will be much easier to slice.

· It's important to let poultry or a roast beef, pork or lamb joint to sit a little while before carving. It allows the juices to retreat back into the meat. If you carve a roast too soon, much of its goodness will spill out onto the carving board.

· A roast with the bone in will cook faster than a boneless roast, the bone carries the heat to the inside of the roast quicker.

· For a juicier burger add cold water to the beef mix before grilling (1/2 cup to 1 pound of meat).

· No "curly" bacon for breakfast when you dip it into cold water before frying.

· For a steak sauce with a kick - Deglaze your frying pan (after searing your steaks) with brandy. Then add two tablespoons of butter, a little white wine and a splash of Grand Marnier. Serve over your steaks and you'll never use a bought steak sauce again!

· When browning mince, brown large quantities with onions and then divide evenly in freezer containers and freeze. Or why not add tinned tomatoes and vegetables and freeze as the base for chilli, spaghetti bolognaise, lasagne etc. When required, either leave in the fridge to defrost during the day or defrost in the microwave to save time.

· Poke a hole in the middle of burgers while shaping them. The burgers will cook faster and the holes will disappear when done (this is sometimes noticeable in restaurants).

· Chefs use meat tenderisers not to tenderise the meat, but to help allow the meat to cook evenly.

· Before opening a packet of bacon, roll it. This helps separate the slices for easy removal of individual slices.

· Marinate red meats in wine to tenderise.

· Always thaw frozen meat and poultry in the refrigerator and not on a worktop where bacteria can grow.

· Chilli - Add a dessertspoon of cocoa powder. It really adds to the flavour, but no-one can spot what it is that makes it so good!

· What to do if you make your chili too spicy

· Eat dairy products with it: Sour cream, yogurt, cheese, milk or a glass or milk. DO NOT UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES keep drinking a drink after every mouthful as it makes the chili seem even spicier! 

· Peel 2 -3 large potatoes and mix them into your chili. Leave in for 1/2 hour, then taste and if it's still too spicy leave it in until your taste test tells you otherwise.

· A teaspoon at a time, stir in sugar or honey and stir until the excess spice flavor has been masked. Or stir in pieces of sweet chocolate to contradict and mask the spice. 

· Fixing salty stew

· Put 2 large peeled raw potatoes in your stew. It sucks up the extra salt. After 20 mins., to 1/2 hour taste your stew and if it is still a little salty let the stew brew for a bit longer. Don't forget to take the potatoes out before serving.

· Add mashed potato flakes to the stew. This will also thicken your sauce and you may need to add some water.

· If all else fails ... add Ketchup!

· Adding something acidic like wine helps to neutralise salt, and to a beef stew, add some salt free tomato sauce.

My Favourite Product

lecjugI simply love my Le Creuset batter jug! I use it for many jobs, it pops in the dishwasher and looks cool on the shelf - what more can you want from a kitchen item??

It's great for making Yorkshire Puddings - just pour from the jug into the bun tins - ideal for pancakes - again, pour straight into the frying pan and I use it for beating eggs for omelettes, making cake mixes - particularly muffins where you need to be careful when mixing the ingredients and ....well, the list goes on!

Sue McQueen


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