Cooking tips you should know

No wonder I can’t fit into my summer clothes. Cooking up an average of seven recipes a week for the last four years means I have eaten my way through roughly 1,500 dishes in my tireless pursuit of culinary perfection for these very pages. Thankfully, you don’t spend this much time chained to the stove without picking up a few tips – these are the top 10 things that I have learned along the way. Enjoy the fruits of my labour with a clear conscience: my waistline has suffered so yours doesn’t have to.








1. Really brown your meat
How to cook the perfect… beef stew
Click here for Felicity Cloake’s perfect beef stew recipe
When a recipe asks you to start by browning the meat, really go for it – it’s not the change of colour that’s important here, but the flavours it brings with it. Searing meat over a high heat will caramelise the outside, adding an injection of savoury, umami goodness to the finished dish; if you just push it round a warm pan, it’ll end up tasting as beige as it looks. Make sure you don’t overcrowd the pan either; if the meat starts to steam in its own juices, it will never brown.








2. Softening onions takes time (although not five hours)
Felicity’s perfect french onion soup
Click here for Felicity Cloake’s perfect french onion soup recipe
The second step in many recipes is softening the onions, perhaps along with diced carrots, celery or tomatoes depending on what you’re cooking. Be aware that many chefs lie about how long this should take – it will not do to fry it for 1-2 minutes, James Martin. Thomas Keller’s five hours might be excessive, but you should count on spending 20-30 minutes on this stage for perfect results. (Theo Randall recently told me off for not paying sufficient attention to my soffritto in a ragu competition. I learned my lesson the hard way.)








3. Chicken is almost always the best stock
Felicity Cloake’s perfect cacciatora
Click here for Felicity Cloake’s perfect cacciatora recipe
Unless you’re cooking for vegetarians, chicken stock is almost always the best option – it’s my first choice for everything from tomato soup to osso buco. Most commercial vegetable stocks taste powerfully of dried herbs, which isn’t always a welcome addition to your carefully balanced dish, and beef and fish stocks need strong flavours to balance them. Savoury chicken blends far more harmoniously into the background.








4. Cherish the potato skin
Felicity’s perfect cullen skink
Click here for Felicity Cloake’s perfect cullen skink recipe
The skin is where most of the flavour is. I don’t bother peeling spuds destined for salad, hash browns or cullen skink and peel them after cooking when making gnocchi – hell, I even parboil roast potatoes along with their peelings. It sounds ridiculous, but it really makes a difference.

5. No one likes soggy bottoms
Perfect quiche lorraine
Click here for Felicity Cloake’s perfect quiche lorraine
Any tart, quiche or pie recipe that doesn’t blind bake the pastry base before adding the filling is wrong. Only perverts like soggy bottoms.

6. Pick your meat carefully for slow cooking
Felicity Cloake’s perfect osso buco
Click here for Felicity Cloake’s perfect osso buco recipe
Those plastic boxes of chuck or stewing steak in the supermarket are rarely the best choice for slow cooking. Seek out shin or oxtail instead. The same goes for chicken thighs over breasts, lamb neck or shoulder over leg, pig cheek over pork loin – they may take longer to source and prepare, but they’re well worth it.

Article shared from The Guardian


Tricks That Will Make Your Cheap Wine Taste Better

drinking wine

As someone who writes about food and luxury travel as part of my job, you’d think I’d be reallyinto fine wine. And I am, because it’s great.

But what I really love—and drink regularly—is cheap wine.

So I’ve essentially been on a life-long quest for wine that is delicious but value-priced. Here are the tricks I’ve learned:



And know exactly what to buy from them. There are plenty of countries that that are known to deliver in price as well as in value and flavor, like…

New Zealand (Sauvignon Blanc)

Australia (Riesling and Shiraz)

Argentina (Malbec)

Portugal (Vinho Verde)

Chile (Cabernet Sauvignon)

Spain (Cava)


I am obsessed with the wine wand. It is an AMAZING hack for inexpensive wine. Swirl the wand in your glass for three minutes (or more) and all the histamines and sulfites (used to preserve wine, and found in tons of cheaper wine) will be removed.

Bonus 1: The wine tastes better.

Bonus 2: You will not feel like crap the next morning.


Another hack for making inexpensive wine taste better is to simply allow it to BREATHE. Invest in an aerator, or simply decant it and it will start to taste better. I also chill all my wine—not just the white, but the red!—you’ll find it tastes better longer. Plus, it’s really nice to be able to open your fridge and see a bottle of wine waiting for you! Want to make that bottle last even longer? Start to appreciate the beauty of a fizzy wine mixture (try lemon line or grapefruit soda).


Inexpensive wine can also be brought to life with something called hyperdecanting. Here’s how: You throw your red wine in a blender for 30 seconds. That’s it (just don’t tell anyone you did this, they will may judge you).

Ultimately, the world needs to get over its prejudices when it comes to cheap wine versus “good” wine. Wine is not always “art”—a lot of us don’t really care that much about the history or the complexity of our glass. We just want something that tastes delicious.

Besides, wine is ultimately about being social, sharing and enjoying—who wants to put a price tag on that?


Looking for an Espresso Machine

awesome espresso drinks

My mother-in-law will soon be 75 years old, and we want to give her a nice gift. The last time she came over, she’d expressed several times that she loved the foamy coffee I was offering. Unfortunately, I could not spare her my espresso machine at the time, because we had already spent substantial money on my daughter’s wedding, and we needed a respite. I remember mentioning it to my husband, and he said don’t worry, we will give her one in about six months time.

I could, of course, choose to buy the same model, except that this model espresso machines are no longer available or may be I am not searching the right model number. My daughter asked me to find the best espresso machine reviews, and send them over to her so that she can confirm from her colleagues if they own such machines, and if they have any problems.

That is exactly what I am doing now; reading through so many reviews on different sites, and being forced to decide which of the listed espresso machines is best suited for my mother-in-law. I do need to consider her ability to pull out the parts for washing and pushing them back. She may also forget adding coffee beans because nowadays she is showing signs of Alzheimer’s. I also don’t know if she can remember the instructions. I’d rather she shifted over to our place, but she does not like leaving her village. My husband too is not comfortable at the thought of her living with us. He feels that there will be differences between us as is normal between mother-in-law and daughter-in-law. But I think he is afraid that she will be asking him to do many other things, which right now he does not want to undertake. Moreover, he will have to keep moving up and down the village at least once a month, because of his ancestral property out there.

Why I Cannot Live Without Stainless Steel Rice Cookers

For those people who love cooking rice like me then you will agree that stainless steel rice cookers are the best. In my experience I have discovered that family is very important. I don’t have enough time to spend in the kitchen and hence I need a cooker which will give me the desired results quickly. Last December we had a family gathering and for us without good cooked rice, that celebration will be just a miss. If you would like to know about the best rice cooker to buy then join me as I narrate to you my experience.

my rice cooker

Who would like to eat rice which has a bad flavor or unpleasant taste? Certainly not my family, and I was not ready to ruin this big day. I decided to use stainless steel rice cookers as they preserve the flavor of any type of food that you cook or steam in them. Stomach problems and acidic reactions can ruin a meal but when you use these cookers you are guaranteed of the safety of the food. Stainless cookers preserve the nutritional value of food and give it a good taste and this I know too well.

I love doing my cooking in an attractive cooker. The stainless steel rice cooker that I used during this ceremony is several years old now but it is as good as new. This is because stainless steel rice cookers don’t peel, rust or tarnish. I love it as it can withstand damage and hence am assured of enjoying its services for a long time.

It is very saddening to spend your time in the kitchen cooking. I was not prepared to spend hours in the kitchen and I have this stainless steel rice cooker to thank for that. This cooker will only take you about 15 minutes to cook your rice. If I were you I would rush to the nearest shop and get myself one. Just try it out and you will discover why I cannot live without it.

Best Ever Barbecued Ribs

Barbecued Ribs
What You’ll Need:

2 sides Pork spareribs

Smoking chips


1 tablespoon ground cumin

1 tablespoon mild chili powder

1 tablespoon brown sugar

1 tablespoon kosher salt

1 tablespoon coarse ground black pepper

½ tsp. cayenne pepper

2 tsp. dried leaf oregano

1 tsp garlic powder

1 tsp onion powder

1 tsp celery seed


½ cup unsalted butter

1 medium onion, diced

5 cloves garlic, finely minced

¼ cup chili powder

2 tsp. dried leaf oregano

2 tsp. ground cumin

1 tablespoon dry mustard

2 tsp. crushed red pepper (or to taste)

2 tsp. ground black pepper

3 bay leaves

2 cups ketchup

1 cup dark beer (german beer)

1/3 cup lime juice

1/3 cup dark molasses

2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce

2 tablespoons soy sauce.

Combine rub ingredients in a small bowl. Brush meat with olive oil and apply rub generously on both sides of ribs. Allow to marinate at least one hour at room temperature (best if refrigerated and left overnight).

Prepare the sauce (best made the day before for more flavor) by cooking the onion and garlic in the butter until tender. Add the remaining sauce ingredients and simmer over low heat, uncovered while the ribs cook. Wrap ribs tightly in foil and bake at 375 for about an hour until tender. Pour off drippings from foil packets. Degrease the drippings, and cook in a small saucepan until syrupy. Stir into sauce.

Preheat a gas grill to medium heat. Arrange smoking chips in a foil packet or smoker box on the grill, and place the ribs over direct heat initially to sear. Sear on each side, then baste with sauce turning once. Cook to brown and glaze the ribs. Serve with additional sauce.

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How I chose the perfect cookware set for my sister

When my sister was about to get married, I started looking for the best cookware sets as the perfect gift for her. Even though the range of cookware options can be overwhelming, there is a guide that I used when shopping for pots and pans as a wedding gift for my sister. The first thing I considered was what my sister likes to cook, and this information is important when I was deciding on the materials used in making the pots and pans. Since my sister is vegetarian, she needed a lot of nonstick cookware because you will hardly find her frying meat.


My sister is always in the kitchen cooking something and she likes entertaining a lot. She is a very good cook and so I knew that nothing but the best cookware set would meet her approval. Apart from that, my sister likes to make recipes that require shifting from the stove top to the broiler or oven and so I knew that I should look for stainless steel or cast iron cookware. Stainless steel pots and pans was the better choice because my sister could use them with any ingredients or recipes without worrying if they will damage her cookware. The Calphalon Classic 10-Pc cookware set looks like a good set to buy for her and it meets my budget.

Another reason why I went for stainless steel cookware was due to the fact that it looks great hanging in the kitchen. I knew that my sister liked to experiment a lot in the kitchen, and she liked working with advanced recipes that required precise temperature control. For this reason, I knew that I had to get her some pots and pans made of copper, which will heat and cool down fast. The last thing I did was to look for dishwasher safe cookware to include in my shopping list. This would ensure that my sister is not overwhelmed when cleaning up after inviting us to one of the many family dinners that she loves hosting.

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Kitchenaid Cookware Reviews

Do you read those kitchen knives reviews before buying them?

Long ago, one of my distant relatives told me not to rely on online reviews, because some of them may not be from genuine buyers. I guess she had her reasons to say so, and she even sounded logical. After all, anybody who wanted to malign my merchandise could do so by adding a few negative reviews. Likewise, a business enterprise could ask its employees to add positive reviews about the mediocre product. So I did not read any kitchen knives reviews and ordered this electric knife from one of the lesser known online sellers. The result is that it is now lying neatly packed in one of my shelves, occupying space that I could use for something else. I realized that the handle was not ergonomically designed for me. I also realized that I need to master skills for chopping vegetables and meat with that knife. I am simply too scared to use it.

This experience was the reason I began reading those kitchen knives reviews on Amazon. I learned that the customer’s reviews on this site are essentially from those individuals who bought that product from This is the reason you can find both good and bad reviews there. Even so, I am skeptical if the customer is inclined to write too much about the product or is all praises for it.


But I am glad that I went through those kitchen knives reviews and eventually relied on them. It is a different issue that I spent more monies on lesser known knife sets over a period of 3 to 4 years, knowing fully well which knives set would have been right for me. I was trying to save on a few dollars at the time, and that was not an intelligent thing to do. The reviewer I’d found helpful had mentioned that the knife’s handle was perfectly shaped, and that she has been using knives of that company since the last 30 odd years. Another reviewer had mentioned that she bought the product for her daughter and has been using the knives from the company almost forever. These were the reviews that tilted the balance in favor of the brand but I hesitated when I saw the cost.

My experience with bad knives has taught me that those reviews are there for a good reason, and if you know how to separate wheat from the chaff so to speak, you will be able to find the right products and save yourself more time and monies in the process.

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