Give slippery chopping boards the chop !

Give slippery chopping boards the chop !

Prevent your chopping board from slipping and sliding while you work by placing a wet cloth or wet piece of carlton towel underneath your board.  This locks your board in place, ensuring no movement from the board while you chop.  Making you work faster, more efficiently and safer !

 

 

 

Poached Perfection!

Poached Perfection!

Photography by Darren Bester

 

Have you watched the movie Run Away Bride with Julia Roberts and Richard Gere? Where she likes her eggs however her boyfriend at the time likes his… I would do a lot of things for love, but I would not compromise how I like my eggs …! 2 soft poached eggs please and don’t be shy with the Hollandaise Sauce!

Last week, I gave you my top tips on frying the perfect sunny side up egg. This week, we look at tips on poaching to perfection! Poaching the perfect egg can be daunting but if you follow these guidelines, you should be plating up poached eggs to be proud of:-

 

Darren Bester Photography - Cape Town Photographer - Easter Styled Shoot-77

  • Fresh eggs are a non negotiable! Even if you follow all the other steps but your eggs are not fresh, your end result will be disappointing
  • Ideally, eggs should be room temperature
  • Use a deep large pot
  • For every litre of water, add 15ml vinegar (aim for close on 2 litres of water if possible). The vinegar helps the white of the egg to set. Lack of vinegar will result in your egg not shaping nicely so it is a vital ingredient
  • Bring the water to the boil and then add your vinegar
  • Drop the heat to a gentle simmer
  • Stir in a circular motion inside your pot to create a whirlpool
  • Crack your egg and gently drop from the centre of the pot into the whirlpool
  • Set a timer for ± 2 minutes (for soft poached)
  • Leave the egg alone – do not be tempted to touch it
  • When the timer go’s off, remove your little beauty with a slotted spoon and if not serving immediately, carefully place in a bowl of cold water (this will stop the cooking process)
  • If serving immediately, trim the egg white by cutting off any stragglers and season with salt & pepper
  • Never add the salt to your pot during the cooking process –this breaks down egg proteins
  • If you placed your eggs in cold water and you are now ready to plate up – all you need to do is gently place your poached eggs in hot salted water for 30 seconds to heat through, drain with a slotted spoon, trim the egg white, season and enjoy!
  • Note: You can poach your egg a few hours in advance and leave in cold water in the fridge until required – this helps eliminate pressure & ensures everyone can have breakfast at the same time 🙂

 

Mastering Scrambled Eggs…

Mastering Scrambled Eggs…

Who doesn’t fancy fluffy and light scrambled eggs with a slice of toast and some bacon in the morning?  It is so easy to overcook scrambled eggs, resulting in the eggs losing colour, turning brown, becoming dry or even watery.  The trick is to whisk enough air into your eggs prior to cooking and then once on the heat, it should take no more than a minute to a minute and a half to cook through.  Remember, the eggs will continue to cook even when off the pan – so always take off the heat while it still looks moist because by the time it is served, it would have cooked through.

Here are my top tips for the perfect scrambled eggs:

  • Ensure your eggs are fresh
  • Eggs should be at room temperature to ensure even cooking
  • Have your non stick pan, heat resistant spatula, whisk, eggs, butter, oil, salt & pepper at the ready – Avoid having to focus on other tasks while busy with your eggs (so get the bacon and toast out the way and leave your eggs for last)
  • In a clean bowl, add your eggs ( I used 6 the other day for Andrew & I – *blush* & it was a satisfying amount)
  • For every egg, add 15ml of cream (you can substitute this for milk but it will impact on the creamy flavour)
  • Whisk well to combine
  • Put the pan on a very low heat, add equal amounts of oil and butter, coat the pan and pour out the excess oil / butter
  • Add your egg mixture and allow to cook without interference for up to 30 seconds
  • Add salt & pepper at this stage
  • Using a spatula, gently push the egg from the sides of the pan to the centre of the pan, tilting the pan as you go to allow the liquid egg to run to the sides of the pan and then repeat the process until no liquid egg remains
  • Continue to gently turn the eggs until the egg mixture becomes firm.  Do not break up the egg curds with your spatula – you want to maintain large curds of eggs rather than small curds
  • Transfer to your serving plate and enjoy !

 

 

Top Tip: Removing Egg Shells from Mixtures

Top Tip: Removing Egg Shells from Mixtures

 

How many times have you cracked an egg and some of the shell ends up in your bowl?  You end up spending countless minutes trying to fish it out, before you give up and just pretend its not there (or is that just me? :))

Solution: Use one of the larger egg shells to scoop it out.  Fail Proof!  No more chasing a small piece of shell around and around the bowl or biting into something unexpectedly crunchy around the dining room table 🙂 

Egg Shell 

Top Tip: Boiling Vegetables

Top Tip: Boiling Vegetables

I’m sure you boil vegetables a few times a week but did you know …

Boiling Root Vegetables: 

When boiling any kind of root vegetable such as potatoes, carrots, butternut, parsnips, turnips etc – always submerge your vegetables in cold (tap) salted water and then bring to the boil. This allows the heat to penetrate and cook your vegetables evenly, resulting in a smoother, creamier end result!

Boiling Green Vegetables:

Green vegetables such as broccoli, spinach, cabbage, peas etc – should be cooked quickly – Plunging them into large quantities of salted boiling water keeps cooking time to a minimum and allows the vegetables to retain their colour, texture and taste.  Green vegetables must always be boiled uncovered – allowing volatile acids to escape which could otherwise effect their colour, texture and taste

Recipe Yields

Recipe Yields

 

A recipe yield indicates the number of portions one will achieve when following a recipe…

Example: Yields 4 – This means you will feed 4 people if you follow this recipe.

I’m sure you have had many a situation where your recipe only caters for 4 but you want to cook for more OR, your recipe caters for 10 but you only want to cook for 2 … and probably like me, you spend ages trying to work out the new measurements and end up confusing yourself to the point of no return!   Well, you can put that all behind you and take on any recipe with confidence, by using this very simple formula that I learnt in culinary school –

New Yield / Old Yield x Old Measurement

In other words – New Yield = the number of people you want to feed with this recipe.  Old Yield = the number of people this recipe currently feeds. Old measurement = the ingredient measurement per item as listed on the recipe.

Example –

Spaghetti Recipe 

Yield 4 

Ingredients:

Pasta 50grms

Mince 500grms

Tomato Puree – 30ml

Chopped up tinned tomatoes – 250grms

Onion 1

Beef stock – 500ml

You have the above recipe but you are having 10 people over for dinner – therefore;

10 divide by 4 = 2.5 (new yield divided by old yield = 2.5)

Pasta 50grms x 2.5 = 125grms

Mince 500grms x 2.5 = 1,250 kgs

Tomato Puree – 30ml x 2.5 = 75ml

Chopped up tinned tomatoes – 250grms x 2.5 = 625grms

Onion 1 x 2.5 = 2.5 onions

Beef stock – 500ml x 2.5 = 1,250 litres

Note: If you want to reduce the yield of a recipe – apply the same formula –

Example –

Spaghetti Recipe

Yield 4

 Ingredients:

Pasta 50grms

Mince 500grms

Tomato Puree – 30ml

Chopped up tinned tomatoes – 250grms

Onion 1

Beef stock – 500ml

You have the above recipe but you just want to make enough for just yourself – therefore;

1 divide by 4 = 0.25 (new yield divided by old yield = 0.25)

Pasta 50grms x 0.25 = 12.5grms

Mince 500grms x 0.25 = 125grms

Tomato Puree – 30ml x 0.25 = 7.5ml

Chopped up tinned tomatoes – 250grms x 0.25 = 62.5grms

Onion 1 x 0.25 = quarter onion

Beef stock – 500ml x 0.25 = 125ml