Friday, 28 March 2014

Kitchen Disasters

A while back a finnish paper - Iltalehti - published an article online about the most common mistakes made in the kitchen. I read the article and not only am I guilty of some of these I thought that this would be an excellent subject to talk about with you.

Number one: You forget about tasting your dishes

GUILTY! I rarely remember to taste the things that I'm making because I have this feeling of over confidence in my head "oh it'll be fine" Nope. The truth is that the more components your dish has, the more you should taste it to make sure the seasoning is balanced with the flavours of the ingredients. So let's all promise to start having that tiny spoon next to the stove when cooking, okay? Because I know I'm not alone in this..

Number two: No prepping before cooking

I'll just chop as I go along, right?

This I do not only because I take photos for my blog but because it's actually very useful. I go through the recipe and prep everything before starting. This helps you to see that you have the things you need before you actually have to put them in the bowl.

Number three: Wrong replacements

So you've done all of your prepping and came to the conclusion that you have just a tiny bit too little butter so just replace it with some oil and baking powder instead of dry yeast. It'll be okay, won't it? No, no it won't. Although baking has the artistic decoration side everything before that is pretty much science. Literally. All the ingredients have to go together or your soufflé will be a pancake.
Number four: Too hot to handle

You got me again there.. The recipe calls for "a gentle simmer for ten minutes"? Let's blast full heat for five! NO! Believe me do not try to cut corners with time and heat. Too many good cakes have suffered a horrible dry death, too many steaks have dried up..

Number five: Burn choco, burn

So you need melted chocolate and you think you can just set it in the microwave for two minutes and that's it. Well if you say so.. Or not. You should use a bain-marie meaning melting your chocolate over that gentle simmer mentioned before. Or if you use a microwave you should only put the chocolate in about 10-20 seconds at a time and stir after each time. This ensures that the fats in the chocolate don't separate and your chosolate heats up evenly resulting in a smooth, shiny pool of chocolate. I've burnt chocolate once, my kitchen smelled absolutely horrible afterwards. So I've learnt my lesson, now it's your turn. And what ever you do: do not under any circumstances melt the chocolate in a regular old saucepan. Do not do it.

The chocolate screams: "be gentle please"

Number six: Hot butter

Cookies crumbling? Cake batter deflating? Melt your butter slightly slower and your problems will be solved.

Number seven: Low fat dairy products

"I'll just use low fat products to make this cake a little less naughty." Okay, but you will have to risk curdling when heating. Cream can take the heat but using a little starch to stabilize the low fat product can help.

Number eight: Measure, measure, measure

Cooking allows for a little creativity, but baking especially needs attention to detail. So don't just eyeball, measure! And level your measures.

"We're your best pals!"

Number nine: Three is a crowd

A crowded pan is never good. Everything releases moisture when heated so there needs to be room for the moisture to evaporate. If not you get soggy products so fry in batches to ensure a crispy result. Same goes for the oven. If you need to make a lot of something use two dishes. And I am guilty again!

Number ten: The pan is too cold

So you've done everything right: prepped the veggies, measured the flour and decided to use cream. Now to put the pan on the stove and chuck everything on so you can have dinner on the table quickly. There's one more thing. You need to pre-heat the pan. Yes I'm serious. This ensures colour and prevents sticking.

Number eleven: Wrong cut

I do this! Yes I do. You're supposed to cut all meats against the grain.

Number twelve: Resting is important

If you don't rest cooked meat the juices won't settle inside and they'll just leak out when you cut in to it.

Number thirteen: Incorrect salting

This I had no idea about. Apparently if you salt the marinade your meat is going in you should put only a little bit of salt in it and then re-salt the meat after the marinade is poured out.

Number fourteen: From the fridge to the oven

Guilty again! You should allow the meat to warm up in room temperature for a good 15-30 minutes before you put it in the oven.

Number fifteen: Fifty pieces of gray eggs

If you boil your eggs for too long and too hard the yolk starts to turn gray. So start your eggs in cold water, get them to full boil and then reduce the heat to low.

Number sixteen: Dry scramble

This took me ages to get. Hot pan results in dry eggs. A good, fluffy plate of scrambled eggs comes with time. Set the heat to medium-low and keep the mixture moving in the pan. You can take the pan off the heat because the eggs will continue cooking on the pan so don't keep it on for too long.

So there you go. The most common mistakes made in the houshold kitchens around the world. How many have you been guilty of? Let me know. And if you have any funny or dramatic kitchen disasters to report on leave me a comment down below or tag me in a photo on Instagram @tinyk02.

All photos are from Google searches.

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