Every person has a way of preparing his or her favorite meals. They need not be the perfect way to go about it, but you still do it your way because you like the outcome or it is just convenient for you. But cooking certain ingredients and dishes to perfection is an art and knowing how to do it will only do you good. So the next time you want to boil and egg or cook pasta, you will not have to depend on your method, instead you can follow these cooking tricks mentioned below and come out with something even more fabulous than before.
1. How to boil an egg
Cooking the perfect boiled egg is an art. It should be moist and bright in the center and never over cooked. Place a pan, large enough to hold all your eggs comfortably, over medium heat and then fill with just enough water to cover them. Bring it to a boil and then add the eggs, one at a time, taking care to not crack the shell. Set the times for 8 minutes and once the time is up, take the eggs out of the boiling water and run cold water over it till they become completely cold. This stops the cooking process and you will have the perfect hard boiled eggs.
2. How to scramble an egg
You can scramble eggs in the French style, which is more like a sauce and the English style which is a drier version. The French version is preferred by most since it is faster and has more body. Place a large pan on low heat and put in a knob of butter. Allow it to melt. Meanwhile, whisk the eggs in another bowl and season with salt and pepper. Mix till just combined and then pour into the pot. Stir continuously and you would soon start noticing the egg beginning to cook. Continue mixing till the entire egg is cooked, but not dried out. There would still be some runny egg left. At this point, remove the pan from the heat and add another knob of butter and stir it in. Once it has melted, add a couple of tablespoons of cream, test for salt and fold it in. Serve hot.
3. How to make an omelette
The only rule of thumb for getting an omelette right is that it should not be brown. Take a small pan and melt some butter in it, keeping the heat to low. Whisk together a couple of eggs along with salt and pepper and add it to the pan. Then, using a wooden spoon, stir the omelette continuously breaking any lumps that form. When the entire mixture is smooth and runny, take the pan off the heat and place under a pre heated grill and cook until the top has completely dried, but not browned. Remove the pan from under the grill and fold the omelette in half, slide on to a serving plate and eat it hot. You can add any topping you like just before putting it under the grill.
4. How to cook pasta
Take a very large stock pot and fill it half with water. Season with salt generously and then put it on medium high heat and bring to a vigorous boil. At this point, tip in the pasta and give it a gentle stir. Usually pasta takes around 8 to 10 minutes to cook, but different types of pasta can take different time to cook. So check the instructions on the packet and then cook as required. To test if the pasta is done to the al dente stage, remove a single piece and bite into it. if it is soft on the outside but firm (not crunchy) in the center, then it is ready. Strain the pasta, but do not rinse it or strain it too dry. You can then use this to make any type of pasta dish.
5. How to cook perfect steak
Place a heavy bottomed pan on high heat and add a table spoon or two of oil or a knob of butter. Season the steak with salt and pepper and once the oil starts to sizzle, place it in the pan, taking care to not touch it. Then cook as per your preference. If you want it very rare then just cook for a minute on each side, medium would be 4 minutes or each side and well done would be 5 to 6 minutes on each side. Only touch the steak to flip it and once done, transfer to a plate and leave it to rest for about 3 to 5 minutes before serving.
6. How to cook rice
Cooking rice is a very simple procedure if you get the hang of it. Take a large pot, place it over medium high heat and add a dash of oil to it. Once hot, add a mug of white basmati rice and stir for a couple of seconds so the rice is coated well. Then fill the same mug twice over with hot water and add to the rice. The ratio of rice to water is usually 1:2, of course, depending on the quality of rice used. Then season with plenty of salt and bring to a boil. Then put a tight fitting lid on the pot and reduce the heat to the lowest setting. Cook for about 15 minutes and then lift the lid off and using a fork lightly full the rice away from the side of the pot, to check if there is any water remaining. If so, then cook for a further one minutes and then do the same check. Once the entire water has been absorbed, remove the pot from the heat, place a cloth over the pot and leave aside for a couple more minutes. Fluff gently when ready to use.
7. How to mash potatoes
Peel and place the potatoes in a pt filled with water about 2/3rd of the way. Season with enough salt and bring to a boil. Cook till the potatoes are soft and done, but not falling apart. Remove from the pot and strain all of the water. meanwhile, bring to a boil some cream. keep aside. Pass the cooked potatoes through a sieve and then place them back into the pot. Cook on low heat and melt a knob of butter into it. Then using a wooden spoon mix the butter into the potatoes, gradually adding the warm cream as you go. Once you get a thick paste like consistency, add a dash of grated nutmeg, season with salt and pepper and serve immediately.
8. How to roast potatoes
Roasted potatoes are a great accompaniment to any main meal. First of all, you need to peel the potatoes and cut then into medium sized pieces. Melt some goose fat or lard in a roasting dish and then add the diced potatoes into it. Roll them around or mix them till all the potatoes are well coated with the fat. Season with enough salt and cook in an oven preheated at 375F for about 40 minutes or so. Baste the potatoes frequently with the fat and it would ensure a golden colour all through. Once done, take them out of the oven and serve hot.
9. How to boil vegetables
Not all vegetables cook alike, but this method can be more or less used for most types. Clean or peel the vegetables and cut them up into bite sized pieces. Add to a pot of boiling water and season with enough salt. Keep checking the vegetables from time to time to see if they have cooked. Ideally, they should be soft but still have a crunchy edge to it. Once done, strain off the cooking water and serve immediately.
10. How to roast a chicken
Roasting a chicken is a fairly simple task. Marinate the chicken with whatever spices and herbs you wish to use and then rub some soft butter all over the skin. Place it upside down on a roasting dish and then bake in an oven preheated at 400F for about half the cooking time, which is determined by the formula 15 minutes per 450 gms. Once you reach half time, turn the chicken over and continue cooking. Place the finished roast on a serving plate and let it rest for 15 minutes before serving.