Last week we spoke about 7 of the Deadliest Culinary Sins you can commit in your kitchen. Since we’re in the festive mood, we decided to extend our spirit of giving to our loyal clientele. That’s why we wanted to share with you some pearls of wisdom by mentioning important cooking tips to keep in mind when you’re trying your luck at some of your favourite dishes…
1. Season as you cook
No one wants an insipid or bland dish. Food seasoning acts as a flavour enhancer. What’s more, your dish will have the right balance of tastes. Forgetting to season is a huge disservice to a meal that could have otherwise been really delicious. Seasoning works to bring out the natural flavours of all the ingredients in a meal.
2. Over or Under-seasoning kills your dish
It’s easy to go crazy with the salt and other seasonings. So what happens if you get ‘sprinkle-happy’ or perhaps you slip in a little bit more seasoning than you might have planned to? The trick is to use water or an acid like lemon juice or vinegar to dilute it. The only thing worse than over-seasoning is under-seasoning. That’s why you should always taste your dishes before you serve them, so if they need more seasoning, you can add accordingly, prior to actually serving them.
3. Keep in mind, it’s all about timing and the right quantity
Sure, you might think you have good intuition, however understanding the importance of time and correct proportions is critical. If you’re still in the early stages of making something, or you can’t sample the food yet because you’re waiting for meat to cook, season more cautiously at first. After all, you can always add more seasoning later, but you can’t take it away, if you’ve already sprinkled too much!
4. Don’t forget the grease!
Why not buy a plastic spray-bottle and fill it with olive oil? This will help grease the grates on the grill or pan evenly, so the chances of your food sticking are slim to nil. We suggest adding a touch of oil even if it’s a non-stick pan, because although it will reduce the chance of food burning and sticking significantly, they’re not 100% stick proof. A bit of oil goes a long way, plus it develops the overall flavour.
5. Choose your cooking oil wisely
It’s interesting to point out that certain cooking oils have lower smoke points. So what does this mean exactly? Well, it’s useful to know which oils to use at various temperatures. Olive oil and butter (even though not an oil, technically) are ideal for low-temperature cooking; olive oil and coconut oil are good for medium-heat cooking; and peanut oil, avocado oil and ghee are the most suitable for high-heat cooking.
6. The art of breading food
Our suggestion to a fool-proof process for getting your breading just right is as follows: first dredge the chicken or fish in flour, dip it in liquid (like beaten eggs or buttermilk), then coat it with breadcrumbs …and voilà, you have an amazing breaded piece of meat ready to be cooked.
7. A little heat is good, but needing a fire brigade, isn’t!
We love spicy foods, they’re absolutely great! But it’s really easy to overdo it. If possible, add a little water, lemon juice or salt to neutralize the heat. Or, if you prefer opting for Plan B: grab an extra glass of water, some tissues, and eat it anyway… whilst keeping your fingers crossed your mouth won’t ignite, of course!
8. The perfect technique for whipping your egg whites
The trick is to let the eggs sit in the bowl on your counter for at least 15 minutes. It’s useful to note that eggs whip easier at room temperature.
9. Ensure cooking eggs that don’t get tough and dry
If you struggle with eggs, lower the cooking temperatures. Lower the heat and cook at low to medium heat until the eggs are still moist. Remove them from the heat source immediately and serve.
10. The Salad Spinner is your friend
Let’s face it, no one likes a soggy salad! Leafy green vegetables are among the healthiest foods you can consume, but they’re as delicate as they are nutritious. To diminish the odds of a soggy salad, we suggest you to rinse your greens under cold water then dry them in a salad spinner.
11. Avoid overcooked, mushy-tasting veggies
Basically, you need to “shock” vegetables when they’re done. This means tossing them into very cold water after the allotted cooking time is up and they’re still relatively firm to the touch and crunchy. This method works particularly well for green beans, broccoli, asparagus and corn.
12. Don’t ruin the culinary treasure trove that is bacon!
Who doesn’t like crispy bacon? Okay, sure vegetarians don’t… But for all you carnivores out there: cooking bacon in a pan can potentially be a greasy fiasco in your kitchen. Instead, try baking it at 400 degrees for around 20 minutes.
Words of advice are always welcome when we know whatever we’ll be preparing in our culinary confines will yield much more successful results. This especially rings true when it comes to cooking tips, particularly when we’re planning to host a dinner party. So to feel confident and all prepped up to impress your guests, we advise you to follow these top cooking tips, because we’re sure you’ll be feeling a great sense of success and achievement once you look at (and eventually taste!) your end result.
We know that like us you probably love experimenting in the kitchen. However, every now and again we understand you need (and deserve!) a much-needed break from slaving over a hot stove. To experience how our chefs create such delicious food, you’ll have to come and sample our mouth-watering dishes here at Marina Club, situated at the picturesque Valletta Waterfront.
For more information, click here or contact us to book a table.