Our favourite timesaving tips to help you stay cool in the kitchen this summer.
We’re all familiar with the old recommendation that, ‘If you can’t stand the heat get out of the kitchen’ – unfortunately the UK’s chefs and commercial caterers don’t get that option, and when summer temperatures finally start to sizzle, knowing you’re working as smoothly and effectively as possible is essential.
That’s why we’ve collected some of our favourite time and hassle saving tips, compiled from the advice of some of the country’s best chefs and catering professionals, to create our own ‘lucky seven’ timesaving tips to help you stay cool in the kitchen.
Tip 1: Roll with it
If you are rolling out pastry do so between two sheets of parchment paper. This will save you having to clean the surface afterwards. Also, when baking biscuits or even roasting vegetables line your tray with parchment so that you don’t have to scrub the tray.
45cm x 50m parchment paper rolls & siliconised parchment paper supplied by Maws
Tip 2: Turn it up
Roast at a higher temperature. Some items, such as roasted vegetables, fish, and baked grains, actually cook better at higher temperatures. And the higher temperatures cook them faster. For example, by roasting veggies at 200˚C rather than 180˚C, you can shave ten minutes off their cooking time.
Tip 3: Repealing peeling
One of the most fiddly and frequent kitchen prep tasks has to be peeling garlic – especially when following recipes from Indian or Mediterranean cuisine, which can often demand dozens of cloves. There are plenty of ingenious tip for peeling garlic faster - yet none of them beat buying fresh pre-peeled garlic (which can be stored refrigerated between 1-5 ˚C for up to two weeks), for sheer hassle-free timesaving.
Maws supply pre-peeled garlic cloves in 1kg tubs
Tip 4: Grater efficiency
Grate softer cheese in half the time by giving them a few minutes blast in the freezer beforehand. This will firm up the cheese making grating easier, faster and more efficient. It also works just as well for thinly slicing mozzarella.
Tip 5: All’s shell that ends shell
When you crack as many eggs a week as most kitchen professionals it’s inevitable you’ll end with some shell in the mixing bowl every now and again. Fishing out those tiny bits of eggshell with fingers or a spoon is both frustrating and time-consuming. Instead, use an empty half-eggshell. The jagged part of the eggshell cuts through the raw egg and the bit of lost shell will actually stick to it.
Tip 6: Cook while you’re not there
For those who are short of kitchen space as well as kitchen time, utilising your ovens overnight to cook fresh stocks is an inspired solution. You get a perfectly clear stock – all the impurities that you would usually remove through skimming stick to the bottom and sides of the pot. Simply take lots of kitchen vegetable trim (celery, fennel tops, onion, garlic) and place in a pot with all your meat bones (chicken carcass, beef ribs, ham hocks etc), cover with water. Then cling film and foil it the top of the pot before gently cooking all night at 120˚C.
Tip 7: Mix it up
Thai, Indian, Mexican, Moroccan, you name it… most chefs have favourite dishes from a range of national cuisines that they use on a regular basis, and most of the flavour these dishes pack come from their unique and often intricate blends of herbs and spices. Pre-making large batches of your most frequently used spices-mixes will save you precious minutes every time you reach for those tried and tested recipes. Just remember to label your special blends, seal them in airtight containers and store somewhere dark, cool and dry.
Maws’ Herbs & Spices page contains over 140 different herb, spice and pre-made seasoning options