Master these classics (plus 4 best cooking tips from the pros)

By TASTE, 30 May 2018

We’re firm believers in not reinventing the wheel. Bacon butties? No need for embellishment. But sometimes, just a small tweak to your usual method can make the basics even more brilliant


No, not the microwaveable kind. We’re talking the stuff you actually pop in a pot yourself, but which sometimes goes a bit soggy when you add the melted butter. The solution? Popping those kernels in clarified butter or ghee (available at Woolies). No milk solids means no burnt bits, just pure buttery flavour.


Ain’t nobody got time for overcooked chops rimmed with rubbery fat. Start by letting the cutlets come to room temperature, blot using kitchen paper, then stand them on their fatty edges (tongs are your friend here) in the pan, so all that fat renders out. Then lay them flat and cook the meat to your liking
Try: Brenda's Mexican pork chops


The secret to getting pasta sauces glossy and sticky lies in the pasta water. Once your pasta is almost al dente, scoop out a quarter cup of the cooking water, add it it your sauce and cook for 30 seconds or so. The water acts as an emulsifier, transforming the sauce into a richer, silkier version of itself that clings to each strand.
Try: Basil pesto pasta with mozzarella


Charred corn on the cob with tomato salsa recipe
You’ve been invited to a Mexican feast and have been asked to bring salsa. Avoid bland, watery humiliation by starting with room-temperature tomatoes, so they taste sweet, not insipid. Then scoop out the seeds (keep them for dressings), before adding the rest of the ingredients. The flavour’s in the flesh.
Try: Charred corn on the cob with tomato salsa

Best cooking tip from the pros

When making mashed potatoes, after you drain the potatoes, return them to the hot pan, cover tightly and steam for 5 minutes. This allows the potatoes to dry out so they’ll mash to a beautiful texture and soak up the butter and cream more easily. - Wolfgang Puck
Try: cheesy mashed potato

My main aim is not to waste anything ... so if I’ve used a grater (like a Microplane) to grate garlic into a dish, I’ll then use that grater to stir what I’m cooking to make sure I get every last bit of garlic out. I’m sure I would be expelled from a professional kitchen for behaving like that.” – Nigella Lawson

For the best burger patty, you want a blend that’s about 65% meat and 35% fat. If you have the time, chop the meat instead of grinding it, because you need air. Before you make the patty, toss the meat lightly, because the air and the fat, you need that to make a burger that’s not tight and tense.” – Marcus Samuelsson

Try: hand-chopped burgers with kimchi

“For a cheese toastie, you’ll need your frying pan on a low to medium heat, so the bread, buttered inside and out, can spend about three minutes on each side to get beautiful and golden on the outside, and oozy in the middle.” – Jamie Oliver
Try: the ultimate cheese toastie


Article by TASTE

The TASTE team is a happy bunch of keen cooks and writers, always on the look out for the next food trend or the next piece of cake.
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