Make life easier in the kitchen
Batch cook a chilli using Cuisinart’s Cook In
Now that summer’s over, we’ve had the ‘back to school and uni’ chaos and with Christmas just around the corner, it’s time to make your life easier in the kitchen. Everyone’s so busy these days, it’s important to recognise the need for pausing and taking a breath. Yes, we still need to eat healthily and serve up infinite meals, day in, day out, but there are plenty of simple hacks that can ease us into the hectic festive season and allow us to take the stress out of everyday cooking. Let’s start with these top tips for planning ahead from Cuisinart…
The simplest and most rewarding things to prepare in advance are sauces, pastes and marinades. With the help of the Cuisinart Spice Grinder and a simple ice cube tray, you can turn spices, herbs and flavourings into instant meal-makers. Blitz, divide portions into the tray and once frozen, they can be popped out in perfect sizes, ready to season and elevate any midweek pasta, rice or stir-fry.
Chop leftover herbs with the Cuisinart Mini Prep Pro and pile into ice cube trays, cover with water or olive oil and press down to submerge them well. Freeze and add to the pot when needed. Most batch cooking recipes are freezable, but it’s best to avoid egg and cream-based sauces, which may separate and curdle.
Batch cook and freeze the main part of your meal – curry, bolognaise – but always cook the carbs just before you eat. Rice, pasta and potatoes don’t take long to cook and will taste much better fresh. Make sure you label up any freezer food with the contents and date when it was cooked. And to avoid wasting food, put your newest portions at the back and bring older items to the front so they get eaten first.
Speaking of planning meals ahead, Cuisinart also has a fantastic range of recipes, with everything from freezer-friendly meals to store cupboard suppers. For a hearty and healthy homemade soup, use the Cuisinart Expert Prep Pro to dice 1kg of mixed veg (pumpkins, turnip, courgette, carrot and onion, peeled, topped and tailed then cut to fit the feed tube). Add 4 tbsp olive oil to a large pan, sauté 2 cloves of garlic then add the diced veg and 4 sprigs of thyme. Sauté for 10 mins until the veg softens then add 1 litre of chicken or vegetable stock, bring to the boil then simmer for around 10 minutes, Allow to cool then use the Cuisinart Cordless Pro Hand Blender to blend soup until smooth. Serve with crusty bread and crème fraiche.
Another good way of making life easier in the kitchen is to keep it organised. Elizabeth Sherwin, Creative Director at Naked Kitchens, has the following advice…
“Effective organisation is far easier when you have well-designed storage. A fantastic feature of any kitchen is a pantry; a dedicated space to store dry foods as well as appliances you use regularly but don’t want to dominate your surfaces.
A pantry will of course help keep your home tidy, however, there are many ways it can still be optimised to ensure it works as hard as possible. For example, vertical pull-outs are a fantastic option to utilise dead space and are great for storing herbs and spices as well as cooking oils, which can often get lost on the back of shelves. Another good option is using layered pull-out drawers, as these will enable you to maximise the full depth of the drawer whilst maintaining easy access to items within.
To help keep your pantry organised, ZWILLING has just launched the perfect storage solution with its brand new FRESH & SAVE CUBE collection. As well as making it easier to spot when the contents run low, thanks to the colourful sleeves with keyhole design, these vacuum sealed containers keep ingredients fresh for five times longer, reducing waste and saving money at the same time.
This stackable storage also saves space and is perfect for the pantry, open shelving, worksurfaces and food cupboards. Use for dried ingredients, prepping meals ahead of time, storing leftovers or making a packed lunch. The sleeves come in white, grey, black, ivory, sage or blue and it’s worth checking out the other FRESH & SAVE products too, to keep organised in the fridge and freezer.
If you’re looking for stoneware that can be taken straight from oven to table, check out the new Glazed Stoneware collection from KitchenAid. These durable designs are scratch resistant, metal utensil and dishwasher safe (excluding the lids) and are great for storing leftovers using the bamboo lids. Available at Harts of Stur, choose from Empire Red, Almond Cream and Pistachio colours and three sizes.
And finally, the new Microplane Universal Mill is a must. This nifty gadget can grate larger quantities with three long-lasting and ultra-sharp stainless steel blades – fine, coarse and ribbon, which are interchangeable. Perfect for cheese, chocolate, garlic, nuts, seeds or spices.