Do you hate cooking because everything goes wrong and the food you prepared doesn't taste the way it should?
There are so many things that can go wrong: your eggs are not whisked properly, the custard turns out to be a thick, curdled lump, the beaten fresh cream has a lumpy texture instead of a smooth one, your cake turns out dry and hard, the steak you prepared is not cooked thoroughly, or the meal you prepared has no taste to it.
There are tips and ways to adapt while cooking that will prevent your outcome from going wrong. Even experienced cooks can make mistakes, but they somehow know why their preparation did not turn out as it should. Sometimes you have a recipe you want to try, but the recipe doesn't state what can go wrong and why. The following tips will give you better results.
- Whisking egg whites: It is easier to separate the yolks when eggs are cold (directly taken from the refrigerator) than at room temperature. Beating egg whites also gets better results at room temperature. Ensure that no trace of yolk is left in the whites to make them lighter.
- Homemade custard: When making custard for another dessert like trifle, or for eating it as it is, use a hand beater or a whisk to beat the custard while mixing, for a smoother texture.
- Beating fresh cream: Whether you are beating cream for strawberries or for the topping on your cake, it has to be light and velvety. This texture can be obtained by making sure you do not over-beat the cream. The minute you see peaks forming in the cream, your cream is done, so stop beating immediately.
Measuring flour and liquid for a recipe: Never use more flour or liquid than stated in the recipe. If you add extra flour or liquid, it will alter the texture, so you need to be very accurate. For example, adding more flour in a sponge cake's recipe will not make it as spongy and light as it should be.
- Cooking meats: All types of meat as well as the quality of the meat (especially beef) vary in cooking times. It also depends on the temperature at which you are cooking. The best way to check if the meat is done is to insert a fork; if it is inserted easily, then the meat is done. You cannot rely on time alone - the meat needs to be checked. Be careful when cooking fish and prawns, make sure they are not over-cooked or they tend to get rubbery.
- Using spices: Spices release their flavor best in hot oil. Heat the spices in oil before adding them to a dish or gravy.
- Using lemon: When the recipe calls for adding lemon juice in meat dishes, it is better done at the end of the cooking process, resulting in tender meat.
- Controlling chilies: Chilies give food a good color and taste, but you need to be careful with the amount you use as some chilies are hotter than others and not everyone enjoys spicy food, especially kids. Mixing paprika with chilies will control the strength of the chilies while giving the required color.
- Rising dough: When making rolls or homemade pizzas, you need to let the dough rise; this has better results when left in a sealable, airtight container with enough room for the dough to rise, doubling its original volume. The airtight container/bowl also prevents the dough from drying out.
- Marinating meat for a barbecue: Before marinating meat, wash and drain it; then be sure the meat is drained properly. If there is too much water in the meat and you begin marinating, the salt and other spices will flow away with the water, leaving the meat tasting bland after it is barbecued.