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6 secrets to culinary success: Top chefs tell us their secret tips
What do the professionals do differently?We caught up with some of our favourite chefs to find out their tips for culinary success every time
Make dinner faster with these tips from the Michelin star-winning chef: ● To peel garlic more easily, drop it in a pan of boiling water for a minute or so first. ● White or brown rice will cook faster if you soak it in water for 30 minutes first. ● Ginger keeps very well in the freezer; when you need it, you can just grate a little. ● Whenever you are using spices, either whole or powdered, always warm them in a pan first – this will release the natural oils and flavours and it will make a big difference to the end taste. ● To stop milk sticking to the bottom of the pan if being simmered, just rinse the pan in water before adding the milk.
Nettles are really overlooked in British cookery. Using rubber gloves, pick the top young leaves and purée with a little olive oil before stirring through cooked pasta or risottos. It also makes a pretty mean pesto.
Pasta is a staple we all use every day. Here are TV chef Aldo Zilli’s top tips for cooking this storecupboard staple: 1Make sure the water is at a rolling boil before you add the pasta. This will ensure the pasta will be ‘al dente’ which means it still has bite. 2Use a big pan so it doesn’t stick together. This way, you’ll be able to give more attention to the sauce you’re making. 3 Stir the pasta occasionally so nothing sticks to the bottom. 4Never pour oil into the cooking water, it’s just a waste! It doesn’t stop the pasta from sticking together. Do season your pasta water though. 5Never cool the pasta under cold water when it’s ready. Cool it down on a surface such as a bowl or a plate, and then add some olive oil. 6 Reserve a little of the cooking water to loosen the pasta sauce.
“Try to understand the ingredients that are in season. We seem to forget that every country has seasons, it’s just that I don’t want to eat foreign strawberries in winter – they are all about the summer for me and I’ll wait. Mother Nature provides us with the very things that we should be eating at a certain time of year. Iron-rich brassicas and roots to take us through the mean months then a wonderful blood-letting of berries, peas and the like to waltz us through a hot summer. It makes sense to eat the things that are growing at the time they grow. If you take asparagus, for example, it has a short season. I want to eat as much of it as possible. Therefore, it’s the job of the seasonal cook to enjoy it in as many different recipes as possible in order to avoid boredom. The asparagus departs and you can start a passionate affair with the next thing to come along.” Valentine Warner is working with The London Produce Show which aims to celebrate fresh produce.
“What is Spanish cooking without pimenton? It’s indispensable in so many sauces and Spanish stews and is one of my most favourite ingredients! Every store cupboard should have a tin".
September is the end of the summer season and contrary to many opinions is the best time for tomatoes – they’ve had the full summer sun. I like to use heritage varieties and marooned or plum. A simple tomato salad is brilliant and should always be served at room temperature. Dress the sliced tomatoes with extra virgin olive oil, cabernet sauvignon vinegar, I use those from Gresado.com and sea salt and pepper. You could throw in some freshly picked marjoram leaves too.
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