My top 6 handy kitchen tips

I’m always on the lookout for ways to make my life in the kitchen easier (and better).  I believe in keeping a couple kitchen tips up my sleeve in effort to make the most of what I already have in the kitchen and hopefully, reducing food waste in the process.

So today, I’d like to share a couple of kitchen tips which I found to be useful on day-to-day basis. You may already know some of them…but I decided to share them anyway. Sharing is caring. I hope you’ll find them interesting and most importantly, useful.

Uncooked spaghetti –> a cake tester

This is a trick I picked up from Ms Nigella Lawson (from her cooking show, of course!).  What I love about using uncooked spaghetti as compared to a bamboo stick is the former is gentler on the cake when it comes to pricking a hole into the cake. I’ve tried with uncooked angel hair pasta but it didn’t work as well. As it is finer than spaghetti, it broke in the cake if you don’t take it out immediately.

Ice cube tray–>  to freeze partially used coconut milk & chicken stock

Despite my love for dishes which contain heavy amount of coconut milk (I’m Malaysian, after all!), I try to reduce the intake when possible. If I’m not cooking for special occasion, I tend to halve the amount of coconut milk in the recipe. Any leftover coconut will be poured into an ice cube tray and freeze until solid. As I have a relatively small freezer, I will transfer the frozen coconut milk cubes into a zip lock bag to save space.

Used lemons & limes –> Fridge freshener

This is my way of giving a second life to used lemons and limes. I normally leave them there until the scent is no longer there. Don’t expect it to smell like a burning candle. It is subtle and I find it to be effective to reduce odour in the fridge.

Unused & withering vegetables –> Grate & Freeze

This is an evidence of me being an impulse buyer rather than a sensible one. I’m drawn to bargains like my baby parrot to sunflower seeds. I often overindulged in bargains and bought more than I needed for 2 people. It’s fine as I know I can rely on my freezer to come to my rescue. I usually grate zucchini and carrots for freezing so I can use it for pasta sauce later. It works well for me. For tomatoes, I tend to dice and keep them in a zip lock bag. The options are endless when it comes to what you can do with these frozen veggies…pasta and curry just to name a few.

Clear plastic vegetable container –> Catchall Container

Okay, it has nothing to do with food but I’ve been collected clear plastic vegetable containers since like forever. Rather than buying organizational containers, I thought these plastic containers work well. Being a renter, I try not to get attach to things… so I won’t hesitate to toss these out if I have to move again.

Old Garlic No More –> Garlic Infused Oil

This is a tip shared from a friend who grows his own garlic. As you probably know when the garlic is kept outside for a while, it starts to grow the annoying green shoots. In order to keep the garlic a little longer, I’ve been recommended to slice the garlic in half to remove the shoots and cover in oil. I added some chilli flakes to create spicy infused oil. This is great for pan frying meat….

UPDATE:  A reader has kindly highligted the risk of storing garlic in oil due to the risk of botulism. The concern of botulism is you will not be able to pick it up by taste i.e. it doesn’t taste off. you The recommended steps to reduce risk of botulism is to use the infused oil within a week and store the infused oil in the fridge. Thank you for the information Jane! (To read more about this, Jane has kindly provide some links in the comment box below.)

10 Responses to My top 6 handy kitchen tips
  1. Miss Piggy
    November 8, 2012 | 11:03 am

    These are all GREAT tips…and I don’t use any of them. Like the garlic oil idea…and the spaghetti skewer. The grated veggies idea is great/grate – lol (oh, and we’ve not seen any photos lately of your birds…I miss them).

  2. Emma
    November 8, 2012 | 4:01 pm

    I like to think I’m pretty savvy in the ‘freeze and save’ department but confess I’d not thought of freezing leftover coconut milk! I always use less than a can and then it sits in my fridge until it – you guessed it – goes mouldy. Great tip! :)

  3. Michelle
    November 8, 2012 | 7:09 pm

    These are great ideas! I also take used lemons/limes and toss them down the garbage disposal. I usually have way worse smells coming from there!

  4. Jane
    November 8, 2012 | 7:46 pm
  5. Crista
    November 8, 2012 | 8:33 pm

    These are great ideas! -especially freezing the leftover coconut milk & stock. I’ve been making my own vegetable stock and I never thought of freezing it when I don’t use it immediately! Thanks!

  6. Jeanine DeGiovanni
    November 8, 2012 | 9:19 pm

    Great tips, I also use the clear plastic containers to stand my oil in so I don’t get marks on my shelf. I infused some garlic in oil last night after having some during the week at an Italian restaurant, thinking about it now it probably had been sitting there for quite a while, might stick to the homemade version so I know how fresh it is.

  7. Ann Mah
    November 8, 2012 | 9:48 pm

    Great tips! I especially like the grated vegetables in the freezer — an easy way to sneak extra vitamins into food… or whip up carrot cake in a flash :)

  8. Caroline
    November 8, 2012 | 11:44 pm

    I agree with Jane on the cautionary note….this might be delicious and extend the life of your cloves, but it can be VERY dangerous and being ServSafe certified, I know that most people do not survive botulism. I don’t like wasting food, but your best bet is to use your garlic when it’s fresh and ditch the oil idea. The 33 cents you save on an overly-mature bulb of garlic is not worth your life.

  9. Mary @ beyondjelly
    November 9, 2012 | 9:16 am

    Great tips…. Good to have a few tweaks to tips I currently use! :)

  10. Aga @ a matter of taste
    November 10, 2012 | 1:17 pm

    Wow, what a great tips! Love the spaghetti tester and freezing coconut milk in Ice cube tray. Thanks!

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