by - August 05, 2012

Some tips that have been useful along the way. Hopefully they will help you out too...
  • You need to invest in a good knife. Firstly, it will speed things up, allow for more styles of chopping and, if you cut yourself, it will heal faster as you have to apply more pressure when cutting with blunt knives, so if the blade slips off whatever you are cutting and into your skin, the cut will be deeper and wider and that is just long!  I was given a Robert Welch by my old boss, when I was his sous chef at Seven Bees cafe. It was such a good leaving present! I still have the box it came in so that it has its own transport whenever it goes anywhere with me and have bought a good (table top) duo sharpener for it. It's really important to keep it super sharp. Don't be using it to cut silly things like cardboard with it. 

I have the 14cm.

  • So, you know what happens, you decide to make a really tasty meal, and go about chopping up your onions and garlic and chilli and cooking etc. Then later, you whimsically scratch your eyes or rub your balls or whatever and the OVERWHELMING UNBEARABLE PAIN comes searing through every nerve in your body and you yelp like a dog and blink and squirt water at your eye or thrash about and end up throwing your dick into a tub of yoghurt or have a milk shower or wrap a cold piece of ham around it (weird mental image) - anything to try to relieve the burn! What you could have done, however, is after handling the chilli, wash your hands in COLD water and don't rub them together too much. Chili plants figured out a way to fool the body's temperature sensors via the chemical capsaicin, which works on the receptor TRPV1 (a "molecular thermometer"). Basically, the chemical tricks the body into thinking it's burning tissue. In fact, the reaction with capsaicin is an inflammatory response, more like an allergy and therefore using cold water lowers the temperature of your hands so that the TRPV1 isn't activated. Cheeky chilli. That shit is goooood though, because it speeds up your metabolism AND makes you horny. Horny and fit? double win.

  • Also eating chilli in the morning sets your metabolism off for the day. Go on, have a spicy turkey fillet! I haaaate conventionalism that says you haaaave to have traditional things like cereal! check this out for more inspiration:
  • A Glass of water, 30 minutes before your meal will help your digestion. It will also make you realise how hungry you really are, as opposed to how thirsty you may have been, mistaking it for hunger.
  • Always peel root ginger with the back of a teaspoon. So much faster than using a knife!
  • Garlic chopping. ALLOW GARLIC CRUSHERS THEY ARE LONG AND TAKE AGES TO CLEAN AND YOU LOSE LOADS OF THE GARLIC! yeah just place the whole clove on the side, bang a really wide-bladed knife over it, then apply pressure with your fist to the knife blade. This will a)remove the skin and b)semi-chop it so that the rest of it is really easy to chop.
  • This is a tip from Jamie Oliver. When squeezing lemons or limes, cup your hand with your fingers apart slightly and squeeze it over your food using your hand as a sieve for catching the seeds. Also cutting up the lemon slightly asymmetrically and getting proper sized chunks for squeezing instead of pissy thin wedges really appeals to me. Also if you are squeezing half a lemon or lime, after you have cut it, grab it with two hands in the middle and literally turn it inside out over your food. You'll get loads of juice. It's the human equivalent of a Mexican elbow. I love Mexican elbows. I stole one from a bar I worked in when I left because the owner was a C-word. So much better use for it at home than in a shit bar THAT DOESN'T EVEN SERVE COCKTAILS.  
  • I've mentioned this before, but take the teabag out of your green tea, 30 seconds after its gone in! thats all it needs! or else it will be ruined and pointless and rubbish. 
  • Refridgerating onions makes them scream less when you cut them.
  • Don't refridgerate garlic or tomatoes. So much more flavoursome at room temperature. 
  • Get cheese and steak out of the fridge an hour or two before serving. Cheese is so much better at room temperature and steak will taste nicer after cooking too.
  • Let your steak rest! also let your lamb rest! it makes such a difference to the succulence. After cooking let it rest for at least 5 minutes for a steak and 15-30 minutes for a large joint. Good things come to those who wait. 
  • Sell-by dates are over hyped. Go with your instinct. Obviously if you open a pack of salmon and it smells like a thousand dead prawns are having a cheese party in a bin, it might make your stomach hurt, but a pack of courgettes that look exactly the same but apparently went off yesterday are going to be lying through their teeth. Cut down the insane amount of wastage that this country disgracefully gets away with. It really stresses me out. EU standards are ridiculous, listen to this, "In 2008 one British wholesaler was forced to throw away 5000 kiwi fruits for being 4g lighter than the required EU standard of 62g. Thats the equivalent of being 1mm too thin."   (From: Waste: Uncovering the Global Food Scandal By Tristram Stuart) AAAAAAAAArRRRGGGHH What the FUCK?!
  • On the same principle, recycle your water. Use the water you cooked your peas or potatoes in (for example) for the base of your gravy. Use the same water to steam your other veg over. I'm not saying you need to bath in your tea dregs, but do what you can. 
  • Don't peel your veg. Stop right now. Thank you very much. If you do peel it, make a compost out of it and grow something cool in it. 

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