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Life Hacks: 

The 10 cooking cheats everyone should know

Take these shortcuts, tricks, tips and techniques to halve your time in the kitchen with no loss of flavour or flair…

Chillies body

Did you know you can microwave limes and freeze chillies?

1. Juicier limes and lemons

A room temperature citrus fruit won’t relinquish as much juice as a warmer one. Solution: Pop a lime into the microwave. This article on juicing a lot of limes from eHow suggests 15 seconds, but on experience 7-8 seconds will make one lime juicy without making it hot.

2. Perfect soft boiled eggs

Fed up of chewy whites and raw yolks? The secret here is not to boil. Heston Blumenthal’s method really does work every time: “Put your egg in a pan of cold water, bring up to the boil, and, the moment it starts boiling, take it off the heat and leave in the pan for six minutes. The residual heat will cook it gently”.

3. Very quick meatballs

Don’t bother buying a load of minced beef and herbs, instead just follow Nigella Lawson’s suggestion: “Simply squeeze the stuffing out of about half a kilo of Italian sausages and roll it into cherry tomato-sized balls.”

4. Freeze leftover wine

If you have half a bottle of wine that’s been open for a few days, don’t pour it away. Instead do as Lifehacker suggests and simply freeze in ice cube trays and use them for cooking at a later date.

5. Apples for salt

Have you ever been a bit heavy-handed with the salt when making a soup or a stew? Culinary Schools recommends you put a few apple wedges in the pot for 10 minutes, during which time they’ll soak up the excess salt.

6. Freeze chillies

Most people know you can dry or pickle your chillies, not many know you can freeze them. World of Chillies suggests: “To freeze chillies whole, spread them out on a baking tray so they are not touching, freeze and pop into a sealed bag or container. This way they do not clump together.” You can also chop them and portion into ice cube trays.

7. Ultimate espresso

In Listverse’s Top 10 Unusual Food Combinations article, number 9 grabbed our attention: “Add a touch of salt to coffee to heighten the flavor”. Trust us, a pinch really will give you the best espresso you ever had.

8. Save burnt rice

We’ve all forgotten about the poor old rice and let it burn. All is not lost. Follow the steps suggested by wikiHow, using a piece of white bread, placed on top of the rice, to suck out all that burnt taste.

9. Fight shell with shell

In MSN’s great list of 20 revolutionary cooking tips, the one that caught our eye involves chasing bits of shell around a bowl of cracked eggs with a fork or our fingers. Instead: “Use another piece of broken shell and they’ll stick right on and lift out easily”. Mind… blown.

10. Clean fingers

To get rid of fruit stains, rub them with fresh, peeled potato or white vinegar. To get rid of garlicky hands, rub them with salt or baking soda. To get rid of hot chilli on your fingers, ‘wash’ your hands in olive oil.

And you’re good to go…

Photo: Kheng Guan Toh/

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