Tricks & Tips

Fresh Sprouts

When you prepare fresh sprouts, make sure you cut the centre in a criss cross like the picture.

The reason for this is so that they will cook evenly.

Tricks and Tips - Sprouts 1

To keep Sprouts Fresh for Longer

When you buy fresh sprouts, fill a small bucket with water and cut the sprout stalks with a sharp knife, making a criss cross like the picture, and stand the stalk in. It will keep them very fresh for up to three weeks.

Tricks and Tips - Sprouts 2

How to Freeze Cauliflower and most vegetables

Wash the cauliflower and cut them into florets. Boil some water in a deep pan, throw the cauliflower in & leave them for 3 mins, take them out and put them in cold water for 2 mins, then drain completely. Leave them to cool down then bag them –  make sure there is no air left in if – you can then freeze for up to 3 months


How to Prepare Vine leaves

Make sure they are vein side up .If they are fresh, blanch them or if they were shop-bought, boil them for 2 mins. Then rinse them with cold water.


How to Prepare Artichokes.

Make sure you have some lemon ready. The rest is shown in the pictures. My tip is to make sure you rub lots of lemon on your hands to stop your hands becoming discoloured.

9x9 new pic

Sun-dried Tomato Purée

Make sure you get good quality sun-dried tomatoes –  about 2 cups. Put them in a food processor with 1/2 cup of olive oil and 1tsp of ground cumin,3 cloves of garlic and blitz the lot. Put in a sterilised jam jar, then top up with olive oil to the rim and keep in the fridge.

Sun dried tomatoes

 How to skin a bird

Its important to take some kitchen paper when you skin any kind of bird. This way it will not slip from your hands. Make sure you a small sharp knife. You must start from the back, and then work towards to the front. See the pictures.

How to skin chicken

How to fillet Sardines or Sprats

Make sure you put the sardines in very cold water. Have a waste bag or bowl ready for the bones, and as you fillet them, make sure you rinse them and then put them in a bowl ready for use.You can use a knife if you want to but you will get better results with your fingers.

how to fillet sardines

How to fillet large Sardines

It’s the same technique as Sprats, except the fish are larger.

how to fillet sardines pic 2

The secret to good boulettes or meat balls.

Make sure the sauce is not to thick. Add one tbsp of baking powder to the mixture with the bread crumbs. always use a very small egg or even better 2 tbsp of whisked egg, or use more bread crumbs. The texture should be nice, but not to firm, this way it will help it rise nicely. If you follow this, you will always have good boulettes.

new boulett

Fresh Pumpkin Puree

Chop the pumpkin into pieces, cover with water then bring to the boil. As soon as you see the pieces are tender, (don’t over cook)  turn them into a colander to drain the water.

Double up kitchen paper in a soup bowl, then add the purée and cover. Keep squeezing the liquid out, change the paper again, and keep doing this until you feel its all done – I kept it over night and every 4 hrs I changed the paper. This way you get very light pie or a cake. Like this one:  Pumpkin and Cashew Nut Torte

4x4 pumking pure Sweet Pumpkin

Put the chopped pumpkin in a pan cover with water, then add 2 cloves, 1 long vanilla pod, 60 grams of sugar,1 lemon rind then bring to the boil for 20 min, then drain away the syrup. Take the vanilla  pod away and the lemon rind,Then put in kitchen paper as above. No need to put in food processor as this will way it will go into mush easy, but if you want a very smooth purée you can do so.

Fresh Pumpkin Puree

Roasted Pumpkin Seed Snack

Put the seeds in a colander then rinse to separate them from the remaining flesh, then put in a tray. Sprinkle with salt and pepper then roast, until you see they have become nice and slightly golden but not burned. If you don’t roast them well they become chewy. You can add any spice you want to them. Then you can store them in a glass jar. You must do all this while they are wet and fresh.

Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

How to Freeze Coriander

Wash your fresh bunch of coriander, then chop very finely with a sharp knife, and put in a bag, Make sure you seal the bag (and don’t forget to name it!) then lay flat in the freezer. After it’s all frozen, break it down, or just shake it to loosen it, then put back into the freezer. Now it’s ready for when you need it.

coriander how to freeze

 How to keep your Roses Fresh

Cut 2″  (50mm) from the bottom with scissors then put in boiling water. Stand for 20 secs then put in a vase of fresh water. Repeat after 5 days –  they will last you for about 2 weeks or more if you are lucky.

4x4 Roses

How to Poach Pears

Peel the pears, then add then add to a small heavy saucepan with 3 cups of water, 2 star anise (or 1 vanilla pod), 2 drops of yellow food colouring, 2 tablspoons of sugar and then bring to the boil for 5 mins. Then take them out and put them in a colander to drain. Don’t over cook them.

3x3 Poached Pear

 How to Dry Fresh Mint:

When you have lots of fresh mint it’s an idea to dry them, here is what to do:

First cut your bunch from the bottom, wash and dry them well, then put them in a brown paper bag and store them in a dark cold room or cupboard and leave for six months, then crush it with your hands, put it through a sieve and store in a glass jar. It will keep for a long time.Dried mint


 How to Dry Fresh Thyme:

When you have lots thyme it’s an idea to dry them, here is what to do:

First cut your bunch from the bottom, wash them and dry them well, then put in a brown paper bag and store them in a dark cold room or cupboard and leave for six months. Now store the dried stems in the large glass jar, or you can crush them. I personally like to keep them as a long stem.

Dried thyme