We all have our ‘off days’ and sometimes that amazing Pinterest recipes doesn’t quite turn out how you thought. Most of the time that panic in the kitchen can be avoided by a few simple cooking tips (like reading your full recipe before starting, pre-prepping ingredients, measuring and following recipe steps), but sometimes you need to call on a miracle! Here are my tips on how to fix some common kitchen disasters:
Most taste issues come down to under or over seasoning. But do not fear, we are here to save the dish, you just need to balance the flavours.
If you’ve over seasoned a casserole, soup or sauce, throw in a potato cut in half and let it cook through. Once cooked, remove the potato. It will absorb the excess salt in your dish. If you are making something that cannot be cooked with potato, try adding more of the other ingredients to dilute the salt.
To balance sweetness add some acidity; a squeeze of lemon juice or some vinegar will do the trick.
Add something sweet to balance out the sourness like maple syrup, fruit or juice.
Add something acidic to help brighten up bitter foods, for example a squeeze of lemon or lime.
Add a little pepper or extra herbs and spices! Dried herbs and spices can be a great way to really bring your dishes to life!
Pair your dish with something cooling. Think avocado or a plant-based alternative to yoghurt.
To avoid fixing over seasoning all together, start with the smallest amount of seasoning recommended in recipes. Taste your dish at every step possible and adjust the seasoning from there.
2. Burnt Food?
We have all done it! If you’ve burnt the bottom of your pan, quickly switch the contents into a new one and continue. This will hopefully stop the burning from spreading through the whole dish.
If your dish already tastes burnt, you may still be able to save it with something acidic, sweet or extra spices. Choose something that fits well with your dish and start by adding a small amount, tasting as you go.
3. Excess water when cooking grains?
I am always doing this, guessing how much water to add to a pan of grains and then totally misjudging the quantity. However, there is a simple solution, keep the heat on low and remove the lid to let some of that excess liquid evaporate. Be careful to not do this for too long though or your grains may get mushy.
4. Soggy Salad?
Make sure you dry your salad leaves or your salad dressing won’t stick to them. A salad spinner is great but if you don’t have one, put your leaves in a clean tea towel, grab all the corners together tightly and spin it over your head a few times. Seriously. Have a laugh with it - it makes salad making more fun!
5. Overcooked Vegetables?
There is not much you can do for overcooked vegetables but you can give them new life by turning them into veggie mash! Alternatively, you could puree them with some seasoning and a little oil, then use the spread in sandwiches or as a dip; kind of like a veggie hummus.
6. Mushy Potatoes?
Either go straight to mashed potatoes or slice the potatoes and toss them with a little oil, seasoning and roast them!
7. Foods not browning?
Make sure your pan is hot and I mean HOT! Before adding your ingredients, heat the pan for 3-5 minutes. You should feel the heat with your hand 3 inches above the pan. Once hot, add a little oil. Only add the ingredients once the oil is hot. A tip from the top, oil almost looks like it’s shimmering once it is hot.
Also make sure you haven’t overcrowded the pan. When browning, vegetables need lots of space to let excess liquid out. Either use a bigger pan or cook in batches to allow for ample space in your pan for browning.
Not every dish you ever cook will be perfect, so don’t let one not so tasty meal discourage you. You will live to cook another day.