Baking and cooking tips

  • Avoid bacteria build up on your cutting board. Cut a lemon in half and coat the exposed side with coarse salt. Then, use it to scrub your cutting board and rinse clean.
     
  • Braai Kebabs: Use fresh rosemary skewers for your braai kebabs for a delicious flavour.
     
  • Test Baking Powder for freshness: Add half a teaspoon of baking powder to 2 tablespoons of warm water. This should cause an instant reaction with bubbles and foam. If not, then the baking powder is not fresh.
     
  • Soft Peaks: Beat cream until the mixture forms soft, rounded peaks that fall over when the whisk is removed. Stiff Peaks: Beat cream until the mixture form stiff, pointed peaks when the whisk is removed.
     
  • For a better flavour and texture, coat your fresh fruit with a layer of sugar before freezing, or freeze in sugar syrup.
     
  • How do you keep the balance of your cake fresh? Place a piece of bread on the exposed sides and use a toothpick to keep it in place.
     
  • We all have baked a cake that has flopped. To prevent your cake from collapsing or the crust to crack, please click here to find out what might have gone wrong.
     
  • Did you know that it is the sugar content of biscuits and cookies that gives them that appetising golden brown colour?
     
  • When baking, cream your sugar with your butter or margarine VERY WELL, as this incorporates air into the mixture, which contributes to a much lighter baked product.
     
  • Sprinkle a little Huletts Castor Sugar over the top of custard to prevent a skin from forming.
     
  • Adding a pinch of sugar to dishes containing tomatoes will counteract the acidity of the tomatoes and leave a smoother taste.
     
  • Sugar not only lengthens the freshness of baked goods, but is crucial when using a recipe that calls for yeast. Sugar hastens the rising of the dough, and improves both the texture and taste of breads and cakes.
     
  • To keep your biscuits fresh, add a sugar cube to the container. It will absorb any moisture in the air before the biscuits do.
     
  • Sugar helps to delay the coagulation of protein in eggs, improving the texture of baked goods. For example, it helps to prevent custard from splitting during cooking, and ensures a smooth texture.
     
  • Coat your fresh fruit with a layer of sugar before freezing, or freeze them in sugar syrup.
     
  • When sugar is stored properly (in a cool, dry place) it will last for years, and is often used as a natural preservative, for example in canned fruit, jams and marmalades.
     
  • Sugar should form part of a well-balanced diet and, if eaten in moderation, will not have any harmful effects on health, such as obesity or skin disorders.
     
  • BUTTER:  DO NOT Microwave.  Rather, thinly slice and cut into different lengths to make creaming easier.
     
  • EGGS:   Place in warm water while preparing other ingredients for the recipe.
     
  • CREAM CHEESE:  Place the required portion size, as stated in your recipe, in a plastic bag.  Place plastic bag in lukewarm water and allow to gently reach room temperature. Avoid HOT water as it can cause cream cheese to separate.
     
  • Substitute 1 tsp Baking Powder with ½ Tsp Cream of Tartar + ¼ Tsp Baking Soda.
     
  • Substitute Dry Bread Crumbs with Rolled Oats OR Crushed Bran Cereal.
     
  • Substitute 1 Cup Buttermilk with 1 Cup Milk + 1 Tbsp Vinegar / Lemon Juice / 1 Cup Yoghurt.
     
  • Master the art of baking with frozen fruits and berries. Simply coat frozen fruit in a small amount of flour before adding to pie or cake mixtures. The flour prevents the fruit from sinking to the bottom of the pan.
     
  • Laying your fish on a bed of lemon slices when braaing, stops it from sticking to the grill. The lemon also adds moisture and releases a burst of flavour to the fish.
     
  • Sudden craving for banana bread but your fruit isn't ripe enough? Simply pop the bananas in a pre-heated oven at 150°C for 40 minutes. The skins might blacken but the fruit will soften up perfectly.
     
  • Making a perfect roast lamb can be tricky. Use this handy guide to ensure perfectly cooked lamb every time.
    RARE: Cook for 20-25 minutes per 500g at 163°C
    MEDIUM: Cook for 25-30 minutes per 500g at 163°C
    WELL DONE: Cook for 30-35 minutes per 500g at 163°C

    Rare, Medium or Well Done? No matter how you like it, you'll never go wrong again with these easy to remember timings.
    RARE: Cook for 20 minutes per 450g at 180°C
    MEDIUM: Cook for 30 minutes per 450g at 180°C
    WELL DONE: Cook for 30 minutes per 450g at 180°C
     
  • Healthy snacks to include in your child’s lunch box:
    • Popcorn
       
    • Fresh fruit
       
    • Unsalted mixed nuts
       
    • Roasted corn-on-the-cob
       
    • Yoghurt or custard
       
    • Home-made muffins
       
    • Home-made banana and nut bread
       
    • Crackers with cheese or a spread
       
    • Oatmeal biscuits
       
    • Raw veggies (carrots, snap peas, cherry tomatoes and baby corn)
       
    • Keep it interesting and add an element of surprise! Using cookie cutters, create a heart shaped sandwich and change shapes daily. The fruit may be assembled in the shape of a flower.