1-If you stick you tongue out while chopping onions it will stop you crying. Alternatively, chop the onion close to a running tap. Apparently the chemicals in the onions go for the nearest source of liquid.
2-When peeling garlic, thump the clove with the side of a knife or cleaver and the skin will lift away easily.
3- To remove fat from soups or gravies, take the outside leaves from a Romaine lettuce which you would normally throw away and wipe them over the soup or gravy. The fat adheres to the leaf beautifully.
4- To open stubborn caps and lids on kitchen items, take a church key (bottle opener) and place end under the cap and slowly pry upward until you hear the air release and then open.
5- Piercing the cap with a skewer or other suitable metal object to release the air also works.
6- If you have to cook a hen (i.e. older bird) which usually take much longer than the young chicken place a heavy metal knife and fork (MUST BE ALL METAL NO WOOD OR PLASTIC) inside the boiling water along with the bird and you will cut the cooking time by more than a half. This also works well with most hard to cook meats (turkey, pork) it even works with potatoes.
7- After being advised to put skewers in baking potato’s to reduce cooking time, which worked, I took this method one stage further and applied it to beef, pork, lamb and chicken, which also worked and thus reduced my energy bill by at least half an hour each time.
8- Rub your hands with vinegar before and after slicing onions – this will eliminate the smell.
9- If you forget to do the above – When peeling onions and the scent is on your hands, just run the cold water and rub hands on the chrome fixture. Works like magic.
• 10- To remove the smell of onion and/or garlic from your fingers: Wet your hands and rub your fingers on something stainless steel – the sink, a splashback, the kettle, a large implement like a ladle. I didn’t believe it would work, but it does!
• 11- To kill bacteria in kitchen sponges (the cleaning variety that is – not cake), put them into the microwave for 30 to 40 seconds, then wash in the usual way. BE CAREFUL – they are very hot in the centre so make sure you run them under cold water before squeezing.
• 12- Other than salt in water to make it boil faster, use a little bit of vinegar, especially for potatoes, it will keep them whiter.
• 13- To make potatoes fluffier while your mashing them add a pinch of baking soda, they will turn out really fluffy and taste better too.
• 14- To keep packed lunches at a safe temperature, freeze a part of the lunch, e.g. a small tub of yoghurt or a juicebox. Pop it into an insulated lunchbag and it will keep the rest of the lunch chilled until lunchtime.
• 15- We have found the best way to prepare garlic is to feel the garlic, then chop it up in the food processor, until fine. We then form ropes on wax paper, roll it up and freeze. Then when required we take out the rope and cut off what we need and replace the rest in the freezer until the next time.