Did you know you can freeze pesto?
Spoon it into ice cube trays, freeze and then pop the frozen blocks into a plastic bag. Pesto whenever you need it.

The best (and most fun!) thing about antipastos is that there are no rules!!! A creative combination of ingredients, a generous platter and some artistic licence is all that is needed.

Caperberries are the fruit of the caper plant and are used in the same way as olives. A unique and tasty treat on pizza with spinach and mushrooms.

Prepare what you need before you start. Place things together for different parts of recipes and where possible in the order they will be used. Pre cook or cut as many things as possible. Always have spares of things like eggs ready to go in case of accidents.

Mushrooms should not be washed in water as they will absorb it and then release it into your cooking. Wipe them with a damp cloth or paper towel to clean them.

Use a tea strainer to sieve out lumpy gravy. It will be faster and more effective than trying to de-lump in the pan.

Prepared pasta sauces are also great for using in soups, stews and other cooked dishes as well as being perfect as pizza toppings.

Carrots add a natural sweetness to tomato sauces. If grated they will cook into the sauce completely.

Pickled or chargrilled vegetables make an unusual and tasty addition to salads.

Some products, like mustard, vinegar and honey, last for more than three years from manufacture. Lines like this often do not have use by dates printed on the pack.

Make sure you use pure or lite olive oil for cooking and extra virgin olive oil only for salad dressings; using extra virgin in cooking can overpower the flavour of your meal.

An ice cube placed on a dessert spoon and run through a stew, will attract excess fat for removal. Stale bread or crackers can also be used to do this, but beware soggy pieces falling in.

Estimating the amount of rice you want to cook, can be made easier by placing dry rice on a bread and butter plate. When you cook it, it will fill up about the same space on a dinner plate.

Use one part cornflour to two parts water for a quick sauce or gravy thickener. Stir in small amounts at a time until satisfied with consistency.

Use tongs or a turner when cooking meat on the BBQ. Puncturing meat with a fork allows the natural juices to escape making it chewy and less flavourful.

Freezing meat for 45 minutes to an hour makes it easier to cut into strips without affecting the cooking time.

It's important to let roast meats and poultry sit a little while before carving to retain the juices. If you cut it too soon it will allow the juice out, both messy and wasteful.

Microwave a lemon for 15 seconds to increase the juice you get when squeezing. Lemons stored in water absorb moisture and are easier to squeeze.

Microwaving garlic for 20 seconds makes it easier to peel.

Store freshly cut basil on your kitchen counter in a glass with the water level covering only the stems. Change the water occasionally and don’t put in the fridge.

Brush a damp cloth down a cob of corn to remove corn silk.

When working with dough, don't flour your hands; coat them with olive oil to prevent sticking.

Never overheat Basil Pesto - the basil will turn black and taste bitter.

Unpeeled, sliced courgettes make an attractive and crunchy addition to salads, sandwiches and rolls.

Poke a hole in the middle of the hamburger patties while shaping them. The burgers will cook faster and the holes will fill in during the cooking (if they don’t completely close – fill them up with tomato sauce).

Always make vinaigrette dressing at least ½ hour prior to using, to allow the flavours to combine.

To remove pieces of egg shell, use the remaining shell to attract them.

To keep salt from clogging in the shaker, add 1/2 teaspoon of uncooked rice.

Egg whites should always be at room temperature before whipping, but cream should be chilled.

When using unfilled pasta like spaghetti, keep in mind that dry pasta doubles in volume when cooked. Dried beans increase by two and a half times and rice by three times.

Before opening a package of bacon, roll it up. This helps separate the slices for easy removal of individual slices.

Biscuits and cookies will spread out on the pan if your dough is too soft or pliable. To stop spreading refrigerate the dough for an hour before baking.

Thaw frozen meat and poultry in the refrigerator and not on the kitchen counter where bacteria can grow.

Everybody knows to not cut raw and cooked meat on the same surface, but how many people, when taking foods off the BBQ, put them on the same plate that held the raw meat earlier.

"Use by" dates mean exactly that. Be very cautious of food that has expired. Best before dates are generally OK, but still use your common sense when dealing with any older product.

Don’t fill saucepans more than half with oil for deep frying to prevent over flowing. Dry foods spit less when placed in hot fat than wet foods.

Some tips for tight lids; The key to opening most stuck bottles or jars is to break the vacuum seal that holds them in place. This seal is important for the quality and food safety of the product inside, but can sometimes cause the lid to stick. Try some of the following to help break the seal. Gently tap the lid of the jar on the counter or a cutting board, moving it all around in a circle as you tap. Alternatively give the edge of the lid a few light taps with the handle of a butter knife. Wedge the tip of a teaspoon in the underside of the lid in between the jar and wiggle it back and forth and listen for a pop. Hold the lid under running hot water for a minute or two and try opening by hand again. Smack the bottom of the jar with the palm of your hand.

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