Heart Health Matters

Today, for tomorrow

Skillful in the kitchen

It’s one thing to tell people to make healthy eating habits a lifestyle, but if you’re not so confident in the kitchen, this may seem like a daunting task. Luckily, learning to cook is one of those skills that almost everyone that is willing to read, attempt and learn from well-tested recipes, can master.
Whether you like cooking or not, with the correct equipment and a few hints you will make your cooking journey an even more enjoyable one.

1. Invest in a good set of knives, even if it’s just one or two. A sharp knife makes chopping, cutting and preparing anything, from onions to meat, veggies and fruit, a breeze.
2. A good chopping board is the next step. Choose wood or a sturdy plastic and never cut on granite, marble or glass as this will make the knife blunt. Always clean chopping boards very well to prevent any contamination from one ingredient to another.
3. Utensils like a grater, set of measuring cups, scale, vegetable peeler, silicone spatulas, wooden spoons and a stick blender are fantastic to have in the kitchen. Buy the best quality you can afford, as cheap options often don’t last very long.
4. The same goes for cookware – this is an investment, as quality cookware will ensure better end results, lower electricity use (as a good base retains its heat more effectively) and faster cooking and cleaning up afterwards.
5. A sharp pair of kitchen scissors is perfect to ‘chop’ whole tomatoes directly in the tin, cut herbs with and it is great to portion a whole chicken in no time.
6. Find a good recipe book, like the Cooking from the heart series of books (available from www.cookingfromtheheart.co.za) that you can trust, as all these recipes are well tested. Few things are as frustrating as wasting ingredients with a recipe that doesn’t work. A good recipe will definitely give your kitchen confidence a boost.
7. Cook in bulk when possible and freeze – this saves you time and money and makes planning the next meal so much easier.
8. Have a few basics on hand, like a flavourful homemade tomato sauce. This is ideal to prepare meat balls or chicken portions in, or to fry an egg or two for a delicious breakfast. It’s great with a braai and freezes well.

Follow www.facebook.com/CookingFromTheHeartSA for more daily hints.

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