- Salad leaves bought in plastic bags often go off very quickly, this is because of the excess water in them. To make them last longer empty the contents of the bag into a colander and let the water evaporate. Transfer to an airtight container and place in the fridge, it will remain fresh to the very last leaf.
- Cut lemons and limes into wedges, place in a freezer bag, and pop in the freezer. That way you've always got them on hand to add to paella or roast chicken. They can also be put straight into drinks - they double as an ice cube and a 'twist'.
- On the rare occasion you may have some leftover wine pour it into an icecube tray and freeze it. Red wine is great to add to casseroles and spaghetti Bolognese and white wine is perfect in risottos.
- If you find your fresh herbs and chillies start to spoil before you have time to use them remember they work just as well when frozen. Herbs like rosemary and thyme can be frozen whole. Basil, parsley and coriander will need to be prepared first. Wash the herbs, remove the leaves and roughly chop. Place on a tray and freeze flat. Once frozen they can be placed in a freezer bag and put back in the freezer so they are on hand whenever you need them. Chillies can be frozen whole or chopped into segments first depending on how much you use at a time. Just run them under cold water and they defrost in seconds.
- French baguette and ciabatta, delicious when fresh, hard as rock the next day. So why not put it in the food processer, make your breadcrumbs and put it in the freezer for another day.
tip courtesy of Sheena
- If you need to defrost prawn or chicken quickly just place them in a bowl of cold water. Prawns defrost in less than 30 minutes and chicken up to an hour.
- To get the most juice out of a lemon or lime make sure it's room temperature and then roll on a chopping board. This frees up the juices.
- To stop the fiery oil getting into your fingers when you chop chillies rub a little bit of oil on the hand holding the chilli first. Be careful not make the other hand oily or the knife may slip.
- To reduce the amount of tears you produce when cutting onions, peel the onion, chop in half and place in a bowl of cold water for a few minutes before you start chopping. Interestingly you'll find that tearing when cutting onions is not such a problem if you wear contact lenses. This is because the corneal nerves are protected (a little bit of optometrist knowledge coming through there)!
- Freeze carton drinks and add them to lunch boxes. They keep your lunch cool and will have defrosted by lunchtime so you can have a nice cool drink.
Do let me know any tips and tricks that make your life easier, I'm sure other readers will love to know them too!