Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: Kitchen Hacks

334 Responses

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  • Hebe, in reply to John Armstrong,

    The world should know about Peanut Slop

    Shouldn't you have stayed with Frying Saucers?

    Christchurch • Since May 2011 • 2898 posts Report Reply

  • John Armstrong, in reply to giovanni tiso,

    That's the only way it's going to cook properly.

    Yeah, I really must try and plan ahead more..

    For instant pizza victory, just add capers.

    Hamilton • Since Nov 2007 • 136 posts Report Reply

  • John Armstrong, in reply to Hebe,

    Shouldn't you have stayed with Frying Saucers?

    Ha! It's like you know me! I would have but the vegetarianism came between us.

    Hamilton • Since Nov 2007 • 136 posts Report Reply

  • Hebe, in reply to John Armstrong,

    My old friend and flatmate lived on Frying Saucers for at least a year. When my bestie and I were 20 and living above Aro Valley we survived on Gold Coin Chinese takeaways and Weetbix (not together but sometimes sequentially), coffee and unfiltered Camels for five months, with the odd trip to the shop at the top of Cuba Street for pate rolls and to Dorothy's High-Class Cakes.

    Christchurch • Since May 2011 • 2898 posts Report Reply

  • Mikaere Curtis,

    Instant Office Chili Sensation Hack: I like this one when I'm hungry or cold in the office. Make a mug of miso soup and add a small dollop of Lee Kum Kee's Chiu Chow Chili Oil. Instant salty chili deliciousness!

    Actually, CCCO is easily my favorite condiment, it goes with almost *everything* savoury.

    Tamaki Makaurau • Since Nov 2006 • 528 posts Report Reply

  • Carolyn Judd,

    Ok, not a hack but a blog. You should check out the awesomely named www.kitchenfuckery.com . Beware of strong language! and delicious food, just sayin'

    Auckland • Since May 2008 • 2 posts Report Reply

  • Ana Simkiss,

    Right now I have a 5.5 kilo turkey brining in spicy salty sugary water, plus giblets boiling away with veg & allspice for gravy. Will report back on Sunday post turkey hangover :)

    Freemans Bay • Since Nov 2006 • 141 posts Report Reply

  • Ana Simkiss,

    O and, get all the cheap lemons in season, wash and quarter but leave quarters joined at the bottom. Rub with salt inside, squash as many as you can into sterile jar, top up jar with lemon juice, add some peppercorns & bay leaves if feeling fancy. Seal, leave for 4+ weeks. Preserved lemons all year.

    Freemans Bay • Since Nov 2006 • 141 posts Report Reply

  • Hebe,

    Given the gourmand nature of contributions, it's time now for Pippa's mother's cholesterol-hack recipe:

    30 cloves garlic (peeled)
    5 diced fresh lemons (not peeled)
    Mince all this in blender, bring mixture to the boil in 1 litre of water
    and then immediately remove from heat.
    Strain , let it cool and bottle it. Keep in fridge.

    Take daily dose of 30ml, either before or after main meal of the day.
    Do this for 3 weeks.
    Then have a break of 8 days before starting a 2nd round of 3 weeks.

    Repeat the whole deal once a year.

    Christchurch • Since May 2011 • 2898 posts Report Reply

  • Hugh Wilson,

    A couple of kitchen/cooking tips:

    - once toasted your risotto should be on heat/cooking for 18 minutes, 19 if you were a bit casual with the heat
    - olive oil can be purchased very economically in 4-5 litre containers - for day to day use source a dark bottle and plug in a spout/pourer
    - funnels are very useful things, so invest a coupla bucks

    Melbourne • Since Feb 2013 • 167 posts Report Reply

  • Hebe, in reply to Carolyn Judd,

    "If you don't have a wire rack, the underside of a muffin/cupcake tray will do. If not, fuck it. Nobody's going to die." He sums up my cooking mantra perfectly. If dinner fucks up once every two or three weeks, it doesn't matter. the important bit is enjoying the whole process.

    Christchurch • Since May 2011 • 2898 posts Report Reply

  • Chris Waugh,

    Attachment

    Just because others have mentioned hot coals, embers, and other fiery things... I have recently been involved in two barbeques in which the charcoal* proved rather stubborn. On the first occasion it took well over an hour to get the charcoal lit. On the second, my father in law said, "I've got some diesel over there". So he poured it on, but with a rather higher flashpoint than petrol and not even the fire starter thingies not hot enough, the diesel didn't burn. So I tipped some 56% v/v Hongxing Erguotou baijiu on and said, "light that", and he lit it, and after not too long, we could barbeque.

    *why that's still legal in a city in which everybody I know says the air pollution is worse than they've ever seen it, and why I've never seen a gas bbq ever here, I don't know, but there you go....

    Wellington • Since Jan 2007 • 2401 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to Chris Waugh,

    Forced induction helps. Get an electric hand fan onto the primary lighting fuel. It will burn way hotter (and faster). Also, use meths rather than diesel, it's a much cleaner burn, no smoke. Be careful! The flame is often hard to see.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10650 posts Report Reply

  • Gary Young, in reply to Ana Simkiss,

    I've done that with some of the lemons from my own tree and I like the pleasantly rustic look they give to my kitchen shelf but I have to ask - how does one actually use a preserved lemon?

    Wouldn't they be a bit too salty for a conventional desert?

    Glenfield • Since Jun 2013 • 39 posts Report Reply

  • Thrash Cardiom,

    Preserved lemons are really good in moroccan dishes. Search for a few tagine recipes.

    CHB • Since Nov 2006 • 55 posts Report Reply

  • Ben Chapman, in reply to Gary Young,

    I’ve done that with some of the lemons from my own tree and I like the pleasantly rustic look they give to my kitchen shelf but I have to ask – how does one actually use a preserved lemon?

    Wouldn’t they be a bit too salty for a conventional desert?

    Preserved lemons can go in all sorts of things, but almost all of them savoury.

    The kids at our kindy preserved some of the lemons from their garden and used them in a fish ball casserole that they served at their Matariki dinner on Wednesday.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2008 • 135 posts Report Reply

  • Ben Chapman, in reply to John Armstrong,

    Pizza is supposed to be flat, isn’t it?

    Yes, but a long rise time allows for more fermentation, which does good stuff for your dough.

    If you leave your pizza dough overnight, it develops sugars, which brown when cooked, making for a crispier base. You need to inhibit the yeast activity though, or it'll eat up the sugar, so you need less yeast and should keep the dough in the fridge.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2008 • 135 posts Report Reply

  • Ben Chapman, in reply to Joanna,

    Strain out the rinds and freeze them – they are AMAZING in baking or pasta.

    When I made limoncello, the rinds that came out of the liquor felt like they were made of wax. All of the goodness had leached out.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2008 • 135 posts Report Reply

  • Tom Semmens, in reply to Chris Waugh,

    I was at a BBQ in Chile the other month where my Chilean friends used a charcoal BBQ like I’ve not seen here before. Basically, this monster was what looked like a 44 gallon drum split in half vertically and with four legs welded on. So far, so normal. But it had this chain arrangement where the grill rack holding the enormous bits of beast could be raised or lowered over the glowering coals by mans of a wheel on the side. I was enormously clever and efficient way of controlling the cooking time of a charcoal BBQ. It also looked robust enough to lift the V8 engine out of a Valiant, so dual use is a possibilty. I took lots of pictures, and I am assembling the raw materials (drum, chains, etc) to replicate this devilish piece of South American cleverness in my shed for the summer.

    Sevilla, Espana • Since Nov 2006 • 2214 posts Report Reply

  • Ben Chapman, in reply to Carolyn Judd,

    Ok, not a hack but a blog. You should check out the awesomely named www.kitchenfuckery.com . Beware of strong language! and delicious food, just sayin’

    Similar:Thug Kitchen

    Wellington • Since Nov 2008 • 135 posts Report Reply

  • Martin Lindberg, in reply to Tom Semmens,

    It also looked robust enough to lift the V8 engine out of a Valiant, so dual use is a possibilty. I took lots of pictures, and I am assembling the raw materials (drum, chains, etc) to replicate this devilish piece of South American cleverness in my shed for the summer

    Oooh, could you share a photo?

    Stockholm • Since Jul 2009 • 802 posts Report Reply

  • Deborah, in reply to Gary Young,

    how does one actually use a preserved lemon?

    One uses them in prawn pasta, of course.

    I rinse a quarter or two off, scoop out the flesh, then dice the rind. Get your pasta cooking, then fry the raw prawns gently in olive oil and maybe a curl of butter, until they're nice and pink. Add the lemon rind. When the pasta is cooked and drain, drizzle some really good olive oil over it, lemon infused if you have it, then stir the prawns and lemon rind through, and top with rocket. Quick, easy, and delicious.

    New Lynn • Since Nov 2006 • 1447 posts Report Reply

  • Lucy Stewart, in reply to John Armstrong,

    Saute half a chopped onion, two or three cloves of chopped garlic and as much chopped fresh chilli as you like (2 whole chillis is about right for most people)

    Lack of Inspiration Hack: Whenever you get home from work and find yourself staring at a fridge full of food without the slightest clue what you can be bothered making, chop up an onion and some garlic and start it cooking in the cast iron frying pan. By the time you're through with that, inspiration will usually have emerged - sauteed onion and garlic will go in nearly any dish you care to name. Chilli, curry, pasta sauce, risotto, casserole, quiche...

    (If your kitchen doesn't contain onion, garlic, and a cast iron frying pan, either a) you haven't been shopping in weeks and it's time to give up and go get fish and chips, or b) I don't want to know you.)

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 2105 posts Report Reply

  • Hebe, in reply to Thrash Cardiom,

    Preserved lemons are really good in moroccan dishes. Search for a few tagine recipes

    Months in Morocco in the late 1980s left me with
    a) An enduring loathing of anything containing tumeric. Ever.
    b) Love of b'stilla: pigeon pie with layers of a coarse filo-type pastry and meat spiced with cinnamon and frosted with fine sugar and cinnamon. Eaten in a house in Fez el-Jid (the little middle city), cooked by a young Morrocan mother, with Dynasty playing on the TV which was hooked up to next-door's power supply by a series of extension cords.

    Otherwise the food was basic and survival level, as you would expect in a country where in those days unemployment ran at 60 percent, and only the men were counted in that figure.

    I have a great cookbook of Moroccan recipes produced by expat wives at the time - few were published and its authentic food. If anyone has a particular want for a Moroccan recipe, I shall post the recipe.

    Christchurch • Since May 2011 • 2898 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to Tom Semmens,

    Sounds like an interesting invention. Controlling the flow of oxygen to the charcoal is also a good way of changing the temperature, and exploiting the way different areas are different temperatures gives as much control as you need over how fast and hard the food is cooked.

    You can make even a small amount of fuel insanely hot using a fan. I love this example

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10650 posts Report Reply

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