50 food tips from world over!

I was surfing around and came across this really useful tips for food lovers and cooking enthusiasts, hence couldn’t help but sharing it. :))

1. Add salt towards the end of the cooking process, as adding it in the beginning increases cooking time. -Rupali Dean, food consultant, writer and photographer

2. When making a whole roast chicken, salt it, then chill it, uncovered, in the fridge for the day. This helps season the bird and dries out the skin so it crisps perfectly when cooked. Remove it from the fridge an hour before you put it in the oven, and add herbs and aromatics. -Amanda Hesser, food blogger, Food52.com

3. When making a veggie juice, use a minimum of three different colours (for instance, a red tomato, spinach and an orange carrot) so that you’ll get different varieties of anti-oxidants. -Pooja Makhija, celebrity nutritionist, Mumbai

4. Add a pinch of salt to dark chocolate to make it sweeter. -Rishim Sachdeva, chef, Uzuri, New Delhi

5. To make bananas last longer, wrap them in a brown paper bag and store them in the fridge; the skin will turn black but the bananas will last longer. -Janti Duggal, chef, Mamagoto, New Delhi

6. Store fresh herbs as you would fresh flowers: in a jar of water on your countertop. Pluck off what you need, change the water daily, and they’ll last two to three times longer than they would in the fridge. You’ll get the most extra mileage from flat-leaf parsley. -Jenny McGruther, food blogger, Nourishedkitchen.com

9. While cooking lentils or chicken, bring them to a boil for some time and separate the froth that accumulates on the top. This is collected dirt that should be removed before one covers the utensil with a lid. -Veena Arora, chef de cuisine, Spice Water Trail The Imperial, New Delhi

10. Don’t throw away the peel of vegetables. Let them simmer in hot water and add some peppercorns and bay leaf to make vegetable stock. This stock can be used as a gravy base for dishes instead of plain water. This will add more flavour and nutritional benefits to your gravy. -Kapil Sethi, chef, Cavalli Caffe, New Delhi

11. When cooking brinjal, add a spoon of milk to a bowl of cold water; add the cut brinjal into it. The veggie will retain its colour without turning black. -Neha Malhotra, chef, Welcomhotel Sheraton, New Delhi

12. While cooking rice, add a few drops of lemon juice. The colour of the grains will become bright white. -Neha Malhotra

13. Always crack an egg on a flat surface, and never the edge of a bowl. Otherwise you’ll risk shell shards and possible contamination of your food. -Aida Mollenkamp, food blogger, Aidamollenkamp.com

14. Mix soya flour or besan with atta (in 1:4 proportion) to make chapattis. This way you get all the essential amino acids for meal times. -Sheela Krishnaswamy, diet, nutrition and wellness consultant, Bengaluru

15. A runny-yolked fried egg adds instant richness and taste to pasta, rice and grain dishes. – Cara Eisenpress, food blogger, Biggirlssmallkitchen.com

16. If you have leftover gravy, take uncooked rice, measure out the gravy and add water (double the quantity of rice). Pressure cook for a couple of whistles, to make a pulao. -Rupali Dean

17. Always try and use fruit for sweetness-it lends added flavour, texture and colour, adding to the complexity. -Deeba Rajpal, recipe developer and food stylist

18. Make a slightly ‘off’ wine taste better by pairing it with cheese. Most cheese coat the palate and numb our senses to minor wine flaws. -Magandeep Singh, sommelier, New Delhi

19. Like food, drinks can benefit from quality ingredients. Fresh herbs, fruit, smoked salt and chillies are all wonderful additions to your bar. -Erin Scott

20. Assemble all your spices before you begin cooking, so you don’t burn any. Preferably dry-roast them in the oven (120-140?C) for 3-10 minutes (depending on the spice and quantity-cinnamon for 3 minutes, star anise and black cardamom for 10). Your cue to taking them out: when they begin to release fragrant aromas. If you need to fry them, do so on the lowest heat, for a maximum of 35-40 seconds to avoid burning. -Rekha Kakkar, food photographer, New Delhi

21. Whenever possible, cook the whole chicken or fish to get more juiciness and better flavour. The carcass also makes a fantastic stock and can stretch your money by providing the base for a new meal. -Elana Amsterdam, foodblogger, Elanaspantry.com

22. Use wholegrains rather than refined ones for baking. In a recipe that lists refined flour as one of its ingredients; there’s some form of fat in it (butter or oil). Take baby steps to ease maida out of your kitchen-try 50:50, gradually increase it. -Deeba Rajpal

23. Freeze fresh ginger and grate as needed. It will stay fresh for months. -Tara O’Brady, food blogger, Sevenspoons.net

24. Always roast (not boil) sweet potatoes in their skin. They’re high in fibre, Vitamin A and anti-oxidants and are a great source of carbs. -Ishi Khosla, nutritionist, New Delhi

25. Anytime I turn on my oven, I think about what else I can cook. This saves energy and ensures that I always have healthy options available. -Tina Haupert, food blogger, Carrotsncake.com and a little of the boiling pasta water and stir like crazy (the heat should kill any bacteria). -Cara Eisenpress

26. Add dried fruit to oatmeal before you add the milk or water. The fruit will cook and plump up slightly, adding a juicier, more intense taste. -Sanura Weathers, food blogger, Myliferunsonfood.com

27. Always use the best extra-virgin olive oil you can afford in your pastas, for drizzling into soups, onto a risotto or for salads. Don’t pour the extra-virgin olive oil into a hot pan or else it will burn. Heat the pan to a moderate temperature and either use pomace olive oil or drizzle the oil onto your meat, chicken or fish before cooking. -Saby, chef, Olive Bar & Kitchen, New Delhi

28. For a creamy pasta sauce that doesn’t require a ton of butter or cheese, toss a room-temperature beaten egg with the hot pasta and a little of the boiling pasta water and stir like crazy (the heat should kill any bacteria). -Cara Eisenpress

29. Store tea in air-tight jars. Buy a little at a time (100-250 g), as tea absorbs moisture, so each time you open the jar you’re exposing it, reducing flavour and freshness. -Sanjay Kapur, master tea taster, Sancha Tea, New Delhi30. Do not use oil in the water when boiling pasta; it prevents the sauce from sticking to the cooked pasta and you do not get a mouth feel.-Sahil Arora, executive chef, Jaipur Marriott

31. Make a non-messy version of dal to take to work easily: soak the dal, air-dry, add dry masalas (chilli powder, chaat masala, coriander, mint) and ovenroast them. -Pooja Makhija
32. The lack of a punt (The depression at the bottom of a bottle) is the sign of an average wine. Explanation: only cheap bottles are made without a punt and a winemaker would use a cheap bottle only for an entry-level product. -Magandeep Singh

33. For the smoothest mash potato, roast the potatoes with their skin (peel) on; peel and then pass it through a sieve. -Rishim Sachdeva, chef, Uzuri, New Delhi 34. To thicken soups, use boiled and mashed potatoes instead of white sauce to reduce the fat content of the soup. -Sheela Krishnaswamy

35. A good soup is made a day in advance. Let it sit in the fridge overnight, then warm it gently and all the flavours will marry beautifully.-Sara Forte, food blogger, Bysarahashley.com

36 Cut the crown of the pomegranate with a sharp knife, make a few cuts on the skin from the crown to the stem. Then, place it into a large bowl of chilled water. Break into sections, gently separating the seeds from the pulp, which will float to the top while the seed will sink to the bottom. Throw away the pulp and drain the seeds. -Manju Malhi, chef and author, UK

37. Wash your fruits and vegetables in apple cider vinegar and filtered water, including oranges, lemons and everything that has a skin (except bananas). -Soorya Kaur, raw food chef, New Delhi

38. To overcome the problem of undercooked dal add a tablespoon of oil to it before boiling. The oil helps to cook the dal/pulses perfectly; if using a pressure cooker, it also prevents the dal from overflowing out of the vessel. -Michael Swamy, chef, Mumbai

39. When barbecuing, place a whole whorl of garlic (unpeeled) on the grill. -Bakshish Dean, chef, Johnny Rockets, New Delhi

40. When seasoning a salad, use coarse sea salt mixed with a little olive oil; the salad will stay crunchy when combined with the vinaigrette, for a long time. -Sahil Arora

41. When sauteing onions, add a pinch of baking soda. It speeds browning and cuts cooking time practically in half. -Susan Voisin, food blogger, Blog.fatfreevegan.com

42. Brew tea this way for maximum flavour and benefit: boil 1 cup water; pour it over 1 tsp black tea leaves; steep for 5 minutes. In the case of green tea, use only 1/2 tsp leaves to 1 cup water, but never allow the water to boil. -Sanjay Kapur

43. Even if you’re serving a simple meal, add a touch-garnish by adding an herb or vegetable garnish. You can also use spices. Enhance the setting with flowers or candles. Serve hors d’oeuvres on a rustic wooden cutting board. -Rekha Kakkar

44. Don’t overcook your vegetables. Their nutrition value lies in them being eaten as fresh as possible or lightly cooked. -Rocky Singh, TV show host

48. To set yoghurt, add a litre of lukewarm milk (30?C) to a tablespoon of culture. Let it sit in a warm place, like over the refrigerator or set top box. Cover with your grandmother’s tea cosy. If you find it doesn’t set very well, change the culture. -Sharad Dewan, chef and area director, Park Hotels, Kolkata

46. To get a great side of green veggies, boil and salt water. Only then should you throw in vegetables so they don’t lose flavour and colour. Let them boil for a couple of minutes, take out and shock with ice water, so they don’t become mushy. -Vicky Ratnani, chef, TV host and cookbook author

47. When using herbs always use the stronger flavours such as rosemary at the start of your cooking when working with slow-Soak bitter greens, in a bowl of ice water in the fridge for about an hour to cut their bitterness. -Dina Avila, food blogger, Leeksoupblog.com

49. When cooking meat in a skillet, make sure to add it to hot oil and then cook at moderate heat to help seal in the juices. For added flavour and to reap in health benefits, cook in an iron skillet. -Tannie Baig

50. When baking with grain-free flours like amaranth, sorghum and almond, separate the eggs and whip the whites to soft peaks. It makes notoriously heavy flours light and cakelike. -Jenny McGruther

Party Animals: 10 Plastic Animal DIYs

One DIY trend that I’ve noticed over the past year or two is plastic animal figurines used for…just about anything! They’re super cheap, which makes them the perfect material for budget-friendly projects. And they’re very kid-friendly too! If you want to make them a little more grown-up, just give ‘em a coat of gold spray paint (or white)

 1. Birthday candle holder.

This was one of the first animal projects I saw.

animal-candle-holderParty animal candle holder

2. Magnets. 

animal-magnetsPlastic animal figurines become adorable magnets

 To make these, saw some plastic animals in half, spray paint them gold, and glue on magnets. You can put them on your fridge, but another genius way to use them is as a card holder.

 3. Bookends.

A plastic dino sawed in half makes a whimsical set of bookends.

dino-bookendDIY dino bookends

4. Jewelry dish.

Spray paint a small plate and an animal figurine the same color and glue the figurine in the center of the plate. Genius! I love this project in black, with the painted gold accents. It looks totally chic, and would be a great gift.

animal-figurine-ring-dishDIY animal figurine jewelry dish

5. Drawer pulls.

dino-drawer-pullsDIY dino drawer pulls

6. Place card holders.

animal-place-card-holder (1)card-holderI’ve seen animal figurines used as place cards a lot.

Animal place card holders

7. Jar Lids

I personally love this, I think this is one of my favorite ideas for animal figurines–glue them to jar lids and make them into absolutely adorable storage. Perfect for craft supplies, candy, or to give away gifts!

diy-jar-lids jar-lidsDIY jar lids with animal figurines

8. An animal garland.

This idea couldn’t be easier. Spray paint some plastic animals, screw in eyelet hooks, and hang them as a garland for a party–or to put a smile on your face every day!

animal-garlandA DIY animal garland. Fun!

9. Party animal cake toppers–

complete with paper party hats. I LOVE this idea for a little kid’s birthday party. Actually, I would like them for my birthday cake too! Sooo stinking cute.

cake-toppersParty animal cake toppers

10. Planter.

dino-planterThis idea is super cute and easy.  Just cut a hole in a plastic dino that’s the size of your plant pot.

DIY dino planterSo much fun! Time to get your party animal on.

 What’s your favorite out of all these ideas? Have you made a DIY project using plastic animals?