Washing kitchen sponges
To kill bacteria in kitchen sponges (the cleaning variety that is – not cake), put them into the microwave for 30 to 40 seconds, and then wash in the usual way. BE CAREFUL – they are very hot in the centre so make sure you run them under cold water before squeezing.
To make potatoes fluffier while you’re mashing them add a pinch of baking soda, they will turn out really fluffy and taste better too.
Other than salt in water to make it boil faster, use a little bit of vinegar, especially for potatoes, it will keep them whiter.
Instant potatoes are excellent for thickening gravy, soups etc. it doesn’t make lumps like flour.
Roasted leg of lamb
When next cooking a leg of lamb, stab holes into it and stuff them with pieces of garlic. The pieces dissolve during cooking and add flavor and tenderness to the meat. Sprinkling dried or fresh rosemary on top adds a nice flavor too.
Store mushrooms in paper bags rather than plastic bags or trays; this stops them becoming ‘slimy’ and prolongs their useful life.
To get rid of fat
To get rid of fat don’t put it down your sink, keep an empty can in the fridge and put your fat in there. When the can is full put it in the bin. Even better is to keep some cheap oatmeal and scatter it on the fat then put it all out for the birds.
Left over wine
Use left over wine to freeze into ice cubes. These can be used in soups and casseroles etc.
Bubbles of champagne
To keep bubbles in an open bottle of champagne place the handle of a metal dessertspoon in the bottle neck.
After frying ham and removing it to a platter; add 1 cup of hot water and 3 cubes (tablespoons/dessertspoons) of coffee to the pan drippings. Boil and stir, drizzle over ham.