Friday, 19 July 2013

Guest Post - A Cooking Cheat Sheet: Five Top Tips to Save You Time whilst Cooking

Busy Chef Clock, wayfair, Sterling Industries
Busy Chef Clock from

Cooking is a process that can in equal measures be a great pleasure and also a massive chore. With the following five tips you could save yourself an impressive 30 hours a year. That’s over a day spent doing something other than toiling over a hot stove. Want to know how this can be done? Read on.

As if I need remind you, but we all lead hectic lives. It’s easy to shunt cooking fresh and healthy meals to the back of your mind and let your eyes be drawn to the pile of takeaway menus collecting dust by the front door. This list of time saving cheats from self catered family breaks aficionados Center Parcs will save your diary and wallet some unnecessary attention.

1.     Measure out ingredients before cooking – This is bound to shave a few minutes off your cooking. It also has the added advantage of relieving stress in the midst of cooking. The last thing you want to be doing is scrambling around the kitchen looking for the scales as you watch your soufflés slowly sink into nonexistence. Time saved a day: 2 min

2.    Freeze essential items – Ice cube trays are more versatile than you may think and a great time saving aid at that. Stock, wine, pesto, pasta sauces and the list goes on can all be created in big batches and divided up into individual trays. Shortage of ice cube trays? There’s an answer for that too. Once frozen you can transfer the blocks to freezer bags to free up the tray for even more time saving solutions. Time saved: there is an initial 45 mins for preparation but you then save 20 mins/cube.

3.    Boil water in the kettle beforehand – Now this may seem like cooking 101 to many people. But I am amazed how often I see friends pour cold water into a cold pan and then get annoyed when it takes forever to heat up. For anything requiring boiling water, boil the water in the kettle rather than in the pan. This should shave a good five minutes off any meal.

An added little tip, whilst boiling the kettle turn on the hob, put the pan on the heat and add an inch of water. By the time the kettle boils the inch of water will be on a rolling boil. This means that you are not adding hot water to a cold pan and saving precious seconds in the process. Time saved a day: 5 mins

4.    Learn to chop fruit & veg like a pro – This one is quite an investment, but chopping is something that really slows most home cooks down. Learning the correct technique for the correct vegetable item is sure to save you minutes in the kitchen. If saving time isn’t enough to warrant investing in a course, perhaps you might be swayed by how impressive you’d look if you could do this. On that topic you should check out this slick way to deseed a pomegranate. Time saved a day: 6 mins


Keep a bin close to hand –Save time by moving the bin next to you when prepping veg, with a quick scrape of the board you have a clear surface on which to work. This saves you the constant plodding from one side of the kitchen to the other trying to discard scraps. Time saved a day: 1 min

5.    Wash while you clean – Most recipes have a period of down time where everything is simmering away nicely. Use this as an opportunity to get the most stubbornly dirty bits cleaned. I’m talking your frying pans, your baking trays or your measuring jugs. This not only shaves minutes off your overall cooking time but also reduces the amount of work there is to do after dinner is finnished. Time saved a day: 10 mins

There we have it, five really simple ideas to save you time whilst cooking. It may only add up to a few minutes a day but these are minutes that you could well spend elsewhere, like I don’t know pouring a glass of wine perhaps.

Some of these may seem like second nature to many of you, others perhaps not so. Let me know what you think number six should be…

Disclosure: This guest post is brought to you by Centre Parcs