Dubai, United Arab Emirates, January 07, 2020: The kitchen is often the heart of the household. It is where most of your time is spent with family and friends. You cook, you clean, and after a long day, this is the room where comfort can mostly be found. It is essential for your kitchen area to be organised to maintain a clear and tidy space for you and the family to enjoy, and with a little help from Delna Prakashan, Author of the fab new cookbook Whip It, you will have all of the top tips needed to achieve just that.
Top tips from Delna Prakashan on achieving a well-kept kitchen:
1. Wash as you go: Clean the dishes after every meal or, better still, as you are preparing your meal. Every time a dish is baking or simmering on low heat, use the time to clean up the dishes in the sink. A basic rule of thumb is to avoid stacking dishes until the next meal, because then you would have two meals' worth of dishes to take care of! No overnight slumber, which means don't leave your dishes in the sink through the night. Make it a habit to wash all that's in the sink, so you can wake up to a fresh start in the morning.
2. Fridge management: A picture-perfect fridge, the kind that's right out of Nigella Lawson's cookbook, can be your reality too. I call it fridge management, and it simply means assigning a purpose for each shelf. For example, the top shelf for me is for everyday items such as butter, cheese, milk, etc.
Invest in glass or plastic storage containers in different sizes. Use them to store any leftovers, ensuring you use the right size of container to maximise space in the fridge.
Don't leave any food uncovered. This will avoid unpleasant odours and prevent food from turning dry.
At the end of the day, spend a few minutes arranging the containers in your fridge to optimize space.
Always, always, and always survey your leftovers before whipping up anything new.
3. Plan your supermarket visits: There was a time when I used my shopping cart around the supermarket aisles like a Pacman game. With no order to my shopping list, grocery visits were a real mission. The worst bit about a disorganised shopping list is that you end up with everything in your cart except what was on your list.
Write up your shopping lists exactly how a supermarket is laid out—by food categories. That means listing your items to purchase under the suggested broad categories, as follows:
• Fresh meats
• Dry pantry (tins, cans, packets) and nuts
• Fruits, vegetables and herbs
• Frozen food
Doing this means that once you're at a particular aisle and you look at your shopping list, you see exactly what you need to grab, and you won't have to double back five minutes later for a forgotten item.
4. Smart measurements: Have you ever watched cooking shows where the chefs use their hands so gracefully for measurements? They either sprinkle, add a few, splash, dust, grab a handful, or even combine spices as they go. This is known as estimation, and it comes from a little trial and error, some tasting, and some gut feeling. The first step is to always taste every ingredient to get familiar with it and eventually you will develop the ability to sense if a little more of that ingredient will enhance or mar the other flavours. Second, start visualizing flavours, because you can almost feel it on your tongue. This may seem funny at start, but if you focus and embrace the process, very soon you won't need a set of measuring spoons. If you want to get sassy in the kitchen, you've got to use your hands and trust all your five senses.
Here's a quick guide to get you started with estimating:
1. A pinch: picked up with the thumb, index, and middle finger
2. A dash: one splash
3. A knob: 1 tablespoon
4. One serving of fat: a single thumb
5. One serving of protein: roughly the size of your palm
6. One serving of rice: a cupped hand
7. One serving of veggies: two clenched fists
8. One inch: one-third the length of index finger
9. Salts: taste first to see how salty your salt is (they vary, trust me!)
10. Seasoning: first add a little, then a little more
11. ½ lime, squeezed: roughly 1 teaspoon of juice
5. Access: Sort and organise your pots and pans, including the lids. Avoid running around the kitchen, opening every cabinet and getting down on my knees to look for a particular pot (I call this doing kitchen squats). Lining up your pots and lids and storing them in order of depth or width will help you pick the ones you want to use and save you the rummaging.