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~~~To remove skins from chicken thighs easily, use a clean kitchen towel to hold the skin whilst pulling.

~~~When you have to serve raw onions either as a garnish or as part of a recipe, just try this for a change. Keep prepared (either sliced or chopped or ...) onions in chilled water for an hour or so. Drain well before serving. You will have nice and crispy onions with a sweet tinge.

~~~To remove fruit stains from your hands, rub with vinegar.

~~~To retain the green colour of palak (spinach), blanch the leaves in hot water for 2-3 mins, and immediately transfer them into ice cold water. This retains it's colour and crispness. Drain and use as required.

~~~Remove odours from a micowave oven by heating a solution of one cup water and three tbsps of leon juice for five minutes.

~~~Make sure the eggs smell right and do not have an unnatural color, before using them for cooking.

Extra Virgin olive oil, the result of cold pressing, contains only one per cent acid. It is considered the finest and fruitiest of the olive oils and is, therefore, also the most expensive." Extra Virgin olive oil can range from a pale cream or straw colour to greenish-golden to bright green. Cold pressing is a chemical-free process that involves only pressure, which produces a natural level of low acidity.

~~~Cheese spoils fairly quickly once it has been opened. So buy just enough to serve your need over a week at the most.

All olive oils are graded in accordance with the degree of acidity they contain.

Bread stays fresh longer if stored in a large, air-tight box and placed in the refrigerator. Wash the box every three days to prevent mold.

Cottage cheese is excellent for those on a slimming diet as it is low in calories.

Feta is quite a versatile cheese. Apart from the classic Greek salad you can add it to other salads, cooked rice, or tomato based patas; use it as a filling for omelettes and baked potatoes, or in tomato or cucumber sandwichws or simply serve as a table cheese accompanied by olives, garlic bread and grilled vegetables.

Olive oil can be stored safely for a long time in a tightly capped container away from direct heat and light.

Wrap up little packets of leftover tomato paste in plastic wrap and freeze until solid. Place the packets in a freezer bag and freeze for up to one and half months. Drop the blocks of paste right into your sauce or soup for concentrated tomato flavour or as and when needed. This also works well with herbs or marinade pastes.

Take a few rose leaves. Wash and dry them gently with a paper napkin. Melt 150 g of chocolate. Holding the leaf by the stemcoat the lower side of the leaf with melted chocolate using a brush. Place choclate side up in a plate and refrigerate until firm. Gently peel away the leaf and use the ipressioned chocolate leaf to decorate desserts.

Roasting a chicken? Put some vegetables in a bakng dish and place in the oven whilst baking the chicken. It will save on time.

Refrigeration or chilling slows down baterial growth, it does not necessarily kill it. Raw foods, espeially meat and fish, harbour bacteria and these can contaminate other items stored in the refrigerator.
Steps to prevent bacterial growth n refrigerators are:
- The recommended operating temperatures of the fridge should be between 0'C and 3'C and for freezers between -18'C and -23'C
- Store cooked and raw foods, specially meats, seperately. If they have to be stored together, store cooked food on top of meats, so there is no spillage onto the cooked food.
- Never store hot food in the refrigerator, as this would raise the temperature inside. Cool them to room temperature before storing.
Cleaning the refrigerator after emptying and defrosting it consists of these steps:
* Sweep and wipe;
* Loosen surface waste and grease using detergent;
* Remove loosened food waste, grease and detergent;
* Disinfect, rinse and dry.
For disinfection, use hypochlorite or household disinfectants.

Do not discard water in which vegetables are boiled. Reuse it for other dishes as it contains vitamins.

To keep carrots fresh longer, cut off the ends and store in a sealed plastic container in the fridge.

Don't throw out the ends of cheese chunks. Grate them and place in a plastic container in the freezer to sprinkle over hot dishes when needed.

Gravies are preparations using various masalas and other ingredients. The taste and flavor of gravies vary depending on the kind of masalas used. Once the gravy has simmered and is of a particular consistency and taste, the requred main ingredients such as vegetables, meat or fish are addded.

In Latin, the term is "herba salta" or "salted herbs". In English, it's "salad dressings". Methods to perk up greens have been around since the Babylonians who used oil and vinegar as dressing.

Take 1 tsp of sugar and heat it for a few mninutes. When it turns brown in colour, quickly mix it into the cake batter, this will give the cake a rich color.

Instead of using vanilla essence while makng cakes, try substituting it with one or two tsps of lemon juice.

When using a lot of eggs for cooking, its advisable to crack open each egg seperately in a saucer. Ensure that it is not spoilt and then add it. Otherwise beacuse of one spoilt egg, all of the eggs will have to be discarded.

Fresh eggs are normally heavier than rotten or unfresh ones, as the percentage of water is less in spoilt eggs.

Do not buy cracked eggs, as they may be contaminated and unfit for consumption. Also do not buy eggs that have dirt or blood on their shells.

Dont store apples and carrots together in the fridge. The apples emit a gas that makes the carrots bitter.

For garlic-flavored potato chips, place a peeled garlic clove in a bag of chips, seal, and let stand several hours.

Cook vegetables in a minimum quantity of water and for a shortest possible time to preserve their nutrients.

last updated on 9-June-2004