Are you worried about the rise in living costs and seeking thrifty cooking tips and hacks to help make your food go further?
With the rise in the cost of living impacting us, everyone is now looking to save the pennies, especially in the kitchen.
Celebrity chef and organic farmer Susy Massetti reveals that she's inundated with questions from people whose family income has decreased and worried about money and how it will stretch this year.
Speaking to Fabulous, she says: ‘By being a professional chef as well as a mother and a wife, I have learnt a whole host of tricks and tips in the kitchen."
"Clever home cooking helps you use up every bit of food you buy particularly if you are watching the pennies’.
‘These tips save me a ton of time, make great meals with little effort and helps me utilise all that I buy without wasting anything’. Knowing how to do this and be efficient in a delicious way is very important she stresses."
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Here, she shares her top five cooking hacks to make your food last longer…
KEEP YOUR HERBS FRESH
Susy notes that we always end up throwing away fresh herbs or drying them with a great loss of fragrance.
But with her handy hack, they'll last for a whole lot longer.
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Instead, Susy advises bringing a small pot of water to boil then add a spoonful of salt.
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"Place the herbs in a strainer and dip them in the boiling water for no more than 5 seconds," she says.
"Take out and shake the excess water and immediately place them in a jar full of your favourite cooking oil, such as, olive oil of any variety."
The chef goes on to say that when needed, you can pick out the herbs and use them as if they were freshly harvested or use the flavoured oil when a lighter touch is needed.
DIVIDE WILTED VEGGIES INTO FREEZER BAGS AND STORE
Hands up if you've ever had some sad looking and wilted vegetables that you forgot at the bottom of your fridge.
Well, you're not alone!
But Susy warns not to throw them away.
"They can make a super-fast base for any soup, pasta or why not even toss them with garlic and fresh herbs for a quick side dish or vegetarian meal," she says.
Susy says: "The chef says to rinse them and do a rough chop of all (none excluded). Measure them into cups, if you have let’s say 4 cups of veggies use 2 cups of water."
"Bring the water to a roaring boil, add your veggies (adding them to boiling water will retain more of their vitamins and minerals – a very important fact you should remember!)."
She then advises cooking for a few minutes until they're tender – but says no more than 6 to 8 minutes maximum.
"Let the veggies cool to room temperature then divide into small bags or containers and freeze," she adds. "Then they'll be there ready whenever you need them!"
TRANSFORM A CHEAP CUT OF MEAT INTO A DELICIOUS PIECE BY BRINING
Susy says that you get a juicier, tasty chicken or most succulent roast, you simply need to brine your meats.
"Brining is a simple procedure in that by soaking the ingredient in a water-salt-sugar-spiced solution will transform any meat into a tastier and yummier dish," she explains.
"This process can also remove the gamey flavours of certain type of meats such as venison and pheasant while making them tender in the process."
According to the expert, the correct proportion is ½ cup of sugar and ½ cup of salt for 4 litres of water.
She continues: "A maximum of 3 to 4 hours is sufficient for cuts below 1kg while 8 hours or more (up to 24 hours) are best for 1kg and above."
A good tip you can do is to add your favourite dry spices to your brine if you like."
CHEAT YOUR WAY TO FRESH-TASTING PASTA
Susy admits that while many of us don't have the time to impress with handcraft stuffed pasta, she has the perfect quick tip to ensure you still impress.
"At home I always use store bought wonton wrappers available from many supermarkets," she explains.
"Super thin and light they exist in the egg pasta version as well as the eggless, perfect for vegans and they transform into beautifully tasting ravioli."
According to Susy, wonton wrappers are very easy to use and all you have to do to prepare your favourite filling, scoop a teaspoon in the centre and wet the edges lightly, fold and voila! – ravioli, capellini or agnolotti, ready in minutes.
"One of my favourites easy-peasy fillings is simply drain ricotta, grated parmigiana with a bit of truffle shavings or paste for an inexpensive fancy twist," she explains.
"The sauce is just brown butter, sage and black pepper, add a bit of pasta water to emulsify while tossing the ravioli, and remember they cook in less than 3 minutes!"
REUSE DRIPPING TO MAKE AMAZING HASSLE-FREE POTATOES ANYTIME
‘Everyone loves potatoes that are fluffy inside and crispy outside," says Susy. "For quick and tasty roasted potatoes, this is my favourite hack and a sure success at any dinner table."
She goes on to say how she simply collects all drippings from bacon to beef or chicken rendered fat and keeps it all together in the fridge in a glass container.
‘Once I want to cook potatoes, I melt the fat over low heat in a tall saucepan and make sure the potatoes are cut in chunks and are submerged by the fat," she explains.
"Let them cook on a very low heat for approximately 15 to 20 min (depending on the size or until your tender through your fork)."
"I season the fat only with a little bit of salt at this point."
"Once the potatoes are ready, I drain them and place directly it in a shallow frying pan."
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"I add herbs, salt, pepper and or spices and increase the heat slightly and leave them there to form a crisp crust."
Susy says her handy hack is a guaranteed success each time!
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