Tips with everything: Chefs reveal their craftiest kitchen tricks

view gallery VIEW GALLERY

Grating tomatoes? Peeling with a teaspoon? Cooking stock in the oven?

Rachel Khoo

Has recently released a new cookbook, The Little Paris Kitchen to accompany her BBC2 show of the same name.

For a buttery, flaky shortcrust, roll out the pastry between two sheets of baking paper.

This is great because you avoid using flour. Any additional flour will make your pastry taste less buttery, and most importantly there's no need to clean up any floury mess afterwards.

Also, if you happen to be making pastry on a hot day and it's becoming too soft to roll out, you can simply slide the pastry into the fridge for 10 minutes to rest instead of having to scrape the soft pastry off the work surface.

The golden rule when making pastry is to handle it as little as possible, otherwise it goes rubbery and tough. Using the baking-paper tip will certainly help achieve the perfect pastry.

Angela Hartnett

Chef patron for Murano and the York & Albany pub in London.

I always add a pinch of sugar when using tinned tomatoes as it takes away the acidic taste but be careful not to make them too sweet. Sugar also works in vinaigrettes, although again be careful to add just a pinch, it's like salt in some respects, so can be treated as a seasoning.

Rowley Leigh

Award-winning cookery writer and chef proprietor of Le Café Anglais.

The biggest difference between professional and amateur cooking is the seasoning.

I think a lot of cooks just add salt as an afterthought, whereas professionals use more salt, but they use it earlier as well.

It's very important to bring out the flavours with salt at the beginning, for example, when you're making risotto.

The other thing is that I'm never without a lemon.

There's hardly anything I cook which I wouldn't add a squeeze of lemon, to heighten the seasoning and bring out the flavour.

Jacob Kenedy

Chef patron of Bocca di Lupo in Soho.

To live a long life, use less salt. To live a happy one, use more. Salt is the West's MSG – it gives food more flavour, and is the main reason restaurant food often tastes better. "Correct" seasoning, to a chef, is as much salt as you can possibly get into the dish without it tasting too salty.

If you happen to over-season, you can try to bulk the dish out by adding something (barley to a soup, perhaps), or to balance the salt with acid (a squeeze of lemon or dash of vinegar), or to kill it with fat (fat mutes flavours – add butter or oil). I use flaky, large crystal salt to finish dishes (where I like the crunch) and cheap fine or coarse sea salt in things such as boiling pots of water.

To cook expertly seasoned dishes (with the exception of stocks destined for reduction), keep them perfectly seasoned from the very start of cooking – this has the dual advantage that you adjust the seasoning often and incrementally.

Yotam Ottolenghi

Founder of the Ottolenghi chain of restaurants.

This is something that I've been doing quite a lot recently for finishing dishes. You can use it over roast vegetables, or if you want over fish, meat, or even soups.

I take some olive oil and fry some dry chilli in it, just before the dish is about to be served. I heat a little bit of oil or butter and just put the chilli in for maybe 30 seconds or a minute.

It starts to cook and it spreads its flavour in the oil, but they also give it a slightly red colour, so it looks pretty good to finish a dish and also improves the flavour as it gives it a bit of a kick, as well as a very slight smoky aroma.

It all depends on the chilli that you use – you need to choose a chilli that fits your palate.

Karam Sethi

Chef and founder of Trishna restaurant.

I love kachri powder, which is available at all good Indian supermarkets. It's great for tenderising meat, so I like to add it in small quantities to marinades. Kachri is a wild variety of cucumber that grows in desert areas such as Rajasthan. However, you should use sparingly, as it can leave a slight tangy taste if used excessively.

Isaac Mchale

Chef and member of The Young Turks collective.

I always warm oranges and lemons before juicing to get more juice out of them.

Bring them out the fridge and put them in the sun for half an hour, or give them five seconds in the microwave.

It's best to always try to eat fruit warm – just about room temperature – rather than straight out the fridge.

Tom Adams

Chef and founder of Pitt Cue Co.

I call this the lazy stock. Our restaurant kitchen is mini, and having only two induction hobs means that having a massive stock pot ticking over all day is an impossible dream.

But since we use lots of trotter and smoked ham stocks in the sauces we had to find a way. We now cook out all our stocks overnight in the oven. You get a perfectly clear stock – all the impurities that you would usually remove through skimming stick to the bottom and sides of the pot. Take lots of kitchen vegetable trim (celery, fennel tops, onion, garlic) and place in a pot with all your bones (we use smoked hocks, trotters and rib trim). Cover with water, then cling film and foil it. Cook overnight at 140c.

Angela Malik

Runs the Angela Malik cooking school.

With my students the No 1 tip is peeling ginger with a teaspoon. You can use any common tea spoon and use the edge of it like a knife to scrape the skin off the ginger. You can take off a very thin layer and you can go around the knobbly bits as well without wasting any. With a knife you end up taking off all the knobbly bits and waste too much. But a teaspoon is a fantastic, quick way to peel ginger.

Claudia Roden

An acclaimed cookery writer whose latest book, The Food of Spain, is out now.

In Catalonia, if people want peeled and finely chopped tomatoes for a sauce, they grate them. They cut the tomatoes in half and grate the flesh through the large holes of a vegetable grater until they get to the skin, holding on to the skin to keep it intact before discarding it. This way the tomatoes are already very finely chopped. I find this technique very useful and use it with large beef tomatoes.

Stevie Parle

Chef and founder of the Dock Kitchen restaurant in west London.

There are some important things to remember when using spices. It's really important that you should always grind them with a pestle and mortar, always buy them whole, and always use a lot.

The volume you use is crucial. Buying them whole instead of ground keeps them for more than a year, you get much more vibrancy in the flavour, and you're just crushing what you need. You can add a ground spice at the end of cooking, and that gives it a little lift, or you can add them in whole at the beginning.

This is important with lots of spices, even black pepper – grind it with a pestle and mortar instead of buying it ready ground or using a stale old pepper mill.

Greg Malouf

Chef at Petersham Nurseries Café in Richmond.

If baba ghanoush – the eggplant dip – is made properly, people often think it's burnt, but its not. It's smoky because you literally put the eggplant on the flame. Then you cook it until it looks quite awful, until it doesn't look very attractive, then it's peeled chopped and mixed with a little bit of tahini, lemon, garlic. Finally you finish it with yogurt that you whip through it. And lots of olive oil.

News
people
Arts and Entertainment
Game Of Thrones
Uh-oh, winter is coming. Ouch, my eyes! Ygritte’s a goner. Lysa’s a goner. Tywin’s a goner. Look, a dragon
tvSpoiler warning: The British actor says viewers have 'not seen the last' of his character
Arts and Entertainment
'New Tricks' star Dennis Waterman is departing from the show after he completes filming on two more episodes
tvOnly remaining original cast-member to leave long-running series
Sport
The Etihad Stadium, home of Manchester City
premier league

The Independent's live blog of today's Premier League action

PROMOTED VIDEO
Life and Style
ebooksA superb mix of recipes serving up the freshest of local produce in a delicious range of styles
Life and Style
ebooksFrom the lifespan of a slug to the distance to the Sun: answers to 500 questions from readers
News
Polly Borgen at the Tribeca Film Festival in 2012
peopleThe Emmy award-winner starred in Cape Fear, the Sopranos and Desperate House Wives
News
people'I hated him during those times'
News
Britain's shadow chancellor Ed Balls (L) challenges reporter Rob Merrick for the ball during the Labour Party versus the media soccer match,
peopleReporter left bleeding after tackle from shadow Chancellor in annual political football match
News
Rumer was diagnosed with bipolarity, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder: 'I was convinced it was a misdiagnosis'
peopleHer debut album caused her post-traumatic stress - how will she cope as she releases her third record?
Life and Style
Couples have been having sex less in 2014, according to a new survey
life
Arts and Entertainment
tvReview: 'Time Heist' sees a darker side to Peter Capaldi's Doctor
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Food & Drink

    IT Administrator - Graduate

    £18000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: ***EXCELLENT OPPORTUNITY FO...

    USA/Florida Travel Consultants £30-50k OTE Essex

    Basic of £18,000 + commission, realistic OTE of £30-£50k : Ocean Holidays: Le...

    Marketing Executive / Member Services Exec

    £20 - 26k + Benefits: Guru Careers: A Marketing Executive / Member Services Ex...

    Sales Account Manager

    £15,000 - £25,000: Recruitment Genius: A fantastic opportunity has arisen for ...

    Day In a Page

    Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

    Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

    Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
    Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

    Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

    The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
    The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

    Scrambled eggs and LSD

    Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
    'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

    'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

    Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
    Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

    New leading ladies of dance fight back

    How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
    Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

    A shot in the dark

    Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
    His life, the universe and everything

    His life, the universe and everything

    New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
    Save us from small screen superheroes

    Save us from small screen superheroes

    Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
    Reach for the skies

    Reach for the skies

    From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
    These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

    12 best hotel spas in the UK

    Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
    These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

    Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

    Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
    Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

    Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

    Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
    How to make a Lego masterpiece

    How to make a Lego masterpiece

    Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
    Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

    Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

    Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
    Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

    Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

    His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam