By:  Tasneem Amos

Many of us have become quite the self-proclaimed, exquisite rulers of our kitchens. We seldom stick to basic recipes and always find ourselves taking to food network, You-Tube and even Pinterest to “spice” up our pass-me-down recipes or for sheer inspiration.

This really isn’t a bad thing, especially when we get creative with our plating. I don’t know about you, but I feel like Daniel Humm when I’m done.

With that said, it’s always nice to remember the basics, some we tend to forget. I’ve compiled a list of 20 basic and random tips that can help you in and around the kitchen, whether you’re preparing Grammy’s pass-me-down treasures, recreating it or simply creating your own masterpiece.

  1. Keep your spices away from any source of heat. They can lose their flavour when exposed to humidity and heat.
  2. Salt your pasta water, don’t add oil to the boiling water and DON’T rinse your pasta once boiled. Contrary to what you have been taught, It prevents the sauce from sticking to the pasta.
  3. Cut-off the root of an onion to prevent tears.
  4. Add lemon juice to cut apples to prevent it from browning.
  5. To soften butter, slice it into a bowl and leave at room temperature for 10-15 minutes.
  6. Let cooked or grilled meat rest at room temperature before serving, this makes it easier to slice and also allows the juice to settle so you don’t end up with biltong on your plate.
  7. Do not dress salads for parties, serve and allow guests to add their dressings, this prevents sogginess. Nothing worse than been served soggy salad with a hearty meal.
  8. Do not overload your skillet or pan. It slows down the cooking process but also creates a risk of not having the ingredients evenly and properly cooked.
  9. Clean as you go. Hygiene is a thing!
  10. No buttermilk? Don’t stress, add lemon juice to milk and voila!
  11. Don’t want to overcook eggs? Turn the stove off before they’re done. The remaining heat will cook it through without drying it out completely.
  12. Chop herbs with salt to prevent the herbs from flying.
  13. Slicing garlic as opposed to grating it, will prevent it from burning.
  14. When baking, follow the recipe accurately. It’s a science
  15. To get the most juice out of your lemon, roll it under your palm or microwave it for 10-15 seconds.
  16. If it smells too fishy, something’s fishy! Seafood should never have an overwhelming odour; chances are the protein is close to its expiry date.
  17. Invest in a good, sharp knife…
  18. Peel ginger with a spoon, trust me it works and prevents wastage.
  19. Place greens and herbs in a damp paper towel and store in a ziplock bag to extend the lifespan.
  20. Most importantly, cook with love, always!

Go get your cooking/ baking on and you can thank me later!


  1. Nice one Tas. Simple but forgotten at times.

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    • Whoop whoop that’s my baby ryt there

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