Cooking is hard, there’s a lot of different food out there and, with that, there comes a lot of questions! The list featured below are things people have asked me, things I’ve seen asked to others online, or things I’ve actually Googled myself before my own “trial and error” method.
I’m not saying my answers are the right answers, by any means! But from my own experience this would be my advice on these (slightly random) but commonly asked foodie questions.
How do I drain mozzarella?
It’s all well and good trying to make pizza at home but using a ball of mozzarella can be a nightmare. If it’s not drained properly you end up with a watery mess.
The best way I’ve found to drain mozzarella is to cut open the packet, tip the excess water out and squeeze every last drop out of the ball while it’s still in the pack. Then take it out, slice it up, sandwich the slices between two paper towels and leave for 15 minutes or so. This should soak up any leftover liquid and leave you with ready to use mozzarella. 🍕
Curry sauce or curry paste?
These are often lumped in together as the same thing, but they’re really not.
Curry sauce is a totally pre-made sauce that you can literally pour straight over your filling (veggies, chicken, lamb, etc.), heat through and, bingo! You’ve got yourself a curry.
Curry paste is all the spices you need for a great curry flavour blended down into a paste, but you’ll still need to add some sort of liquid to your curry to make an actual sauce – chopped tomatoes, coconut milk, cream, etc..
Is it really worth buying low fat?
YES! … If there’s no price difference.
Alright, so slapping a big “LOW FAT” sticker on something doesn’t make it a health food and you should always double check what’s going on in there. But with something like cheese, for example – if you’re going to pile a huge helping onto your pasta anyway, might as well go with a lower fat option just to try and lower the fat just a little. That’s how I see it, anyway. 🧀
What’s the easiest way to make a pasta sauce?
In my opinion, the easiest, cheapest, healthiest pasta sauce to make is a tomato-based one. All you need is passata (sieved tomatoes, a carton usually costs less than 40p) mixed with some garlic, basil, oregano, salt and pepper, all of which are basic store cupboard ingredients. You can use dried herbs or fresh, whatever is easiest for you. Warm it through and you’ve got a light, fresh tomato sauce for any pasta dish in a matter of minutes with minimal effort.
Are dried herbs just as good as fresh ones?
Okay, honestly? No, not quite.
They don’t have as much flavour, but just because they’re not quite as good doesn’t mean you can’t use them! As far as I’m concerned, the benefits of using dried herbs far outweigh the minimal difference in taste. Dried herbs are always to hand when you need them, they last forever and zero prep times makes them really easy to use.
If you’ve got the time and money for fresh herbs, go for it. But if not, dried herbs do the job just fine.
What meals can I make to help kickstart a vegetarian diet?
Personally, I think taking a meal traditionally made with beef mince and simply swapping it out for a veggie alternative (Quorn is the obvious choice, but most supermarkets do their own brand version) is the easiest way to start phasing in a vegetarian diet.
Chilli, spaghetti bolognese, lasagne – all can be made with veggie mince and you can’t really taste the difference.
I’d then move onto experimenting with vegetables more, making pastas, curries, casseroles and such using veggies alone. The more you play around with flavours and ingredients, the more you get used to it. We don’t really touch meat in the week these days and the key to keeping it up has been trying out new things as much as possible.
How much garlic is too much?
Trick question, there is no answer to this. There’s no such thing as too much garlic.