Poached to perfection: more time saving tips in the kitchen! (Part Two)
Hi, thanks for clicking on this blog- if you haven’t read the first part yet here’s the link: (https://our.warwick.ac.uk/an-ode-to-the-microwave-and-other-time-saving-tips-in-the-kitchen-part-one/)- otherwise keep reading!
5. EASIEST EGGS: My friends, flatmates and family are all sick of me talking about my discovery of the best way to poach an egg, but I can’t help how incredibly passionate I am about it! In fact, I could dedicate a whole blog to eggs (but I shall contain myself to one section). In the past, poaching an egg was a ridiculously stressful process for me (admittedly because of my princess-worthy insistence on achieving a perfectly runny yolk) as I never knew what temperature to keep the water at, whether to salt it, when to stop stirring, how to take the egg out when it was done… That is, before I read a news story about a way to- you guessed it- microwave a poached egg. The recipe couldn’t be simpler: fill a small glass bowl a third-full with water. Crack the egg inside. Add a dash of vinegar and microwave for a minute (or longer if you don’t want a runny yolk). That’s it. No need for a saucepan, sieve- or indeed, patience. However: there are two things to bear in mind to avoid causing any egg-splosions in the microwave (and subsequent flatmate-explosions of annoyance). Firstly, upon purchasing your eggs, turn them upside down as this will keep them fresher for longer. Also, pierce the egg white a few times with a fork or knife before microwaving to ensure there’s some air holes.
A poached egg with toast and spinach, one of my favourite and quickest breakfasts! In the blog picture, the egg is alongside spinach and also pizza-style mushrooms.
6. MINIMAL-EFFORT MEAT: As you might have been able to work out based on what I’ve talked about so far, I’m a vegetarian so haven’t mentioned any meat or fish related advice. Since I thought it could be useful to include some animal-based food ideas, here are some tips from my carnivorous friends:
“Chopped fried chorizo can be stirred into lots of dishes such as pasta”.
“Worcester sauce is a great accompaniment to lots of dishes!”.
“Lots of meat can be stored in the freezer to improve shelf-life”.
“Corned beef hash is a quick and easy recipe: Fry an onion (and optional garlic). Boil some potatoes on the side and make sure you don’t let them get overcooked as you don’t want them to fall apart! To the onion, add a tin of chopped tomatoes and a tin of corned beef, alongside small cubes of your potatoes once cooked. Stir in Worcester sauce, herbs, stock, peas, black pepper and whatever else you fancy! Simmer for as long as you like and serve with rice”.
Robert’s corned beef hash
7. FILL THE FREEZER: Forget microwaved food, frozen food is even more often stereotyped as being of lower quality/unhealthier. No. The freezer is my best friend- and should be yours too. According to Eat Right Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, frozen food is ‘convenient and nutritious’ (https://www.eatright.org/food/planning-and-prep/smart-shopping/frozen-foods-convenient-and-nutritious), so you don’t need to worry about compromising your health!
Admittedly, you don’t need to store everything in your freezer, but I always like to have on hand frozen vegetables like spinach, of which the fresh alternative go off quickly, quick-cook carbohydrates like pitta, wraps and bread, and any pre-cooked food for times when I don’t have any motivation to cook from scratch (such as pesto cubes that can be frozen in an ice cube tray, or pre-cooked tofu cubes, both of which defrost in the microwave in literally a minute). However, after stocking up the freezer, just please make sure you close the door. Firmly. At the end of last term, our freezer door was left open overnight and discovered to have gotten to 17 degrees the next morning…the waste situation was traumatic.
8. SOAKING SUCCEEDS: If you are organised enough and can remember to soak lentils or beans the night before (admittedly I don’t do this at university because I find tins of the cooked versions to be very convenient and affordable) it will save you cooking time! You can also soak breakfast items such as overnight oats- even if you prefer standard hot porridge, soaking the oats in milk overnight means you’ll need to cook them for a much shorter time in the morning! Finally, I have yet to try this but apparently if you soak dried pasta for a few hours before cooking, they’ll cook in just a couple of minutes rather than ten on the hob! A one minute job that saves time and energy? Seems like a win-win situation!
Overnight oats with frozen berries and maple syrup (and yes, I did make them in an old peanut butter jar😂)
9.LASTLY, SOME GENERAL KITCHEN TIPS FROM AN EAGER-TO HELP FLATMATE
• Don’t overpack kitchenware when you arrive: All you need is a saucepan, a pot and maybe a baking tray. (He’s exaggerating slightly, although to be fair he did arrive at university from Thailand with just a knife and a fork…).
• Eat out of a saucepan to avoid additional washing up!
• Clean your dishes straight away so they don’t pile up on the kitchen counter.
• Experiment with making new foods: this is the time!
• If you’re a University of Warwick student, get yourself a Tesco clubcard. You will not regret it.
Overall, I hope that these two blogs have been helpful, and at the very least I hope to have convinced you that you don’t need to neglect the microwave or the freezer!
Feel free to comment below or message me with thoughts or your own tips!😊