Common kitchen dilemmas solved


The world of food is complicated. It’s filled with myriad ingredients, fancy techniques and all sorts of equipment – not to mention plenty of unhelpful cooking myths. If you’ve ever wondered why baking recipes ask you to add salt and what exactly sous vide means, you’ve come to the right place. We’ve answered the most searched-for cooking questions across the web.




Microsoft and partners may be compensated if you purchase something through recommended links in this article.




Microsoft and partners may be compensated if you purchase something through recommended links in this article.




Microsoft and partners may be compensated if you purchase something through recommended links in this article.




Microsoft and partners may be compensated if you purchase something through recommended links in this article.




Microsoft and partners may be compensated if you purchase something through recommended links in this article.


Fill a bowl with cold water and do the ‘float test’. If your egg sinks to the bottom on its side, it means it’s very fresh. If your egg sinks to the bottom in an upright position, it means it’s not as fresh. If your egg floats, it means it has started producing gases, which lift the egg to the water’s surface, so it’s most likely gone bad.




Microsoft and partners may be compensated if you purchase something through recommended links in this article.




Microsoft and partners may be compensated if you purchase something through recommended links in this article.


The safest way to defrost meat is to leave it covered in the fridge to thaw slowly. If you leave it out on the kitchen counter, as soon as it starts defrosting, the outer layers of meat are exposed to a temperature perfect for harmful bacteria to grow while the middle is still frozen. If your microwave has a defrost option, it’s by far the speediest way of thawing meat but be advised that it can also start cooking your food prematurely.




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Gluten is the general name for various proteins found in wheat, rye and barley. It acts as a binding element that helps products such as bread, pastry and pasta hold together and maintain their shape. A gluten intolerance is the body’s inability to break down and digest these proteins, while coeliac disease is a much more severe digestive condition where the small intestine becomes inflamed and unable to absorb nutrients due to the presence of gluten.




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Different pans are used for different purposes so it’s a tricky question to answer. If you’re not sure where to start, begin with essentials: a non-stick frying pan, a deep stockpot for boiling and making soup, a cast-iron pan or griddle for searing, a sauté pan with a lid for stewing and a small saucepan for sauces.




Microsoft and partners may be compensated if you purchase something through recommended links in this article.




Microsoft and partners may be compensated if you purchase something through recommended links in this article.




Microsoft and partners may be compensated if you purchase something through recommended links in this article.




Microsoft and partners may be compensated if you purchase something through recommended links in this article.




Microsoft and partners may be compensated if you purchase something through recommended links in this article.




Microsoft and partners may be compensated if you purchase something through recommended links in this article.




Microsoft and partners may be compensated if you purchase something through recommended links in this article.




Microsoft and partners may be compensated if you purchase something through recommended links in this article.


In short – yes. But, it doesn’t actually seal in the meat’s juices. When meat is cooked at a high temperature over dry heat, it undergoes the Maillard reaction which, simply put, means browning. This happens when the moisture on the meat’s surface evaporates as it hits the hot dry surface of the pan. This also helps to release aroma and develop flavor. If you’re making a sauce, it’s an essential foundation as caramelized bits of meat left in the pan add to the depth of flavor.




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After cooking meat, poultry or fish in a pan, you’re often left with caramelized meat at the bottom of your pan. Adding a liquid, such as wine, stock or water, helps lift off those bits in a process called deglazing. This forms a great, flavorful base for sauces.




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Yes, there are several ways of doing it. If vegetables have been steamed in overly salty water, try rinsing them with cold water. For soups and stews, adding any form of starch such as sliced potatoes or rice can help. If your dish can be diluted, try adding more water, stock or passata/tomatoes. If you’re mixing in a dairy product like cream, add a bit more. Most importantly, keep tasting and adjusting.




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To avoid gummy and clumpy pasta that sticks together after it’s drained, always add uncooked pasta to a large pot of water that’s already boiling and stir during the first two minutes of cooking, as that’s when it gets covered with a sticky layer of starch. If you’re eating your pasta with a sauce, don’t add olive oil as that will just encourage the sauce to slide right off.




Microsoft and partners may be compensated if you purchase something through recommended links in this article.




Microsoft and partners may be compensated if you purchase something through recommended links in this article.




Microsoft and partners may be compensated if you purchase something through recommended links in this article.




Microsoft and partners may be compensated if you purchase something through recommended links in this article.




Microsoft and partners may be compensated if you purchase something through recommended links in this article.


Wine quality starts to diminish quickly, a day or so after opening due to contact with oxygen, even if you force the cork back in or screw the cap back on. A bottle that’s been open for a few days will display less intense aromas and flavors, while a bottle left out for a week (or two) is unlikely to make you ill but will not be enjoyable to drink. As a rule, it’s best to consume open bottles of wine within a few days and store it with a wine stopper.




Microsoft and partners may be compensated if you purchase something through recommended links in this article.




Microsoft and partners may be compensated if you purchase something through recommended links in this article.




Microsoft and partners may be compensated if you purchase something through recommended links in this article.




Microsoft and partners may be compensated if you purchase something through recommended links in this article.




Microsoft and partners may be compensated if you purchase something through recommended links in this article.




Microsoft and partners may be compensated if you purchase something through recommended links in this article.




Microsoft and partners may be compensated if you purchase something through recommended links in this article.




Microsoft and partners may be compensated if you purchase something through recommended links in this article.


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