For some, cooking is the ultimate way to relax, combining creativity and productivity for a mutually beneficial outcome of exquisite eating.

That being said, that’s not always the case. Not everyone likes to cook and the thought of prepping another meal at the end of long day can be like being sentenced to 100 lines at the end of school.

Worse still, this aversion to cooking can lead to an over-reliance on fast food and takeaways – a hobby that not only hits you in the pocket but also hits you in the waistband too.

If cooking isn’t your forte, fear not because help is at hand. Join us as we explore how to make cooking easier in your home.

 

how to make cooking easier

 

Making Cooking Easier

Sadly, outside of ordering in food from elsewhere, there aren’t many ways around cooking in the home if you want to eat a decent meal. However, there are a few easy methods to help soften the blow. Here are a few of the best ways to make cooking easier in your home.

 

Oven Cooking

While baking and grilling can require a little closer attention, as a rule, there aren’t many cooking methods easier than oven cooking.

Even the notoriously simple stir-fry is trumped by oven cooking in terms of ease. Unlike stir-frying, you don’t even need to be involved or even present while the cooking takes place.

The “set and forget” model of cooking without looking allows you to simply prep your dish and leave it to heat while you get on with other things.

…just don’t forget to return once the time expires!

 

Think Edible Bulk

Cooking your meals in bulk is perhaps the easiest way to eat for the week (or at least for a few days) without having to once again go through the daily rigmarole of meal prep.

Batch cooking is the ultimate kitchen hack for avoiding cooking throughout the week. Simply make enough to cover a number of meals and separate the results into portioned containers.

Tupperware and old takeaway boxes are perfect for portion provision and can even be labelled if you really want to organise yourself. Simply place these in the fridge to be eaten in the next couple of days or, alternatively, place in the freezer to be eaten at a later date.

 

Tools of the Trade

Ever tried juicing an orange with your bare hands? Or peeling a potato with a blunt knife? The results can be frustrating at best and fall short worse than Evel Knievel on an off-day.

As such, having your kitchen pre-stocked with the correct tools for the task at hand is a wise move. Items such as pots and pans are an absolute must, while sharp knives and a chopping board can be just as vital.

From there additional items, like wooden spoons, vegetable peelers and even a good blender can be inherently useful to have around too (a fact you’ll soon realise when you need them and their absent).

For more instrument inspiration, check out our blog on must-have oven accessories for an idea of culinary essentials that may be missing from your kitchen.

 

Wash & Go

One of the very worst parts of cooking is undoubtedly the veritable conveyor belt of washing up that it creates as a result.

A great way to avoid the cataclysmic post-meal shock of the almighty tower of dishes you’ve just made is to get a head-start on the growing stockpile.

For those with a dishwasher, make sure your dishwasher is empty before you start cooking and simply add to the load as you go.

For those without, variably dipping into a sink full of soapy water can help you wash as you go. Items like dishes, chopping boards and cutlery are easy to get on with while the oven is heating up or you’re waiting for water to boil.

Think of it as damage limitation, softening the blow by reducing the number of dishes that remain when you're finally finished cooking.

 

For more tips on how to make cooking easier, why not check out our blog on Oven Cooking Tips? For anything else, drop us a line on 02920 452 510 or get in touch online using the button below.

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Oven cooking is great for a wide variety of purposes, from cake baking to casserole making and everything in between.

However, like most kitchen appliances, there are a few curious culinary foibles that can greatly influence the end result.

To help you achieve oven-baked brilliance in a single bound, we’ve laid out a few handy cooking tricks below.

Read on to ensure your cooking remains red hot without feeling the burn.

 

home cooking tips

 

Shut It

While it may be tempting to regularly check on your cooking throughout its oven residency, try to refrain from repeatedly opening the oven door.

Every time you open the oven, heat escapes the oven and the temperature within it can drop by 25 degrees or more, depending on the amount of time the door remains open.

As a result, this means the oven has to once again heat up to reach the desired temp, ultimately having a knock-on effect on the overall cooking duration.

Meanwhile, certain dishes benefit from a steady/constant cooking temperature – such as cakes, bread and meats – so fluctuations can actively impact the quality of the end-result.

To avoid relying on opening your oven to check on your dish as it cooks, use the oven window to check on its progression.

If your oven window is too dirty to visibly allow such observations, check out our handy blog on cleaning oven glass for complete transparency.

 

Pretty Vacant

While it may seem like a necessary evil at times, overcrowding your oven is a sure-fire way to negatively affect the quality of your cooking. As such, it’s advisable to try and steer clear of this method wherever possible.

Try to leave a couple of inches of space around pans and dishes to allow ample air circulation. This will help to ensure an even bake all around and avoid overcooking/burning one side.

Naturally, overcrowding can be virtually unavoidable if you’re cooking a large dinner for a cast of many, such as holidays and family occasions. If you are faced with catering for an army of hungry mouths, try to schedule your cooking and cook in batches.

Alternatively, it may be worth considering other means of cooking where possible to help free up space. This can be particularly handy when it comes to cooking vegetables, e.g. using the hob for boiling or even the microwave for steaming.

 

Another Level

Did you know that oven rack placement can have a big impact on the way your food cooks? It’s true! In fact, knowing which rack position to use for your corresponding dish can dramatically influence the way it cooks.

As a rule of thumb, the bottom rack is perfect for dishes that cook from the bottom up and require intense hear for a short period of time, making it perfect for items such as pizza.

Meanwhile, the middle is the go-to for anything that requires an even heat all around, making it ideal for anything from lasagne to pasta bakes.

Finally, the top rack provides greater heat from above, with most ovens featuring a grill for such purposes. The top position allows your dish to brown over the surface, which can be great for crusting a pie.

 

Feel the Heat

Ovens can often feature hotspots where the heat is more intense than elsewhere. Conversely, they can also naturally feature areas where the oven is cooler as a result.

If you happen to identify an area of your oven that cooks faster than others, naturally be wary of this when you're placing your foodstuffs. If positioning is unavoidable, rotating your dishes throughout can be a good way to remedy this.

To help identify hot spots and areas of greater heat, cover a baking sheet with shredded coconut and bake. This should give you a clearly visible indication of any areas that provide a more intense heat.

 

 

For more home cooking tips and oven hacks, why not check out our blog? Alternatively, drop us a line on 02920 452 510 today or click the link below to get in touch online now.

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Oven cooking is, more often than not, a vital part of the evening meal-time routine. In fact, you only really realise just how vital it is when it’s out of action and no longer usable.

That being said, there’s a lot more to oven cooking than simply heating up a pizza or thawing frozen chips.

There are a number of oven accessories in particular that can really allow you to use it to its fullest potential.

To help you get the most out of your oven, we’ve listed a handful of must-have oven accessories that’ll have you loving your oven in no time.

 

must have oven accessories

 

Roasting Pans

While it may conjure up images of Sunday chickens and Christmas turkeys gently browning to a mouth-watering gold, the humble roasting pan is far more versatile than you might think.

Due to the superior air circulation, roasting pans are perfect for vegetables too, creating a fantastic even bake for perfectly cooked veg.

The size and depth also make them perfect for creating a jumbo-sized lasagne for social occasions with multiple mouths to feed.

That being said, the roast is tailor-made for meats and poultry, big or small.

Those that come with a roasting rack also have the added benefit of elevating your meat off the base allowing the fat and juice to drip off. Gravy!

 

Cake Trays

An oven essential, particularly when The Great British Bake-Off is on, the humble cake tray is a must for any kitchen-dweller that wants to make the most of their oven beyond the main course.

Cake trays and tins come in a variety of shapes and sizes, as well as materials; e.g. sandwich pans are perfect for creating layered sponge cakes, like Victoria Sponge.

Meanwhile, springform pans are ideal for softer cake textures, like cheesecakes and tortes, while they can also make for the ideal base for deep-dish pizzas, quiche and savoury pies.

 

Oven Dishes

Typically made of glass, porcelain or steel, oven dishes are the Swiss Army Knife or the baking world.

Handy in a variety of cooking scenarios, these versatile vessels are capable of creating a variety of dishes, from casseroles to pasta bakes.

Another handy perk is that they can be transferred straight from the oven to the table for serving (just make sure you place it on a heat-proof surface).

 

Spare Grill Shelf

When it comes to cooking multiple things at once, a spare oven shelves can be a real life-saver. More accurately, it can be a real meal-saver.

Overcrowding shelves in the hopes squeezing in multiple items to cook simultaneously isn’t smart.

Not only will it result in poor heat circulation for an uneven bake, in the case of cakes and cookies, it can also result in the resulting items merging and sticking together.

A spare shelf can be just the solution, allowing you to spread your cooking over two shelves. Just be sure to rotate to ensure all items are cooked evenly.

 

Oven Thermometer

A must when it comes to cooking your dish to the desired amount, an oven thermometer can be the difference between burnt offerings and bon appetit.

While some ovens come with these built-in, most will not, typically leaving you to rely on the electric thermostat and the accompanying light to gauge the heat level.

Moreover, the built-in oven thermostat can lose its accuracy over time without warning, leaving you hungrily staring at an undercooked meal or cremated carcass.

Hang the thermometer in the centre of the oven on the middle rack for the most accurate reading.

For an even more accurate idea of cooking temp, you may want to invest in a meat/cake thermometer for the perfect result.

 

For more details on oven must-haves and replacement parts, why not drop us a line today? Call now on 02920 452 510 or get in touch via email using the button below.

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Ah, oven cleaning. The culinary equivalent of tooth extraction: terrifying and painful but ultimately a necessary evil.

It’s a chore that nobody looks forward to but, as responsible adults, we are naturally faced with every once in a while, particularly those that own their own home.

As such, any oven cleaning tips to make the task easier are always welcome, in our book.

Well, would-be oven cleaners, you’re in luck. We’ve got three handy hacks that will leave your oven looking good, smelling good and performing on all levels.

 

oven cleaning hacks, oven cleaning tips

 

Attack the Rack

When it comes to restoring your oven rack back to its former glory, this next trick may seem like a bit of a half-baked idea, but trust us – it works!

The best way to attack your rack is with a nice, relaxing soak in the bath. Not for you, but for your dirty oven racks – so don’t pour yourself a glass of red and light those candles just yet.

First, wrap your racks in foil so they are completely covered. Then, run a hot bath deep enough to cover the racks and simply leave to soak with a dishwasher tablet for at least two hours.

Once the two hours plus have expired, simply unwrap the racks, give them a wipe down and bask in their greaseless glory!

 

When Life Gives You Lemons

While the sweet scents of roasting chicken and freshly baked cakes can be wonderful aromas to have floating around the kitchen, the same can’t quite be said for oven dwelling fish and baked-on cheese.

Luckily, when it comes to ridding your kitchen of those latter nasty smells, the solution is surprisingly easy, without a chemical cleaner in sight.

The citric power of lemons and oranges are more than enough to combat your oven’s nasal nuisances, while vanilla extract also makes for a fantastic natural odour-eater.

Best of all, each method is incredibly simple! Simply pick your weapon of choice and get to it! For the complete step-by-step of each, head over to our blog on getting rid oven smells and see for yourself.

 

Let Off Some Steam

Now, time for the main event – cleaning the inside of the oven.

When it comes to rolling up your sleeves and getting down to the nitty-gritty, this next hack will make life a lot easier. Best of all, it requires very little effort at all!

Fill an oven-proof dish about 1/3 of the way up with hot water. Next, add an equal amount of white vinegar to the bowl, mix and place in the oven. Ramp up the heat to 180, close the door and allow the mixture to come to the boil, cutting off the heat once it does.

Open the door and spray the inside of the oven with a 50/50 solution of warm water and white vinegar. Leave to sit for at least 30 minutes, allowing the oven to cool down at the same time.

Once the oven has cooled down, get to work on the grime by wiping down the inside. The residue should now be loose, allowing you to clean with ease.

 

For more top oven cleaning tips, check out our blog on our “How to Clean an Oven” blog for the full rundown. For any other enquiries, call now on 02920 452 510 or click below to get in touch online.

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