Fridge and Freezer

Some handy hints when freezing or chilling food

Using your Halogen Oven

Stews and Casseroles best left in the Fridge

Stews and Casseroles are best left in the Fridge, in fact it is better to let the stew "come together". What happens is that the meat begins to marinate itself in the juices, hence a more intense taste.

Remember though, when reheating you must boil it for at least 4 mins to kill any bacteria that might have formed between cooking and reheating

Italian Pesto Sauce

Basil

There are many types of Basil but the one we tend to see here is the Sweet Basil version.

Basil is commonly used fresh in cooked recipes and is generally added at the last moment, as cooking quickly destroys the flavour. The fresh herb can be kept for a short time in plastic bags in the refrigerator,in a pot on the windowsill (live plants can be bought easily from most good supermarkets) or for a longer period in the freezer, after being blanched quickly in boiling water. The herb is also available in a dried version but it loses most of its flavour, so avoid if you can

Basil is one of the main ingredients in pesto a green Italian oil-and-herb sauce. It is sometimes used with fresh fruit and in fruit jams and sauces in particular with strawberries

Chives

Part of the onion family, the green stems of the chive plant are often used chopped as a condiment for fish, soup and stews or to decorate the top of dishes, such as eggs etc.

Chives are one of the "fine herbes" in French cooking and can be found in many dishes.

You can freeze this herb quite easily by chopping the stem into small pieces and placing in a plastic bag or airtight container which means if you have grown some in your garden, you can keep some tucked away for winter, although fresh chives tend to be available all year round in supermarkets.

Chives are recognisable by the beautiful purple flower heads - not good for eating but lovely cut as a flower - Mel puts them in amongst other flowers she might have in the house - shame to waste them.

Keeping your Eggs Fresh

Eggs are very porous and take on smells very easily so they need to be kept in an airtight container.

You can keep eggs in a fridge but they need to be in the less cold areas such as in the salad box towards the bottom of the fridge as opposed to the door (despite fridge manufacturers putting the egg tray there)

Alternatively, keep in the coolest part of the kitchen.

A little tip is that if you do choose to keep them in the fridge, always take them out at least one hour before you want to cook with them so they have time to reach room temperature.

The reason for this? The eggs will mix better and you will get the results you want, especially when making cakes and Yorkshire puds.

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