Meat

Whatever the meat, we have the answers here.

Using your Halogen Oven

Frozen stock cubes

When you have made a stock, be it meat or vegetable, dont throw the remains away, simply put the remainder into an ice cube tray and freeze. When you need some stock again, just pop out the number of cubes you need to add that flavour! Great when making Soups and sauces and really saves on waste.

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

Which cut of steak is best

If you are considering having a steak for you tea tonight why not try a Rib eye steak instead of a fillet or sirloin. For me it is a far tastier cut

It is also worth getting a steak that has been matured for at least 21 days, and you can tell if this is the case as the meat should be ruby in colour, not bright red.

Herbs in Casseroles

Personally most chefs use fresh where possible because of the colour and flavour and in particular when dressing the plate.

However, the dried option is always ok but remember to use a small amount as the jarred varieties are more concentrated.

Better still, use the freeze dried herbs in packs and bottles as they have more flavour than the dried and are great for casseroles etc.

BBQ Sauces

You can make sauces in advance and either keep them in the fridge or in the freezer until you are ready to use them.

Try my Citrus Horseradish Sauce if you want you Pork Spare Ribs to have some zing!

Cooking the Perfect Steak

The best way is to use a cast iron griddle pan, and heat over a high flame until extremely hot.

Take the steak, smother in oil using your hands (clean of course!) and place the steak into the dry pan and sear the first side for 1.5 minutes for rare, 2 mins for medium, 3 mins for well done, then turn the steak over and do the same on the other side.

Allow to rest for 3 mins before eating. This helps the meat to "rest" and allows all the fibres to relax, so no more stringy or chewy steaks!

See my hint on what is the best cut of meat

Tenderising Meat

The best way to cook a steak, is to get a griddle pan very hot, rub olive oil all over the steak with your hands, season, place in the pan, sear both sides, then turn down the heat and cook to your liking.

See my hint on how cook the perfect steak

Barbequeing Chicken

When BBQ'ing chicken pieces, microwave for about 5 mins on full power, then wrap in foil with some fresh herbs and a little butter before placing on the BBQ. Always put them away from the main full on source of flame for at least 10 mins before bringing them to the main heat for a further 10 mins.

Before serving, open the foil, prick with a fork to ensure that the juices are running clear and not in any way pink.

Perfectly cooked chicken pieces and delicious too!

Roasting Meat

When roasting a joint or poultry, it is important that you allow time for the meat to "rest" and complete cooking.

Simply cook for the normal time, remove from the oven, cover and leave for up to half of its original cooking time. This allows the meat to relax and you will find you will get moister, more flavoursome and tender meat.

Its also easier to carve as the meat is more tender.

Cooking Meat Correctly

This is particularly important when cooking poultry and pork, less so with beef, lamb etc which you can basically cook to your own tastes, rare, medium, well done etc.

I am always being asked how to check that it is done properly and the first thing would be to invest in a proper meat thermometer which you simply push into the plumpest part of the bird or joint when the cooking time has elapsed and the dial will tell you if it is cooked through or not.

However, an age old way is using a skewer, push it into the fleshiest part (on a bird, between the leg and breast, on a joint, in the middle part) and if the juices run clear, the meat is done safely.

Don't forget to let the meat rest and relax for at least 30 mins after you have taken it from the oven (see my Roasting Meat tip)

Result - safely cooked, succulent meat to be enjoyed by all.

Mint

Mint leaves have a pleasant warm, fresh, aromatic, sweet flavour with a cool aftertaste and are often used in teas, beverages, jellies, syrups, and ice creams.

We tend to associate mint with lamb so for mint sauce, finely chop some mint leaves, add to vinegar and leave to infuse for an hour. Serve when ready

Sage

Sage is a perennial herb which can be found all year round

Tradionally, sage is used with meat, specifically pork and chicken and in stuffings such as sage & onion

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1 Yardley Way, Belper, Derbyshire DE56 0ES