When it comes to cooking, I’ll admit, I’m a bit of a non-conformer. You could pass me any recipe, and if I follow the rules accordingly, I’d usually get it done right. And then there are those days where I’m prone to “winging it” because “I got this” and things have a tendency to get a little out of hand after that. And my ego gets sorely bruised.
If you’re like me, you’d probably NEVER want to own up to that seemingly perfect Instagram post of your dinner/baked goods that you know tastes totally off, though you tried to assure your dinner guest that “it’s supposed to taste that way”. Which is why I’ve put together a little guide for you to salvage your dinner. And your pride:
1. Your food tastes like the Dead Sea
It’s 10 minutes in and the dish you’re making is WAAAY too salty. If it’s a gravy based dish, add some water to dilute it. If not, the cardinal rule in over salted dishes is to balance it out with acid. Drizzle in some lemon juice or even a little bit of vinegar to mask the aggressive saltiness. Just don’t go overboard with the acids and remember to taste as you go along. Nobody deserves food that’s too salty AND sour.
2. You tried to soften butter in the microwave
Unless you want a pool of melted butter (and tears), don’t ever do this. Instead, soften butter neatly by placing a warm glass or bowl over it for 2 minutes. This will get your butter ready for cake mixes in a jiffy.
3. Your steak is charred on the outside but raw on the inside
When it comes to steak, it’s easy to get it wrong by cooking it at a temperature that’s way too high. Whatever you do, DO NOT crank the heat up or continue cooking on the stove – this will just make your meat even more charred. Pop the steak in the oven at 150˚C and cook it to your preferred doneness. Get yourself a food thermometer while you’re at it.
4. You didn’t sift the flour
Let’s make one thing clear – no matter what anyone says, baking is a SCIENCE. So stuff like measuring with clean kitchen tools, preheating the oven at the right temperature and sifting flour matters a whole lot. If you’re prone to consciously mix unsifted flour into batter, karma takes form in little white clumps that are less than pleasant.
5. Your vegetables are soggy
It’s easy to overcook vegetables, especially since it’s hard to tell when they’re perfectly cooked. If they still haven’t lost their form, quickly toss them into cold water to prevent it from cooking any further. Sprinkle some cheese after and broil them for a few minutes until the cheese melts and forms a slight crisp. Either that or puree them to make soup, you know, like nothing ever happened.
6. Your cake’s stuck to the pan
Did you think you could flip a cake out of its pan before it’s cooled down and then wonder why it’s stuck even though you’ve oiled the pan? Me too, LOL. Unfortunately, there’s no two ways about it – patience is key, my friend. Just let the cake cool down and then try to remove it. If it won’t budge, soak the bottom half of the pan in hot water to help loosen up the fats and let that cake slide right out.
7. Your salad is too bitter because #kale because #eatclean
So you’ve spent a ridiculous amount of money on kale and tried to make a salad that ended up in a bitter mess. Don’t let this make you bitter about salads in general. Try adding some fresh lemon juice (when I say fresh, I mean from the fruit. Not a squeeze bottle) and a dash of nutmeg to help balance the flavours. The citrus helps mask the bitterness while the nutmeg gives it a nutty edge.
8. Your chicken is way too dry
Rescue that overcooked and super dry piece of chicken by slicing the meat and pouring some gravy, cheese or sauce (whatever you feel like, really) over the chicken before serving it. This will help take the focus on the dry texture and it’s way more manageable for you. Ain’t nobody got time to carve a chicken 10 minutes before dinner.
9. Your melted chocolate is clumpy
Melting chocolate is not an easy affair. Melt it at too high a temperature (with no double boiler) or accidentally adding a few drops of water will turn that velvety melted concoction into a dull clump. If this happens, you might still be able to salvage your chocolate by adding some cream or butter. Just remember to use a double boiler, I beg of you. Scorched chocolate is nobody’s best friend.
10. You squeeze citrus fruits fresh out of the fridge
This is virtually a waste of fruit and money. Warm limes or lemons release more juice than cold ones. Next time you need to add some citrus to anything, warm them up in the microwave for 10 seconds and then go to town with the squeezing.