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Here are some food preparation and food storage tips which will come in handy in lots of different recipes you’ll try. They will make cooking easier for you.

Food Storage

To peel the skin, it is best to bring almonds to a boil. It makes the skin soft and easy to peel.

Store bread with the bag in a plastic container and seal well so no moisture gets in. Keep the bread in the freezer after use; it remains fresh for days this way.

To soften butter, use a grater. Save the wrappers in the freezer. Use them for greasing pans or as cake pan liners.

To make stuffed cabbages, place them in the freezer overnight, defrost and the leaves will peel off easily. To soften leaves for wrapping dolmas, dip in boiling water, then fill and roll.

Cheese tastes best when served at room temperature. To cut cheese, a blunt knife is better than a sharp one. When grating, use refrigerated cheese and do not forget to spray the grater with oil.

Coriander and other herbs can also be frozen in ice trays filled with water. You can also follow these tips to store herbs and spices.

Coffee beans taste best when purchased whole and kept in freezer. Grind only what you need. A blender or a food-processor will do as well as an electric grinder. Create your own flavoured coffees by adding toasted almonds, chocolate, vanilla, orange or lemon peels and cinnamon before grinding the coffee beans.

Use a shoe horn to remove kernels. Massage some oil so that it comes off easily.

Cream whips better if cold. To chill cream before serving, keep it in a bowl in water with ice cubes.

Fresh eggs are rough and chalky. Old eggs are smooth and shiny. Test for fresh eggs by placing them in a bowl of salted water. Discard the ones which rise to the surface.

Egg whites can be stored in a freezer for a year. They can be re-frozen after defrosting.

Rub lemon on utensils to eliminate fish odour. If using frozen fish, thaw overnight in the fridge. Don’t freeze fish for more than two months.

Buy and store flour in a freezer. Don’t buy in bulk especially if you live in a humid climate.

Tips to Store Food

Buy fruits before they ripe and ripen them in a bowl at room temperature.

Store garlic in the freezer, peel and chop before thawing. Sprinkle salt on garlic to prevent it from sticking to the knife. Soak garlic cloves in cold water for a few hours. Grind and store this garlic paste in air tight bottles and keep them in the fridge. It can last from a week to a fortnight.

Fresh ginger is best. But for storage, peel and grind ginger and store in an air tight jar and keep it in the fridge.

Herbs and spices
Buy in small quantity. Keep them away from heat. Follow our tips for storing herbs and spices.

Iced Tea
You do not need to boil it. Place the, tea bag, sugar, lemon peel and mint in a jar filled with cold water overnight in the fridge.

Lemon and Lime
- To cut lemon or lime easily, dip in hot water for 15 minutes, roll on counter top before cutting.
- Save rinds in your freezer and use them when a recipe calls for zest.
- You may use lemon or lime juice on the cutting board and utensils to get rid of unpleasant smells.

Never serve wet lettuce. Wash it in cold water and seal in a bag with a paper towel to absorb moisture.

To tenderize meat, rub with vinegar, brown sugar, garlic or raw papaya with skin.

To crack any nut, place it in a pillow case or a plastic bag before cracking.

Refrigerate onions or soak them in water before cutting to avoid tears. Use a sharp knife to peel.

Place in a hot oven before peeling to removes white fibres while you peel.

For perfect pasta, boil in salted water, stir in some oil, cover to let boil for some time, then turn off the heat and let sit for 15 minutes till done. Add butter or oil to water in order to prevent boil overs. It also keeps the pasta from sticking. Once you take out pasta from the hot water in a colander, run it under cold or tap water to prevent it from sticking together.

It stays fresh if sealed in bags.

- Use brown skinned potatoes for deep frying and baking, and red ones for boiling or steaming.
- Store potatoes in cool dry and dark place.
- Don’t ever store them with onions.

- When cooking, drain rice, run it under cold water to wash off the starch.
- Make packets of two or four cups separately and store in a freezer for convenience.

Green salad
Green salad is best when served cold. Store salad in a zip lock bag with a paper towel to prevent greens from going stale.

Put a few grains of raw rice in the salt shaker to prevent it from humidity and clogging.

Before adding veggies, toss them with flour to keep them from sticking at the bottom.

Prepare veggies in microwave as it takes less time and retains colour. You may also steam veggies in ice water to retain their colour.

How to prevent Cooking odours
To prevent cooking odours, boil or simmer a pot of water with some vinegar or lemon skin. Leave it in the kitchen for a while.

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