Keep It Simple: Incredibly useful tips for meat and fish

Our Simple & Classic author Jane Hornby has some great kitchen hacks. Here are a few for meat eaters
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Jane Hornby
Jane Hornby

Simple & Classic is an impressive book, even by Jane Hornby’s high standards. The new book brings together the very best of Hornby's recipes from the bestsellers What to Cook & How to Cook It, Fresh & Easy, and What to Bake & How to Bake It. Each one is easy to follow, with detailed step-by-step shots and helpful images of the finished dishes.

However, the proverbial cherry on top comes in the form of Jane’s tips, which accompany many of the recipes. We've already shared with you Jane's fruit and vegetable tips so here is a selection from the book that will appeal to the non-vegetarians out there.

 

The ingredients for herb crusted lamb
The ingredients for herb crusted lamb

Why you should favour dry-cured bacon Dry-cured bacon is processed without adding extra water to the pork. This means that it will release less liquid, therefore shrinking less and crisping up more than other bacon.

How to choose shrimp Frozen shrimp (prawns) are just as good, if not better, than chilled shrimp, because they are frozen at sea when fresh. To defrost frozen raw shrimp quickly, put them into a bowl and cover with cold water. Change the water a couple of times over a 10-minute period, after which time the shrimp will be defrosted. Drain well.

How to chill raw meat Keep it at the bottom of the refrigerator on a tray for up to 3 days, so that no drips can reach other food below.

 

Chargilled steak
Chargilled steak

Why you should un-chill steak before you cook it Cold meat is more likely to overcook because it takes longer for heat to reach the centre of the steak or roast. Either marinate the steak ahead of time, then remove from the refrigerator 30 minutes before cooking, or take the steak from the refrigerator, rub with the marinade, and set aside for at least 30 minutes.

Buying meat for burgers Ground chuck (steak mince) is made with the scraps (offcuts) from better quality beef, whereas ordinary ground beef (mince) is made with tougher cuts. Going to your butcher for ground chuck (steak mince) will mean you can cook the burgers to juicy medium rare. The meat needs to contain some fat to keep the meat moist but much of it will melt away as the burgers cook.

How to grill meat properly It’s better to oil the meat than to add oil to the pan, because this will reduce the amount of smoke that will come from the pan. If the steak doesn’t make a loud sizzle as soon as it hits the pan, then the pan isn’t hot enough. So take the steak out. Keeping the heat high encourages the meat to develop a brown crust and good flavour.

 

Simple & Classic by Jane Hornby

For more excellent kitchen insight, as well as all the recipes for the dishes pictured, order a copy of Simple & Classic here.


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