Sav­ing the last bite

> Mishaps in the kitchen need not mean the end of the world – with a few sim­ple tricks, your lunch or din­ner can be res­cued

The Sun (Malaysia) - - FAMILY TIES -

FOR my birth­day this year, No. 2 bought me a non-stick fry­ing pan and a card which shows a burnt toast. In­scribed on it: “Just scrape off the burnt bit, it’s still good. Thanks for all the ad­vice mum.”

With a toaster that is slightly wonky, we do get our fair share of burnt toast, es­pe­cially when we toast sweet­ened bread with dried fruits such as apri­cots and raisins.

The card was a pre­cur­sor to a bak­ing mis­ad­ven­ture by No. 4. She had made a batch of cho­co­late chip cook­ies which got burnt as she left them in the oven for too long.

I tried to scrape off the burnt layer with a knife but it crum­bled when I ex­erted a lit­tle pres­sure.

Us­ing a tip gleaned from Google, I then tried to scrape off the charred parts with a grater. It was slightly eas­ier, but still the cookie crum­bled.

I threw away the burnt bits and kept the clean grated morsels as an ice cream top­ping.

I’m glad that No. 2 re­mem­bers the les­son of the burnt toast; she can make good use of the ad­vice in her own home to sal­vage scorch­ing dis­as­ters.

In fact, there are a few other kitchen res­cue tricks that are handy to know.

As soon as your nose alerts you to cook­ing accidents, im­me­di­ately take the pot off the heat.

Plunge the bot­tom of the pot into cold wa­ter to stop the cook­ing. Do not scrape the burnt food, as that would con­tam­i­nate the rest of the pot with the burnt bits.

Use a la­dle to scoop up the top portion which is not burnt and trans­fer it to a clean pot. Ditch the charred stuff.

I’m sure you’ve heard of the potato trick – put in some sliced raw pota­toes into your soup or stew to ab­sorb the burnt smell.

If you have over-salted your food, the su­perb spud can save your dish too.

Where drier food is con­cerned, for ex­am­ple, meat that has been scorched in the grill, cut off the black parts. Slice the meat into thin­ner pieces and drench with bar­be­cue or black pep­per sauce to make them more palat­able.

To get rid of the burnt smell and taste, you can al­ways do a lit­tle magic. The type of ‘po­tion’ you use would de­pend on the type of food.

For in­stance, chicken stew or toma­to­based gravy such as spaghetti sauce can be sal­vaged with a bit of peanut but­ter or cin­na­mon pow­der.

For clear soups, you might want to try vine­gar. Put in a lit­tle at a time and test as you go along.

A disclaimer here: I haven’t tried the peanut but­ter, cin­na­mon pow­der and vine­gar tricks as I only dis­cov­ered them re­cently. Be­sides, it’s been a long time since I’ve burnt my food.

I’m not blow­ing my horn, it’s partly be­cause I’m cook­ing less nowa­days. But should dis­as­ter strike, I would not hes­i­tate to use these reme­dies.

There’s noth­ing to lose. Of course, I would try them out first on a small quan­tity be­fore I go the whole nine yards.

Ly­dia Teh is a mother of four and au­thor of nine books, in­clud­ing the lat­est, Cow Sense for Young Peo­ple. Send com­ments to life­style.ly­dia@the­sundaily. com.

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