Simple Vinaigrette
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
Pinch of sea salt
4–5 grinds of black pepper

Combine all the ingredients in a small bowl and whisk together vigorously to form an emulsion.
Refrigerated, this vinaigrette will keep for 2 weeks. If it separates, re-whisk it to recreate the emulsion. This vinaigrette can be used on all green salads. Use a lighter vinegar (white wine or perhaps an apple cider) when serving with delicate greens, such as mache (lamb’s lettuce) or butter lettuce. Use a more robust vinegar, such as Jerez or balsamic when serving heartier greens, such as mesclun, dandelion, arugula or spinach.

 

Lemon Vinaigrette
3 tablespoons olive oil
Zest and juice of 1 lemon
1 teaspoon white wine vinegar
Pinch of sea salt
2–3 grinds of white pepper

Whisk all of the ingredients together to create a smooth emulsion.
Refrigerated, this vinaigrette will keep for 3–4 days. Shake well before using. This vinaigrette is delicious served with chicken salads, and  salads with fennel, apples, celery and endives.

 

Mustard Vinaigrette
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1/4 cup olive oil
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar or fig balsamic vinegar
Pinch of sea salt and black pepper

Combine the mustard, olive oil and vinegar in the bottom of a large salad bowl and whisk together to form a thick emulsion. Add a little salt and pepper, and whisk again.
This vinaigrette has the consistency of a light mayonnaise. It is excellent with potato or egg salads, tuna salads or mixed green salads.

 

Avocado Vinaigrette
½ avocado
Juice of ½ lemon
3 tablespoons olive oil
Pinch of coarse sea salt
4-5 grinds black pepper
 
Scoop out the meat from the avocado shell into a small bowl and mash it together with all the remaining ingredients. It should look thick and creamy.
This vinaigrette is best used within a few hours of making it.

 

....................................................  MERINGUES  ....................................................

When making meringues, add the sugar in one tablespoon at a time so that the meringues don’t weep when you bake them.

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When whisking the egg whites (or cream) start a mixer on slow, then switch to a faster speed – you’ll avoid getting splattered and the foam will be more stable this way.

 

.................................................... CREAM  ....................................................

The higher the fat content of cream, the more stable it is and the easier it is to whip up.

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To make a quick and easy version of crème fraiche, combine equal amounts of heavy cream with sour cream in a bowl. Leave covered overnight on the kitchen counter. In the morning you’ll have a delicious crème fraiche mixture. Refrigerate it at this point. It is delicious with smoked salmon.

 

.................................................... LEMONS  ....................................................

To extract the most juice out of a lemon: First gently roll the lemon backwards and forwards on a counter top exerting a little pressure. Then slice the lemon in half. Holding the lemon over a small bowl, insert a fork into the one half. Using your left hand, squeeze and rotate the lemon away from you, whilst turning your right hand which is holding the fork towards you. As you rotate the two, the fork will extract loads of lemon juice. Repeat with the second half.

 

.................................................... FOOD PREP  ....................................................

Thaw frozen foods in the fridge or in ice water – it sounds counter intuitive I know – but if the items thaw at room temperature, microbes can grow on the surface as that will thaw faster than the interior of item.

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To sanitize cutting boards, use a solution of 1 part distilled vinegar to 2 parts water. Mix together and scrub the boards. Dry the boards with a clean cloth and then leave to air dry.

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To get rid of hard water marks in a kettle or water jug, mix boiling water with vinegar (50/50) and let it sit for 5 minutes. The hard water marks and white scaling will then easily come off. The same goes for a dishwasher. If you have hard water, add ½ cup vinegar to the dishwasher each time you run it and your glasses will be clean – no more white film!

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