Category Archives: Handy How-To’s

Scouring Powders

Removing burnt food from cookware can be a nightmare.  As long as the pan isn’t non-stick, the scouring powder below will work beautifully, and because they are natual ingredients, you won’t have to worry about residual chemicals.  Just add 1 cup of salt to 1 cup of bicarbonate of soda and belnd well.  Store in a covered container with your other cleaning supplies.

When you need to use it, shake a little onto a wet cloth and scour as usual.  You’ll find your pots and pans come up sparkling clean!  Below are some alternative techniques …

  • Before you start doing the dishes, wet the burnt spot, sprinkle with salt, leave for 10 mins and scrub well.
  • Try cooking off the burnt food – fill the pan with water, add 2tbsp bicarbonate of soda and simmer over a medium eat.  Use a spatula to scrape the food from the pan.  Allow the water to cool to room temperature and clean as usual.
  • For badly burnt pans, sprinkle a thick layer of bicarbonate of soda and then just enough water to moisten.  Leave to soak overnight and then scrub clean.
  • For non-stick pans, make a paste of bicarbonate of soda and water.  Transfer to a cloth and scrub the pan gently.  This lifts the grease and removes odours but won’t harm the coating.
  • You can also use the above with baking trays, roasting tins and microwave turntables (use 4 parts water to 1 part white vinegar).
  • If your pans are aluminium, mis some cream of tartare with enough boiling water to make a paste and apply.
Taken from “Grandmother’s Wisdom” by Lee Faber

Seasoning a Wok

Did you know that you should ‘season’ your wok before you use it for the first time and again lightly after every use?  A great wok is one that has seen a lot of use; it’s shiny, foods don’t stick to it and flavours are enhanced by using it.  The reason you should season your wok is to remove the preservative oils that the makers use to ensure the wok doesn’t rust before it gets to you.

1. Give the wok a really good clean in warm soapy water using a non-abrasive cloth.

2.Place the wok on the heat until the entire pan is smoking hot.

3. Put about 1tbsp of cooking oil into the pan (traditionalists will use lard but peanut oil works just as well .. just stay clear of the polyunsaturated oils as they tend to be gunky).

4. Either use some paper towel (be careful with the heat!) or a heatproof brush to ensure you cover the entire pan (outside as well!) with a thin layer of the oil.

5. Tilt the wok to make sure that every inch is subjected to the high heat to ‘burn’ the oil into the surface (NOTE: You can also put the wok into the oven for 25mins at the top temperature).  Once complete, let it cool right down to room temperature before moving on.

6. Once the wok is cool, soak up any excess oil that has gathered on the centre and repeat steps 2-6 3 or 4 more times.

Your wok is now ready to be used but you should bear a few things in mind:

  • Heat it until smoking hot before adding the oil.
  • Avoid cooking starchy foods, which have a tendency to stick to the wok.
  • Avoid foods that are either acidic or require prolonged cooking by simmering with lots of liquid, as this can cook off some of the seasoning.
  • Deep-fat frying, on the other hand, can help build up the layers of seasoning.
  • You will need to take more care of it in the beginning.

After each meal you should rinse the wok with water (no soap) and if there are bits of stubbornly stuck food, use a sponge or a soft cloth to gently work it loose.  rather than wiping dry with a towel afterwards, hold over a burner to burn on any grease leftover from the meal.  If it doesn’t look shiny once this is done, burn a thin layer of oil into the wok, let cool and soak up the excess beofre putting it away.

With repeated use and careful maintenance, your wok will develop into a non-stick pan and will require less seasoning after use.