“OH, no! It’s completely ruined!”
We’ve all uttered those words in the kitchen before, and it’s never a great feeling, especially when you’ve been slaving away making something delicious. But whatever you do, don’t panic!
Before you go into crisis mode and chuck your meal, take a step back and remind yourself that most everyday kitchen disasters can easily be saved — you just need to know these nifty little hacks that will save your food in a matter of minutes. You’re welcome!
Read more: 3 genius ways to thicken sauces
10 kitchen disasters and how to fix them
1. You didn’t preheat the oven
Forget it, unless it’s a cake or bread that might not rise, neglecting to preheat the oven won’t make that much of a difference — just add a few minutes onto the cooking time.
2. You didn’t chop everything as neatly as you’d like
Oh well, just make sure it’s cooked through and tender. When it comes to kitchen disasters, this one ranks pretty low on the list, so don’t panic — no one will even know in the end, particularly if you’re cooking a soup or stew.
3. The food has stuck to the pan
This could possibly be because you used extra virgin oil for frying, or because your pan wasn’t hot enough when you put your food in. Next time, swap it for a light oil with a high smoking point. Light and mild olive oil, avocado oil and coconut oil are perfect. Make sure your pan is good and hot before you put anything into it.
And for getting that stuck food off the pan, cover the pan with a lid or dishcloth for a minute or 2, then use your thinnest spatula to gently try and lever it off.
4. My cream is over whipped
Just quickly whisk in a splash of cold milk, then start whisking again to build some volume. Crisis averted!
5. My chocolate icing has turned oily and lumpy
It’s split, but don’t worry — this isn’t a train smash. You can rescue it by beating in 2 teaspoons of hot water.
6. Eek! I’ve over-salted the recipe
This is one of those kitchen disasters we’ve all experienced at one point or another — getting a bit too generous with the seasoning. Add some more acidity with lemon or vinegar. If it’s really bad, add some more liquid to dilute the salt (think red wine, milk or cream).
Read more: The only white sauce recipe you’ll ever need
7. My meringue won’t whip up to stiff peaks
Adding a bit of acid, such as vinegar or cream of tartar, will stabilise the egg whites and help them whisk. Always make sure you use a scrupulously clean stainless steel bowl and be careful not to get any trace of yolk in the bowl; either of these will prevent your meringue from whipping correctly.
Read more: The perfect meringue recipe
8. A cake is browning too quickly
Whether it’s a cake or a roast chicken, covering it with foil or baking paper and moving it to a lower oven shelf should prevent it from burning. You may also need to drop the oven temp by 10°C.
9. I forgot to take the butter out the fridge
Depending on what you’re making, you can either heat up the sugar that you’re using in the microwave in a bowl. Then add your butter — the residual heat from the sugar should soften the butter.
You can also put your butter in the microwave on defrost. But you need to watch it like a hawk in the microwave to prevent it from melting.
10. My batter is starting to curdle and separate
In most cases, this shouldn’t be a problem once you add in your dry ingredients. Start with a little bit of flour at a time, and your batter should look like normal in no time.