Sharpen your kitchen senses

Sharpen your kitchen senses

Culinary tips

NOTICE the steady sound of a sizzle when frying in a skillet; popping noises or uneven rhythms mean the heat is too high.

PRACTISE picking up a quarter of a teaspoon of salt in your fingertips and learn what it feels like, so that you can measure without spoons.

LISTEN to liquids as they cook to learn the different sounds of a simmer, a boil and a hard boil.

DESIGNATE one shelf of your refrigerator and cupboard for the ingredients you use most often (flour, lemons, olive oil, soy sauce), so that you can recognise them immediately and grab them quickly.

DEDICATE an afternoon to learning what bread dough and pie crust should feel like when they have the right balance of flour and water; your fingertips will retain the information forever.

LISTEN to your cakes: A cake that is still baking makes little bubbling sounds, while a finished cake goes quiet.

USE the blade of a small sharp knife to gauge when fish is cooked. Slide it into the flesh, then press gently to your lips. It should feel pleasantly hot, like a hot shower: not warm, and not scalding.

TOUCH the tops of cookies to decide if they are done: You should feel crisp crust, not soft dough.

USE your nose and eyes when sautéing garlic in oil, instead of following time guidelines. Garlic is cooked when barely golden and fragrant, whether the process takes 10 seconds or two minutes.

TOSS salads with your hands to ensure the leaves are evenly coated with dressing. Touch the greens before tossing to make sure they are fluffy and cool: Limp leaves should go back to the refrigerator for refreshing, covered with a damp kitchen towel.