By David Willis

We’re all pressed for time ­– and we all get home hungry. So anything that can save us a bit of time or worry in the kitchen has got to be a winner.

So we asked around the office for the nifty little tricks that people have picked up over the years that make cooking a little easier.

Oh crumbs!

Fed-up with Oxo cube granules on your fingers? Those neatly folded tabs on the silver foil are there for a reason.  Gently tug out all four and the package expands. Now place it on the worktop and give it a bang. Voila! The cube’s crushed. Now tear a corner of the foil and out it comes, nice and clean.

Mass a-peel

Love garlic? Hate garlic fingers? So don’t peel a clove before you crush it. Just pop it in the crusher and squeeze. Garlic pulp comes out, garlic skin stays inside – and it’s easily tapped out.

Ginger free-er

Grating fresh ginger can be a pain – it’s like grating wet modelling clay.  So freeze it first. It’s more like grating Parmesan, it grates more finely and the bulb lasts longer because you can pop it back in the freezer. You can do the same with chillies – and the grater acts as a guard to stop seeds getting in if you don’t want your dish too hot.

Crisp delivery

There are those who love their chicken with a crispy skin, and those who are wrong. Our Anna insisted to me that smearing the skin with mayonnaise before you roast the bird works a treat. And she was right. Weird, but wonderful.

Better batter

Has your cake batter split? Don’t worry, just sieve in some more flour a little at a time and it will come back together. Patience, not panic, is the key.

Choc and awe

Chilli. What’s not to like? Well, sometimes, it can be a little fiery. But you can round out that flavour and prop it up with a little sweetness thanks to the greatest thing to come out of South America (apart from Pele). We’re talking about a chocolate. Just stir in a teaspoon of cocoa powder. Trust us, it works.

Fruits of labour

Squeezed a lime or lemon for a recipe? Don’t throw it away – pop it in the dishwasher for the next cycle to give your kitchen saviour a refreshing zing. Julie in our Glasgow office swears by this.

Go bananas

Bananas starting to look a little black? Peel them, pop them in a freezer bag and put them in the freezer. Then blitz them through ice cream and sprinkle with chopped nuts and chocolate sauce for a dessert that tastes of bananas and not like bananas.

Snow your onions

That freezer’s handy for all sorts. Put your onions in for 30 minutes before you need them. You’re less likely to end up in tears as you chop them.

Ice to see you

Want crystal clear ice cubes? Make them with boiling water and not water out of the tap. It works because … science?

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