Things every dad should know in the kitchen
There are lots of hints and tips for mums on this website, but that doesn’t mean dads get to stay out of the kitchen! There are some things that every self-respecting dad ought to know how to do when it comes to dinner time. Fortunately, we’re here to show you how to do them.
Care for your equipment
“A workman is only as good as his tools” is exactly the sort of dad-like advice you’re expected to hand out to the next generation. When it comes to the kitchen however, it’s time to practice what you preach.

Knives: Far too many people don’t know how to look after their knives, which is a problem. If you don’t keep your knives in good condition you risk ending up with a dull blade, which is both harder to cut food with and easier to slip and hurt somebody while using.

To keep your knives in the best condition, never wash them in the dishwasher – even if they’re supposedly dishwasher safe. The combination of a powerful spray and an abrasive cleaner will dull the blade, but more than that, when you’re unloading the dishwasher in a hurry there are going to be a lot of sharp, unsheathed blades sticking right into the air, waiting for you to grab them in the wrong place.

For much the same reason we don’t recommend storing your knives loose in a drawer. Having them kicking around each other is a great way to dull the blades, while also leaving a trap for careless fingers. Get a proper knife rack or block instead.

Non-Stick Pans: Don’t use soap and scouring pads on cast iron pans. Just don’t do it. It won’t help. Whether we’re talking about a pre-seasoned pan or one that’s built up a patina over the years, that coating is easy to damage if you don’t know what you’re doing. Instead of scrubbing away at it with wild abandon, try giving it a rinse immediately after cooking and trying it with a tea-towel or a couple of sheets of kitchen-roll. If it gets really stubborn, sea salt or a non-metal brush could also help.

Another thing to bear in mind for all non-stick pans is that sharp objects are no their friends. Metal spatulas, forks, wire whisks and knives are really really easy ways to damage the chemical coating. Wooden, silicone or plastic spatulas are the way to go.

Wooden Implements: We’ve all left washing up to soak once in a while, but for wooden tools this is a disaster waiting to happen. They will begin to swell and warp if left in the water too long, so quickly as you can dry them off and leave them in a warm place.
Run a barbecue
A barbecue is just one of those things that you’re expected to be able to do as a dad. If you have a look around the site you’ll find plenty of our recipes can be easily moved to the outdoors, such as our excellent turkey burgers recipe or this recipe for turkey steaks with herbs and lemon, and you can whip together a great set of kebabs with just some cubed turkey, vegetables and some wooden skewers that have been soaked in cold water for half an hour beforehand.

However, aside from the recipes there are a few tips that will make sure your barbecue goes without a hitch (so long as the weather stays on your side).

Be organised: Know what you’re cooking and in what order it needs to go on the barbecue. As family members start queuing up for their serving you’re going to need to be a one-man production line! Make sure all ingredients, implements and a healthy stack of buns and paper plates are all within arm’s reach of the barbecue, apart from any raw meat you aren’t planning to cook immediately. That should be kept in the fridge until it’s needed.

Add some flavour to your meat: Even if you aren’t planning anything fancy for your barbecue and just want to cook meat and put it in buns, there are a few tricks you can use that will make your food juicier and more flavoursome.

If you’re planning your barbecue in advance it’s easy to whip up a quick marinade. Story your meat in a freezer bag with the marinade and leave for anything from a couple of hours to overnight, then take it out when it’s ready to barbecue.

If you don’t have time for a marinade, flavoured oils can also help add taste to your meat while also making it easier to cook. You can also add flavour the meat by putting herbs, garlic cloves or aromatic wood chips straight onto the coals.

Whether you go with a marinade or flavoured oils, it’s a good idea to wrap your meat in foil to protect it from the heat and keep the moisture trapped inside.

Make sure your food is cooked properly: Whether you’re barbecuing turkey, chicken or pork, be absolutely certain that your meat is cooked all the way through. The best way to check this is to jab it with a sharp knife and see if the juices run clear.

To get the meat just right, place it close to the coals to start with so that the outside of the meat is seared, then move it further away immediately so that the outside isn’t cooked before the inside is done.
Make a curry
Make a curry
Curry is the ultimate dish for when you need to feed a lot of people, and fast. I was taught to make curry by my father, who... well, he was from Durham, so he learned the recipe from a book. But my point is that curry is an essential dish to know how to cook.

We’ve got a wide selection or turkey curry recipes here, including a tasty turkey and coconut korma, a delicious tikka masala, even a curry recipe specifically designed to use up your leftovers. A surprising fact about curry is that the dish you probably think of as curry is more common in Britain than anywhere in India. Here we tend to use the word to refer to vegetables and meat cooked in a sauce with fried spices. In India the word “curry” is considered about as specific as the phrase “fried food”.

However there are a few common elements that you’re bound to see in any dish that dares call itself a curry.

The Indian trifecta: Onions, ginger and garlic will usually be found in any curry recipe you care to mention. Usually they’re blended into a paste, but if you’re trying to cook quickly you can get away with just chopping the ingredients finely. Start with the onions so that they have a chance to brown before you throw the garlic and ginger into the pan.

Spices: Here you’re free to experiment and try some trial and error, although garam masala, turmeric and ground cumin and coriander are a good combination to start with.

Liquid for simmering: For this you can use some water with a little corn flour mixed in, coconut milk or a tomato sauce, maybe with some paste added in to thicken it up. You want enough liquid to almost cover the other ingredients.

So there you have it. Practice these tips and Dad will be considered King of the Kitchen.


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Things every dad should know in the kitchen