My favourite kitchen hack

My favourite kitchen hack

Life-saving flavour boosters in a jar


Sometimes (often?) dinner needs to be get on the table quick (like, 5 minutes ago).

That's when I turn to my favourite kitchen hack for a quick boost of flavour.

It's the trick I use in my kitchen when I'm short on time, or just feeling plain lazy, without wanting to skimp on flavour (because, who wants to skimp on flavour, ever?)

The trick: using a flavour paste as a quick topping, marinade or sauce.

I always have a few jars of such 'flavour bombs' to hand, and use them regularly. 

Most of them keep well in the fridge for a while, especially if the top is sealed with a thick layer of olive oil to keep the air out. Some are home-made, some are shop bought.

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I'm talking about things like:

  • Harissa (Maroccan-style spiced chilli paste, more flavour than heat)
  • Miso paste (Japanese-style fermented rice paste)
  • Umami paste (the miso concept reimagined, e.g. fermented bean paste)
  • Thai-style curry spice paste (note: the spice paste not the sauce), or any other spice paste (Indian, Malaysian, Jamaican...)
  • Pesto (any kind: basically minced herbs, with optional added nuts and/or cheese)
  • Veggie stock paste (basically veggies minced with salt)
  • Sundried tomato paste
  • Olive paste (tapenade)

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How I use any of them:

  • As a quick topping for grilled or roasted fish fillets (or other quick cooking meat like chicken fillets) - just smother on top, like so.
  • As a topping for 'meaty' vegetables like aubergine, courgette, squash, cauliflower before grilling or roasting
  • For more of a 'herb crust' effect mix with breadcrumbs, or ground almonds (or other nuts)
  • As a quick marinade mixed with olive oil and perhaps other flavourings/herbs
  • Smothered all over a longer cooking piece of meat
  • Mixed into a stir-fry
  • Mixed into fried rice
  • Mixed into salad dressing or sauce for extra flavour
  • Mixed in to mayonnaise or hummus for a quick dip or dressing
  • Tossed with boiled new potatoes or smothered over roast potatoes before they go in the oven

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Last but not least: I love any of these on toast for a quick snack.


Categories: COOK, LIBRARY

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