7 more kitchen time savers & seriously good mussels


After last week’s time savers, I thought I’d dig deeper to come up with some more tips.

And also share some ideas from the comments. A big thankyou to everyone who contributed. Who knew that so many people were freezing cooked rice?

If there’s anything else that you do to save precious minutes in the kitchen please share with us.

1. plan to have leftovers
I can’t believe I didn’t include last week. I’m always a big fan of leftovers. Sometimes I just make extra and freeze for future use. Other times I reinvent the leftovers as another meal. So Sunday night’s extra lambshanks that were originally served with good old mash, get shredded and mixed with their rich tomatoey onion sauce for a lamb ragu with pasta on Monday.

2. rinse and reuse equipment as you go
I used to hate the concept of cleaning as you go as I preferred to concentrate on the cooking task at hand. But over the years I’ve realised that it can actually be quicker to rinse that bowl or spoon in front of you rather than reaching to the cupboard for a clean one and it definitely saves on cleaning up time – my least favourite part of playing in the kitchen.

3. practice
Like pretty much all activities practice makes perfect – the more often you cook, the quicker you’ll become.

4. boil water in the kettle first
If I’m short on time I always put water in the kettle to boil for pasta or whatever else I need. So much faster than the stove top.

5. roughly chop herbs, don’t pick their leaves
While it is lovely to have whole picked leaves, if I’m in a rush I just roughly chop things like parsley or coriander. Still delicious and less wasteful.

6. cook with gas
I do love the instant heat of gas. Although after being wowed by Tetsuya’s new masterclass kitchen, I do have a hankering for a clean induction cooktop which has instant heat with the added benefit of being super easy to clean.

7. use a fan forced oven
I’ve been spending a bit of time at my brother’s lovely new house in the country this year and I have to say his fan forced oven cooks things significantly more rapidly than my sad old gas number in Sydney.

[5 ingredients | 10 minutes]
mussels with leeks & chilli

serves 2

Inspired by the lovely Miss Reaneybean.

I got addicted to moules frites when travelling in Belgium years ago. It became my staple lunch. For a girl from the country mussels seem so exotic – it was hard to get used to them being common place.

I’ve recently discovered pot ready mussels at the fish market which come packed live and are scrubbed, debearded and ready to cook. They last for a few days in the fridge. I Iike to pick up a pack when I’m getting some other fish and have a simple dinner of mussels the next night. A word of warning though. The first time I used them I thought it would be a great idea to add the liquor in the pack to the mussel pot. Not such as great idea as it turned out. Super salty and overpowering my sauce and the mussels. I am now careful to drain the mussels before adding to the pot.

The secret to cooking mussels is to treat each one as an individual. When the first mussels have opened pop them in a prewarmed bowl to wait while you keep cooking their more hardy sibblings. Saves having some mussels just cooked and others rubbery and tough.

Remember the rule with mussels is that if they don’t open during cooking, they’re not good to eat.

1 leek, white part finely sliced into rings
1-2 cloves garlic, peeled & finely sliced
3-5 large red chillis, halved lengthwise
1/2C dry white wine
1kg mussels, scrubbed & debearded

Cook leeks in 2T olive oil over a medium heat in a large saucepan. Stir occasionally until leeks are meltingly soft.

Add chilli and garlic and cook for another minute.

Increase heat to high, add wine and bring to the boil. Add mussels and cover with a lid. Cook for 3 minutes.

Give the pot a shake and remove lid. Fish out any opened mussels and place in a large bowl. Cover the pot and keep cooking for another few minutes. Shake and again remove any opened mussels. Discard any that haven’t opened at this stage and return the opened mussels to the pot to warm through.

Divide between 2 bowls. Great with some crusty bread or even some hot salty fries.

tassie mussels


on breadshoes – four ate five – surry hills

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