Fruits and Vegetables
Squeeze lemon juice over cut fruits like pears, apples and bananas to prevent them oxidising and browning.
Do not be afraid to use tinned or frozen fruits.
If you are putting fruits into a cake batter, dust them lightly in flour to prevent them sinking.
Use a serrated knife to cut through fruits with soft flesh such as tomatoes to reduce the risk of cutting yourself.
Do not be afraid to use tinned or frozen vegetables.
Never wash mushrooms in water. If they are dirty, clean them with a brush or a sponge.
For nutritious and tasty vegetables, do not overcook greens in particularly.
I never tend to end peppers raw; cooking them lightly in oil for 2 minutes is best for me. Many other vegetables can be eaten raw.
Remember that the heat from a chilli pepper comes from the seeds; reduce the heat by removing the seeds.
To use iceberg lettuce to make a dish look nicer, roll up some clean lettuce leaves into a tight bunch. Chop finely to sprinkle on top of dishes for great colour.
The rule with oil is not to go too expensive; cheaper vegetable oil or even rapeseed oil are great for general frying or pan cooking.
Olive oil and extra-virgin oil (which is way above my price range) is used to finish off dishes, and never to cook with as the flavour is lost. Olive oils are good for salad dressings or vinaigrettes.
If you are using sesame oil, always add it towards the end of cooking or as part of a dressing.
Herbs and Spices
Dried herbs and spices are the most affordable way to add interest to your food.
Dried herbs must be added during the cooking process and not sprinkled on top like fresh can be.
Check that your dried herbs and spices are still potent as they can lose flavour and especially with spices like cinnamon, can clump together.
Some herbs, especially basil, can bruise when they are cut with a knife, so they should be torn up instead.