About Nicole

Who am I? In short, I am a translator, wife and mother of two who has experience in cooking, DIY, gardening, bringing up kids (in no particular order), that's the one good thing about getting older. I am not a great spender, I don’t like waste and I am not keen on ready-made meals and restaurant food as my motto is: "I can do it better and cheaper". What can I do for you? Share with you the experience I have collected over the years so that you can turn it to your advantage. We all want to make our own mistakes but sometimes, it is nice to learn the easy way through others.

Make gratin with leftover tagliatelle

Don’t throw out your leftover pasta//tagliatelle as they will make a lovely diner the next day.

Spread your leftover pasta (stored overnight in the fridge) over the bottom of an oven-proof dish. Here, I also used leftover fish (trout). Break a couple of eggs into a bowl, add milk (about 100-150ml), enough to cover about 3/4 of the pasta), an optional dollop of double/single cream, and salt and pepper to taste. Pour over the pasta and sprinkle grated cheese (about 50g). Cook in a preheated oven (180 degrees Celsius) until golden brown (about 25 min).

 Tip: add frozen peas for added colours.

How to dry salad leaves

If you don’t have a salad spinner, here is how to dry your salad leaves. Take a clean kitchen towel and place your salad leaves in the middle. Take all four corners and hold them in your hand, making a tight fist. Lift your hand to the side of your body, ear height, and bring it down fast like you were trying to slap the air. Give two or three vigorous whips like this until no more water falls on the floor.

Reuse the oil from preserved vegetables in a jar

If you buy jars of vegetable in oil such as sun dried tomatoes or roasted peppers, make sure not to throw out the oil when your jar is empty. This oil, usually vegetable oil, can be used in your cooking. Handy for example when frying onions or in any recipe requiring vegetable oil. The advantage is that it already contains some flavour!

Reuse bread bag as a kitchen compost bin

Below is another way for you to replace your hard plastic kitchen compost bin so that you no longer have to wash it!!

If you do not have a 4-pint milk bottle or if you want something smaller, place your kitchen waste inside an empty bread bag until you are ready to empty it in your garden compost bin. Then, when the plastic bag gets dirty, simply throw it away and use another one.

Cooking gone wrong – Meringues

Don’t worry if things go wrong in your kitchen. It still happens to me even though I have been cooking for nearly thirty years.

I had a couple of egg whites left over from my delicious lime cheesecake. So, I decided to make meringues.

They looked lovely and delicious. But, believe me, they tasted horrible. I had a couple of mouthfulls just to make sure. They had definitely gone past the point of no return! Meringues are meant to look white. The temperature in the oven was just too high. Lesson learnt.