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Ways to save your cooking mistakes  

Don’t let a single mistake keep you from serving something glorious! Here’s how to save what you might think is a total fail. 

Fix over-whipped eggs 

  • Oh no! You’ve put in too much elbow grease and deflated egg whites so now they’ve got water at the bottom of mixture. This means your protein bonds in the eggs have broken. To fix this, add another egg white to the mixture and whisk slowly and briefly to trap moisture in the egg’s protein bonds. (This unfortunately can’t be used for meringue, soufflé or pavlova anymore, but can still be added to a batter to lighten the mixture.) 

Made it too salty? 

  • If you ever so slightly over-seasoned your dish, adding in a splash of vinegar or citrus juice can come to the rescue. Something with a little bit of fat, such as sour cream, buttermilk, cream or yoghurt also works well.
  • If it’s really salty, then you might need to rope in a potato to help. Add 1-2 peeled and halved potatoes and simmer for about 10-15 minutes. The potato will absorb excess salt, so simply discard it before serving. 

Made it too spicy? 

  • Add a cup of dairy to cool it down. Depending on what you’re cooking, adding some cream, buttermilk, coconut milk or yoghurt (mixed with a teaspoon of corn starch to avoid splitting) can tone down the spice.  
  • Adding a splash of acid, such as citrus juice or vinegar, will cut through the spice and mellow the flavours on your palate.

Save your stodgy rice 

  • Unfortunately you can’t un-cook something, so the bite in your rice can’t be brought back (we’re not that inventive!). You can, however, avoid stodgy balls of rice that stick together like Velcro. Spoon cooked rice into a sieve resting on a bowl in your sink. Rinse well with cold water to wash off excess starch released during cooking, while using your fingers to loosen grains.  
  • What could you have done differently? Read your rice label to check if you should rinse this particular rice variety before you start cooking (remember, some rice varieties are meant to be sticky). Refrain from stirring the rice at all during cooking – it releases starch and breaks down the grains. 

Save a split hollandaise 

  • The eggs Benedict sauce can be challenging. If you’ve add the melted butter too quickly to the egg mixture, the fat will simply float on top. Similarly, if it gets too hot, the fat will float to the top of the egg mixture. Oil and water traditionally don’t mix, but it’s a lifesaver when your creamy sauce splits.  
  • Ice-cold temperature helps to emulsify the liquid. Whisking in a cube of ice to a sauce over low heat can help bind the sauce into a smooth success.  
  • If your sauce has split after standing too long or getting too hot, add 1/2 Tbsp of boiling hot water to a warm, clean bowl. Gradually drip in split hollandaise and use a whisk to create a smooth, thick sauce. 


Words by: Liezl Vermeulen
Photographs: Fresh Living Magazine 

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