>> If gum dries up, add a little vinegar and stir.
>> Store nail polish bottles in the refrigerator to prevent the polish from drying up.
>> To make Aluminium vessels look good again, rub them with emery paper. Mere washing can't remove the black stains.
>> If an onion is too sharp in taste, wash, drain and toss into some beaten curd. Add a dash of salt and pepper, it becomes a tasty raitha.
>> Save the peel of apples, cucumbers and peaches. Grind them and add to the ingredients of a green chutney (coriander leaves, green chillies, ginger, coconut, salt and sugar). It makes a tasty and nutritious chutney and when mixed with curd makes an unusual raita.
>> Never scrape burnt leftovers from casseroles. Soak in a weak solution of vinegar, salt and soapy warm water for an hour or so. The stuck particles will come off very easily, without scratching the dish.
>> Always soak cauliflower in warm salted water for some time to get rid of the tiny insects sometimes present deep inside the florets and not visible to the eye.
>> Adding a little dry rice to sugar while grinding it, will keep it from becoming lumpy.
>> To get a dry sketch pen working again, pour three or four drops of hot water into the sponge tube inside and wait a while.
>> If grilled doors or windows start getting rusty, scrape off the rust carefully and paint the area immediately. You can also use a metal primer instead of paint.
>> To remove mud stains from clothes, soak and wash them in water collected after boiling potatoes.
>> Easiest way to chop raisins. Sprinkle some flour over them so they don't stick. Cut with a small kitchen scissors as required.
>> Add a few pinches of turmeric, a small spoon of ghee, to dal before pressure cooking. This will impart a better flavour to the dal.
>> Rub the soles of new footwear (leather soled) with some sandpaper to keep from slipping on polished floors.
>> Add a pinch of soda bicarb to the water to boil peas etc. faster and also to retain their bright green colour.
>> Use a mixture of lemon juice and glycerine in equal parts to dip nails which are brittle and bruised to make them stronger and shinier. Repeat process regularly if the case is extreme.
>> Store chopped vegetables in airtight plastic containers in the fridge to keep from browning and drying up.
>> Add some salt or vinegar drops while washing vegetables and greens to make them clean and germ free, eg. cauliflower, spinach, etc.
>> If curds have become too sour to eat as is, tie as above for 3-4 hours, add milk and use in raitas, curd rice, etc.
>> Blow out dirt from devices of electronic gadgets, carved furniture, etc., by blowing air in the following way. Use an empty soft-plastic sauce dispenser bottle with a nozzle. Press so that the air blowing out will blow the dirt away.
>> Place some soda bicarb open in a small shallow dish in the fridge. This will disallow odours of one dish mixing into another. Eg. milk and guavas.
>> Place a folded cloth under any vessel which you have to whip in. You will have a better grip of the vessel since it will not slip over the worksurface. This holds good while mixing cake batter, icings, whipping, etc.
>> Rest assured that honey can never be adulterated. If warm water is added, it will ferment. If any type of sugar syrup is added it will solidify. Also, the older the better.
>> Fix candle in a container. Fill half the container with water before lighting the candle. This way, the candle lasts longer and the overflowed wax is easier to remove from the water. The container becomes easy to clean too.
>> Add contents of a capsule of b complex to the water in your vase to make the flowers last longer.
>> To bake potatoes crisp and brown, soak the peeled potatoes in hot water for a while, pat dry and pierce all over with a fork before placing them in hot fat along with the roast.
>> If fish is to be stored for more than a day, clean it, rub with salt, turmeric and if liked, a dash of vinegar before freezing.
>> If dried herbs are used in a recipe, crush them first to release their fragrance.
>> To freeze stock of your choice, eg., tomato, mixed vegetable as above, spinach, etc., prepare thick stock and cool to room temperature. Transfer to icecube trays and freeze to make solid cubes. Remove cubes and transfer to a freezable polythene bag, with an airseal. Remove excess air, seal tight. Store in freezer and use cubes as required.
>> Make a concentrated solution of bleaching powder and water. Apply on stained surfaces and wash basins in a bathroom (tiles, etc., not metallic), leave overnight. Wash clean with water next day. Will keep the bathroom sparkling.
>> Cut a small piece of the base of flower stalks each day, and add a capsule contents of B complex to the vase water, to make cut flowers last longer.
>> Use a knife dipped in hot water to smoothen the icing surface and sides. Repeat the action till the whole icing is smoothened.
>> Use varied coloured doughs like green one above, to make shapes (leaves, cherries, braids, etc.) and deep fry on low till done. Decorate a variety of festive dishes like baked casseroles, au gratins, pulaos, etc. with them. Store in airtight containers for 2-3 days.
>> Crush chikki coarsely and use as nougat over cakes and icecreams. Use nuts of your choice.
>> Blanch green leafy vegetables ( fenugreek, spinach, etc.) in boiling water for 2 minutes. Hold under cold running water, press out excess water, store in freezer for about 2 weeks without spoiling.
>> Shake the vegetables loose in the plastic bag before thawing, to distribute the heat evenly.
>> Use tissue papers for reheating fried snacks. Eg. samosa, vada, kachori, bhajji, etc. The paper will absorb the excess oil and moisture and keep the snack crisp. Reheat on high for 1-1 1/2 minute.
>> Place a large bowl half full of water, microwave on high till it comes to a boil. Remove and clean oven with a moist cloth, to remove grime and grease. Clean then as usual with warm soapy water dipped cloth.
>> Round or oval containers will spread heat more evenly in a microwave oven than square, rectangular or odd shaped ones.
>> To get the best out of saffron: Warm saffron before crushing (you may use microwave: 10 secs on maxi.). Add 1 tsp. warm milk and stir well.
>> Make a lovely potpourri by drying your favourite flowers, herbs and leaves between layers of paper napkins. Make sure not do burn them. This may not last as long as the ones made by the long traditional process.
>> For apt usage of a microwave, compliment microwave cooking with traditional forms. Do the boiling, frying and seasoning part on a gas stove. While leaving the baking, sauteeing, cooking, melting, etc. to a microwave.
>> Sometimes oil begins to foam on heating to deepfry and rises dangerously in the pan. To dissipate the foam add a marble sized ball of tamarind to the oil.
>> To get rid of dandruff apply the following mixture of once or twice a week. Keep for 20-25 minutes before washing off with a mild soap or shampoo. Warm together, 1 tbsp. curds, 2 tsp. oil and 1 tsp. lemon juice.
>> Soak burnt pans with a weak solution of domestic ammonia and water. After an hour rub with used lemon peels dipped in salt. Wash with soap for a clean, clean pan.
>> If pizza sauce (or gravies) has become very thin, thicken by adding 2 slices of dayold bread, run in a mixie to make very fine crumbs. Using too much cornflour may make the sauce taste pasty.
>> Clean unreachable places and crevices in ovens and waffle trays etc. by using old tootbrushes dipped in soda bi carb. Then wipe clean with a soft cloth.
>> Place tomatoes in hot water for 5-7 minutes, before using for easier peeling and better taste in any recipe where tomatoes are required to be cooked.
>> Rub used lemon halves dipped in salt over greasy pans, and wipe clean with an old newspaper before washing. This will remove all the extra grease and make the washing easier. You may even rub some flour instead.
>> When carrying many food packets while travelling, use either transparent polythene bags or put a name sticker on each foil pack etc. so that guessing, opening and searching is avoided. When food is used up, use these bags to collect your litter on the way.