10 More Microwave Cheats to Make Your Life Easier
1. DIY Cheese
Bet you didn’t know you could make fresh cheese in the microwave. Simply fill a large microwavable dish with full-fat milk. Microwave on full power until boiling quite vigorously but don’t let it overflow. Quickly and carefully add the juice of two whole lemons and stir for a moment. Return to the microwave for another minute to allow the curds to separate from the whey. Drain everything through a cheesecloth-lined colander; then rinse the curds in cold water. Tie and hang for an hour or two. This kind of cottage cheese is perfect for Indian curries, stir fries and salads because, like Halloumi, it doesn't melt.
2. Get More Squeeze Out Of Lemons and Limes
Zap a whole lemon or lime on high power for 20-30 seconds to make it super juicy and easy to squeeze.
3. Dry Herbs and Citrus Peels
This works perfectly with robust herbs like oregano, rosemary and thyme, or any citrus peel. Simply wash your herbs or peels, then dry in between pieces of kitchen paper to remove all moisture. Place them on a microwavable plate and cook on high power in bursts of 30 seconds, turning after each session until they're completely dry – this usually takes about five 30 second sessions. It will also make your kitchen smell glorious. Store in airtight jars or containers.
4. Proof Dough
Attention all baking fanatics; gone are the days you had to dash to the airing cupboard to proof your bread dough for hours. Speed up the process by putting the dough into large microwave-safe bowl, covering it with a wet towel and placing a dry towel on top of the wet one. Microwave on high power for 20 seconds and allow to rest for five minutes. Repeat, then allow the dough to rest for a further 35 minutes before baking.
5. Quick Steam Bag Curry
Fill a zip lock steam bag with a handful of frozen mixed vegetables (such as peas, broccoli, cauliflower and carrots), add two teaspoons of curry paste (we use Thai green or red but you can use Indian pastes too), 140ml coconut milk and fully seal the bag. Shake for a minute until all the ingredients are fully combined, lay flat on a microwavable plate and cook on high power for five minutes for a fresh, creamy curry. Serve with rice or noodles.
6. Microwave Crisps
You heard us right! All you need to make crisps in your microwave is a potato – and a few bits of equipment; here’s how. Slice your potato as thinly as possible using a mandolin, wash in cold water until the water runs clear and dry the slices completely using kitchen paper. Arrange the potato slices on a paper towel-lined microwavable plate, ensuring the slices don’t touch (or you risk them sticking together!) Microwave on full power for two to three minutes, remove from the microwave and turn the potato slices over. Cook again for another 3 minutes. Any remaining undercooked slices can be returned to the microwave to crisp up a bit more if necessary. Repeat with the remaining potato slices. Season with sea salt and black pepper.
Tip: you can also try this with sweet potatoes!
7. Toast Nuts and Spices
Make nuts, seeds and spices beautifully aromatic with just a few moments inside the microwave. Whole spices can be placed in a microwavable bowl and zapped on full power in 15 second bursts until aromatic. Nuts and seeds can be done in the same way in 30 second bursts (they will take a little while longer) – you know they’re done when they’re a light golden colour.
8. Peel Garlic in a Flash
Never worry about garlic fingers again with this effortless peeling trick for even the driest of cloves. For a single clove, zap on full power for 15 seconds (be careful taking it out as it will be hot). For a whole bulb, put the garlic on a microwave-safe plate and again, cook on full power for 20 seconds. Next, turn the bulb upside down and cook again for a further 25 seconds. The garlic skin will slip off easily, the theory being that the heat draws out moisture out of the clove, which gets trapped between skin, which in turn, loosens it. It’s a bit unorthodox but much cheaper than buying a fancy garlic-peeling gadget.
9. Un-stale Your Bread
Has your loaf gone a bit stale? This easy tip will revive any kind of bread to freshness again. Wrap the bread in a completely damp kitchen towel (you can use water or milk for this) and microwave on high power in 10 second bursts. Repeat as necessary, checking the bread each time until it's moist enough. Ta da!
10. Zap Jacket Potatoes
We’re yet to meet someone who hasn’t tried the speedy half microwave, half oven-cooked jacket spud method. If you’re one of these people, here’s how it’s done: scrub a large baking potato under cold water to remove any dirt and prick all over with a fork. Place the potato in a microwave-safe bowl and cover with a splatter-proof lid. Microwave on high power for seven minutes. Once half cooked, carefully remove the potato from the microwave (there will be lots of steam!) Place the potato on a baking tray and rub with olive oil and sea salt. Bake in the oven at 200°C for 25 minutes for a perfect jacket potato that’s crispy on the outside and fluffy on the inside.