Step up your kitchen game

Good food doesn’t have to be complicated. With just a few simple tricks you can save time, money and hassle. From getting the most out of leftover pizza to pimping your lemons and making the perfect smoothie, these handy hacks might just change how you cook and eat…

Super smooth mash
For those who would prefer to skip the arm workout that comes with mashing potatoes, using an electric hand mixer is an easy solution. As well as taking away all the effort, a hand mixer ensures lump-free mash every time.

Pizza pizzazz
Revive leftover, dried-out pizza by microwaving it with a mug of water. As the water evaporates, moisture fills the microwave, rehydrating the dry crust and giving you a gooey, cheesy pizza slice once more.

Butter up
If you’re having a hard time with cold butter, use a grater to soften the perfect amount to put on toast or bread. It’ll make the butter easier to spread, without destroying your loaf in the process. This method is even used by chefs to make perfect buttery pastry.

Sauce cubes
Whether you’ve made too much pesto or have spare sauce from a jar, don’t throw your leftovers away. Pour them into an ice cube tray and you’ll always have some on hand – plus they’ll last far longer than if you kept them in the fridge. This trick also works well with garlic butter.

Microwave lemons
Get more juice from a lemon by microwaving it on high for around 20 seconds. It’ll be warmer and softer than straight from the fridge, making the citrus fruit easier to squeeze. It’s a must-try hack if you’re making lemonade too.

Smoothie prep
Juices and smoothies are a nutritious way to start the day but prepping can be time-consuming. When you have a moment, chop and divide fruit and veg into individual food bags and store in the freezer or fridge. Take out as and when needed, adding extras such as yogurt, water or coconut milk before blending.

Clean Tupperware
If last night’s chicken stew or chilli has stained your storage container and hot soapy water just won’t shift it, reach for the baking soda. Wipe the inside with a smooth water-and-soda paste and allow it to sit for a few hours. This should get rid of any stubborn marks for good.

Hedgehog hack
Mangoes can be a pesky fruit to prep, but there’s a speedy way to do it without fuss or waste. Cut the mango in half (on each side of the stone), slice a grid pattern into each half, then invert the fruit. You’ll be left with mango cubes popped up as pictured – simply slice them off and enjoy.

Non-soggy sandwiches
No one likes a soggy sandwich. Reduce the amount of liquid seeping out from ingredients such as sliced tomato or cucumber by placing them between two pieces of paper towel for five minutes. This will soak up any excess moisture before they’re added to sandwiches. It’s also a good idea to spread butter, cheese or mayo onto the bread first – this acts as a barrier against soggier ingredients.

Float test eggs
To check if eggs are fresh, fill a bowl with cold water and try the ‘float test’. If the egg sinks to the bottom on its side, it means it’s very fresh. If your egg sinks to the bottom in an upright position, it means it’s not quite as fresh. If your egg floats, it means it has started producing rotting gases that lift the egg to the water’s surface, so it has most likely gone bad.