From disaster to delicious: 10 tasty ways to handle kitchen mistakes

Posted by Ella Buchan on 25 October 2016

We all make mistakes in the kitchen from time to time – from turning the fridge up too high to over-seasoning or chucking in too much chilli. We’re only human, after all.

When things go wrong, don’t bin it. Try these simple solutions instead...

Frozen salad

Whether you accidentally knocked the dial or turned up the fridge temperature to chill that fizz (and forgot to turn it down again), it is possible for cucumbers to become too cool.

Don’t despair - whizz up partly frozen tomatoes and cucumber into a delicious gazpacho.

Frozen salad
Via: Sainsbury's

Soggy fish fillets

Placing fish in a pan before it’s hot enough can cause the skin to stick, break up and become soggy. So it’s not presentable enough to serve with a salad or steamed veg - just flake up and use in a fish pie.

Just you? Make an individual version in a ramekin, with a little white sauce and topped with mashed potato. Or use in these fishcakes by Sainsbury's.

Fish fillets
Via: Sainsbury's

Overcooked pasta

Spaghetti or pasta shapes can be sautéed back into deliciousness, with a little olive oil, crushed garlic and parmesan. Just pretend the crispiness was deliberate.

Or take it further with a pasta frittata - a frugal favourite in Italy for rescuing soggy noodles.

Pasta frittata
Via: Taylor Takes A Taste

Stodgy bread

You imagine a crisp, golden crust giving way to a fluffy inside, reminiscent of clouds. But too often loaves emerge from the oven looking and feeling more like clumpy doorstops.

Don’t lose heart, 'use your loaf' instead – slice and use in a bread pudding, like this one with blueberries and white chocolate. Sometimes stodginess is a virtue. 

Bread pudding
Via: Spicy Southern Kitchen

Mushy veg

Giving boiled veggies a cold shower after draining, by rinsing them under the tap, will help “shock” them into shape, keeping them vibrant and crisp.

Boiled beyond repair? Throw them into a veggie stew, sauce or soup, like this minestrone.

Minestrone
Via: A Beautiful Plate

Over-boiled eggs

Don’t chuck the eggs you intended to eat with soldiers just because they boiled for too long. Rinse under cold water to avoid grey yolks, then keep in the fridge to chop up later into a salad or kedgeree.

Egg salad
Via: Neil’s Healthy Meals

Over-seasoned sauces

Use water, lemon juice or vinegar to counterbalance the saltiness.

Too much spice? Lemon juice, water and salt will help to neutralise the heat. Or consider chucking in an extra can or two of tomatoes to dilute the spice in a chilli con carne or bolognese. Freeze the leftovers.

Chilli con carne
Shutterstock via: Karl Allgaeuer

Overcooked meat

Beef burnt, lamb shrivelled - or pork dry as a bone? Chop up and throw into a cottage pie, chilli con carne or stew. 

Overcooked pork or chicken works perfectly in these fancy-sounding rillettes (a bit like a paté).

Rillettes
Via: What’s Cooking

Gooey grains

Turn sticky rice into an ingredient by adding to veggie burgers, fritters or soup. Roll into arancini balls - or use your mistake as an excuse for a bowl of gooey rice pudding.

Use your overcooked rice in this recipe for congee.

Gooey grains
Via: Divine Healthy Food

Greasy sauces

Brothy soups and thin sauces can often feel greasy, as the cooking fat rises when simmering on the hob. Skimming every 15 minutes or so, tilting the pan, can help.

But if it seems beyond help, cook something else and chill your sauce or soup in the fridge overnight. The fat will solidify on the top, so you can just spoon it off before reheating.

Greasy sauce
Shutterstock via: Photosiber

Liked this? Then try these:

12 things you didn't know you could do with leftover pasta

12 things you didn't know you could do with leftover bread

12 things you didn't know you could do with overripe bananas