Summer is well and truly here (even if the Auckland weather likes to pedal-back some days) and we’ve got all the tips and tricks you need to make outdoor entertaining a breeze this season.
If you’re playing host this weekend (or just want to brush up on your party tricks) check out our list below for easy-to-apply life hacks that’s sure to make you the host with the most this summer and beyond.
Meat on the menu? We’ve got you covered.
Here’s the hack: mix mayonnaise with your marinade. Now, before you scroll away – hear. us. out. According to TastingTable.com incorporating this secret ingredient is the KEY to achieving a flavour-packed steak with a crispy charred exterior.
Still not convinced? Here’s how it works:
The small droplets of oil present in the mayonnaise flavour the steak and adds an extra layer of fat to your meat. This prevents it from sticking to the grill and also acts as a wet brine, suspending the spices on the surface so it doesn’t fall off. The result? A golden-brown crust with juicy, flavourful meat.
This BBQ hack works on fish, poultry and even veggies!
Cooldown your drinks fast
The only place to be drinking warm beer is nowhere. This trick works exceptionally well if you want to turbo-chill your beers in less than five minutes.
The solution? Salt, ice and cold water. To start, add a heaping amount of salt to your ice water before placing your beers in. Make sure to add in ample amount of water into your chilly bin so it covers your cans/bottles of beer.
Thanks to good old thermodynamics, the salt particles interact with the water molecules lowering the freezing point of the water. This then forces the ice to melt, helping the beer chill faster.
Forgot to put wine in the fridge? Don’t fret! A quick fix is to wrap a damp cloth or paper towel around the bottle. Put in the freezer for 15 minutes and voila! A chilled glass of wine in minutes.
For more nifty wine hacks to take away this weekend, click here.
For those of us spending some time standing on the grill this weekend, this simple cleaning hack is a cost-efficient and flavourful way of cleaning the grill.
All you need to do is cut an onion in half and run it up and down the rung to clean the grit off the grate of your grill. The acidity from the onion will get rid of any residual grease or grime on your grill, as well as add a subtle onion flavour to your BBQ.
Speaking of flavour, sprinkling in some dried herbs over your charcoals is a great way to enhance the taste of your meats and have your grill area smelling amazing.
Keep your berries fresh
Nobody likes opening the fridge to mushy, mouldy strawberries! To prevent this unwanted sight from making an appearance, wash the berries in a diluted vinegar solution before storing. (Trust us, your berries won’t taste like vinegar)
Here’s how to do it:
- In a bowl, dilute 1-part vinegar with 3 parts of water.
- Wash and soak the berries in the solution, swishing it around with your hand to loosen some dirt. Do this for about 20 minutes.
- Run them under cold water and drain it in a colander.
- Once done, lay them out on a paper towel and leave to dry thoroughly.
- Store them in a large container and leave half-opened to let moisture escape.
This vinegar cleaning hack will keep your strawberries fresh for up to a week.
DIY Mosquito Repellant
Don’t let summer bugs ruin the fun of dining outdoors. Find out how you can make a homemade repellant using only three ingredients below.
According to GreenMatters, to craft your DIY mosquito repellant, you only need the following:
- A base which requires half a cup of water combined with another liquid like witch hazel, vinegar or vodka. For sensitive skin types, refrain from using vodka.
- Essential oils: Citronella, geranium, lavender, lemongrass and lemon eucalyptus oils are known to be the best at warding off or killing mosquitos. You could also try the following oils like cinnamon, peppermint, rosemary, soybean, Greek catnip, tea tree and even thyme oil. All you need is 30-40 drops of your chosen essential oil combined with your base.
- Spray bottle to store your homemade repellant.
Pre-made mason jar cocktails
If you want to add an extra special touch to your next soiree and save time and effort mixing drinks all day – give this nifty individual mason jar cocktails a shot!
All you need is a set of mason jars, your favourite cocktail recipe and a bucket of ice to keep it cool throughout. For the best summer sangria recipe, click here. Or for a delicious mocktail recipe, click here.
Prepare your cocktail in advance and pour into each individual jars. Garnish with seasonal fruits and serve over ice in the mason jars.
Try this simple cooking hack for perfectly grilled sausages every time. Popularised by Instagram, this creative twist will allow your sausages to cook evenly while giving it a slight char. All you need are: sausages, a wooden skewer and a pairing knife.
Check out the video by Chow Hound below to find out how to make it: