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'A definitive list of the 5 best cooking hacks I learned from The Cook Up.'

SBS FOOD
Thanks to our brand partner, SBS FOOD

If there's anything that's been a comfort to us in the last couple of years, it's cooking shows. Despite the world falling apart at the seams, we found solace in the soothing powers of sous vides, sautéing and simmering.

There's something so calming about watching other people cook on TV. Maybe it has something to do with having a sense of control — you prepare a dish, put it in the oven and it comes out as a perfectly formed something to eat.

But not all cooking shows are created equal. Oh no. 

If you're like me and you can't stand the ~drama~ of cooking competitions (why are they always rushing?!) then may I let you in on a little secret of mine: The Cook Up with Adam Liaw on SBS.

Who wouldn't be happy to see this face every night on TV? Image: SBS.It feels more like catching up with friends — albeit very famous and talented ones — where they're just hanging out in the kitchen, cooking, having a good old-fashioned chat and telling stories. 

Hosted by the loveable chef and author Adam Liaw, the show features a star-studded cast of celebrity chefs, cooks and well-known personalities including Colin Fassnidge, Julie Goodwin, Narelda Jacobs and Sarah Wilson.

The show is exactly what we need. It's calm and stress-free, just how cooking should be. You'll also snag SO MANY good cooking tips and tricks along the way — perfect for newbie cooks or seasoned chefs alike. 

Most importantly, no one gets evicted, YAY! So you can snuggle up to an episode, without the unnecessary anxiety. 

Our world isn't showing any signs of slowing down on the crazy front anytime soon, so lucky for us and our weary souls, The Cook Up is back for Season 2 on March 21st and serving up another 200 episodes fresh out of the oven. 

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Yep, those 0s are in the right place. 200 half-hour episodes, on SBS Food, every weeknight at 7pm (you can also stream it for free on SBS On Demand or save them up for one big, bingeable sesh.)

To give you a taste of just how great this show really is, here are a few of my favorite tips, tricks and hacks that I've learned from The Cook Up

1. Cooking pasta without boiling in a pot

If there's one thing Italian-Australian cook Silvia Colloca knows, it's how to make pasta. 

In The Cook Up, she shows us how to make pasta without boiling it in a separate pot — saving us time and washing up, but also brainpower in having to coordinate sauce and pasta cooking times. *sigh of relief*

There's no need to par-cook the pasta in boiling water and then throw it into the sauce when it's al dente. Nope, we just cook the pasta IN the sauce. Yep, my mind is officially blown.

You just place the pasta in the same pan as the sauce, as you would with rice in a risotto. Spread the pasta out in one even layer on top of the sauce — and don't break it up because "that is forbidden", as Silvia says — then ladle in some salted water and let it cook. 

So wrong, but so right. Image: SBS.The best part of when you cook pasta this way is that every strand will be coated in the sauce and take on the flavour of whatever it is that you're cooking it in. 

It's one of those hacks that looks so incredibly wrong but if the Italian cooking queen gives us permission to do it, then we're all for it. 

I can't wait to try this out for my next dinner party to take out some of the fuss. I love a one-pot wonder! I also can't wait to see the reactions of my guests.

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2. How to boil the perfect egg

Boiling eggs always seems easy but there's so many pieces of advice out there that it can get a little... confusing. Do you put the egg in when the water is still cold or do you wait until it's boiled? And how are you meant to get the shell off without taking half the egg with it?? These are the important questions. 

Adam lets us in on his top tip for a beautifully boiled egg and we wish we learned it sooner. 

Get your eggs, grab a pin and poke a little hole in the base of the egg — stay with me here — then place your eggs directly into boiling water and cook.

Game changing. Image: SBS.Adam says poking a hole is the most crucial step in peeling eggs. It makes it so much easier to peel them, but it also centres the yolk. This is because the hole helps release the little air pocket that lives inside the egg.

Also surprisingly, none of the whites come out either. 

3. Fail-safe pancake flipping

Let's be honest, we all want to be the type of cook that just effortlessly whips up a bunch of pancakes on a Sunday morning.

I've been burnt trying in the past, though. 

Not literally, but my amateur flips have turned my pancakes into panscambled-eggs one too many times. 

But this stops now. 

Even though Adam is a professional chef, he admits he still gets nervous flipping a pancake (relatable King, much?) so wants to teach us how he overcomes this. 

This looks so do-able! Image: SBS.When you're done cooking your pancake on one side, just slide it onto a plate, cover it with the pan, and then flip it back into the pan.

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Sunday morning, I'm coming for you. 

4. Taking corn off the cob

Head chef at one of Sydney's coolest restaurant, Fred's, Danielle Alvarez, knows how her way around fancy food. But in The Cook Up, she's helping a gal out (read: me) with mastering the basics. 

Getting corn off the cob couldn't be simpler than this method. It's efficient, there's minimal waste and no mess. It actually keeps the corn in your bowl, rather than all over your bench top. 

All you've got to do is get a big bowl and place another bowl upside down inside of it. Then drape a tea towel over the inside bowl. 

Still with me? I promise it's easier than it sounds. 

What a contraption! Image: SBS.Then sit your corn upright on top of the inside bowl draped with the tea towel and start slicing off the corn. The kernels just fall into the sides of the bowl and don't go flying everywhere. 

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She also suggests using the back of your knife to get all those hard-to-get bits on the corn, which also are the sweetest and creamiest parts. 

5. Dinner party prep

If you've ever thrown a dinner party, you'll know that it's a true art. Prepping, cooking, serving, hosting and socialising is quite the balancing act. But Adam has a few tips to make it just that little bit easier. 

Helping guests are the best kinds of guests. Image: SBS.He says you should put a list on the fridge of everything you need to get done. That way, when your guests turn up and say, "can we do anything?" — because everyone always asks that — you can say, "oh, go look at the list."

They can then choose something and help out with a smaller task like mixing a salad or garnishing a dish. 

It's a way that your guests can feel useful, without them feeling like they're invading your space or just hanging around the kitchen trying to be helpful.

Ready to seriously level-up your cooking skills? Catch the new season of The Cook Up with Adam Liaw on SBS Food at 7pm weeknights from March 21st or stream free on SBS On Demand

Feature Image: Supplied/Mamamia.

SBS FOOD
Adam Liaw joins us every weeknight at 7pm for the new season of The Cook Up. In each episode, Adam will be joined by a new special guest as they cook up a variety of meals, all the while chewing the fat on the best way to deglaze a pan, or whether fermented foods are good for you. There will be celebrities, culture, food and fun and will provide everyday inspiration for foodies and non-foodies alike. Catch the The Cook Up with Adam Liaw weeknights at 7pm on SBS Food and stream free on SBS On Demand.