Next time you’re cooking pasta, use my tried-and-tested method. Bring it to the boil, turn off the heat under the pan and leave for exactly 20 minutes before draining. You’ll save both fuel and the bother of testing to see when it’s ready!
Foot traffic and sunshine can make a rug look tired. Turn it round once or twice a year to even out the wear.
Do you have clothes that smell musty? Or soft furnishings that reek of cigarette smoke? Get them fresh again by pouring some neat vodka into a spray bottle, spritz your item lightly and leave to dry. Any odours should be neutralized, and it’s cheaper than a trip to the dry cleaner!
I love making jam and now it’s chutney time, the preserving continues. The best way of reducing time/faff/question marks over setting is with a Thermapen (jam is set at 105C). They’re not cheap – from £36; thermapen.co.uk – but are professional quality, super-quick and dead accurate. A great present for a jam-maker.
If you’ve mislaid your bookmark, cut a corner from an old envelope and slide over the page you’re at. No more folded-over pages and a cute way to use up old envelopes.
Do you have a favourite wooden spoon that’s looking past its best? Bring it back to life by wiping generously with warmed olive oil, then put it in a medium oven for a couple of minutes.
If your vacuum cleaner isn’t doing its job as well as usual, check the hose for blockages: disconnect it and drop a coin down. If the coin comes out the other end, it’s not the hose to blame!
Now you can easily create professional-looking cappuccinos at home with Aerolatte stencils. The set of six, dishwasher-proof and shaped to sit on most cups, includes a heart and a leaf. £5.99 from Amazon.co.uk.
A tip from the man who fixed my washing machine: don’t always use the highest spin if you don’t need to (say in warmer weather). It’s like constantly driving your car at top speed. If you can spin at 1000 as much as possible, apparently the machine will last longer.
Try this deliciously easy Lemon Posset pudding: heat 600ml double cream and 150g golden caster sugar, stirring. Boil 2 minutes, stirring. Cool. Add juice and zest of 2 large lemons; divide between 6 glasses and chill. You’ll be hooked!