How your dishwasher can cut the cost of cooking

DishwasherIt's not unusual for one member of a couple to do the cooking while the other does the washing-up - but what if you can do both jobs in one?

Italian food writer Lisa Casali has published a cookbook - Cucinare in Lavastoviglie - detailing dishwasher recipes for everything from fish to apple pie.

It's "a kind of operating manual to learn everything you have to know in order to cook in the dishwasher in a safe way and saving energy," she says. "The results are excellent because it is low temperature cooking, like in haute cuisine."

While the book isn't yet available in English, she's also posted a number of videos online, and with subtitles.

Recipes for dishwasher salmon, wrapped in aluminium foil, have been doing the rounds for some time, but have all required keeping the machine empty of dirty dishes, making the process not particularly cheap.

However, Casali says the technique can be applied to many more dishes, from couscous to veal, and even when the dishwasher is loaded with dirty crockery. The secret, she says, is to enclose the food in hermetically sealed jars or vacuum plastic bags to keep things clean. This mimics the sous vide technique of top chefs, whereby dishes are cooked for a very long period at far lower temperatures than normal. It also makes the cooking process essentially free.

But using the dishwasher isn't the only bizarre cooking technique around. Other energy-saving methods include boiling eggs in the kettle while making tea, or even popping a steak on top of your car engine before a long drive.

And it seems plenty of people are happy to use their domestic appliances for purposes other than those intended. Examples include toasting a sandwich by popping it in a paper bag and ironing it - and even drying salad leaves using the spin cycle of a washing machine.

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