Plus our cook’s notes and privacy notice.
Measures & equipment
• All cup and spoon measures are level and based on Australian metric measures.
• Eggs have an average weight of
59gm unless otherwise specified.
• Fruit and vegetables are washed, peeled and medium-sized unless otherwise specified.
• Oven temperatures are for conventional ovens and need to be adjusted for fan-forced ovens.
• Pans are medium-sized and heavy-based; cake tins are stainless steel, unless otherwise specified.
• When seasoning food to taste, we use sea salt and freshly ground pepper unless otherwise specified.
• To blanch an ingredient, cook it briefly in boiling water, then drain it. To refresh it, plunge it in plenty of iced water (this stops the cooking process), then drain it.
• We recommend using free-range eggs, chicken and pork. We use female pork for preference.
• To dry-roast spices, cook the spices in a dry pan, stirring continuously over medium-high heat until they’re fragrant. The cooking time varies depending on the spices used.
• RSPCA Australia’s recommendations for killing crustaceans humanely are to first render the animals insensible by placing them in the freezer (under
4°C – signs of insensibility are when the tail or outer mouth parts can be moved without resistance); crustaceans must then be killed quickly by cutting through the centreline of the head and thorax with a knife. For crabs, insert a knife into the head. This splitting and spiking destroys the nerve centres of the animal.
• All herbs are fresh, and both leaves and tender stems are used, unless otherwise specified. • Non-reactive bowls are made from glass, ceramic or plastic. Use them in preference to metal bowls when marinating to prevent the acid in marinades reacting with metal and imparting a metallic taste.
• Eggwash is lightly beaten egg unless otherwise specified, used for glazing or sealing.
• Sugar syrup is made of equal parts caster sugar and water, unless otherwise specified. Bring the mixture to the boil to dissolve the sugar, remove it from the heat and cool it before use.
• Acidulated water is a mixture of water and lemon juice; it prevents discolouration.
• To sterilise jars and lids, run them through the hot rinse cycle in a dishwasher, or wash them in hot soapy water, rinse well, place on a tray in a cold oven and heat at 120°C for 30 minutes.
• To blind bake, line a pastry-lined tart tin with baking paper, then fill it with weights (ceramic weights, rice and dried beans work best).
• To test whether marmalade, jam or jelly is at setting point, you’ll need a chilled saucer (place a couple in the freezer before you start cooking). Remove the pan from the heat, spoon a little mixture onto the saucer and return it to the freezer for 30 seconds, then draw your finger through the mixture – it should leave a trail, indicating that the mixture has reached setting point. If not, cook for another few minutes before testing again. If you prefer, use a sugar thermometer to measure when the mixture reaches 105°C; once it does, start testing for the setting point. • To clarify butter, cook it over low heat until the fat and the milk solids separate. Strain off the clear butter and discard the milk solids. You will lose about 20 per cent of the volume in milk solids.