Q&A Your ques­tions an­swered – from mak­ing cus­tard and co­conut milk to cook­ing corned beef!

we’re here to help Each month we ask our food­ies for their ex­pert tips on sticky kitchen ques­tions.

taste.com.au - - THIS MONTH -

Michelle

QHow do you make per­fect cus­tard? There is noth­ing like the taste of home­made cus­tard, and in a busy kitchen, just stand­ing and stir­ring can be so calm­ing. I like to make a tra­di­tional crème anglaise by whisk­ing 4 egg yolks and 60ml ( 14⁄ cup) caster sugar in a bowl. Next, warm 375ml (1 12⁄ cups) milk with a vanilla bean. Al­low the milk to cool slightly and add it to the egg mix­ture. (If it’s too hot, the egg may scram­ble.) Pour the mix­ture into a saucepan and let the stir­ring be­gin; slow and low is the key! Best of all, you can make cus­tard ahead – just cover the sur­face with non-stick bak­ing pa­per to pre­vent a skin from form­ing.

Ka­t­rina

Q What’s the best way to store cheese? Cheese con­tains mi­cro-or­gan­isms, so cor­rect stor­age makes a big dif­fer­ence to its flavour and fresh­ness. The best way is to wrap in waxed pa­per or parch­ment, fol­lowed by a loose layer of plas­tic wrap. This al­lows cheese to breathe and stops it sweat­ing or dry­ing out. (Plas­tic wrap alone will suf­fo­cate cheese.) No­table ex­cep­tions are blue cheese, which is best wrapped in foil, and fresh cheeses like moz­zarella and ri­cotta, which should be kept in brine or their orig­i­nal con­tain­ers. Store cheese in the fridge’s vegetable crisper, as it’s not too cold. Ide­ally, buy cheese in small quan­ti­ties, so you eat it at its best and not stored for too long.

Marion

QHow do I make co­conut milk? You can make your own co­conut milk by blend­ing co­conut flesh with wa­ter and then strain­ing through cheese­cloth. Fresh co­conut milk doesn’t last long, how­ever, and must be con­sumed within a cou­ple of days. In fact, you’ll get the best flavour from both fresh and canned co­conut milk by us­ing them quickly. You can freeze leftovers, but be sure to de­frost slowly in the fridge to avoid cur­dling.

Chrissy

QWhat are some healthy com­fort foods? With the be­gin­ning of cooler weather, we all start to crave com­fort food. The good news is that it can be healthy! Try tomato-based braises and cur­ries, and choose leaner cuts of meat such as blade steak or trimmed lamb leg. Add lots of ve­g­ies – or even bet­ter, some legumes – to re­duce the quan­tity of meat and in­crease di­etary fi­bre. You don’t have to skip the mash, but try cau­li­flower as a low-carb and low-cal al­ter­na­tive to po­tato.

Colin

QHow do you cook corned beef? I love sim­mer­ing it with pep­per­corns, co­rian­der seeds, star anise, a cin­na­mon stick and a splash of vine­gar and port. At home I serve it with a white sauce and kipfler pota­toes cooked in the stock, so they get all salty and flavour-filled. At the restau­rant, it’s a bit edgier: topped with buf­falo-milk curd and pears. One of the best bits about cook­ing corned beef is mak­ing sand­wiches from the leftovers. My favourite is with sour­dough bread, English mus­tard and ched­dar, fried un­til the cheese melts and the bread is all caramelised and crisp.

do the mash!

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