Q&A we’re here to help

Each month we ask our food­ies for their ex­pert tips and ideas for our kitchen queries.

taste.com.au - - KNOW HOW -


Q How do I pre­vent ice crys­tals form­ing on top of my ice-cream? There’s a ‘cool’ trick to keep­ing ice-cream soft and fluffy once opened. Af­ter you’ve scooped some ice-cream out the first time, place a piece of plas­tic wrap over the sur­face of the ice-cream left in the tub. Smooth it out so there are no air bub­bles, then re­place the lid. Each time you scoop some out, cover again with the plas­tic wrap and smooth it out. No more icy crys­tals or chewy dried-up edges!


Q Which is the best oil for home­made mayo? I find most olive oils too strong for mayo, so I use a neu­tral oil, such as grape­seed, then spike it with an oil rel­e­vant to the dish I’m mak­ing – maybe 20 per cent olive oil for a Mediter­ranean dish or 15 per cent sesame oil for a Korean gochu­jang mayo. The main thing is to find an easy, fail-safe recipe. I swear by what’s be­come ‘my’ in­stant mayo recipe. Crack an egg into a jug, with­out break­ing the yolk. Pour over 250ml (1 cup) oil, 1 tbs fresh lemon juice, 1 tsp mus­tard and any sea­son­ings you like. Po­si­tion a stick blender over the yolk, so the blender’s bas­ket cov­ers and en­closes it. Blend for 1-2 sec­onds to emul­sify. Pull blender up to in­cor­po­rate all the in­gre­di­ents un­til a thick may­on­naise forms.


Q What’s the trick for per­fect pavlova? There are a few key el­e­ments to bear in mind. First up, hu­mid days are not good for mak­ing a pav, as the mois­ture in the air will make the meringue weep. Next, cook it in a con­ven­tional oven if you can (not fan forced). Use fresh eggs at room tem­per­a­ture to get max­i­mum aer­a­tion, and make sure none of the yolk slips in – even a tiny amount will re­duce aer­a­tion. A clean, dry glass or stain­less-steel bowl is es­sen­tial (avoid plas­tic, as the coat­ing can re­tain a layer of grease, which ru­ins meringue). Lastly, the sugar needs to be fully dis­solved. To test, rub a lit­tle mix­ture be­tween your fin­gers – if it feels grainy, keep beat­ing. Test of­ten to avoid over-beat­ing, which can cause the pav to crack.


Q How do I cook fish on the bar­be­cue? Fish is one of my favourite things to bar­be­cue. If cook­ing a thick, meaty fish fil­let (such as salmon, tuna or bar­ra­mundi), just driz­zle with olive oil, sea­son and cook on the grill or flat plate for 2 min­utes each side (for medium). Fish fil­lets that are more del­i­cate (such as snap­per, whit­ing, trout) are best en­closed in a foil par­cel. Driz­zle the fish with oil and add fresh herbs, chilli, lemon slices, spices, ca­pers or olives for ex­tra flavour be­fore seal­ing the foil. Cook for 10-12 min­utes, de­pend­ing on the thick­ness of the fish. This is also a great way to cook whole fish (such as snap­per or salmon) – just in­crease cook­ing time to 8-10 min­utes each side or un­til the flesh comes away from the bone when flaked.


Q What’s the best way to peel stone fruit? In sum­mer, our stone fruit has two pur­poses – to be eaten straight up as a snack or to be turned into mag­nif­i­cent desserts. If eat­ing as a snack, you’re best keep­ing the skin on, as this is where a lot of the nu­tri­ents are. Give the fruit a quick rinse and dry it if you want, then dive straight in. For desserts, you may want to re­move the skin. The best way to do this is to use a sharp knife to make a small cross in the base of the fruit. Plunge into boil­ing wa­ter, then drain and rinse un­der cold wa­ter. For ripe fruit, this is all you need for the skins to slide off eas­ily.

need a lit­tle help?

If you have a ques­tion for one of our food­ies, send it to tastemag@ news.com.au

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