ASK THE EX­PERT From chicken and egg dilem­mas to sweet sub­sti­tutes, So­phie Gray cov­ers your queries

FROM CHICKEN AND EGG DILEM­MAS TO SWEET SUB­STI­TUTES, ED­I­TOR SO­PHIE GRAY HAS THE AN­SWERS

Food - - Contents -

We have re­cently ac­quired some chick­ens and are ex­cited about hav­ing our own eggs, but they aren’t reg­u­lar sizes. How do I know how many eggs to use and should I keep them in the fridge?

A Most recipes use ‘stan­dard’ eggs. In New Zealand this is a size 6. Break your eggs into a bowl and weigh them to de­ter­mine how many to use. A stan­dard egg (6) weighs 53g, large (7) weighs 62g, and jumbo (8) weighs 68g. Egg shells are por­ous, which means smells and liq­uid can be ab­sorbed, so stor­ing them in car­tons in the fridge helps pre­vent this. If you are us­ing them within a few days though this isn’t nec­es­sary. Most recipes call for room tem­per­a­ture eggs, and they are not kept re­frig­er­ated in su­per­mar­kets.

Q Can I sub­sti­tute honey for su­gar in bak­ing?

A Yes, with some ex­per­i­ment­ing. Honey is 2-3 times sweeter than su­gar and around 20 per cent wa­ter so you’ll need to ad­just your recipe, re­duc­ing the to­tal amount of sweet­en­ing and liq­uid. I would use ½ cup honey for 1 cup su­gar, roughly, and re­duce the over­all liq­uid by ¼-⅓. Honey is nat­u­rally acidic so you’ll need to in­clude around ¼ tea­spoon bak­ing soda per cup of honey to en­sure baked goods rise. Bake them at a slightly lower tem­per­a­ture as honey burns quicker than su­gar.

Q I want to get my kids (aged four and six) help­ing with cook­ing. They can’t man­age my reg­u­lar veg­etable peeler, what kind do you rec­om­mend?

A Good on you! We use a speed peeler or Y-shaped peeler. They are easy for kids to hold and use. You can find them in su­per­mar­kets and kitchen and home­wares stores.

Stor­ing treats in the veg­etable drawer of the fridge makes it likely the kids won’t find them – wish I’d re­alised this sooner

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