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
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