Do­mes­tic dilem­mas

Don’t be daunted by that diva de­meanour – Fri­day’s very own chef Sil­vena Rowe is happy to an­swer all your kitchen queries and share some of her favourite recipes as well

Friday - - Leisure - ● Do you have a ques­tion for Sil­vena? Email her at fri­ Please write ‘Do­mes­tic Diva’ in the sub­ject line of your email.

Ev­ery time I make pizza the base turns out al­most like a bis­cuit. Is it pos­si­ble to make a soft, spongy pizza base with­out us­ing yeast? What you’re get­ting is a thin-crust pizza base, which has its own ap­peal.

If you want to make a soft, spongy base that’s like fresh bread, then yeast is an ab­so­lute must as it helps fer­ment the dough, giv­ing it vol­ume and even­tu­ally the right tex­ture. I like to cook salmon with the skin on, but my friends tell me that I should dis­card the skin. What do you think? I am on your side. I too be­lieve that ir­re­spec­tive of the cook­ing tech­nique, salmon tastes best when cooked with the skin on.

So for in­stance, if you sear it, you will get won­der­ful crispy skin, which in its own right is con­sid­ered a del­i­cacy.

If you want to steam the salmon, you can still leave the skin on while steam­ing it as it keeps the fish moist. Just re­move the skin once the fish is cooked.

The only time I would ad­vise re­mov­ing the salmon skin is if you wish to use raw salmon in sushi. In this case it’s bet­ter to ask your fish­mon­ger to re­move the skin, as this re­quires a lot of skill.

How­ever, there even are some sushi recipes that use crispy seared salmon skin and they are de­li­cious. How should I get per­fectly boiled eggs? Mine are ei­ther raw in­side, have a dark ring around the yolk or the shell cracks, even when I drop the egg gen­tly into the boil­ing wa­ter. What am I do­ing wrong? There are a lot of peo­ple who be­lieve that achiev­ing per­fectly boiled eggs ev­ery time is al­most im­pos­si­ble. But that’s not the case.

The key to get­ting hard-boiled eggs right is pa­tience and tim­ing. Per­fectly hard-boiled eggs start out in wa­ter that is at room tem­per­a­ture. Gen­tly place the eggs in a saucepan that is big enough so they are not touch­ing each other and have plenty of space to move around, and pour over enough room tem­per­a­ture wa­ter to cover the eggs.

Bring the wa­ter to a boil, then im­me­di­ately re­move the pan from the heat and let the eggs sit in the boil­ing hot wa­ter for up to 15 min­utes for hard-boiled eggs.

If you pre­fer a yolk that has a slightly drippy mid­dle, re­move the eggs af­ter five to eight min­utes. For slightly harder yolks, let the eggs sit for 10 to 12 min­utes.

If a hard-boiled egg has a dark ring around its yolk, it’s over­cooked.

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