Don’t be daunted by that diva demeanour – Friday’s very own chef Silvena Rowe is happy to answer all your kitchen queries
Our domestic diva Silvena Rowe answers all your kitchen queries.
Q I want to cook spaghetti with meatballs for my next casual dinner party but all the recipes I read require eggs for binding the meat. One of my guests is allergic to eggs. Can you suggest a substitute that will not alter the taste of the meatballs?
A I’d suggest that you just don’t use the eggs. I know a lot of people add eggs to their meatball mixture but it’s not vital. What you need to ensure is that the mince has enough fat of its own, which will not only help in binding but will also ensure that the meatballs do not dry out after cooking.
Many recipes suggest that you should season the mince with salt and set it aside for a couple of hours to allow the salt to break the meat down slightly, which they claim helps the binding, but I wouldn’t recommend this. The salt tends to dry out the mince if left for too long, giving you tasteless meatballs.
So don’t be scared, just get mince that is fresh and has not been sitting on the supermarket shelf for too long. Season it well and make the meatballs or even burger patties immediately and you won’t have any problems.
Q I want some new knives for my kitchen. What should I look out for when shopping?
A Knives can cost a great deal of money, so I’d advise buying them in a quality household shop.
I can’t recommend a particular brand, but I like the Japanese and German manufacturers.
I use Shun Kai knives. I treasure my knives and look after them. I suggest that you sharpen your knives using a stone, which is the best way to keep them in good condition. You need three to four different knives, with strong and firm blades and comfortable handles, so always hold the knives before you buy.
Look for long guarantees, opt for a well-known brand, and don’t be tempted to buy cheap sets.
QI work and am always pushed for time so I often have to rush in and throw dinner together for my family. What can I make the day before to heat up? Or what is nutritious, tasty and quick?
A Something easy, simple and very healthy is fish. Just make sure you get fresh fish rather than frozen and follow this simple recipe you can prepare ahead of time.
Buy any good-quality fish fillet, such as cod, monkfish or halibut or even salmon, and grab some herbs – you can use any you like but dill, tarragon, chives and even basil work well with fish. Wrap the herbs around around the fish, then wrap again using veal bacon. Sear in a hot pan in a little olive oil for 2 minutes on each side until golden. Cool, cover and place in the fridge.
When you need to finish off the dish, preheat the oven and cook for about 20 minutes for each 180-200g of fish fillet.
Meanwhile, boil some fresh veg and baby potatoes – a super-healthy and delicious quick dinner.