Don’t be daunted by that diva demeanour – Friday’s very own chef Silvena Rowe is happy to answer all your kitchen queries
Q Every time I cook calamari, it becomes rubbery. I have tried reducing the cooking time, but I still haven’t got it right. Do you have any tips to ensure calamari is as delicious as it is in restaurants?
A Calamari should be cooked either fast – like crispy fried – or slow – such as sautéed in a rich tomato sauce
If you decide to serve it crispy fried with breadcrumbs, cook your calamari rings or chopped calamari in hot oil over a high heat for no more than 4 minutes for best results. Using a slotted spoon, remove it from the pan and place on kitchen paper to drain excess oil, season and toss with flavoured breadcrumbs.
If you’d like to sauté your calamari, add a splash of olive oil to a pan, add finely chopped onions, garlic, chilli, sliced calamari (about 2.5mm in thickness) and fresh tomato.
Sauté over a medium heat for a few minutes, then reduce the heat and add a little stock to the pan, simmering gently for 10 minutes, so you end up with lovely sauteéd calamari in a rich tomato sauce.
I like to serve it with crusty bread, to mop up the sauce.
‘You end upwith lovely sautéed calamari in a rich tomato sauce’
Q What is the difference between a white and brown egg?
A In my opinion as a chef, there is no difference in taste between brown and white eggs. And it’s not just me; according to the Egg Nutrition Centre, “In reality, the colour of the egg shell is not related to the quality, flavour, nutritional content, shell thickness, or cooking properties. Differences in shell colour are due to differences in hen breeds. Hens with red feathers and ear lobes lay eggs with brown shells, while hens with white feathers and ear lobes lay eggs with white shells.” So now you know!
Q I’m vegetarian and am stuck for ideas on what to cook. I love dairy products so please suggest a healthy, tasty and quick dish that is not a salad and definitely not a curry as I am tired of eating those.
A Try avocado mac ‘n’ cheese. Make a rich cheese sauce with a hint of mustard in it; boil a portion of pasta and drain well; mix the pasta with the cheese sauce and season.
To make the avocado sauce, blend together a little garlic, avocado, coriander and lemon juice in a food processor to make a smooth purée. Serve mac ‘n’ cheese with the sauce, garnished with cubed avocado.