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

Friday - - Good Food -

Q What is the best way to store prawns for a long time? When I freeze them, they tend to lose their taste. Am I do­ing some­thing wrong?

A Fresh prawns taste bet­ter than frozen ones, but that doesn’t mean that they don’t freeze well.

If you have got fresh prawns you want to save for later, here’s what you need to do:

First wash the prawns in cold wa­ter and then ar­range them on a tray in a sin­gle layer, en­sur­ing they do not touch each other. Put the tray in the freezer and al­low the prawns to freeze com­pletely.

Once frozen, put the prawns into a re­seal­able plas­tic bag, without al­low­ing them to thaw at all.

If you don’t want to use all the prawns at the same time, di­vide them into por­tions and store them in sep­a­rate bags. Then sim­ply de­frost the amount you wish to use when you need them.

Q I got a good deal on a large box of cran­ber­ries re­cently. Please sug­gest a recipe for cran­berry rel­ish or chut­ney that has a long shelf life so that I don’t waste them.

A Here’s a recipe for a great chut­ney. You can dou­ble up all the quan­ti­ties if you want to make a big­ger batch.

In a large pan, cook to­gether 400g of cran­ber­ries with 200g of sugar. Bring to the boil over a medium heat, then re­duce the heat and sim­mer gen­tly for about 10 min­utes, or un­til the sugar has dis­solved and the cran­ber­ries are start­ing to burst.

Add 2 tbsp of red grape vine­gar, 1/2 tsp of ground gin­ger and 1/2 tsp of all­spice and mix. Sim­mer for an­other 30 min­utes, or un­til the mix­ture re­duces to about half its orig­i­nal quan­tity.

Pour the chut­ney into hot, ster­ilised jars. Let it cool to room tem­per­a­ture and then re­frig­er­ate.

Q I love or­anges, but it feels like such a waste throw­ing away the peel. Is there any way I can pre­serve the peel for later use?

A Dry­ing or­ange peel is an easy way to pre­serve it. Use or­anges with a thick skin, as they pre­serve bet­ter. Peel the or­anges so you get only the or­ange part of the skin and not the white bit­ter pith un­der­neath.

Place the peel on a tray in a sin­gle layer and let it dry com­pletely. You can ei­ther sun-dry the peel, which might take a cou­ple of days, or place it in a pre­heated oven set at 80°C for 4 hours. Don’t open the oven dur­ing dry­ing as it will spoil the peel.

Once the peel curls up and be­comes hard, take it out of the oven and let it cool to room tem­per­a­ture. Grind it into a fine pow­der and store in a ster­ilised, dry con­tainer.

Use the pow­dered zest ex­actly as you would the fresh va­ri­ety. This process works for any cit­rus fruit.

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