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 While bak­ing blind, many recipes sug­gest the use of raw rice, beans or lentils. Can these be cooked later – or should they be dis­carded? A Bak­ing blind means bak­ing a tart shell be­fore the fill­ing is added to it. This process is vi­tal in the mak­ing of some tarts as it en­sures the pastry re­mains crisp and flaky and does not fluff up and even­tu­ally be­come soggy.

The cor­rect way to bake blind is to cover the raw pastry shell with a piece of alu­minium foil or bak­ing paper and then cover the base with pie weights or raw rice, beans or lentils. Then the shell is baked in a pre­heated oven at the tem­per­a­ture and du­ra­tion spec­i­fied in the recipe.

If you are us­ing food as pie weights, it can­not be cooked again as it be­comes too dry and tough dur­ing the bak­ing process. But don’t dis­card the beans or lentils. In­stead, let them cool down and then store them in an air­tight container to use as pie weights again. In fact, they can be used as pie weights any num­ber of times.

Q My fam­ily love peaches. Do you have an easy recipe for peach chut­ney? A Peach chut­ney is a great way to en­joy the fruit and it is very easy to make. Here’s my recipe:

Halve and stone 1.8 ki­los of ripe but firm peaches. Place them in a large pan with two cook­ing ap­ples that are cored and chopped; 115g chopped dried peaches; 4 cloves chopped gar­lic; 1 tsp

If you use food as pie weights, it can­not be cooked again as it be­comes dry and tough

freshly grated nut­meg; 1 tbsp of ground gin­ger; ¼ tsp cayenne pep­per and 570ml white grape vine­gar. Bring these to the boil and then re­duce the heat to low. Let the mix­ture sim­mer for about 30 min­utes or un­til the fruit is soft and mushy. Now add 350g of su­gar, stir and let it sim­mer for an­other hour.

To test if the chut­ney is of the right con­sis­tency, draw a line across the bot­tom of the pan with a spoon, and if no liq­uid from the mix­ture flows into the cre­ated chan­nel, it means the chut­ney is ready.

Pour it in a ster­ilised air­tight jar and let it cool. Store in a dark, dry place for 6-8 weeks be­fore you use it. This rest­ing pe­riod will al­low the flavours to de­velop fully. The chut­ney keeps for up to a year in the re­frig­er­a­tor.

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