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JudiRose an­swers read­ers’ queries on stir-fry­ing, uten­sils and cheese­cake with no cheese

The Jewish Chronicle - - FEATURES 27 -

IAM PUTTING t o g e t her my wed­ding-gift list and would like to in­clude some kitchen uten­sils. There is so much choice and many new twists on tra­di­tional tools that I’m a bit be­wil­dered. Which do you think are gen­uinely use­ful, and which are just gim­micks? Here are my favourite “non-tra­di­tional” kitchen tools: Sil­i­cone is re­ally big at the mo­ment, and with good rea­son. Sil­i­cone uten­sils are heat re­sis­tant, kind to cook­ware, com­fort­able, easy to clean and vir­tu­ally in­de­struc­tible. Some of my “must-haves” are: sil­i­cone spoons and spat­u­las (slot­ted and reg­u­lar), mea­sur­ing spoons, a sil­i­cone-tipped whisk, spat­ter shield and colan­der (the collapsible ones are ter­rific if stor­age space is lim­ited). Sil­i­cone pas­try brushes are use­ful even if you do not bake — great for bast­ing, brush­ing on mari­nades or smear­ing a pan with oil, and they’re much eas­ier to care for than a bris­tle brush.

Uten­sils with “com­fort grip” han­dles (sil­i­cone or oth­er­wise) are more com­fort­able to use and less likely to slip out of your hand — so put a can opener, kitchen shears, mea­sur­ing jugs (large and small), an ap­ple corer and a potato peeler (all with a non-slip han­dles) high on your list. Other use­ful “mod­ern” gad­gets: A salad spin­ner, a strong, dish­washer-proof gar­lic press (metal not plas­tic), mi­croplane graters (coarse, medium and fine) and an in­stant-read ther­mome­ter (in­valu­able for avoid­ing un­der­cooked chicken and over­cooked steak).

In the “gim­mick” cat­e­gory, I would put plas­tic veg­etable chop­pers, gar­lic “peel­ers” (a good thwack with the side of chef’s knife does the job just as well), and gar­lic/onion odour-re­mov­ing stones and bars. Lastly, avoid highly spe­cialised sin­gle-pur­pose tools like mush­room brushes and avo­cado slicers.

My niece can­not eat dairy prod­ucts and will be visit­ing us over Shavuot. Is there a way to make a non-dairy cheese­cake?

Yes! The trick is to make a tra­di­tional East Euro­pean-style cheese­cake (which does not con­tain soured cream) us­ing non-dairy soy “cream cheese”. En­hance the fill­ing with ground al­monds and flavour-boost­ers — sul­tanas, fresh lemon juice and zest, and goodqual­ity vanilla ex­tract — to add the tex­ture and tang that “real” cream cheese would have. You can also swirl in lemon curd to the mix­ture be­fore bak­ing for added “oomph”. For a su­perb tra­di­tional cheese­cake recipe, see Eve­lyn Rose’s New Com­plete In­ter­na­tional Jewish Cook­book. Re­place the cream cheese with an equal quan­tity of non-dairy soy cream cheese.

I have had a non-stick stir-fry pan for some time, but the coat­ing has started to peel off. I would like to re­place it, as I en­joy stir-fry­ing. What do you rec­om­mend?

Au­then­tic stir-fry­ing, as prac­tised in Chi­nese cui­sine, means cook­ing in an ex­tremely hot pan for a very short time. To achieve this, the empty pan has to be pre­heated un­til wisps of smoke rise from it. This can’t be done with a non-stick pan since very high tem­per­a­tures cause the coat­ing to break down (and in some cases re­lease po­ten­tially harm­ful fumes.)

The best pan for a West­ern kitchen is a flat-bot­tomed wok made of car­bon steel with a wooden han­dle. How­ever, since many peo­ple in the West do not “stir-fry” in a very hot pan, they are ac­tu­ally sautée­ing or brais­ing the food (fine, but it will not taste au­then­ti­cally Chi­nese). For this pur­pose, a stain­less-steel, an­odised alu­minium, cast-iron or tough­ened non­stick stir-fry pan is ac­cept­able. That said, I adore my wellsea­soned car­bon-steel wok (which cost me a fiver from a Chi­nese su­per­mar­ket). If you have ques­tions for Judi, email them to edi­to­

If you want to cook stir-fries like the Chi­nese, you need a very hot wok — but steer clear of non-stick pans

Es­sen­tial uten­sils ( left)

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