Tuesday, April 14, 2009


When braising meat, chop any leftover bones, such as those from a chicken carcass, and add them to the bed of chopped vegetables. The bones and vegetables are discarded after cooking, but they add extra flavour to the braising liquid and to the meat.

Cooked or raw cucumber can easily be made into a quick cold and refreshing soup. Process or blend it with a clove of garlic, thick yoghurt, cream or crème fraiche and mint or tarragon. Serve sprinkled with a tablespoon of the chopped herb and black pepper. A handful of chopped prawns adds colour and flavour.

Most sauces freeze very well and frozen blocks of sauce or gravy can be reheated in a saucepan straight from the freezer. Frozen sauces are good timesavers so it is worth making twice as much as the recipe calls for and freezing half.

Leftover satay sauce should be used within a day or two. It makes an excellent topping for grilled chicken or a dressing for gado gado; the Indonesian cucumber, bean sprouts, green beans and beancurd salad. It can also be used in vegetarian dishes, for instance mixed with rice, peas and carrots or as a dip for crudités.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Won Ton Dumplings


1 spring onion, green and white parts, finely chopped
5 water chestnuts, finely chopped
125 g prawns, shelled, deveined and minced
250 g finely minced pork
1 egg, lightly beaten
A pinch of black pepper
1tbsp light soy sauce
1 tbsp sesame oil
2 tsp cornflour
30 won ton skins, each 5 cm square


Combine all of the ingredients except the won ton skins in a bowl.

Test the seasoning of the stuffing mixture by bringing a pan of water to the boil, dropping 1 teaspoon of the mixture into it and cooking it for just a minute. Taste the stuffing and adjust the seasoning as necessary.

Take one won ton skin at a time and place 1 heaped teaspoon of the mixture in the centre of each. Then moisten the four edges of the won ton skin, gather up the corners and twist lightly to form a little pouch,

Place the won ton on a slightly oiled plate, twisted side up but not touching each other, and steam them in a wok for 10 minutes. Or deep-fry them for 15-20 minutes until crisp.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Making Batter

The batters that are used to make pancakes, waffles and such dishes are much the same. It is the exact proportions of all the ingredients that vary slightly.

Pancakes, waffles and baked batter puddings are all made with a basic pouring batter (see recipe below). To make crepes which are slightly lighter than pancakes, the batter is thinned with a few tablespoons of extra liquid.

Fritters and battered foods such as fish, shellfish and vegetables are made with coating batter. This used the same amount of flour, salt and egg as pouring batter, but only half of the liquid. Whisked eggs whites may be folded into a coating butter and sugar added for sweet fritters.

The type of liquid used in batters (whether milk, a mix of milk and water or beer) will influence the result. Water makes a light batter, milk helps to make it smoother and causes it to brown faster, while beer adds lightness and flavour.

Making Basic Batter

This basic batter will make 8-10 pancakes. Include 3 tablespoons of extra milk if making lighter crepes and half the liquid for making a thicker coating butter.

Sift 125g (1 cup) plain flour and a pinch of salt into a bowl and make a well in the centre, then break in 1 egg and beat with a balloon whisk or wooden spoon.

Beat in 300 ml milk, little by little, incorporating the surrounding floor gradually so the batter becomes very smooth.

The batter may be used at once, but it is much better if it is left in a cool place for about 30 minutes, allowing the starch grains to soften.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Cooking for Health


Place the food in a container (such as a fish or egg poacher), add the poaching liquid, cover with foil or a close-fitting lid and cook in the oven or on the stove.

Poaching requires no extra fat. Eggs and fish such as salmons are popular foods for poaching.


You sear food quickly in the hot pan on both sides to form a crust and seal in the juices. You can add fresh herbs, spices, lemon or lime juice and balsamic vinegar.

You hardly need to use any oil or fat. Foods that can be griddle include vegetables, fish, poultry and various kinds of meat.


Put the food in a perforated pan or coriander and fit it over a pan of boiling water. Cover with a close fitting lid – the steam cooks the food. You can also use stacking can of stainless steel steamers or Chinese bamboo.

Steaming retains the nutrients in food. You can steam fish, poultry, puddings, sponges, custard and dumplings as well as vegetables.

En Papillote

Wrap foods loosely, but sealed, in greaseproof paper or foil, then bake or steam. Use moderate heat and a little liquid. No added oils or fats are used. This method keeps in the flavours, so you need just a few additions. Herbs, spices, vegetables and fruits all add flavour, also liquids such as stock, citrus juices, wine, Worcestershire and soya sauces and flavoured vinegars.

Seafood, poultry, vegetables and fruit can be cooked this way.