Friday, October 12, 2007


Tips by Amy Beh

Can you share some tips on how to choose passion fruits? How long do passion fruits keep in the refrigerator? Can they be used for cooking? – Chin Sui Foong

Always look for a large heavy passion fruit, without soft patches. The skin will wrinkle as it ripens. Passion fruits can be stored at room temperature for up to one week. Kept in the refrigerator, they will last up to two weeks.

The yellow pulp or flesh is sweet and juicy with lots of small edible black seeds.

Scoop out the pulp and use it in sauces. It can be added to cakes too. Passion fruit can be served with ice-cream or used to make drinks.

How do I prevent fruits from sinking to the bottom of my jelly? – Patricia Lau

Chop the fruits into smaller pieces when you add them to the jelly or you can pour the liq uid jelly into the tray, then add the fruits gradually. Another way is to add the fruits when the jelly is about to set.

MY TEENAGE daughter is starting to learn how to cook. One day she asked me how to remove the avocado seed from the fruit.

Can you tell us how to do it? – Low S.G.

Hold the avocado in one hand and use a sharp knife to cut it in half around the stone. Give it a twist to release it from the stone, then place it on a chopping board.

Hit the stone with a sharp knife and twist the blade of the knife. The stone will come out of the avocado when you pull the knife away.

Should the stone be stuck on the blade of the knife, just hold it with a thick tea towel and gently ease it off.

WHAT is fennel? I was told that it can be used in salads or stews. – Farhana Abdullah

Fennel is a member of the parsley family. It has a mild liquorice odour and taste.

This is a roundish bulb and is white to pale green in colour. It consists of several overlapping broad stems with soft feathery leaves.

Is it necessary to season a new non-stick saucepan before use? – Lim May Ching

Non-stick pans don't need seasoning. Just wash the pan with a mild detergent and rinse with clean water. Do not use a metal scourer.

What is canola oil and when do I use it? – Barbie Ooi

Canola oil is obtained from rapeseed. It is monounsaturated and contains Omega-3 fatty acids. Canola oil responds well to high heat so it is suitable for all types of cooking.

How do I poach eggs? – Julie Ong

Bring a large saucepan of water to the boil over high heat. Add a few drops of white rice vinegar and a pinch of salt to the water, then reduce the heat to low. Gently simmer the water.

Crack an egg into a small saucer (keeping the egg yolk intact). Use a large metal spoon to stir the simmering water to create a whirlpool, then tip the egg into the centre of the whirlpool. If you have an extra egg, repeat the procedure. Poach both eggs for 3-4 minutes or until just set.

Use a slotted spoon to scoop the eggs onto a plate and serve with a sprinkling of salt and pepper.

Is there a special way to remove almond skin? – Normala Zakaria

You can buy almonds that are already blanched, otherwise you can do it yourself. Put the almonds in a deep bowl. Pour boiling water over and leave aside for 4-5 minutes, covered, then drain the almonds in a colander. Leave aside to cool slightly. Pinch each almond between your thumb and index finger. The skin should slip off the nut.

Please give me some tips on what meat to choose for making satay. – Angie Low

For barbecue, use beef sirloin, rib eye, rump, fillet or T-bone steak. For lamb, select loin chops, cutlets, topside, fillet or backstraps.

The perfect barbecue steak needs to be well sealed to ensure juiciness. Always start on a high heat and brush the pieces of meat with oil. Do not turn the steak over too often. The juices will appear on the uncooked side when the meat is ready to be turned. You may cook the beef or lamb cutlets for 2-3 minutes each side. Lamb loin, fillet and loin chops can be cooked for 4-5 minutes each side.

For beef satay, use sirloin, rib eye, fillet, rump or topside. For lamb, choose eye of loin, fillet or topside. Cook the satay pieces over high heat for 2-3 minutes.

Meat must be marinated for as long as possible to increase the flavours and tenderness of the meat when barbecuing.

(If you are using wooden skewers, soak them in water for at least 25-30 minutes before using, to prevent them from burning during cooking. If you're using metal skewers, brush them with oil before use.)

No comments: