Q ‘Why is my rice always stodgy, rather than fluffy and light?’
A M Kitchen chef David Lennox says, ‘There could be a few reasons why your rice isn’t turning out well, but stirring it during the cooking process is a common mistake. Stirring releases starch from the grains, which makes the rice cling together rather than result in separated grains. To make fluffy rice, rinse one quantity of rice then leave it to soak for 15 minutes. Drain and bring it to the boil in double the amount of fresh water. Stir once then cover with a fitted lid and turn the heat right down. Don’t lift the lid or stir again until all the water has evaporated and you can see little holes on the surface of the rice – that’s how you know it’s cooked. Then fluff the rice with a fork.’
Balsamic Sweet and syrupy, balsamic is made in the Modena region of Italy from reduced grape juice. It’s ideal for drizzling on sweet vegetables, meat such as lamb and even desserts – try it with strawberries.
Rice wine Common in Japanese and Chinese cooking, rice wine vinegar is made from fermented rice. It’s low in acidity and has a mild flavour. Use it to make dressings for Asian salads or as the base for a marinade for Chinese-style ribs.
Red or white wine Made from fermented wine aged in oak barrels, these vinegars are tangy on the tongue. Use them in salad dressings and pickles, sweet and sour dishes and marinades.
Sherry Rich and nutty, sherry vinegar is great in a number of Spanish recipes. Authentic sherry vinegar is made in the ‘sherry triangle’ in Cadiz, Spain, from unfermented juice of the sherry grape, called must.
Tasty ways to use up leftover cooked lamb
- Blitz and add to a basic tomato pasta sauce to create a rich lamb ragu.
- Shred and pop into a wrap with fresh washed mint leaves, red onion and feta.
- Use instead of beef mince in your shepherd’s pie.
TIP Don’t chop up leftover lamb until you’re ready to use it. This will help stop it drying out*.
*Always heat up leftover meat until piping hot all the way through.
How to make vanilla sugar
It’s simple to make your own vanilla-flavoured sugar. Simply push one or two vanilla pods into a packet of white sugar and, over time, the delicious vanilla flavour will seep into your sugar. Use it to add an extra dimension to your bakes and coffee.
How to make proper custard
1. Bring 200ml whole milk, 200ml double cream, a vanilla pod and the scraped out seeds to the boil. Simmer for 2 mins then remove from the heat.
2. In a separate bowl, whisk 2 egg yolks with 75g caster sugar until pale and fluffy. Remove the vanilla pod from the milk and cream mixture.
3. Gradually pour the hot vanilla cream mixture over the whisked eggs, whisking constantly to prevent the eggs from scrambling.
4. Return to the pan and heat gently, whisking until the custard reaches your desired consistency. It should coat the back of a spoon.
Focus on… Teriyaki
Teriyaki is a sweet and salty Japanese sauce created from a blend of soy sauce, sake (an alcoholic drink made from fermented rice), mirin (a rice wine) and sugar. You can use it as a tasty marinade to add depth of flavour to any type of meat and fish; we love it best with salmon fillets, pork and duck. Pour it into a bowl and use as a dipping sauce, or add it to a veggie stir-fry. The name is derived from ‘teri’, which is Japanese for ‘shine’, and ‘yaki’, which means ‘to grill’.
Eggs masterclass video
Get in-the-know with our foodie video guides. We show you three ways with eggs; how to make the perfect poached egg, how to boil an egg to perfection and how to make delicious custard.