Thanks to all of you who sent in your cookery questions. Here are my responses to some of the questions you sent me, check to see if your is included. Sorry I couldn’t answer them all, but keep them coming in.
Lisa from Mansfield asked:
Hi Pirate Tom! I know you chefs tell us to always rest our meat for longer than we think, but how do you ensure it is nice and hot when plating up?
The easiest way to ensure your meat stays warm while resting is to cover with foil and place in a warm place. If your oven can be set on 50c like many ovens, this would be an ideal place to rest meat. You could always cover with a warm damp cloth as well if resting large joints of meat.
Samantha from Exeter asked:
How do you get really good crackling?
To get good crackling you have to start with really good pork. Like everything in cooking if the raw ingredient is of the highest quality the less work you have to do and the finished product will always be amazing. We get our pork from a supplier called Udale, I think you are able to get certain products from them through Wellocks at home. Failing that get the best free range Pork from a local butcher, generally supermarket pork just has too much water content.
Score the fat and heavily season with salt and drizzle with vegetable oil and massage the oil into the skin.
Set your oven high around 220c, cook the join for 50% of its cooking time at this temperature, then lower to ensure cooked fully.
The low temperature will also help to dry out the skin and get lovely crackling. If for some reason the skin has gone soggy when you are resting your joint, remove the skin and return to the oven at 180c while the joint is resting.
Dan from Bristol asked:
Hi Tom, hope you’re well! I would describe myself as an average cook – I can make a meal that tastes of “something” and more often than not it’s edible. One thing that I really struggle with is rice. I’ve always stuck to the 150g of water to 300mls of rice and it’s completely hit and miss how it turns out! Do you have any hard and fast rules for the perfect basmati rice? Hoping to come and visit the hand and flowers some time next year!
With Rice always wash in running cold water for 5 minutes before cooking to wash any excess starch off. Then add 150ml water to 100g of rice and place a lid on, cook on a medium heat until rice has absorbed all liquid. Turn off heat and allow to rest for 5 minutes. Fluff up with a fork and serve.
Karen from Hitchin asked:
Hi Tom Why do my roast spuds always go soft when I take them out of the oven? I par boil them, and make sure they are proper cold before throwing them in to roast. I use smoking hot oil, usually vegetable oil. They are crispy while in the oven, but when I take them out, after about 5 minutes they go all soft. Help!
Ensure you are using Maris Piper and when you par boil them in heavy seasoned water the potatoes are thoroughly cooked. With Roast potatoes its quite a long final cook in the oven, anywhere from 45 minutes to 1 hour. Don’t get the oil too hot. Have your oven set to 180c and place oil in your tray, coat every side of the par blanched potato in oil season with table salt and place in the oven. Turn over every 20minutes, after 1 hour you should have a crispy light roast potato.
Dave from Evesham asked:
Can you go over the method of overcooking say mince beef so it is crisp , which is then used as an umami to enhance a dish. What other ingredients could be used this way?
I fry mince and we use this technique in all our braised dishes in all the Tom Kerridge restaurants. It adds texture to these dishes and a beautiful level of flavour. You need a large suitable frying pan, add a generous amount of oil and place on a medium to high heat and add small amounts of your mince and fry until crispy. Please be careful as the mince has a tendency to spit and is very dangerous. After the mince is crispy, place in a colander to drain. Use the drain fat to fry the next batch. The only other ingredient I would say you could use in this way is onions for a roasted onion gravy.
Carole from Abbots Langley asked:
Hi Tom. I always struggle with my timings for the perfect hot dinner. My veg is always luke warm. What can i do to bring it all together. It always looks so easy on the telly.
Best way to get all timings correct is to ensure your meat is resting in a warm place while you cook and finish the vegetables for your meal. Using a steamer might be useful as this will ensure all vegetables are nice and hot before serving. You could always do the side/ vegetable dish in a family style large dish and place this in the middle of the table and allow everyone to help themselves, this will take some pressure on getting everything on a plate together. A lovely bean stew or mixed roasted vegetables could work for this.
Sarah from North Stifford asked:
Hi, what is the best way to cook calves liver ensuring it does not go rubbery
For liver, ensure it is out the fridge 30minutes before cooking so it is room temperature. You will need a large frying pan, place a few tbsp of oil into the pan, place on a medium to high heat. Dust the liver with seasoned flour and carefully place in the pan, once a nice golden brown, carefully turn over and after 30 seconds add a generous knob of butter. This should go all foamy, baste this butter over all the liver. After 1-2minutes remove the liver and rest somewhere warm for 5minute and serve.
Sally from Abingdon asked:
Hi Tom, I’m currently trying lots of veggie recipes…. but many use lots of tomatoes and have that acidic taste. What can you suggest to soften or balance the flavour.
I have found the with tomatoes the best ingredient to use to counteract the acid levels is sugar, just a few tsp can level out the acid form the tomatoes. Honey could work in the same way.
Julia from Huddersfield asked:
Hi Tom, I’ve recently had fries with thin strips of steak and a truffle sauce. I think they are referred to as dirty fries ?they were delicious. I’d like to have a go at making the sauce but don’t know where to start.
You could make a simple truffle mayo to dip your chips into. Either use shop brought mayo and add truffle paste or freshly shaved truffle. Or make your own truffle mayonnaise using half truffle oil and half vegetable oil and add truffle again. Or you could make a bechamel and add freshly grated truffle in at the end. Wiltshire Truffle company are the supplier we use, you can currently get deliveries for your home from these.