Thanks to all of you who sent in your cookery questions. Here are my answers to some that were sent in, check to see if yours is included. Sorry I couldn’t answer them all, but keep them coming in.
Carl from Milton Keynes asked:
Do you have a good recipe for beef or pork stroganoff?
Try my Beef Stroganoff recipe, you can also substitute the beef with pork. Click here.
Lucy from Cottingham asked:
Hey Tom, my homemade oven baked sweet potatoes wedges always end up soggy, how do I make them crispy?
This is a tricky one, try dusting them in a mix of flour and cornflour, it should form a crust while they bake.
Sally from Manchester asked:
I have an allergy to all nuts and coconut, what could I use as a substitute for coconut milk in curries?
I would suggest using double or single cream, just go slightly bigger with the vegetables and herbs to bring up the flavour.
Debbie from Bolton asked:
Hi Tom my question is about keeping spices from being wasted after only using them a few times is there a way of keeping them or is it just a case of buying new every few months
You should really get a good few months out of spices. Alternatively buy whole spices, which keep longer, and make your own ground spice mixes as and when you need.
Wendy from Sandford asked:
Hi Tom! I can never seem to get ‘melt-in-the-mouth’ Roast Beef! I’m lucky to have a Neff oven with ‘circa roost’ function, I always pre-heat and place meat in the middle of the oven. I roast on a rack for an hour to 1.15 and then rest for an hour whilst the potatoes are in! I can’t remember the last time we all enjoyed roast beef without having to chew – Whether the meat is rare or medium (depending on size). I usually have ‘top side’. What am I doing wrong?
It will depend on the fat marbling through the beef and the type of joint of beef. My favourite is rib eye, but you do want to cook this more to the medium side to make sure those fats are lovely and warm.
Julia from Irthlingborough asked:
Hi Tom, I love to cook Seabass but sometime find it difficult to get the skin lovely and crispy all of the time. Is there a fool proof way of getting the skin crispy.
This will depend on the size of fish you get, if they are the farmed small ones its slightly tricky as they are so thin, try dusting the skin in flour before you cook the fish, that will help. Fry them in shallow oil to and make sure you pre heat the oil. Wild bass is much easier to get a crispy skin!
Andrea from Macclesfield asked:
Hi Tom, What’s the best oil for making mayonnaise? I’ve tried rapeseed and vegetable oils, but it’s always hit or miss whether they thicken or not!
The best oil to use is vegetable, but if you want flavoured mayonnaise you could use chilli oil or rape seed oil.
Susan from Prestwood asked:
How can I stop my choux buns from being soft and collapsing so I can’t fill them with cream?
I suggest baking them longer on a lower temperature to dry them out and crisp up. Also don’t fill too early as that will cause them to go soft, let them cool fully before filling.
Louise from Falkirk asked:
How do you know when your flour has been cooked out when making a cheese/white sauce?
The best way is to taste it, if the flour is still raw it will taste of flour. Continue to cook on a low temperature, it generally takes about 20 minutes to cook out.
Sally from Nailsea asked:
I can’t cook dauphinois. Doesn’t matter how long I cook or at what temperature, the milk/cream always splits and the potatoes stay raw. Can you give me a fool proof hint, and suggest which spuds are best to use please.
This is an odd one, if I’m honest, just cook them longer, if they are already golden, cover them with foil and continue to bake.
When preparing, bring the milk and cream (must be double) to the boil separately then pour on your potatoes so that you introduce heat quicker.
Jane from Hanworth asked:
Is there any specific rules as when to add or not add salt to food. I do not like salt so I do not add it to my plate of food, however, I do appreciate that it needs to be added to food to enhance the flavour, I just don’t know at what point of the cooking process it should be added as some food types you add before cooking and others during, I’m confused!
Ideally you would season most foods before cooking, but it doesn’t hurt to season after, really it’s all about personal taste.
Corrine from Hemel Hempstead asked:
My husband loves a Bakewell Tart however I can’t seem to bake one without the middle being soggy. I’ve tried making it with less liquid, turning the heat up but nothing seems to make a difference. I have tried a few different recipes, usually using shop brought pastry but to no avail.
Try increasing the amount of ground almond to the filling mix to make it a little drier.
Sean from Ghent (Belgium) asked:
What’s a good way to jazz up cauliflower rice?
Spice it up with aromatic flavours such as cumin seeds, curry powder, garlic onion, ginger, fresh herbs, chillies or even adding lemon juice will lift it. Don’t forget to season it with salt and peppers.
David from Warrington asked:
What Knives do you use and how do you keep them sharp?