Ginja Ask A Chef

I was recently asked to participate in Ginja magazine’s monthly “Ask A Chef” feature. If you didn’t manage to buy a copy while it was on the shelves, here is the full article – some great tips for all kitchen ninjas and food lovers! Enjoy. If you have any other foodie-related questions, feel free to leave a comment at the end of the post and I’ll post my answer.

Ginja - Ask A Chef

What icing could I prepare that can be stored at room temperature?
Well, there’s obviously royal icing and glace icing (which need to be directly covered with plastic wrap or dampened parchment paper to avoid drying out) and plastic icing which can be stored in an airtight container. For a buttercream style icing, a mixture of white margarine (Like wooden spoon) with powdered sugar will last for a while at room temperature. The ingredient amounts are: 450g icing sugar, ¼ Tb cream of tartar, 280g white margarine, a pinch of salt and 1Tb extract of your choice. Whip it up and add about ¾ cup water to make the consistency creamy and ‘spreadable’. Keep in an airtight container.

What is the best way to store fish?
Frozen fish – in the freezer. Fresh fish – in the fridge or on crushed ice if whole.

Does salting eggplant add sodium to the recipe?
Well, yes. Salt is probably our highest contributor to our daily sodium intake. Salting eggplant is a method used to remove bitterness from the seeds of larger, older eggplants by basically removing the liquid in the seeds (degorging). The salt can be washed off after salting but a fair amount will always have sunk in. To avoid the necessity to salt eggplant, buy young, smaller eggplant as these do not require the salting step as they contain less seeds equalling less bitterness.

When I sauté mushrooms, they get all watery and lose their flavour, what could I do to avoid that?
To reduce the amount of water-loss from the mushroom, make sure your pan is very hot and contains enough hot butter or oil of your choice to effectively seal the outside of the mushroom when it hits the pan. This will lock in the flavour and moisture and the browning will add flavour as well. Don’t overload the pan, rather do small batches and be sure not to cook them for too long.

What dishes can I prepare with ripe bananas?
Ripe bananas mostly work best in sweet applications such as milkshakes, muffins, flapjacks, banana bread, cake, cookies etc.

To prevent my fruits and vegetables from going bad, what is the best way to store it?
With fruit, I recommend making a solution of white spirit vinegar and water in your kitchen sink or a large bowl. Leave the fruit in it for about 10 minutes and then store in the fridge. This generally extends their shelf life by removing any bacteria. If leaving fruit at room temperature, make sure it is in a cool dry area. With vegetables, try and buy what’s necessary for only a few days and be sure to rotate the contents of your fridge by using the ‘First in, First out’ method. Veg needs good ventilation too, so remove them from cling-wrapped punnets or plastic wrappers (unless they’re perforated, these generally do the trick). Look online for more specifics for different vegetables and fruit.

Ginja - Ask A Chef Alex Poltera

 

Alex Poltera

There was probably no way on Earth that Midlands Chef Alex Poltera was not going to end up in a kitchen. Growing up in a household of accomplished and award-winning chefs was bound to have some effect on his upbringing. From a young age, Alex would spend family holidays catching fresh seafood along the Wild Coast.

Author: Alex Poltera

There was probably no way on Earth that Midlands Chef Alex Poltera was not going to end up in a kitchen. Growing up in a household of accomplished and award-winning chefs was bound to have some effect on his upbringing. From a young age, Alex would spend family holidays catching fresh seafood along the Wild Coast.

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