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John's Page

8th October 2015

Personal thoughts from the Festival Director - not necessarily endorsed by the Festival Organisers.

Notes for the Month - October, 2015

Cooking Tips
Do you have a fear of getting the food ready at a particular time? Does the thought of veg for 20, or 50 or even 6, terrify you? It used to me, until I started to amass tips from several people about how to deal with the issues. Here are some solutions. Why not email me with others so that I can pass them on? (With thanks to Hambleton Hall, David and Yvette especially)

Blanch your veg
If you pre-cook your veg (up to 24 hours in advance) you can easily and quickly reheat them without loss of flavour. Cook your veg until they are al dente, then stop the cooking in iced water. Sprouts, root vegetables are best boiled; soft vegetables such as broccoli can be steamed. You can steam large quantities of things like cauliflowers in batches if you are cooking for a lot of people. When you are ready to serve, there are two ways of reheating: steam, or cook in an emulsion. (For the latter, put some butter in a pan with a little water, bring to the boil and drop your veg in to reheat. They all take the same amount of time, so Christmas Lunch for 12 with 3 or 4 veg is a doddle).

Fried Eggs
There seem to be more fried egg recipes on the net than any other basic ingredients. One or two at a time is fairly easy but how about 4 or 6. Answer: pick a frying pan large enough to hold say 4 or 6 eggs. Add oil or butter and put in the eggs. It does not matter if the whites touch. Don't get the oil too hot. Don't forget to baste the yolks. When they are done, just cut them into pieces, or to look pretty you could use a pastry cutter to make them all evenly round.

Brine your poultry
This is not really necessary with fresh poultry but if yours has been frozen, do brine it over night to get more moisture. Use a brine of 60g salt in a litre and don't forget to wash the poultry well and dry it before cooking.

Glut of chillies
OK so you have bought a load of chillies but they turn out to be too hot so you only use some of them! Donít throw the rest away, just chop them loosely and put in a jar of olive oil, with or without the seeds. You have chilli oil for use later.