Tips

Added 20/08/2016

Chipotle (pronounced chee-poht-lay) is a jalapeño pepper that has been smoked and dried. The peppers have a warm, smoky flavour that adds a little something special to your Mexican cooking. If you’re feeling ambitious, you can find tutorials online about how to smoke your own. You just need to start with ripe, red jalapeños. The heat can…


Added 07/08/2016

Sumac is a dried spice powder with origins in Middle Eastern cooking. It is a rich, dark red colour and has a lemony tang. You might also encounter it as sumach or sumaki, just don’t confuse it with the — helpfully named — poison sumac. Because of its lemon-like flavour, sumac is an ideal substitution anywhere you might…


Added 07/08/2016

Fresh nutmeg is a spice mercenary; whether you’re preparing sweet or savoury food, nutmeg will work for you. Let me emphasise that we’re talking about fresh nutmeg, which is in a completely different league to the pre-ground stuff. Buy it whole and use a Microplane, or the smallest panel on a box grater to finely…


Added 07/08/2016

A pinch of saffron threads is all it takes to transform a dish of plain rice into a rich golden-yellow dish as delicious for the eyes as the palate. Although widely described as the most expensive spice by weight, most recipes usually only require a pinch (approximately 20 threads) or less. Saffron is the stigmas of…


Added 07/08/2016

Verjuice, if you’re in Australia (and by extension New Zealand), is synonymous with Maggie Beer, the Australian celebrity cook who first commercialised it in the 80s. Before that, the fermented grape juice had fallen out of popular use, despite having a history that stretches back to ancient times. The tart juice is made from grapes, but it is…


Added 07/08/2016

Scented waters such as rose water, or orange blossom water are such a subtle but wonderful way of adding a new dimension to everything from cakes to salad dressings. You’ll find orange blossom water (also known as orange flower water) used in Mediterranean desserts, Middle Eastern influenced salads, cocktails, desserts and baking. The water is distilled from the flowers…


Added 07/08/2016

Angostura bitters are a completely vegan alcohol concoction most well known for their use (a few drops at a time) in cocktails. At that rate, one bottle will last you a lifetime so here are some other ways you can use this bitter and sour condiment to enhance your cooking and baking. The origins of this herbal…


Added 07/08/2016

Preserved lemons are pickled in salt and their own juices; the result is salty morsels that add a punch of intense lemon flavour to savoury dishes. The flesh can be used for its pungent flavour, but the most useful part is the peel. Simply cut the lemon into quarters, remove the flesh, and then very…


Added 07/08/2016

Black rice – also known as purple rice, longevity rice and forbidden rice – is nutritionally dense, texturally delightful and as enjoyable in sweet dishes as savoury. It’s easiest to prepare when soaked overnight. Soak 250g of rinsed black rice in two litres of cold water. The next day, cover with a lid and bring…


Added 07/08/2016

If you’re new to vegetarianism or veganism, then one of the first recipes you’ll master will probably be a good scrambled tofu. Turmeric is an essential ingredient in this popular dish; the flavour of turmeric is quite earthy and slightly bitter. It’s a rhizome (same family as ginger), but it’s not spicy, just faintly mustardy.…