Peter Gordon: The secret to perfect squid
What's the secret to cooking calamari so that it's tender and flavoursome? - Monique
Squid either needs to be cooked hot and quick (coated in seasoned cornflour and deep fried, or brushed with chilli oil and quickly barbecued) or slowly stewed for 30-45 minutes (with diced tomatoes, garlic, olives and a few fennel seeds). Cooked anywhere in between tends to make it tough and chewy.
How do I cook roast pork so it stays tender and juicy? Mine always ends up horribly dry. And what else do you suggest putting with it to make a change from the usual apple sauce? - Isobel
While pork is thought of as a fatty meat, it is in many ways very lean - apart from the fat itself. An overcooked pork chop or loin will always be much dryer than a similar cut of lamb. So, the key is don't overcook it. Rest a joint for at least 15 minutes before slicing. With summer on the way, you should plan to stew stone-fruit with a little honey and ginger for a new sauce.
Now that it's asparagus season, I hate to waste the woody stems we're breaking off the end of the tender stalks. Can you suggest some uses for them? For example, would it be possible to make a soup or puree? - Alister
Use the peel and lower part of the stems for stocks, but don't over-cook as it gets quite stale-smelling. Next time you prep it, cut 3cm-4cm from the base then peel it from a third of the way down from the spear end - you'll be able to eat much more of it.