Peter Gordon: Getting the best from a cray
A friend has promised me a crayfish for Christmas, and I haven't the heart to tell him I have no idea what to do with it. How do you cook them, and how are they best served? - Janine
To grill, use a good thick knife to split in half lengthways (with or without the head on), brush with oil or butter and cook on both sides for 4-5 minutes each depending on the size. Or boil in water as salty as the ocean (get some clean sea water if you can). Lower the cray into the water and boil until the shell turns bright orange. This can take 8-15 minutes depending on the size of the cray. Leave to cool on a tray, then break apart and serve the flesh and legs with wedges of lemon, plain homemade mayonnaise (the commercial ones can be too sweet) or malt vinegar.
I want to try making creme brulee for Christmas dessert, just for a change. How do I get the top crisp and crunchy - do I have to buy one of those little gas burner things? - David Marshall
The gas burners make it easy, but a really hot overhead grill works just as well - just keep an eye on it. There is debate as to whether caster sugar or demerera sugar works best - I prefer the latter.
I read your message about veal. Can you please tell me where I can purchase it. I have tried all nearby butchers without success. I want to prepare weiner schnitzel and an old favourite recipe using veal cutlets. I suspect most of the local production is exported to Australia where it seems to be readily available - Ray
The best way would be to speak to butchers - if you're in Auckland try Neat Meats. Perhaps readers can recommend others.
*NB: We have found a New Zealand supplier of fresh clotted cream, Country Fayre, based in Canterbury. They will post their product chilled to anywhere in New Zealand. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org or ph 0800 887 647. Also, the gourmet food store Nosh stocks the brand Cottage Delights, imported from England.