Peter Gordon: Frying onions to perfection
A chef on a Food Channel programme said that when you're melting onions and garlic and other chopped veges in a pan at the beginning of the dish, you shouldn't stir them, you should only shake the pan. Why is this? - Melanie
That's one opinion. If you have just one onion and a clove of garlic that may work, but try shaking a pot with six of each in it - impossible. Stir away - it'll do no harm. If you don't want your onions to colour add a little salt to the pan (it draws out the moisture) and avoid cooking over high heat to start, as they'll just burn rather than "melt" into the pan.
I read somewhere that pressure cookers were undergoing a revival. I remember scary steam and Mum worried about explosions, and bland corned beef and cabbage dinners from my childhood. What's the difference with the new cookers? - Mason Price
I "test-drove" a cooker for Alessi 10 years ago and it was wonderful. I've never heard evidence of an exploding cooker - I think a lot of it was urban myth. The new ones have moved on in design but basically do the same as their grandparents - and they speed up cooking, saving resources and lowering your carbon footprint.
In yet another count of "in" foods and "out" foods I read that black rice is the new black - is it the same as wild rice from America? - Sarah
They may be referring to black glutinous rice from Southeast Asia - which is lovely but will never replace white or brown rice, as the texture is more starchy. Wild rice isn't actually rice at all - it's the grain from a type of wild grass from North America. Again, as much as it's lovely, it's as different to white rice as barley is.