Peter Gordon: I had a little nut tree ...
It's walnut season. I have an old black walnut tree that for the first time in decades has a huge crop of small but tasty walnuts. I have gathered, washed and left them to dry. Any ideas for how to use such a crop? - Christina
Use them lightly toasted in salads, in walnut bread, or pureed in a garlic sauce into which you stir lightly toasted breadcrumbs and serve with seafood or poached chicken.
I would like to be able to cut a mango in half like one would an avocado, so I can serve both halves as a prawn cocktail or turn both inside out and score them for a dessert. How do you get the stone out of a mango without getting a mess and only one useable half? Does the secret hide in the ripeness of the mango? - Allan
Unlike an avocado where you can twist the fruit in half, with a mango you need to cut either side of the "seed", slicing as close as you can. You end up with a stone with chunks of mango stuck to it, but at least you get to eat them yourself
How do you duck breasts so that the skin is crispy on the outside, but the meat is medium rare on the inside? Should I simmer it first to render out the fat? - Helen
Heat a pan to just beyond medium hot. Score the fat of the duck breast in a cross-hatch pattern and fry to render fat and cook to caramelised colour. Drain fat off and cook skin side down in a hot oven until pink, then flip over and rest in a warm place for five minutes.