Peter Gordon: Quinces an autumn treat
We are starting to see quinces in the market now. I know they take forever to cook in the oven, so but someone told me you could do them in a bench-top slow-cooker. How long should I cook them for in that? Would I need to add water or sugar syrup as well? - Coralie
I've had delicious quince cooked this way in Matamata. Skins washed, then peeled or unpeeled, core in or out doesn't matter. Cut the quinces into quarters, add some spices (cinnamon, cloves, allspice, ginger, 1/4 cup lemon juice, just enough water to almost cover and 500g white sugar per 2kg fruit. Cook in the slow cooker on high for two to three hours, and if you can, turn the fruit once or twice. Turn the cooker off and leave the quinces sitting in the syrup until they're cool enough to handle - yum!
When you make saffron rice, do you put the saffron in with the water when you bring it to the boil or do you add it later? How much saffron should you use for 2 cups (uncooked) of rice? - Jared
Add the saffron to the rice after you've added the water and stir it in. Two pinches of saffron will be plenty, as it's powerfully strong in taste.
I'm a bit worried about fish sauce and oyster sauce, which are often used in recipes. How can a liquid made from fish or oysters stay fresh in a bottle for a long time and how do you know if it's no longer safe to use? - Anne
I'm the biggest fan of nam pla (Thai fish sauce) - I constantly use it in stews and dressings. It's been fermented and is very salty and because of this it just won't go off. If you're worried, though, keep it in your fridge.
What is the best oil or spray to use for pan-frying battered fish, without the batter sticking/falling apart, and losing the fish flavour? - Justin
Grapeseed oil is lovely and light, but not always easy to get. I mix 20 per cent extra virgin olive oil with 80 per cent sunflower, and that works well.