Peter Gordon: Cure for a raw fish dish
I've seen various instructions about how long you should marinate fish in lemon juice for ceviche or raw fish salads - some for only an hour or so until the fish is white, others for much longer. Does this vary with the type of fish or whether the fish is freshly caught rather than from a fish shop and maybe a day or two old? Or what you put with it afterwards such as coconut milk? - Joyce
Fresh fish can be eaten raw in sushi, so the time you marinate is entirely up to you. In my opinion, the less the better - although thicker pieces may need a little more. The lemon juice also adds flavour, don't forget - it's not just there for curing the fish.
I tasted some lovely pithiviers at the Hawkes Bay food festival last summer. What is a pithivier or is it just a posh name for a pasty or pie? What is the pastry, a short or a flaky or something else entirely? - Frances
A pithivier is a posh (but French) name for a "pie" made from two discs of puff pastry stuffed with whatever. It's baked on a tray, not in a pie dish.
Can you make Mexican mole sauce with unsweetened cocoa powder, or is it made with melting dark chocolate? What else do you put with it? Do you just use it with chicken dishes, or can you do it with beef? - Peter
I tend to use a combination of cocoa and dark chocolate - the latter really adds an "oomph" that straight cocoa doesn't quite achieve. But neither should make the sauce seem like a savoury dessert sauce - be subtle. I caramelise onions, garlic, ginger and chillies then add flavours which might include orange zest, toasted cumin, toasted breadcrumbs, roast chicken stock, cinnamon... the possibilities are endless. It's lovely served with pork, duck, chicken, lamb... anything, so long as the spicing is appropriate to the meat.