Ask the Chef
Gabriel Gaté has learnt his craft from some of the great master chefs of France, knows the reality of being a family cook with little time, and communicates with dazzling success both the joy of cooking and how to make tasty food that is simple, easy and achievable.
Unfortunately, we're no longer accepting new questions, though feel free to browse our database of past cooking queries and Gabriel's responses.
I really enjoyed the How To Cook like Heston series and am really keen to try his recipes. I see he uses a digital thermometer quite a lot. Can you recommend a quality digital thermometer for budding Aussie home chefs?
You’ll find quality digital thermometers at The Essential Ingredient store attached to the Prahran market. Speak to a sales assistant who will advise you on the best brand for your needs.
My best friend’s birthday is coming up and she wants a cake with purple royal icing, but mine always turns out terrible – even when it’s peaked or smoothed, it still looks terrible. What’s your advice on making and spreading royal icing?
There is no better way to master a technique than learning from a teacher. There are plenty of classes in cake decoration available. Check with the TAFE colleges offering cookery classes in South Australia.
Here is a recipe I have used for royal icing: In the bowl of an electric mixer, and using a flat beater, mix 60g of egg white and 2 tsp of lemon juice at low speed. Then, still on low speed, mix in 3 cups icing sugar (1 cup at a time), making sure the ingredients are well mixed before each addition. If you are not using the icing immediately, cover it with paper towels to stop it from drying out.
What’s an edible gift I can make for a friend? I was thinking a savoury biscuit of some sort. Any ideas would be helpful!
I created this recipe for Parmesan and Olive oil Biscuits using Australian olive oil. They are popular.
Parmesan and olive oil biscuits
Makes about 40 biscuits, using a 5 cm diameter biscuit cutter (round or star-shaped)
200g plain flour, sifted
A pinch of chilli powder
¼ tsp salt
About ¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper
100g finely grated fresh parmesan cheese
80g butter, cut into small cubes
80ml Cobram Estate olive oil ‘Premiere’
1 egg yolk beaten with 1 tsp cold water
A few small pieces of thyme, rosemary, chilli and olive to decorate the bisuits
In a bowl, combine flour, chilli powder, salt, pepper, parmesan cheese and butter using your fingertips, rubbing the butter in to form a breadcrumb texture. Add the olive oil and mix until well combined. Form the dough into a ball and flatten it slightly. If it’s too sticky, dust with a little more flour. Wrap it in plastic film and refrigerate for at least 20 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 180°C. Line an oven tray with baking paper.
Roll the dough out to a thickness of about 5mm – you can do it between two layers of baking paper. Using cookie cutters of your favourite shape, cut out as many biscuits as you can.
Carefully lift the biscuits onto the prepared baking tray and brush the top with the egg yolk and water mixture. Place a small piece of rosemary, thyme, olive or chilli in the centre of each biscuit, then cook in the preheated oven until golden brown. It should take about 8-10 minutes.
What’s difference between apple cider and apple cider vinegar?
Apple cider is made from the fermented juice of fresh apples. Once ready, the cider is bottled to minimise its contact with oxygen. Apple cider vinegar is made with apple cider that has fermented further and been in contact with oxygen. In the process, the alcoholic content becomes more acidic.
Can I preserve salmon by bottling it? If so, what is the best recipe?
Bottling salmon is common amongst fishermen who catch large fish. The website fishing.com.nz provides good instructions. In a nutshell, this is what to do: Place pieces of salmon fillet tightly in sterilised bottles and add a little salt, vinegar and sugar. Cover with a lid, then boil in a bath of simmering water for several hours. You can also freeze salmon.
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