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.
If a recipe asks for a cooking apple, which one would it be, the Granny Smith or the Golden Delicious? Is one preferable over the other?
When I make an apple purée to eat on its own or to use in a dessert, I use Granny Smith. When I make a tart tatin, I use Golden Delicious because the cooked flesh holds together better.
I recently ate lemon tarte in Bruges, Belgium. It was divine. It was very thick and creamy in the shell and partly oozed when it was cut, not like the sticky, thin lemon tarts we get here. Can you please tell me where I can find a recipe for this version?
There many ways to make a lemon tart. Often, the pastry is filled with sticky lemon butter. Sometimes the filling is a baked lemon custard that includes eggs, sugar, cream and lemon juice. Try the following recipe.
Baked lemon tart
You need a lift-out flan tin, about 24 cm diameter. Also some foil.
Serves about 8
A 30 cm square sheet of sweet pastry about 3 mm thick
4 eggs (55 g)
1 cup caster sugar
Finely grated rind of 1 medium lemon
½ cup cream
1/2 cup lemon juice
Icing sugar, for dusting
Preheat oven to 160°C.
Line the flan tin with pastry, then prick the pastry gently with a fork. Press a sheet of foil out over the pastry and into the corners, then bake in the preheated oven for about 15 minutes. Remove the foil and continue cooking until the pastry is a light brown colour.
Meanwhile, in a bowl, combine the eggs, sugar, grated lemon rind and cream. Mix in the lemon juice. Pour the preparation into the baked pastry shell and bake in the preheated oven for about 20 minutes or until the centre of the custard appears to have just set. Allow the tart to cool before carefully un-moulding.
A short while before serving, sprinkle the top generously with icing sugar. Place under a hot grill for 1 to 2 minutes to melt the icing sugar and give the top of the tart a lovely glaze.
Slice and serve.
How do you insure filo pastry remains crisp when it cools for both sweet and savoury dishes? Mine always goes soggy.
Yes, mine often goes soggy too because the layers of filo pastry are so thin that any contact with moisture affects it quickly. Try to minimise the moisture in the fillings; for example, squeeze all the moisture out of spinach, or brown minced meat, to expel excess water. It’s best to cook the filo as late as possible before serving.
When making a quiche, what is the best herb to use to minimise the egg flavour without compromising the dish?
If you make a traditional quiche Lorraine, adding chopped parsley will help. You can also add spring onion (shallot) or dill, or add more bacon or grated cheese, such as gruyère or parmesan.
How do you make a cheese frosting to top a carrot cake? Mine never turns out, but the cake is good, so it deserves a topping!
Try this: Soften 125g cream cheese to room temperature and beat in 25g of soft butter, 1 tsp vanilla essence (or 1 tbsp finely grated lemon zest) and 2 cups of sifted icing sugar. Mix until smooth. Spread the icing over the cake and refrigerate.
Featured Food & Recipes
- Andhra curry leaf chicken
- Fish head curry (gulai kepala ikan)
- Roast capsicum sauce (salsa de pimiento)
- Spiced pork skewers (pintxos morunos)
- Linzer torte
- Cauliflower and cavolo nero rice pie
- Indian chicken korma
- Lemon meringue tart with blueberry jelly
- Warm salad of rare roasted venison with celeriac, pear and red cabbage
- Best end of lamb with eggplant caviar and a fricassee of sweetbreads, chorizo and anchovy
The hotness of the thousands of varieties of chillies is determined by the amount of capsaicin present in the fleshy material attached to the seeds. If you want to lessen the intensity of the chilli, remove the seeds and membranes, making sure not to touch them with your fingers. Generally speaking, the smaller the chilli, the hotter it is.
Black beans (feijão) and white rice form the basis of the staple 'plate' in Brazil and depending on where you're from, it is likely to be either black or brown beans. Black beans are one of the key ingredients in the national dish, 'feijoada'.