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.
What is a great spicy recipe for a slow cooker? I like all sorts of food.
Try this: In a bowl, mix 1 chopped onion, 2 chopped garlic cloves, 1 tbsp grated ginger, 2 tbsp Madras curry powder, 1 tsp ground black pepper, 1 tsp gound cumin and 1 tbsp plain flour. Add 1 kg of cubed beef from the shin and combine the meat with the spices. Mix in 3 diced tomatoes and 200g baby mushrooms. Season with salt, place in a slow cooker, and cook for several hours according to slow cooker instructions. Just before serving, stir in some chilli paste and chopped coriander leaves.
Thirty years ago, while backpacking through Eastern Europe, I came across a raw minced meat dish that was confronting, but delicious. I would like to savour this again, but in the comfort of my home. Can you forward any recipes you may have?
I think you are referring to beef tartare. Finely cut 200g of eye fillet into very small cubes (about 4mm) and place in the fridge. In a bowl, combine 1 egg yolk with: 1 tsp Dijon mustard; 1tbsp finely chopped onion; 1 tsp chopped capers; 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce; 1 tsp ketchup; 2 drops Tabasco sauce; 1 tbsp olive oil; and 1 tbsp chopped parsley. Mix in the chopped meat and serve immediately.
When cooking most kinds of meat, I find that it stews, even when not crowding the pan, and with the pan heated. Is this because of the way meat is packaged or processed now? Is there any way around this problem or should I just buy dry aged meat from a butcher?
When pan-frying meat, make sure the pan is hot before adding a little oil and the steak. Cook on high heat and don’t move the steak around in the pan for at least 2 minutes. Also, make sure you use a burner large enough for the size of the pan. Cast-iron pans keep the heat better when cooking red meat.
What do you know about chia seeds? I’ve bought a packet as they’re hailed as a superfood, but how should I best use them?
Chia is a grain that has been eaten for centuries. It's recommended as a food rich in omega 3 fatty acids and is a good source of protein, fibre and contains essentials mineral (calcium, potassium, sodium). I have used it in making biscuits and cakes, such as carrot cake. Just add a tablespoon or two of chia seeds to standard recipes. Most of all, I have used it in my muesli. It is also often used in bread making.
How can I make cheesy polenta chips? I tried some recently at a restaurant and fell in love.
It's fairly simple to make polenta chips. First, cook the polenta according to the packet instructions. Mix in 2 or 3 tablespoons of grated parmesan or gruyere cheese. Spread the cheesy polenta with a spatula to a thickness of about 15 mm on an oiled sheet of baking paper. Refrigerate for 2 hours or, if you can, overnight. Preheat oven to 220°C. Cut the polenta into chip shapes, brush top with a little oil and bake for 10 minutes. then turn the chips over and cook for about 10 minutes more until brown and crisp.
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