These expert tips will help you achieve the perfect balance of flavours.
30 May 2013 - 5:51 PM  UPDATED 6 Sep 2013 - 9:31 AM

Waxy versus floury potatoes

Waxy potatoes tend to hold their shape and remain firm and compact when boiled. Floury potatoes become fluffy and airy inside and are best used for baking, roasting, mashing and deep-frying. Due to their low sugar content they tend to fall apart when boiled.

Potato storage

Store in a thick brown paper bag, in a cool, dry, dark place. Discard any potatoes that have developed a green tinge, indicating a rise of (potentially dangerous) solanine levels. Opt for unwashed potatoes where possible, as the dirt protects the potatoes.

What to look for in fresh fish

Seek out fish that have firm flesh, clear bulging eyes and a slimy texture - a sign that the last time they had contact with the water was when they were swimming in it (by dry-filleting fish, you avoid bloating and any taint from chemicals such as chlorine).

Choosing and prepping asparagus

Choose asparagus with tight, well-formed heads and avoid any with thin woody, dry and dirty stems. Snap off the woody end of the asparagus by holding the spear in the middle and bend the bottom until it finds its natural snapping point. Discard the woody ends, or use in a stock.

Berry soup

Slowly cook a variety of berries to make a berry soup dessert. In Finland, the stewed fruit is often thickened with a little cornstarch or potato starch.

Soaking a claypot

Before cooking with a claypot, soak it in water (which is absorbed into the pores of the clay). As the pot heats up in the oven, the water will evaporate, producing steam, and this will prevent the food from drying out.