Asian Recipes

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The Unrivaled Practical Guide for Asian Cooking

Is it safe to use foil for cooking and storing every kind of food?

In general, yes, perfectly safe. But acid in food can eat into foil, so if you are wrapping, say, a fruit cake laced with spirits, oiling the foil or wrapping the food in greaseproof paper first will prevent this. All food for freezing should be wrapped tightly in foil so it is completely airtight.

Foil should not be used in the microwave, but is fine for using in conventional ovens, when you can put either side, matt or shiny, next to the food. Foil can be used to protect food from burning: for instance, place a piece over the head and tail of a fish, or the breast of a bird, while it is being baked or roasted. If you are wrapping food in foil for cooking, seal the parcel tightly but leave it loose to allow the air inside to circulate and cook the food evenly. And do not stretch foil tight across the top of a dish: put a pleat in the top to allow for expansion.

11:19:03 on 11/20/06 by Webmaster - Questions and Answers -

Pastry turns out very dense when made with wholemeal flour. Is there anything that could be done to make the texture lighter?

The fiber and bran in wholemeal flour, which add a nutty flavor to short crust pastry, also make it absorb more water, which produces a closer texture than pastry made with plain white flour. By combining white flour with wholemeal, either half and half or up to a quarter white and three-quarters wholemeal, you retain the wholemeal flavor but the dough is more manageable and easier to roll out.

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10:25:39 on 11/20/06 by Webmaster - Questions and Answers -

Which type of flour should we choose for home baking?

Plain flour can be used for short crust pastry, sauces and gravies which do not need a rising agent. Self-raising flour includes baking powder, and is best for most cakes, buns, scones and puddings. It gives a better lift than a homemade mix of plain flour and baking powder, though that is suitable for mixes with eggs or egg whites, which encourage rising.

Gluten is a protein in flour that develops and becomes more elastic as the dough is kneaded. Strong flour has a large amount of protein, needed for pasta and bread making.

Use sponge or continental flour, which has less gluten, for light cakes and pastries. Sponges, cakes and scones made with soft, fine flour have a more delicate texture.

07:21:49 on 11/20/06 by Webmaster - Questions and Answers -