Thai style: Soft-shell crab with sriracha hot sauce. Photo: Katherine Griffiths
I'm constantly coming across references to sriracha chilli sauce when looking at American/Mex recipes. Where can I source it? J. Argall
This is a Thai-style chilli sauce, the most famous being the version made by Huy Fong foods in Southern California. A US judge recently rejected a council ruling to close down the plant after neighbours complained the processing of hot chillis was burning their eyes and throats. Kate Gibbs wrote in these pages that Vietnamese-American David Tran's take on Asian chilli sauce now produces 20 million bottles a year: ''The smooth sauce is not overly acidic and consists mainly of chilli, sugar, salt and garlic.'' Huy Fong and other brands of sriracha sauce are available in almost every Asian grocer and some supermarkets. Woolworths online sells 440-millilitre bottles of Hot Cock Sriracha Sauce Chilli.
I have made an old family tradition Christmas pudding in a rag and am not sure how to dry it properly. L. Jones
I would hazard a bet and say you are from Queensland, as many east coast Australians refer to the fabric around a pudding as a ''pudding cloth'' but Banana Benders use the term ''rag''. I once ruined a Christmas dinner with a mouldy boiled-in-the-cloth pudding because I didn't let it dry properly. Since that day, I have returned to the family tradition of using a ceramic bowl. Michael Jameson, of Pudding Lane in Newcastle, will make 100,000 puddings in cloth by Christmas Day this year. He says the trick to drying the puddings is to hang them as soon as they leave the pot. While an 800-gram pudding might take just 24 hours to dry, a larger pudding can require a week or so. Jameson says it is important the atmosphere where you dry the pudding is not moist, so avoid areas such as kitchens, bathrooms and laundries. "Many people hang them under the eaves of the verandah," he says. "Then there are those who cheat and dry them with a hair dryer." The most important part of a pudding in a cloth to get dry is the neck where they cloth is gathered, as this is quite thick and can remain moist. After that store it in a cool, dry place or, if you're in the tropics, try the fridge.
Any suggestions what to do with feijoas, besides leaving them at the front gate so people can take them for free? N. Schwalb
I recently watched with great sadness as a neighbouring Edwardian home was bulldozed, along with the garden orchard out back. Plums trees, lemons and feijoas were ''blitzed'' to make way for a concrete courtyard. Feijoas are the fruit of a South American tree, a cousin of the guava, and have rough skin and smooth pasty flesh that is incredibly aromatic, not super sweet, and can be pleasantly astringent. Eat feijoas fresh from the tree on a warm day and scoop out the flesh with a spoon. Mix it with yoghurt or even a little goat's cheese for breakfast. Make a glaze for roast pork: Peel half a dozen and cook them with half their weight in sugar to make a glaze for roasting pork. Run through a sieve to remove the seeds. Or peel a bowl full and cook gently with an equal weight in sugar, push through a sieve and pour into sterilised jars. You now have delicious feijoa jam. As they don't travel well, feijoas rarely make the markets and I fear this delicious fruit is disappearing.
I had a dinner party and cooked a Thai chicken curry with coriander. One of the guests, the new partner of a friend, couldn't eat it as they said they don't like coriander. How can anyone not like coriander? L. Ferrier
We all experience food differently and, as a result, we have different food preferences. If you have ever been to a wedding, you will know men prefer beef and women chicken, or is that the other way around? Twenty per cent of people are less sensitive to bitterness than the rest of the population. Up to 20 per cent of the population have olfactory receptors that detect aldehydes in coriander that make coriander taste soapy. When cooking to please other people, sometimes we need to walk a mile in their shoes.
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