Spring onion, shallot or eschalot? And which part to use?

Grilled tomato, garlic and shallot dip.
Grilled tomato, garlic and shallot dip. Photo: David Reist

Which part of a spring onion should I use?  B. Doherty

Dear Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, once you have solved the national energy crises can you please turn your attention to a truly vexing question: spring onion, shallot or eschalot? Can you please find a national name for the long, thin green onions that you chop up and put in salad or find in the middle of banh mi? It should have been worked out at Federation.

Now, B. Doherty, once you've trimmed the roots off, removed some of the harder, outer leaves, rinsed and dried your tasty green allium you can use all of it. They are best used raw and don't benefit much from long cooking, so are most suitable in stir fries. The bulbous root is sharper taste-wise than the green stem. Interestingly, the green stem doesn't contain the same fermentable sugars as the bulb so can be eaten by some people on a low-FODMAP diet. 

 Sweet treat: Honey can be used to make a bee sting cake.

Sweet treat: Honey can be used to make a bee sting cake.

How did bee sting cakes get their name? S. Moon

Bee stings are rather delicious yeast cakes, topped with crunchy slivered almonds and honey and filled with custard cream. The recipe origins in Germany, where it is called bienenstich or "bee sting". There are two stories linked to the name; one involves bees attracted to the caramelised honey on top, while another involves bakers in the 1400s lobbing beehives at a neighbouring village and baking a new cake to celebrate.

Research found an old English word "beesting'' or "bisnings" in Northamptonshire dialect for colostrum. This rich first milk of a cow after calving was collected and sweetened, dusted with cinnamon and served as a cream custard like dessert. Interesting.

Rich chocolate affogato.

Rich chocolate affogato. Photo: Edwina Pickles

When I order affogato from the cafe the ice-cream stays frozen but when I make it at home the ice-cream melts. Why is this? 

I did some measurements for you in my own home freezer using my laser thermometer. The cream cheese icing (minus 2 degrees), chicken stock (minus 3 degrees), peas (minus 2.5 degrees) and dried yeast (1.5 degrees) were all stored near the door of the freezer. The shoulder of hogget and gummy shark were both minus 6 degrees, a 10-year-old's cooking experiment minus 7 degrees and some apple and rhubarb from my neighbour minus 6.5 degrees. In comparison, most commercial kitchen freezers run at minus 18 degrees to minus 20 degrees.

Many domestic freezers, like mine, are virtually tropical compared to the industrial ones. Some domestic freezers do keep temperatures as low as commercial freezers, but they don't have the greater freezing capacity. If your freezer is anything like mine, you'll have more luck making an iced coffee than an affogato.