My fried eggs always stick – even in a non-stick frying pan. Y. Richards
Egg white is incredibly sticky and persistent. "As sticky as a real estate agent at an open for inspection," as a relative used to say. Egg white is so adhesive it was used to hold the pigment onto the canvases of Renaissance masterpieces and is still sticking on 500 years later. What is really frustrating is the way it works its way into tiny scratches in non-stick frying pans and hardens.
Try this trick. Line the frying pan with a square of baking paper and place the pan over medium heat. When hot, add a small pat of butter or a little olive oil to the paper and crack the eggs directly onto the paper. Cover with a lid. When done, slide off using an egg flip. You won't get crisp edges, but you will get a perfectly cooked egg and a frying pan that just needs rinsing in hot water when cool enough to handle.
Why do my sultanas smell funny? P. Turner
Thank you for mailing me the samples. I think your envelope may have gone through an Australia Post sorting machine and flattened the fruit, which led me to think I had been sent some scatological hate mail. Again. I had a sniff and I reckon you're using sultanas that have been sprayed with vegetable oil. A lot of the supermarket home brand dried fruit is sprayed with oil to prevent sticking. When exposed to air, the oil oxidises and can become rancid. It's not harmful, but it is unappetising. If you want untreated dried fruit, try Middle Eastern grocers – they generally carry really good quality nuts and dried fruit.
I made a terrine in a food processor and it turned out crumbly. T. Riles
Terrines are held together by the protein that is released from the meat as you work it together. Heat will set this protein, preferably in the bain-marie as you cook it. Great charcutiers always refrigerate their ingredients and treat their terrine mix gently as they want to avoid friction that could prematurely set the protein. Fast-moving food processors can create friction, so when it comes to terrines make them slow and cold.
Why does sugar come in cubes? K. Dempsy
When the Portuguese arrived in what would become Rio de Janeiro, they named the rock above Guanabara Bay "Pao de Acucar" or Sugarloaf Mountain because it looked like, well, a loaf of sugar. Until the mid-1800s tea drinkers around the world who liked their tea sweet would take a pair of metal tongs to their hard lump of sugar and break off a lump to add to their beverage. In 1843 a sugar maker in what is now the Czech Republic responded to a customer's request and dissolved loaf sugar then dried the liquid sugar in square moulds. In 1875 Henry Tate developed a technique in which sugar was made in large blocks, which was then sawn into cubes. Square cubes are easy to pack and ship, making them popular with manufacturers.