Why do Mexicans refry their beans?

Despite the name, Mexican-style refried beans  are only fried once.
Despite the name, Mexican-style refried beans are only fried once. Photo: Marina Oliphant

 Refried beans with chorizo

Why do Mexicans "refry" their beans? K. Valente

They don't. They never have. They instead are over-enthusiastic in their use of prefixes in language. They will add the prefix "re" to emphasise a point. While the Spanish will use the verb quemar to describe heating something, the Mexicans will add the prefix "re" to make "requemar" to really hammer the point home. Same with beans. Frijoles refritos doesn't mean the beans are refried. They are boiled and then fried – but not fried twice.

Raspberry fool is a simple and delicious summer dessert.
Raspberry fool is a simple and delicious summer dessert. Photo: Michele Round

How do I make a fruit fool? V. Entwistle

The simplest and most delicious summer dessert, fool is a dish of cooked and mashed fruit mixed with cream that has its roots in the Middle Ages. In The Oxford Companion to Food, Alan Davidson writes that the dish's name comes from Old French fouler meaning "to mash", although this is debated by Wikipedia. I trust Alan. It is an English dish that is often made with acidic fruit such as gooseberries, raspberries or rhubarb.

Take 700 grams of fresh fruit (gooseberries, blackberries, raspberries, rhubarb, apple and or red currants), trim off stems and stalks and discard any bruised fruit. Add 150 grams of sugar and simmer for 30 minutes. Blend to a puree and sieve. Allow to cool, then refrigerate. Take 700 millilitres of double cream and whip until stiff. Gently fold the pureed fruit through the cream to give an uneven appearance – like a dessert version of Venetian paper. Serve cold and eat immediately.

Low and slow: Scrambled eggs on toast.
Low and slow: Scrambled eggs on toast. Photo: Shuttershock

Why are my scrambled eggs watery? D. White

There is no need to be embarrassed about your watery scrambled eggs. It happens to the best of us at times. You need to relax and slow down. Don't rush making your scrambled eggs. Take your eggs, gently beat them with a fork. Add a tablespoon or so of milk and add it to the eggs. Melt some butter in a pan over a low heat. Allow to bubble. Pour in the eggs. Move about with a rubber spatula. When the eggs are set but still glossy remove from heat, serve and season. If you cook your eggs too fast the proteins in the albumen tighten up into little coils and squeeze the liquid out of the eggs as opposed to holding it all together like a solid custard. Cook low and slow and you'll never have watery scrambled eggs again.

My milk kefir has gone fizzy. Is that normal? P. McLachlan

Having grown up on a dairy farm, the idea of drinking a fizzy milk drink for most of my life had my stomach churning. Now I slam fizzy milk kefir down like a tequila shot. I was quite ill recently and had a massive dose of antibiotics. My infection disappeared but my guts were like lead. A wonderful friend from the country arrived with some kefir to kickstart my gut bugs. Milk kefir is an acidic-alcoholic fermented milk product that results from introducing milk to a particular Scoby (a symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast) made up of a wonderful mix of Lactobacilli, Streptococci and Saccharomyces cultures. These "bugs" make carbon dioxide as they go about their business and this forms the bubbles.

Send your vexing culinary conundrums to brainfood@richardcornish.com.au or tweet to @Realbrainfood.

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