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James Martin answers your questions with Glynn Purnell and Kenny Atkinson

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James Martin James Martin | 09:00 UK time, Wednesday, 15 September 2010

Welcome to this week's Saturday Kitchen Q&A. Thanks again for all your questions - do keep 'em coming in time for this week's show!

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Here's a summary of the questions answered in the video clip:

Jacquie: I'm a great fan of roast beef and Yorkshire pudding, but I always have problems with my beef. I've bought a piece of top rump from a local supermarket (on offer!) in the hope that it will turn out good this time. I can never seem to get it the right sort of pinkness and tender. Please help a Yorkshire ex-pat!

James Martin: Top rump is not the greatest thing to go for.
Glynn Purnell: I think it's the wrong cut really for roasting if you want a nice pink roast and you want to cut it nice and thin. I would use top rump for grilled steaks to be honest with you, and serve it with salad.
James Martin: So that's a 'no' to the cut then.
Kenny Atkinson: You're best paying a little bit extra and getting striploin or sirloin. It makes a much better roast.
James Martin: Or a nice rib joint. Well, she is from Yorkshire - she likes a good bargain! Sorry about that!

Lucy: My son wanted to grow cucumbers, so now I'm overrun with them. Please could you tell me a good recipe for pickling or preserving them?

Kenny Atkinson: I would chop them up, get a little bit of salt on them and get rid of any excess water by letting them drain in a colander. Add some nice sweet white wine vinegar and leave them to marinate.
James Martin: Sometimes I put peppercorns in.
Glynn Purnell: A few spices too. Fenugreek is good with it, or some of the more unusual seeds.
James Martin: What about doing something like gherkins?
Glynn Purnell: Yes that would be nice. Do it with malt vinegar, a bit of muscovado or other brown sugar with a few spices and then just let them marinate. Stick them on Jacquie's steak!

Francesco1sun: How long can I safely store dried ingredients like lentils and split peas? I love to use these, but as I live alone I don't use large quantities.
Kenny Atkinson: You're best off getting a Kilner jar from a supermarket. You can get sealed bags as well. I wouldn't keep them for anything longer than three months to be honest.
Glynn Purnell: Kilner jars are nice if you've got a nice big kitchen and you can have them all on a rack and they look good as well.
James Martin: The key is not to leave them for too long.
Glynn Purnell: I would say three to six months.
James Martin: If you're going to put them in Kilner jars for presentation purposes, I would take the sell by date off the packet and sellotape it underneath.

Lavoisier2: When you want to coat or dip something (like sablé biscuit) in chocolate, do you need to use a specific type of chocolate, or perhaps add cocoa butter to thin it? Because whenever I try to temper chocolate, the resulting 'liquid' is always far too thick, and so is the coating I end up with.

Kenny Atkinson: You need to go for a dark chocolate, a really bitter chocolate. Tempering is a tricky thing to do.
Glynn Purnell: If you want to temper stuff and get the right temperature, you get, say, 100g of chocolate, melt it down so it gets quite hot and have 100g of cold, chopped chocolate. Pour it in, take it off the heat. By the time it's melted it should be about the right sort of temperature.
James Martin: With tempering, what we're talking about is that when you heat chocolate, the fat separates from the chocolate. To get that back (if you're creating Easter eggs or stuff like that) and you want a nice shiny texture to your chocolate, you have to heat it up and cool it down to exact temperatures and then heat it back up again.
Glynn Purnell: Otherwise it becomes a matt colour.
James Martin: And you get streaky lines in it. Like when your bar of chocolate's been in the glove box of the car for too long!
Glynn Purnell: They call it blooming.
James Martin: I think you're just making that up!

James Martin is the presenter of BBC One's Saturday Kitchen. Chefs Glynn Purnell and Kenny Atkinson joined him in the studio on Saturday 11 September.

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