James Martin answers your questions with Madhur Jaffrey and Bill Granger
James is joined by Madhur Jaffery and Bill Granger to discuss tips on cookie making, why butter is better and how to season without salt. This coming Saturday Matt Tebbutt is presenting Saturday Kitchen - do ask him any questions in time for the show.
Here's a summary of the questions answered in the video clip:
meemsbradley: How do I stop my cookies merging in to one big lump of gloop? They start off in nice little circles but always merge on the baking tray. What am I doing wrong?
Bill Granger: I think they often spread because the mixture is too warm.
James Martin: That could be good a good thing because you’ll have a big massive one!
Bill Granger: Yeah a giant cookie! Roll the mixture into little balls and pop it into the fridge before you cook it. That will keep them in a nice shape. Or roll a log, refrigerate it and slice biscuits off.
James Martin: The thing about cookie dough is that it keeps well in the fridge so you can actually cut it all up, roll it into little balls and bake them as and when you want.
Madhur Jaffrey: And don’t put it too close together, obviously.
John Shropshire: You always seem to favour butter over low-fat spreads - why is this please?
James Martin: I’m not going to answer that because I know the answer!
Madhur Jaffrey: It’s the taste, the flavour. It’s a hundred times better than anything else you could put on it.
Bill Granger: To me, it’s so much better to use a natural product. Just have a bit less. If you’re worried about the fat content, just have half the amount.
James Martin: You can use oils - rapeseed oil and stuff like that - but if it’s stuff that should have butter in it, like puff pastry and things like that…
Bill Granger: Or put a bit at the end. Don’t cook with it; then you’ll get the flavour without using as much.
Julie: One of my favourite desserts is crème brulée. Do you have any ideas for a bit of a twist to the basic recipe?
Madhur Jaffrey: I grind cardamom and put that in the mix. At the end you can put a few mangos on the outside. You could put a little mango purée in too; push it in with a syringe.
James Martin: I think crème brulée needs strong flavours. Coffee, ginger, passion fruit…
Bill Granger: Even coconut. Substitute a little of your regular cream with coconut cream and you get a slight coconut flavour.
ChilliGillie: This year for the first time I have grown tomatoes and am absolutely delighted with the abundance I now have. I have already made lots of concentrated tomato sauce which I have frozen ready for adding to many recipes. I have also made some tomato and chilli relish/chutney. Do you have any recipes for different chutneys including tomatoes that I can make now and store until nearer Christmas to eat with cold meats and cheeses?
Madhur Jaffrey: I have an abundance of tomatoes too.
James Martin: Would you use green tomatoes?
Madhur Jaffrey: No ripe red tomatoes. Put them in the blender, blend them, strain to make a purée. In your pan, put a little oil, fennel seeds, cumin seeds and put all your chilli in – chilli powder – and a little grated ginger. Cook it down and you have wonderful chilli chutney.
kathryn: Please can you recommend a seasoning that I can use instead of salt? I just cannot cope with it in my food.
Bill Granger: Spices? A little bit of soy, mirin… Japanese flavours.
James Martin: I think people are put off by salt because they hear a lot in the press. Personally I think it’s down to the table salt. You know the fine crystals? The tendency is if you use Maldon or a Cornish sea salt - any good sea salt - it’s stronger than normal salt with a better flavour. So you use less of it.
Madhur Jaffrey: And sprinkle it at the end so it’s sitting on the top and your tongue tastes it and it takes away that need for salt.
James Martin: Obviously we need salt in our diet, but not too much.
Bill Granger: And if you’re eating fresh food, you’re not getting processed food and that’s an important thing.
James Martin is the presenter of BBC One's Saturday Kitchen. Chefs Madhur Jaffrey and Bill Granger joined him in the studio on Saturday 18 September.