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Kitchen Queries

Welcome to Kitchen Queries, where the nigella.com team will answer your cooking or food related questions.  We’d love you to submit some of your recipe problems, dilemmas or queries for us to get our teeth into!

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Please note, we are only able to answer questions selected for publication and aren't able to enter into personal correspondence.

Latest Queries

  • Preventing Pastry Shrinkage

    How do you prevent pastry from shrinking when cooked? I refrigerated the pastry before rolling it out. I refrigerated it again after rolling it out and putting it in the pie tin but it still shrank when cooked. It happened to my savoury shortcrust and my sweet shortcrust pastry.

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  • Help with Buttermilk Birthday Cake

    I want to make my daughter a cake in the shape of a butterfly for her 3rd birthday and would really like to use Nigella's Buttermilk Birthday Cake recipe (Domestic Goddess, p210) and cut it to shape myself rather than use a butterfly shaped tin. I have had mixed results with this cake in the past and I suspect that the tin size may be the issue. I was planning to use two sandwich tins instead of the 23cm square tin but what diameter should these be? Alternatively if I wanted to use one round tin instead of a square one, again what diameter should this be? Finally, can you also please confirm what temperature and cooking time should be used for a fan oven? Any advice would be very much appreciated, thank you!

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  • Real Mixed Peel

    I'm preparing to make Nigella's Black Cake for Christmas from the Domestic Godess (p250), but the recipe asks for real mixed peel. I've looked in the shops but can only find the peel in tubs which Niegella doesn't recommend. Can I buy real mixed peel or does it have to be made?

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  • How To Make Crispy Cream Puffs?

    I need to make some cream puffs to serve in big batches, and I will need to fill the cream puffs ahead of time before actually serving. Is there an ingredient that I can add that will work to keep the cream puff shells crispy for several hours? I notice that my cream puffs tend to be soft after 1 hour of filling. I have found that Big Papa's cream puffs do remain crispy after several hours of filling.

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  • Lamb Shanks with Beans

    Yesterday I made Lamb Shanks with Beans from Nigella Express (p117). Having followed the recipe to the T, my Mum & I were disapointed. The beans & sauce were gorgeous but my lamb shanks were tough (didn't fall off the bone & sinew etc still left on entire bone) and very little meat on it. My Shanks did not resemble the photo in the book. It was really a bit if hard work eating it! My questions are: 1) Is there a particular season for Lamb Shank? 2) Should I have done something to the shank before marinating it eg: cleaned it, trimmed? 3) Was I just unfortunate that I didn't get a Lamb shank with meat on it? I would love to do this recipe again for when my sister comes home on holidays in two weeks time so any suggestions on how I can get it right would be great. Thank you.

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  • Using Turkey in High-Speed Hamburgers

    Can I substitute turkey mince for beef mince in Nigella's High Speed Burgers (Nigella Express, p145)?

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  • Hung Cheese as Substitute for Cream Cheese?

    I have seen many recipies for making cheese cakes and I would love to make one. Unfortunately where I live I can't get the main ingredient of cream cheese. I read somewhere that cream cheese can be replaced by hung curd. Can you please tell me whether it's true or not or if you can suggest something else?

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  • Lily's Scones

    Hello - I made the Lily's Scones last night (Domestic Goddess, p67) and although I'm sure I followed the recipe there was definitely something wrong. Firstly there seemed to be too much butter (I didn't have Trex so substituted with 75g butter as per the book) and then when I added the 300ml milk the mix went really soupy - not like a dough at all. I added enough flour to make a dough and the scones seemed fine when they went into the oven but when they came out they were pretty horrible. Seemed really yellow and soda-y - is it really four-and-a-half teaspoons of cream of tartar? I usually eat my mistakes but I couldn't eat these! I hate throwing food away, but these did go into the bin. I checked the website for errata but there didn't seem to be a section? Maybe I missed it. Thanks in advance for any light you can shed! 

    I have recently started using How To Be A Domestic Goddess, but am unsure about the ingredients for Lily's scones. The recipe says to use 25g Trex (or use another 75g butter). Does this mean that one replaces 25g of Trex with 75g butter, so that a total of 125g butter is used? Or should it say use another 25g of butter? It didn't seem logical to replace 25g of one fat for 75g of another fat, but I did not wish to assume! Charlesworth

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