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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

  • Heating Christmas Pudding

    We're making Nigella's Christmas pudding this year but we will be taking it to my new daughter-in-law's parents for Christmas Day. There will be a crowd so the hostess doesn't want a pudding steaming away for the final stage of cooking when she's got so much else to do. Should we do the final stage of steaming beforehand and re-heat with microwave on the day? If so, for how long and at what temperature? Any helpful suggestions would be much appreciated. Molly,Mid-Wales  

    On Christmas Day could I microwave the pudding rather than steaming for 3 hours? Laurence 1.

    I've always wondered why Christmas pudding has to be steamed again on Christmas day. Why can't it be gently reheated in the oven while we're all eating the turkey? I've just made the ultimate Christmas Pudding, which smells wonderful with the lovely sherry, and it's now steaming for five hours. Can I steam it for eight hours and then reheat in the oven? (I realise this email won't be answered while my pudding is steaming now, but I would be interested in knowing. I will follow the instructions as given.) Thank you, Christine.  

    For Christmas lunch I do not have a spare hob to further steam the pud. If after previously steaming for 8 hourat what setting can I microwave the pudding for, and how many minutes. Thanks.   

    I have made the CHristmas Pudding and am slightly nervous. The pudding rose during the first five hour steaming to make contact with the lid of the pudding basin: virtually no room left in the bowl for further expansion. Now, when cooled, the pudding has receded into the basin once more and has sucked the lid down with it. Should I release the vacuum that has formed, or leave it? Will the pudding regain its rather spectacular dimensions on Christmas day when it is due a further three hours of steaming? I'm slightly concerned that it looked really light and fluffy during initial steaming (for a Christmas pudding) and that now it has shrunk, it looks a lot heavier. Any expertise greatly appreciated. Dornfield.

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  • Chestnut Chocolate Pots Not Setting

    I have made Nigella's Chestnut Chocolate Pots and they haven't set. They have been in the fridge for 3 hours and are not as expected. What have I dont wrong? Thank you

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  • Clementine Cake Queries

    Hello Nigella Team! I was making the Clementine Cake and having just finished blitzing boiled fruit in food processor. I am using mandarins and have tasted the skin and fruit before going ahead and it is extremely bitter, sour and inedible. The mandarins were frozen for a week and then defrosted in the fridge for 1 day (not sure if this would affect them). Is this ok? Thank you for your help!

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  • Star Topped Mince Pies

    Hi, I am going to make Nigella's Star Topped Mince Pies using the Cranberry-Studded Mincemeat and I just wondered if Pedro Ximenez sherry or cognac would work instead of using the ruby port stated in the recipe? Thank you!  

    Hi Nigella and team, I was interested in making these mince pies but was unsure of where to get the cranberries from. It states 300 grams of cranberries and later says to use 30 grams of dried cranberries. When using the 300 grams are these fresh cranberries? Could I use frozen as I am not sure where to purchase fresh and if these are also unavailable what could I use alternatively? Thanks for your help Michelle

    Hi I'm wanting to make these pies this Christmas but I don't have a food processor. Is there any way I can make this pastry by hand? Thanks Nigella Team, love your work! Swil1020.  

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  • Freezing Panettone Stuffing Squares

    Hello, and Happy Holidays! Is it possible to make and freeze the stuffing squares now and serve it on Christmas? I've never made a stuffing this far in advance, nor have I ever frozen one! I'm mainly concerned about the chestnuts, i.e. how well they will freeze and thaw. Thank you so much! Allan

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  • Keeping Chocolate Fruit Cake

    How long can you keep Nigella's Chocolate Christmas Cake once once you have cut into it?

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  • Christmas Chocolate Cookies

    I would like to make cookies for Christmas using Nigella's Christmas Chocolate Biscuits recipe. Can I drizzle a little melted butter on the cookies about 5 minutes before they finish baking to add a little more buttery taste to them? Thank you, Alysson. 

    How do I adapt the Chocolate Mint Cookies recipe to make 200 cookies? These are for a work Christmas party. Thank you.

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  • Chili Jam Queries

    I have made the Chilli Jam and it tastes divine but is too liquid. What can I do to make it set?  

    I have made the Chilli Jam and it still tastes of vinegar. Does it need to be boiled for longer? Thanks.

    I live in Mumbai and have no access to Jam Sugar or Pectin. I really want to make the chilli jam - is there anything else I can use? Poojitrix.

    How long does the Chilli Jam last for?

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