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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

  • Using Vanilla Paste

    I would like to use vanilla paste instead of vanilla extract. Please can you tell me how to convert the extract amount to a paste amount? Thank you.

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  • White Sauce Splitting

    Twice recently making a lasagne and a fish pie my white sauce curdled in the oven. I can't understand why. I've been making these dishes for years and have never had curdled sauce. I do add cheese to the sauce for both dishes. Could you help please? Kind regards, Ilona.

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  • Ingredients for Ice Cream

    I've finally got myself the ice cream maker attachment for my Kitchen Aid. I'm about to go beyond the no churn varities (although the No Churn Pina Colada Ice Cream will always be a favourite) and start making some recipes from Forever Summer. Can you please help me out with descriptions of some of the ingrediants that I'm not familer with? Is vin santo a sweet wine or more a sherry? Are cantuccini biscuits like an almond biscotti or would amaretti biscuits be a good substitute? What are Dime bars? Thank you so much.

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  • Lemon Polenta Cake

    Hi Team Nigella! I love the Lemon Polenta Cake. Am wondering if it is possible to substitute the butter with extra virgin olive oil (for both taste and health reasons)? If so, how much? Many thanks!

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  • Creme Patissiere

    I have been looking at recipes for creme patissiere (to make a traditional tarte aux fraises) but would very much like to know why some recipes use flour & cornflour whereas others use one or the other. As a cook and as a scientist can you tell me why this is. Thanks very much for your help. Joalex

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  • Vanilla Extract in Italy

    Dear Nigella, first of all congratulations for your books! I am Italian and have some of your books in Italian and also in English. I like the way you talk the reader through your recipes and I have tried some of them and always had great success with family & friends! However in Italy it is not possible to buy the vanilla extract that you usually use in your recipes; you can only find the chemical vanilla powder (called "VANILLINA") but it is really unhealthy and "depressing" to use! You can find vanilla pods but they are quite expensive that's why I'd like to know if you can suggest anywhere where I can buy a bottle of vanilla extract? Thank you very much and all the best from Italy! Debora

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  • Flaming Alcohol when Cooking

    When making a lobster bisque you have to add brandy and then burn it off. After that you add the stock and let the soup simmer and reduce. My question is why you have to burn the brandy? If you don't burn it the alcohol then it will evaporate while simmering. So I don't see the point of burning the brandy - why do it?

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  • Baked Custard

    I regularly make a baked custard, they all turn out well but I have a problem as the leftover custard tends to weep (I seem to get a lot of water in the dish with the leftover custard). I bake the custard in a Pyrex dish in the oven for the correct time. I use 3 eggs and 1 pint of milk, a couple of tablspoons sugar, a little salt and I sprinkle nutmeg on the top. Have you any suggestions that may help me? Thanks, Tommy.

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