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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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  • Measurements in Recipes

    Hi, I have a question about the quantities of meat in the recipes in Nigella's book 'Kitchen'. When it says for example 500g chicken thigh fillets (no skin or bones), does this 500g include the bones? Also, is there an substitute for allspice? If not, where could I find it? And last question, where could I find a bouqet garni, or can I make this mysef? Thank you very much in advance!

    From the nigella team:

    In most recipes if it states chicken breast fillets or chicken thigh fillets the weight in the recipe will be the skinless, boneless quantity as fillets normally come without skins or bones. The information in brackets is usually just additional information. If however the ingredient gives a weight and then a preparation method then the weight is usually the weight before preparation.

    For example, if the recipe says "500g chicken thighs, skinned and boned" then the 500g is the skin on, bone-in weight.

    Allspice is a spice berry which looks similar to a large black peppercorn. It gets its name from its flavour which is thought to be a combination of cloves, nutmeg and cinnamon (or "all spices"). It is sometimes referred to as Jamaica pepper or pimenta. In the UK it is usually available in ground form in supermarkets. Also you should be able to find it on-line. As a substitute you could try using the 3 spices mentioned above but we would suggest using a smaller quantity of cloves vs nutmeg and cinnamon as the flavour of cloves can be very assertive.

    A bouquet garni is a bundle of herbs, used to flavour stocks and stews. Sometimes you can buy these in dried form in sachets - they look like teabags. It is easy to make a fresh one by tying together a bay leaf, a couple of sprigs of thyme and a few parsley stalks. Often these are wrapped in a couple of large leek leaves or sandwiched between two pieces of celery. Remove the bouquet garni (either fresh or dried) after cooking the dish.

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