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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.

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  • Salad Cream For Tomato Salad

    Hello there, I'm thrilled to be a member of the Nigella.com web site. I was intrigued by the dressing (salad cream) used for the Old Fashioned Tomato Salad. I made the recipe but wonder if I cooked it too long or if the vinegar soured my mixture? When the milk mixture was thickish and almost bubbling, I poured in vinegar as directed and the beaten egg and cooked until just below the bubble (my culinary school training maybe kicking in, not wanting to let this bubble for fear of scrambling the egg). I did have bits of cooked egg or curdled milk. So I strained it and it still tastes lovely, but might has a slight grainy texture to it. Should I have boiled the milk mixture to properly cook the flour? Should the mixture boil after adding the vinegar and egg? Should I have lumpy bits?  Advice? Suggestions? Thanks in advance. Sean

    From the nigella team:

    Nigella's Old Fashioned Tomato Salad (from Nigella Summer and on the Nigella website) has a salad cream dressing. Salad cream is a traditional English salad dressing and is a fairly thin dressing with a hint of acid and mustard. Nigella makes her salad cream with a base of thin white sauce (bechamel) has eggs and vinegar added.

    Theoretically if you heat the sauce to boiling point after the egg has been added then the egg should not curdle as the starch in the sauce should stabilize the egg protiens.  It should also help to prevent the acid in the vinegar from curdling the milk. However could be that if the sauce was very hot when the egg was added then the egg would curdle as it hit the hot mixture due to the sudden temperature change.

    If you would like to try the salad cream again then we would suggest making the first part of the sauce over a medium to medium-low heat and whisking constantly until the sauce comes up to a boil (this will cook out the flour). Take the pan off the heat and let it cool for a minute, then stir a little of the sauce into the egg (to temper it) and then stir this egg mixture into the sauce, followed by the vinegar. Return the saucepan to a very low heat and whisk until the sauce thickens slightly. 

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