In October 2016, Stephanie Alexander offered fans the opportunity to ask her any questions via the Penguin Facebook page. Here are some of the insights gained from The Cook’s Table and Cook’s Companion author.
Leata Nola: What is the best lentil recipe to entice children to eat them?
I have always enjoyed a lentil salad with interesting bits in it, like roasted small pieces of cauliflower, roasted sweet peppers, lots of chopped herbs and toasted pinenuts. Not into lentil burgers myself!
Tweena Ebejer: How did you get your first book published, what advice would you have for someone wanting to publish a cookbook for the first time?
I was approached by the publisher and asked to write the book. A very privileged position to be in. There were hardly any, if any, Australian chefs’ books in 1985. Things are very different now. Competition is fierce and the blog world has changed the market.
Julie Barr: How long did it take for you to put The Cook’s Companion together?
Four years of dedicated work. Mostly enjoyable, sometimes I felt I would never finish!
Alison Dean: What is your most commonly used vegetable, which is easiest grown, and crops abundantly in your garden?
Silver beet or rainbow chard is prolific, easy-going and can be used steamed, fried or as a stuffing for pasta or frittata, to name just a few uses.
Ronny Blair: I cannot for the life of me make a custard tart. Every time the mix dissolves the pastry. Help!
The pastry needs to be thoroughly cooked before you approach with the custard. Once the baking weights and beans and baking paper have been removed, brush the inside of the tart shell with lightly whisked egg white and bake for a further five minutes. Now lower the temperature and gently pour the custard into the warm shell.
Josephine Samperi: Hi Stephanie, when I increase your pavlova recipe to 6 eggs (with extra sugar too) do I need to increase the cooking time?
Not unless you are basically altering the shape. If the circle is just a little larger in diameter because of extra mix all will be well. The outside should be crisp before the oven is turned off.