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" For people who think of chicken as the meat choice of those-who-don't-really-like-meat, brining a bird will be a revelation. "
" How can something that's 95% water be so divisive? Alone among vegetables, the poor, innocent stick of celery elicits the most vicious attacks. "
" When it comes to cooking pasta, the first essential is to make sure you have a big enough pot: it needs room to roll in the water while cooking. "
" Middle Eastern cuisine has the same depth of ingredients and processes as other cuisines. They just haven't had as much exposure. "
" Swiss chard is undervalued in Britain. It's a great substitute for spinach and keeps its shape well. "
" Turkish cuisine is, to my mind, one of the most exciting and accomplished in the world. "
" The unlikely combination of potatoes and pasta does appear in some Italian recipes. "
" The only way reliably to gauge the heat of any particular chilli is to cut it in half, so exposing the core and membranes, and to dab the cut surface on your tongue. "
" Orange blossom water would make a magical addition to your store cupboard. "
" Chinese sausage, which is widely available from Asian grocers and online, is sweet, rich, and enticingly smoky. I add it to steamed rice with strips of omelette and a few baby veg stir-fried with soy. "
" Pot barley takes longer to cook than pearl, but an overnight soak in water will speed things along. It's a robust grain that, if overcooked, won't collapse but will become more tender. "
" The main distinction for fresh chillies is whether they are red or green, the difference being one of ripeness. "
" Shimeji are those odd-looking clusters of small mushrooms you often find in so-called 'exotic' selections at the supermarket. They have an appealing firmness that is retained during light cooking. "
" Chefs don't use white pepper just to avoid spoiling the whiteness of pommes puree or bechamel. It has a more peppery aroma, with sharpness and sweetness, too. "
" On some subconscious level, I've been prejudiced against turnips, parsnips, swedes and other roots. Do they taste of much? Are they really special? How wrong I was. "
" The most important thing for me is to walk the little alleys of the city, to find the little alcove where someone is cooking something, and just watch them do it. That's my idea of fun. "
" Agave nectar is a good substitute for refined sugars. It has a relatively low glycaemic index, which means it doesn't cause quick rises in blood sugar levels. It also has a nice, mild flavour. "
" Like parents, cooks shouldn't have favourites, but some recipes inevitably shine more than others. "
" Most British cheeses are now vegetarian and are labelled accordingly. However, French and Italian manufacturers still tend to use rennet. "
" Sweet potatoes are ideal for lazy days: just bake, then mash and mix with yogurt, butter or olive oil. "
" Raw fish suppers admittedly require a little planning, not least in the acquisition of the main ingredient. "
" I have been cooking with preserved lemon for years, using it left, right and centre, but I am still far from reaching my limit. "
" My father always cooks more polenta than he needs for a meal. The excess he spreads on an oiled surface and chills. Next day, he cuts out chunks, fries them in olive oil and serves with salad. "
" Some days, just occasionally, when I've had just one too many chickpeas, drizzles of olive oil or chunks of feta, I crave a return to the sushi-filled joints of Tokyo. "
" The differences between a tart, a pie and a quiche are a blur. "
" Rice and vermicelli is a common combination in Arab and Turkish cooking - it has a lighter texture than rice on its own. "
" These days, meals are more open to personal preferences. People like to serve themselves. "
" Kibbeh comes in all forms, but most feature bulgur and meat. "
" Celery leaves are an underused ingredient, most likely because supermarkets sell mostly leafless stalks. "
" Manouri is a Greek ewes' milk cheese that's light in colour and texture. It's fresh and milky, and goes well with other subtle flavours. "
" Pizza was made for television in so many ways: it is easy to heat up, easy to divide and easy to eat in a group. It is easy to enjoy, easy to digest and easy-going. It is so Italian! "