Buttermilk's palate-cleansing tartness is one reason it's used a lot in southern India, where meals often end with a small bowl of the stuff served with plain rice and pickles.
— Yotam Ottolenghi
Like brown rice, black rice is unmilled, and it is the dark outer husk that makes it so nutty and chewy. It's also why it takes longer to cook than many other rices.
One man's trash is another man's treasure, and the by-product from one food can be perfect for making another.
A quick shallow fry is a great way to transform leftovers, and no more so than in the case of risotto.
Polenta is to northern Italy what bread is to Tuscany, what pasta is to Emilia-Romagna and what rice is to the Veneto: easy to make, hungry to absorb other flavours, and hugely versatile.
Raw fish suppers admittedly require a little planning, not least in the acquisition of the main ingredient.
The taste of any simple tomato-based salad is dependent on the quality of the tomatoes.
Chickpeas are one of my favourite things to serve with chorizo or lamb meatballs; they also work brilliantly as the quiet partner in a vibrant alphonso mango salad.
One Indian-inspired favourite of mine is mashed potato mixed with lemon juice, breadcrumbs, coriander and chilli, shaped into patties, fried and served with chutney and yoghurt.
How can something that's 95% water be so divisive? Alone among vegetables, the poor, innocent stick of celery elicits the most vicious attacks.
Custard is controversial: what makes it a custard, how best to cook it and, crucially, is it to be eaten or put in a pie and thrown?
Fresh egg pasta is traditionally served in the north of Italy with butter, cream and rich meat sauces, whereas dried pasta is more at home with the tomato- and olive oil-based ones of the south.
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.
Infants have around 30,000 tastebuds, only about a third of which survive into adulthood, so a child's sensitivity towards extremes of sweet, sour and bitter flavours is heightened.
I tend to mean what I say: in life, generally; in recipes, certainly.
Pomegranate molasses is ubiquitous in Arabic cooking: it's sweet, sour and adds depth.
Scamorza, an Italian curd cheese often labelled 'smoked mozzarella,' melts fantastically well.
Like parents, cooks shouldn't have favourites, but some recipes inevitably shine more than others.
Black glutinous rice works in both savoury and sweet dishes. It's a popular pudding rice in south-east Asia, where you'll often come across it cooked with water, coconut milk and a pandan leaf.
Nearly all edible seaweeds - or 'sea vegetables,' as they ought technically to be called - belong to one of three broad groups: green, red and brown algae.
I love my garlic press; in fact, it is probably my one true desert island gadget. But I'm happy to put it aside whenever the smell and sweet taste of slow-cooked garlic is called for.
Polenta is one of those ingredients that in many homes spends its days at the back of the kitchen cupboard, on the 'no one knows quite what to do with it' shelf.
Believe it or not, I'm as much a fan of a supper shortcut as the next person.
My all-time favourite classic use of ricotta is in gnudi: fluffy, cheesy dumplings of almost ethereal, feathery lightness.
Vegetarian and frugal it may be, but the chickpea is one of the most versatile ingredients you could keep in your cupboards.
If the British Isles had an official vegetable, it would have to be the potato.
Hardly any of my most memorable meals have been eaten in a restaurant, and definitely none in one of those fancy marble-floored, polished-silver establishments.
Tagliatelle comes from the word tagliare, meaning 'to cut.' Tagliolini are simply thinly cut tagliatelle.
For those, like me, who can't rely on being given a home smoker this Christmas, you can build your own approximation with just a roll of tin foil and a big wok or pan for which you have a lid.
The main distinction for fresh chillies is whether they are red or green, the difference being one of ripeness.
Brunch, for me, is an extended breakfast that should be enjoyed whenever you have time properly to engage in cooking and eating.
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.
Good-quality nuts, toasted in a little butter and salt, make a magical addition to many salads.
If I must choose between healthy and tasty, I go for the second: having only one life to waste, it might as well be a pleasurable one.
Like all rice, black rice is great at absorbing flavours, but it's just as happy to act as a satiny bed for a poached egg, say, if you want to keep things simple.
Plums are a good substitute for gooseberries.
If the first bite is with the eye and the second with the nose, some people will never take that third, actual bite if the food in question smells too fishy, fermented or cheesy.
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.
For me, the end of childhood came when the number of candles on my birthday cake no longer reflected my age, around 19 or 20. From then on, each candle came to represent an entire decade.
Halva works brilliantly in ice-cream.
I love the way soft white cheese such as ricotta or the creamier mascarpone reflect the milieu in which an animal has been raised.
Most pumpkin dishes involve scooping out the seeds, cutting off the skin, and chopping up the flesh before cooking.
For my money, celery hasn't got a mean bit of fibre in its body, and we all need to start being much nicer to it.
Speaking as someone who didn't go through the U.K. school system, with all the culinary baggage that entails, I am inordinately fond of custard in any shape or form.
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.
Blanching the cloves removes the harsh and bitter bite of raw garlic.
Recipes can be incredibly vague where chillies are concerned.
Yoghurt cuts sweetness and richness, tempers spice, and makes a dish sing.
Greek yogurt with some olive oil stirred in can transform many dishes.
Sweet potatoes are ideal for lazy days: just bake, then mash and mix with yogurt, butter or olive oil.