Gourmet Guru

29 Jun 2012
By Ahlanlive.com

This month, Gourmet’s resident domestic goddess Katie Heskett resolves the great asparagus debate and talks bread

This Month I Have Mostly Been... Baking Bread!
If there’s one thing that’s on my radar for when I go back to the UK, it’s making sure there’s a loaf of Hovis Granary Bread (the thick-slice version obviously) ready to toast, as no matter where I shop in the UAE, I am yet to find the perfect bread.
However, thanks to the bread making course the boys at Table 9 are running, I’m now able to make the stuff at home. I say that, but in all honesty after sweating from throwing the dough around (the boys have a posh name for it – aerating the gluten) and waiting for it to rise and fall, I know this is probably going to be reserved for Friday mornings only. 
It’s always been on my bucket list of kitchen skills, so I highly recommend spending the morning learning how to bake bread with award-winning chefs Scott Price and Nick Alvis. It was great to see how simple the whole process is, and I’ve now got a handy new tool to impress dinner guests with. I mean come on... walking out with my own homemade bread!? How Martha will I look! Plus, I spent the morning with two very handsome and talented men!
INFO: Courses from Dhs495 (includes lunch, with your own bread obviously, apron and recipes); Table 9, Hilton Dubai Creek, 04 212 7551, www.table9dubai.com.

Dear Katie
Can you please settle an argument – how are you supposed to eat asparagus? I say it’s with your hands but my hubby’s convinced you need to use cutlery.
Eve, Abu Dhabi
A. My personal style is with your hands because it means you can really roll it around in the sauce. And while that is totally socially acceptable to do (yes, I have read Debrett’s), if you’re at a formal dinner then I would wait until your host tucks in and see what they’re doing as they’ll set the scene. Depending on how it’s served at a restaurant, go for your hands unless it’s tied up or wrapped in something fancy. Then the chef is clearly telling you how you’re supposed to tuck in.

Got a culinary query?
Send your questions to Katie at gourmet@itp.com with Dear Katie in the subject line – Katie will endeavour to answer all your questions, and you may even see your Q&A here!

StoreCupboard Essential #3 LENTILS
Most of us have a bag of dried lentils lying around and love to wax lyrical about the health properties of the dried pulse. It’s high in protein, vitamins and minerals in case you were wondering. But how many of us can be bothered to soak them overnight and then boil them for what seems like hours? Not me. Which is why I’ve gone over to the dark side and have tins of the ready-to-eat stuff in my store cupboard.
Delicious when you add to soupy-style sauces (add a can of lentils to leftover bolognaise and you’ve got a fresh way to enjoy them without any carbs) or for a great packed lunch when you keep it cold and add chopped tomatoes, cucumbers, spring onions and a load of fresh herbs.
But my favourite has to be lentil soup. Yes, I know it’s the summer and the idea of a bowl of soup is ridiculous, but considering we spend most of our days freezing in the air con, it’s actually perfect for a carb-free, healthy lunch. Just fry some onion and garlic with a teaspoon of garam masala powder, cumin and turmeric, add the lentils and two large cups of chicken stock, bubble away for about 15 minutes and then finish off with a handful of fresh coriander. It’s just absolutely delicious – try it for yourself!

Katie Heskett is the Editor in Chief of Good Housekeeping Middle East, available now at all good book stores and magazine outlets. Follow her on Twitter @katieheskett.