Gourmet Q&A

16 Dec 2011
By Ahlanlive.com

Foodiva’s Samantha Wood tackles your festive food issues and recommends some sharp knives

Q: Where would you recommend celebrating Christmas with a traditional roast turkey lunch?
Nothing beats Rivington Grill for some festive fare. This year it’s a four course meal for AED 500 which is served both during the day and evening (as well as on Christmas eve). I love that you have a number of choices for each course. Start off with a welcome Mimosa cocktail and a choice of three starters (roasted artichoke soup with truffle scone, smoked salmon with brown bread and a goose leg salad). Needless to say, main course is a traditional roasted turkey with roasted potatoes, veggies, gravy and cranberry sauce served family style on the table. There will also be a seafood option and nut roast for vegetarians. For dessert you can choose from traditional Christmas pudding, sherry trifle or egg nog parfait. If you have room, there’s also a British cheese board, and mince pies with tea and coffee. Kids will also be treated to gifts from under the Christmas tree. Children under four eat for free, and half price up until age ten.

Q: I am looking to buy a good set of kitchen knives for my husband this Christmas. Can you shed some light on what I should be looking for?
If you are going to invest in one knife, go for the Chefs knife which is multipurpose and perfect for slicing, mincing or chopping fruit, vegetable, fish and meat. If your budget allows, do consider the following three knives as well:
1. Bread knife with a long serrated blade.
2. Carving knife has a long, slim blade and as the name suggests is perfect for slicing your roasted meats.
3. Utility knife is slightly serrated at the top and good for cutting produce with a tough skin, but softer centre. I love using it for tomatoes.

Don’t forget a knife is only as good as its sharpener. Believe it or not, the best is a stone sharpener which will not only sharpen your knives but will make them last longer. Dependent on the knife, sharpen at a 20-25 degree angle. Don’t remove the dark residue as this helps sharpen the knife. Do it from both sides. Avoid using the dishwasher for your knives, even if dishwasher safe as this will reduce their sharpness.

As an alternative to these steel knives which you can purchase from the likes of Tavola (www.tavola.ae), we also have the more affordable ceramic knives distributed here by Great White Knives (www.greatwhiteknives.com). Made of ceramic, zirconium oxide it is the second hardest material after diamond, so they won’t crack or break the bank. Happy chopping!

INFO: Samantha Wood is the founder of U.A.E based restaurant review and foodie website, www.foodiva.net