Cooks' questions - out of the ordinary

A picture of Delia's Cooks' questions - out of the ordinary how to cook guide

Q: I am holding a fund raising evening in aid of a local charity. I want to have an Italian theme. The event will be a dinner dance for 100 people. What can I cook for a 3 course meal that has an Italian theme?

It is difficult to recommend a menu as we are not sure of the cooking facilities, but you could enter Italian or pasta into the search facility on the home page and see if there is anything that is suitable.  At Norwich City Football Club they often have to adapt Delia's recipes for Delia's City Brasserie. To do this, using Spanish Braised Pork with Potatoes and Olives as an example, the recipe serves 4-6 so they take 5 as an average and multiply the recipe by 10 to give us 50 portions. Meat/fish/vegetables weigh well when multiplied in this way. When it comes to herbs and especially spices and seasonings, they normally only increase those ingredients by 8, as the strength and increased cooking time for larger quantities can often alter the taste of the dish. They always taste the dish just before serving and adjust as required. Always try to multiply in round numbers.

Q: How do I make a nice chilli sauce for kebabs as the sauce from the takeaways are more like tomato sauce?

If you enter chilli into the search facility on the home page you will be able to find various chilli sauce, jam and dressings that would be appropriate - so take your pick.

Q: Suggestions for a summer menu for 10 please?

There are some ideas for buffet recipes on the site - just type buffet into the search on the home page. Or search for barbecue to come up with some excellent outdoor eating ideas.

Q: Delia, please help. I have always used Burdall's Gravy Block to enhance meat juices, I have recently found out that the company 'Space foods Ltd' who make this have ceased trading. Can you suggest an alternative?

All we can suggest is that you watch the video below from our Cookery School where Delia shows you how to make perfect gravy and just how easy it is.

How to make gravy

Q: I've recently received an Italian food parcel, which includes truffle oil & merlot grape oil - can I use these in ordinary frying instead of normal oil?

Both of these oils have a far too superior flavour and are too expensive to be used for frying. They should be used as seasonings to finish dishes off, for example the truffle oil would be lovely drizzled over one of Delia's recipes for risotto such as Oven-baked Wild Mushroom Risotto (see below). Alternatively you could use the oils over other Italian or Mediterranean-influenced recipes such as Italian Stuffed Aubergines. Otherwise adding a few drops to a homemade dressing would also add another dimension to a salad, try this with Delia's recipe for Vinaigrette Dressing.

Q: I have a Scottish recipe to use QUORN PIECES. Firstly what are quorn pieces and what can be used instead?

We believe you are referring to quorn which is a meat substitute. With regards to the recipe you could substitute meat but we can't tell you whether it should be chicken, beef, lamb etc as we are not sure of the recipe.

Q: I am having trouble locating chocolate extract where can this be purchased from? My local supermarkets and specialist shops have not been able to help. Mail order is fine.

Chocolate extract can be bought online from companies such as Lakeland. Alternatively, you could do a Google search to find stockists.

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