Ask Chef!

The aim of this page is for you to ask your culinary questions, post recipes and photos and share your dinning experiences. Something I tell all my staff from chefs to apprentices is, there is no such thing as a silly question. You might think it is silly and not worth asking but I want you to ask it anyway. I want you to have a clear understanding of what you are doing. And you never know there may be others that want to ask the same question but are too afraid of sounding silly. So lets see how this goes and lets have some fun with it.


  1. Dear Chef,

    I was wandering if you could help me choose some flavors for Vietnamese Rice Paper Rolls? They are one of my favorite dishes and I really want to learn how to make them.


    Mini Chef

  2. Hi Tassie Chef
    Do you have any recipes with ricotta that are easy? This weekend I have been making parmesan for the first time, and of course had whey left over. Couldn't waste the whey so have ended up with ricotta as well.

  3. Hello mini chef Vietnamese rice paper rolls sound fantastic. You can use almost any protien but the main seasonings seem to be oyster sauce, sweet soy sauce, sweet chilli sauce, seasoning sauce. You do not use all of them at the same time but pick one to use with each item. The vegetable filling spring onoins cut into strips. cucumber battons, fresh coriander sprigs. Red or green capsicum, red or green chili, bean shoots, snow pea sprouts, thai basil. Place your soft rice paper onto a board spoon some oyster sauce or what ever sauce you want to use on. Not all over just a line and you will build on top of that. Then add your chicken or what ever protein you are using, then your vegetable and herb. I like to add a few drops of seasonoing sauce as well as it gives the roll a different layer of flavor. Then just roll up and enjoy.

  4. Hello Sue sorry for the delay but I have just got back from China and Japan. Ricotta is such a versitile product and much overlooked. Ricotta that you have made yourself is even better, I can still taste that fresh ricotta we made with Nick a few weeks ago. Something a bit different how about sweet spiced ricotta instead of cream for scones or cakes. I would just mix the ricotta with some honey, cinnamon, nutmeg, all spice or your favorite spice to your own taste. I have used this sweet spiced ricotta with strawberies that have been tossed with an aged balsamic, you need a good balsamic at least 15 years old for use in desserts. Just toss the strawberries in a smaal amount of balsamic and let sit for a about 20 mins. You can ucse the spiced ricotta as a dip or a spread. I know at the moment strawberrise are not in season but the spiced ricotta is great on poached pears and the like at this time of the year. Following is a recipe I use now at Hadleys while not gnocchi in the traditional sense it is a great healthy dish and looks like gnocchi and tastes great. you will need.

    spinach 1 kg.
    ricotta .5kg.
    parmesan greated 200gm.
    egg whites 4.
    salt and pepper to taste.
    nutmeg .75 tsp.
    flour for coating.

    Wash the spinach and steam for three minutes refresh in iced water. take a handful of the spinach and squeeze as much water out as you can. Then place the spinach onto a towel, roll up and this is best done with two people. Both of you twist the towel in opposite directions as hard as you can to remove as much water as possible. Chop the spinach up finely and place into a bowl, add the ricotta, parmesan, salt & pepper and nutmeg mix well. Lightly beat the egg whites to soft peaks and mix into spinach. You will need a pot of boiling salted water to blanch the gnocchi in so at this stage take a small piece of the gnocchi mix, form it into a cigar shape, coat in the flour and place into the boiling water. It will sink to the bottom of the pot and rise when cooked. Refresh in ice water and taste for seasoning and adjust as required. When you are happy with the taste form all the mix into the gnocchi coat in flour, cook then refresh. I have found that the water needs to be very salty to get the best results. Do not worry about the salt as it will rinse off in the ice water. Once the gnocchi are cooked you can treat them as you would any gnocchi and add your pasta sauce to them. At Hadleys we heat the gnocchi and top with shaved parmesan then place under the grill to brown the parmesan then serve it simply on some tomato coulis.

    This recipe may sound complicated but is in fact very easy to make and you can play around with the seasoning to get the results you like. You can also make this gluten free by using maize corn flour to roll the gnocchi in.

    Also apart from the usual pasta filings you can add clumps of ricotta to your pasta and mix in well to give a rich creamy texture as well. I hope this helps and I am keen to hear how your parmesan turns out.

  5. Hi Tassie Chef - thanks for the ricotta idea. Unfortunately by the time I saw your answer, we had eaten all the ricotta! Never mind, it will just have to wait until my next cheese making adventure. This time I am looking for ideas with kiwi fruit. A friend gave me a big box (maybe 10-15kg!) the other day and I am looking for lots of ways to use them - preserves,dried, juice, syrup, candied in chocolate maybe??

  6. I am double baking the Christmas leg of ham in apple cider then applying a glaze. The recipe says to do it on Christmas morning which will be stretching it a bit for me. If I do it on Christmas eve and refrigerate it once it has cooled, will the glaze remain effective for the next day? Many thanks.