Cooking Q&A with Peter Gordon

The executive chef of dine by Peter Gordon at Sky City answers your cuisine questions.

Peter Gordon: Keep your wellingtons dry

By Peter Gordon

The executive chef of dine by Peter Gordon at SkyCity answers your cuisine questions.

More heat on the base of your beef wellington can prevent problems. Photo / Thinkstock
More heat on the base of your beef wellington can prevent problems. Photo / Thinkstock

I make beef wellington with a mushroom, onion, pork mince, herb and bread stuffing. I can get the flavour, the crunchy pastry on top and sides, the medium rare meat, all ok. But the bottom of the pastry is too moist and it falls apart when I try to plate. How do you fix this? Is there any advice you can give would make this lovely dish that much more enjoyable.
- Peter

Bake it on a heavy pre-heated metal tray, pizza stone or that sort of thing, as you need a lot of heat to come up from the tray to bake it - remember it's weighty and dense inside. If your oven can be controlled to heat from top and bottom, bake on a shelf nearer the bottom of the oven to also help cook the bottom first.

Farming friends have a flock of wild turkeys which they regularly cull. They've tried roasting them, but the birds are as tough as old boot leather. Is there any way we could slow cook or kettle barbecue them or do something to make the old things edible, or should we just give up and bury them for compost?
- Jenny

I'd say compost would be a bit mean, but shouldn't be ruled out. However wild birds are always tough as they use all their muscles, unlike caged ones. Slowly braised stews could work (use lots of onions, carrots, parsnips and red wine and herbs) and the bones would make lovely rich stock for soups and stews. Let me know how you get on.

I tried some lovely Sri Lankan vegetable fritters that used chickpea flour. Could I use regular flour if I don't have any chickpea flour on hand? And if I'm baking for gluten-free guests, could I use chickpea flour in sweet baking or would it change the flavour too much?
- Miriam

Regular flour will work ok, but it may make the fritters a little stodgier as it has more gluten. Rice flour would be better. Chickpea flour is quite different from wheat flour in so many ways; if you use it in baking the results will be quite a disaster.

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