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

When I chop onions or other vegetables finely, the pieces stick to the knife. When I see chefs chopping onions on TV, the chopped items stay on the cutting board. What am I doing wrong?
- Mike

I wouldn't worry too much Mike, it'll either be practice, good TV editing, or you have a sticky knife. Onions do sometimes stick, but you can easily wipe them off.

I've seen some lovely recipes for swordfish in Italian cookbooks. If I can't find swordfish in my fish shop, what would be a close substitute? Would lemon fish (shark) do?
- Jill

Swordfish is meaty and firm - tuna would be a good replacement, but also hapuku steaks or thickly cut monkfish, depending on the cooking method


I have a question about garlic - is there more flavour if it is chopped or crushed? Is it better with or without salt? Which method is best for flavour?
- Brian

Either chopping or crushing works equally well. It depends what you are using it for - crushed garlic will be smoother and finer, so maybe better for raw dressings and aioli (garlic mayonnaise). Adding salt stops garlic cloves from sliding around the chopping board, but makes them salty so be careful to check the seasoning before you add more salt to your dish.

In Vietnamese cooking, what is the sweet vinegary dipping sauce that they use? Is it a white wine vinegar or something else? What is in it? I've had it with carrot salad and other julienned vegetables.
- Molly

Mix rice wine vinegar (or white wine vinegar) with a little caster sugar and salt to taste, add chillies if you like. Easy.

* To ask Peter a question, click on the Email Peter link below.