• Simple tips for smart food… by Anna Montali

    How to make tempura batter
    Beat 1 large egg in a mixing bowl and add 250ml (1 cup) ice-cold soda water. Sift in 120g (1 cup) cake flour and mix very lightly. Don’t beat out any lumps as they are necessary for a perfect tempura batter. Use immediately.           

    How to make pickled ginger
    Wash about 1kg fresh young ginger, rubbing well until clean. Slice finely, place in a bowl and sprinkle with salt. Leave to rest for about 30 minutes. Dry the slices with paper towel and put them in a sterilised, heat-resistant jar. Place 750ml (3 cups) rice vinegar and 350g sugar in a pan and boil until the sugar has dissolved. Pour the hot mixture over the ginger and allow to cool. Pickled ginger changes colour to light pink. If the ginger does not change colour it might not be young or fresh enough. Seal the jar and refrigerate until ready to use.

          How to make bonbons
    Buy ready-made large wonton wrappers from any Asian supermarket. Lay the wrappers out and place a chocolate ball in the centre of each. Roll up and twist the sides to enclose the chocolate so that they look like sweet wrappers. Deep-fry in very hot oil until crispy and golden, about 1 – 2 minutes. Drain on paper towel and serve immediately, with a creamy liqueur for dipping.         

      How to make quick coriander pesto
    Blend together 250ml (1 cup) fresh coriander, 125ml (½ cup) pine nuts, 250ml (1 cup) freshly grated Parmesan,2 chopped garlic cloves and 1 green seeded and chopped chilli. Process until combined, then slowly pour in a stream of olive oil, blending continuously until you have a smooth pesto consistency (the amount of oil you add depends on what texture you prefer). Blend in a squeeze of lemon juice, spoon into a sterilised jar and cover the top with olive oil so that it does not oxidise. Refrigerate and use within a week.