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Delia Smith - live webchat, Friday, 25 November 2011, 1-2pm

(272 Posts)
RachelMumsnet (MNHQ) Mon 21-Nov-11 11:28:42

We're delighted and honoured at MNHQ that Delia, the grande dame of British cookery, is joining us on 25 November, from 1-2pm for a live webchat. Delia's first Christmas book, Delia Smith's Christmas has been the cookery bible since it's publication in 1994 when the shops ran out of cranberries and Delia became known as the Cranberry Queen. In 2009, Delia's Happy Christmas hit the shelves with over 100 new recipes and an invaluable hour-by-hour countdown to the last 36 hours before Christmas dinner is served.

The party season is about to kick off and Delia's kindly allowed us to reproduce her own mulled wine recipe and her non-alcoholic version for designated drivers.

Delia's Classic Christmas Cake box is currently flying off Waitrose shelves. So ahead of Delia's webchat, we're having our very own bake-off: five MNHQ-ers are making the cake and Delia is going to sample a morsel of each. Find out what she thinks and send in your own questions on Christmas cookery to Delia on Friday 25 November at 1pm. If you're unable to join us on the day, send a question in advance to this thread.

senua Mon 21-Nov-11 12:01:58

Oooooh, I'm so excited that I can't think of a question.
Can I just say a big thank to to Delia for her Christams cake, mincemeat and pudding recipes - all fabulous and foolproof.

We don't need all these male 'celebrity' or 'character' chefs with their gimmicks, we just need a woman who knows what works and what doesn't.
thanks

headfairy Mon 21-Nov-11 13:15:03

Hello Delia,

Complete Cookery Course is always my first port of call when I'm browsing my cookery books, I'm a huge fan!

My question is: I love cooking but I have a big problem is with baking. My cakes always look very flat. They taste ok, but aren't exactly light as a feather. A friend of mine (who bakes beautiful cakes) says the secret to making great cakes is to properly combine the sugar and fat. Is she right? I must admit I tend to lose patience at this stage and I don't think I've ever whipped butter and sugar until it was light and fluffy. It's usually claggy and gritty. Is that the cause of all my baking woes? Or is there some other secret to it? I would so love to be able to bake cakes that rise beautifully and don't resemble a biscuit!

Thanks in advance.... smile

headfairy Mon 21-Nov-11 13:15:41

oops, stray is in there, apologies blush

ChesterDraws Mon 21-Nov-11 14:03:56

Hi Delia,
Who cooks Christmas dinner in your house? Or do you go out?

<<Come on the Canaries!!>>

TheMouseRanUpTheClock Mon 21-Nov-11 15:50:02

Hello Delia,

I have some difficulty standing for long and using my hands.

I would love a quick, easy on the hands recipie for something to go with sandwiches for sunday afternoon tea, soft scones, small biscuits, macaroons or small cakes -- fed up of sliced sponge, fairy and cup cakes-- would be lovely.

many thanks

AtYourCervix Mon 21-Nov-11 15:59:51

Oh. My. Goodness!

Hello Delia.

When I first moved out my mother bought me Delia's complete cookery course. It has been so much used it has fallen apart! I still can't cook but that has more to do with my goldfish-like attention span than the book !

Anyway........What to ask Delia?

When making cakes do you lick the bowl?

Thanks very much.

OMG, <hyperventilates>.
I love Delia, and it's my birthday on Friday.

Oh, I don't know what to ask.

Um, as I already have most of your books, and love them, what other book would you recommend.

Also, which one recipe of your own is your favourite.

Did I mention that I love you?

(Sorry MNHQ, But it's Delia!)

lookoveryourshoulder Mon 21-Nov-11 17:02:19

Hi,

I notice in a lot of articles recently that you mention that you don't seem to cook as much - tell me what do you do with all your existing kitchen/cooking paraphernalia ?

I used to cook and bake loads and loads - I had all the whizzy gadgets, implements, spoon, pans, plates, bakeware, dishes etc etc etc. However, I don't cook so much and "the stuff" now languishes at the back of the cupboard and its only role is as kitchen insulation ..... I can't seem to be able to bring myself to part with even a measuring spoon ....

Is there a simple tip to unlove your "kitchen stuff" ??

Taffeta Mon 21-Nov-11 17:29:47

Oh how marvellous! Delia at Christmas!

I make your Christmas cake every year Delia, love it.

I'd like to know what your favourite food era has been, the one that sits most naturally with you. Cheating food, Frugal Food, Calorie Laden food, which style?

My favourite book of yours is Summer Collection. Even though its years old, lots of the recipes are timeless, and I note you were doing puttanesca before Jamie was out of school. grin

FaverollesWithBoughsOfHolly Mon 21-Nov-11 18:50:11

Hello Delia smile (swoons slightly)

I was given your complete cookery course book on my 21st birthday, and I give you full credit that my Dh and dc haven't been poisoned (yet).

I'd like to ask what your ideal meal would be - starter, main course, pudding and drinks.

Looking forward to this webchat, grin

ManCrushedToDeathByALift Mon 21-Nov-11 18:58:47

Hello Delia blush <feels awkward>

I have always wanted to ask you this question!

I use your Complete Cookery Course all the time. BUT however many times I make pastry without baking it blind, as you advise, it ends up an unmitigated disaster. Do you really make pastry like this or do you actually bake it blind like the rest of us?

Thanks!

BartletForAmerica Mon 21-Nov-11 19:33:01

I'm a decent baker but can't make muffins to save myself, even with your recipe! I don't think I am over-mixing them but I just can't get them to rise. What could I be doing wrong and how can I fix this?

Thanks for coming to the webchat and for your Christmas cake in a box!

Oh goodness!

<mind goes blank>

I will have a think ...

Bibbit Mon 21-Nov-11 21:40:16

Does she lick the bowl?!!! grin brilliant Cervix!

ohmygoshandgolly Mon 21-Nov-11 21:48:12

Delia, you are a huge inspiration and I know that your recipes are always reliable. As a result, your books are the ones I use most frequently.

So, what do you cook when you have a 'I can't be bothered to cook' day? Or does that never happen?

whooosh Mon 21-Nov-11 23:07:35

As a self confessed lover of cookery porn,I m like a typical bloke-have an affair with the young blonde chick but marry the complete opposite.Hence I always revert to your recipes because I know they wrok.
From the Seasons se to cheats etc,they work. So,my question is (other than will the Canaries win this Sat),out of YOUR recipes/books....What would be your "Death Row (ie final) meal??? (incidentally,mine would include cottage pie-just in case I get banged up and need some outside help wink

zipzap Tue 22-Nov-11 00:25:10

Hi Delia - you seem to have cropped up in the Lakeland Catalogue with all sorts of things over the years. I just wondered if you get an advance sneaky peak at the catalogue before it comes out and get to try out lots of fab gadgets that then sit in the cupboard or do you just have to wait and then peruse it like the rest of us? And all those things that fly off the shelves after they appear on your cookery shows (from glycerin to capers to pans and more) - have you got wise to this and do you stock up on stuff before you do the shows or do you get caught out on what becomes popular and find that you can't find your favourite ingredients in the shops too?

Thank you - I've always pondered about this whenever they report on the Delia effect in the papers!

flakemum Tue 22-Nov-11 08:12:31

So pleased its Delia smile my most used book is also complete cookery course.
Shortbread and scones are my downfall I would love advice on those pls.

soupforthesoul Tue 22-Nov-11 08:17:16

Hello Delia,

What is the best tip you can give mn regarding the Christmas dinner and what is your favourite biscuit?

Thank you.

senua Tue 22-Nov-11 08:52:42

I have thought of a question!

Recipes will sometimes require unsalted butter: is this for some technical reason (unsalted acts in a different way to salted?) or just to reduce the content of salt? I made some grissini* the other day which demanded unsalted butter and then added 2 tsp of salt - what would be the point of that?confused

* to clarify: not one of your recipes

Oooh. Another question (which is against MN rules but there you go...)
Someone on here posted a tip the other day - can you comment on it. They said that when you bake you usually use either fats or oil. When greasing the tin, use the opposite, as they repel instead of sticking together. So if making something butter-based, grease with oil; if making something oil-based cake, grease with butter. Is this true?

I am another one with a copy of The Complete Cookery Course which is falling to bits!

I have noticed in the past that you have been slagged off by other 'celebrity' chefs - Worral-Thompson being one who comes to mind, who couldn't understand why you needed to explain to people how to boil an egg.

I'm not asking you slag off any other chefs oh please do, but who do you feel writes the best recipes, by which I mean recipes that work as reliably as yours do?

Thank you!

sfxmum Tue 22-Nov-11 09:51:05

Hello Delia welcome

I love your Christmas recipes but so far I have not tried to make them as mother in law is the Christmas book, soon however I am likely to take on that job, it is nice to know something reliable will be there to help me smile

question - what skills do you consider essential in the kitchen, thinking things like making a roux or such like, to arm a new cook on the way to competence?
TIA

Hello Delia

I made your Christmas Cake last year and it went down a storm in this house with everyone except my daughter who just doesnt like rich fruit cake.

Could you please suggest a recipe for a non fruity but long lasting cake that can be decorated with marzipan and icing so that DD doesnt miss out?

Thank you, oh and if you would like to come and 'do' Christmas dinner at my house I will happily supply the alcohol Turkey. smile

Thanks.

fluffyanimal Tue 22-Nov-11 10:45:26

Hello Delia,

My mum and I are great fans! Please can I ask: if I make a Christmas pudding according to a regular recipe, must it be boiled again on the day, or can it be microwaved? In other words, are microwavable Christmas puddings made any differently from traditional ones? I'd love to make my own pudding, but on the day itself I don't usually have enough rings on the hob left to boil the pud, so I usually buy one that can be microwaved. Hence, can I make my own and still microwave it, without needing a special recipe?

Thank you so much!

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