Saturday, 28 September 2013

Barbecue Day Out

Now, not every barbecue enthusiast is going to have the luxury that I do of being able to set the grill up in a natural setting like in the woods or by a lake for healthy lunch ideas. Of course, people that live in cities like Chicago or New York are going to be the ones that most likely are not going to have access to some of these more beautiful environmental settings, which means that the most passionate urban grillers will simply have to make do with the barbecue spaces that they do have available to them. It is not unusual for individuals or couples living in the apartments to have a grill setup on the small porch of their living space. Some city folk that are really fortunate are able to use the roof of their building to cook up some delicious meat that is covered in some form of a bbq sauce. Even with if these possibilities are not doable, every big metropolitan area will have small parks located around the city, some of which may allow groups to bring a bag of charcoal and enjoy a barbecue. Worst case scenario? Hit up the local restaurant that offers some of your favorite barbecue items on the menu to get your fix.

As any barbecue veteran will tell you, having all the appropriate barbecue essentials beforehand will allow the group to focus on the more appealing elements of the grill-out like the company or the scenery. However, in order to recreate this enjoyable setting, outdoor chefs need to actually go through the process of finding the right barbecue tools and accessories in order to perfect the art of grilling and impress their comrades as the opportunity presents itself. The necessary grilling tools depends on the setting for which the barbecue is taking place and the cuisine that they are interested in roasting up. For example, if friends and family is barbecuing poolside in their back yard, they are going to have access to certain necessities that a group who has lit up the grill in a state park may have. 

One of the best things about a good old fashion barbecue is that all you really need is a hot flame, something to cook and some sort of tool to make sure the food item is cooking thoroughly. For example, this could consist of a small flame, a stick and a hot dog and just like that, you have a barbecue. Now, in today's barbecue world, outdoor folk would much rather have fancy grills, with stainless steel prongs and spatulas and a large amount of
steaks or burgers. Similar to barbecue tool sets, there are so many different grills available to the consumer, it just depends on what the chef is willing to spend, what qualities they want in the grill and what they plan on doing with it. In regards to the actual BBQ tool set, one could survive with a spatula, a fork and some tongs.

However, the more advanced grill master will want to have included in this set a basting brush, a chef's knife, a grill brush and a handful of skewers. No matter what the items that come in the set, products made of high-quality material like stainless steel will usually last for an extended period of time and will be a much better investment for grill operators of all skill levels.

One of the biggest assumptions that people often make regarding a barbecue is that there will be cold beverages involved, more specifically ice cold beers and more often than not, those assumptions are actually factual. From my grilling experiences, beer drinking has actually been a very common reasoning to have a barbecue. However, one could argue that it works both ways in that not only can a barbecue lead into beer drinking but also, consuming alcohol may progress into a grill session. The popularity of this common practice may have been the result of the numerous beer commercials on television for name brand brews where the entire advertisement is taking place in a barbecue-like setting. Even if a barbecue were to not incorporate non-alcoholic drinks, having a cooler next to the grill is only going to better the barbecue experience.

Similar to most any cooking experience, a barbecue can be a very enjoyable event for an individual, a family or just a big group of friends, especially if the host has the right tools for the occasion. Today, a barbecue has become a lot more than just the meat being served, but rather a showcase of the outdoor grill setup to where the meal is prepared. With just a simple internet search on Google or Yahoo, one can find pictures of very unique and stylish backyard barbecue setups. To the average consumer, these types of outdoor arrangements may seem too expensive and unobtainable, but with the right knowledge, a sufficient amount of research and patience, any grill master can create his ideal barbecue setting.

Lamb Chops and Deep Fried

Deep friend lamb chops are a yummy, fun way to add crunch to your family recipes or snack. And, needless to say, they are best when they are properly seasoned. Seasoning is one of the most basic steps of cooking any kind of dish. Although most other dishes incorporate seasoning as a part of the cooking process, in the case of lamb chops, it makes sense to pay a little attention to the best ways to season them for a deep fry.

Step one - choose your flavours. The crispness of your deep fried lamb chops and their outer coating, are qualities you can make use of when choosing a seasoning. Choose a strong, rich, or savory flavor to go with the crispness of the coating, and the essential sweetness of the lamb.

Step two - Begin seasoning with a light sprinkle of basic salt and pepper on both sides of the chops and let them rest for a while so that they absorb the flavors. Sea salt, or pink salt, combined with yellow pepper or a pepper blend can be interesting. Dust with some herbs at this stage to make the chops more savory.

Step three - Mix eggs and milk in a dish, and beat them together. You can add in some spices at this stage to add to the overall richness. Choices can range from rosemary, fennel, and thyme to garlic, or mint. Adding them to the egg mix will infuse the flavors into the lamb chop as it fries.

Step four - Take some bread crumbs, or flour in another dish. Consider enriching the flour with spices like curry powder, coriander, paprika, or tarragon. This is especially useful if you are not adding spices to the egg mix, or coating your chops with flour.

Step five - Dip the chops in the milk and egg mixture then coat them in the flour or the bread crumbs. Drop them in hot oil, and fry them until golden brown. Fry only about 4 at a time so that you ca prevent them from burning, and it is easy to turn them as needed.

Step six - Season the deep fried lamb chops, again, immediately after you take them out of the fryer to add a second layer of seasoning to your chops. The herbs or spices will not stick to the chops well if they cool. Sprinkle on your chosen herbs and spices, and pat them gently into the outer crust.

Tips for Re-heating

Brush some oil flavored with garlic or rosemary onto the lamb chops while re-heating. Once they have cooled after frying, they will lose some of their flavor, and it helps to enhance them at this stage.

Italian Potato Gnocchi

A classic Italian dish, potato gnocchi is one the best easy recipes that requires only a few ingredients including potatoes, egg yolk, flour, and Parmesan cheese. The gnocchi is dressed with pesto sauce made with fresh basil, garlic, and olive oil. His potato dumpling makes a fun snack, appetizer or side dish to Italian meals. This also makes a delicious substitute to the regular mashed potatoes and a healthier alternative to French fries.

You can make the pesto sauce ahead of time so that it develops in flavor as the ingredients meld together. To make the gnocchi, the potatoes are boiled, peeled, and then mashed and combined with whole eggs, flour, salt, and Parmesan. You can also flavor the gnocchi with nutmeg for a bit of spice. The ingredients should be well combined until you get a smooth and even consistency. Use a potato masher or a fork to get the desired consistency. You can also pass the boiled and peeled potatoes through a sieve to get any lumps out. Use the back of a spoon or a spatula to press out the mashed potatoes.

The potato mixture is rolled out and sliced into balls, dusted with a bit of flour and cooked in boiled salted water. While it sounds simple enough, making gnocchi requires technique so as not to ruin it. Done wrong, it might turn out soggy or rubbery. The timing is crucial when cooking the potatoes or they may end up crumbly. The potato dumpling should be delicately handled and shaped. Use a sharp knife to cut the rolls into soft pillows. Press the lines of the fork on the surface pillows with a light yet confident touch. Press down on the fork against the pillow with your thumb. The dumpling should form into a semi-C shape with ridges on the surface where the pesto sauce will stick.


1 1/3 lbs. potatoes (with skins intact)
1 egg yolk
2/3 cup flour
1.8 oz. Parmesan cheese
pistou (fresh basil, garlic, olive oil)

1. Pour olive oil in the blender and add the garlic first and then the pine nuts. Blend. Add the basil and then the Parmesan cheese. Pulse very quickly and place in a bowl then set aside.

2. Boil the potatoes in water with the skin still on until tender. Peel them after cooked and mash them with a fork in a large bowl. Add flour, whole eggs, some salt and Parmesan. Blend all the ingredients well until you get a smooth and even consistency.

3. With some flour, roll the dough in the shape of bread sticks. Using a fork, press the surface lightly to make ridges on the surface. Cook the dumplings in boiling water with nothing but salted water. Cook for just one minute. When the gnocchi floats to the surface this means they are done.

4. Drain gnocchi, arrange them on a plate and dress them with some pesto sauce.

Healthy Mangosteen

As we people are getting too much dependent upon technology with every passing day, our life is growing longer. But the quality of life is not improving, in fact, it is getting worse. Stress, depression, mental or physical exertion and various other health problems have become a part of our daily life. Even the people who work out on daily basis are not able to attain complete fitness. It is mainly because of unhealthy eating practices like eating in bulk, eating at wrong time, following a random diet plan etc. So, if you really want to become fit then, you need to stop all these practices and add healthy foods to your diet recipes.

By healthy foods, we do not mean protein shakes and chocolate bars. Rather, we mean adding multi-beneficial fruits and vegetables to your diet recipes. One such fruit is mangosteen which is super beneficial for human health. This fibrous fruit has a sweet and tangy taste. This super fruit is founded in tropical areas of South East Asia. Consuming mangosteen fruit juice on a daily basis can do wonders for your fitness regime. But since it is an Asian fruit, therefore it can be rarely seen at grocery stores of North America.

Though, there are some fruit supplement manufacturer companies who manufactures fruit juice from the exotic super fruit mangosteen. But, the quantity of mangosteen juice varies from brand to brand. And thus, it is imperative to compare all the fruit juices and select one that can provide you with maximum nutritional benefits.

Mangoxan fruit juice is much more beneficial than the pure juice of mangosteen as it fulfills the shortcomings of our daily diet. It is especially beneficial for the people who have a sweet tooth as sugary taste sensation with none of the drawbacks of candy, chocolate, cookies or cake. Hence, you will remain satisfied without snacking on sweet foods. The health benefits of this fruit juice are immense because it contains some highly vitamin and nutrients like Thiamine, Riboflavin, Niacin, Folate and Vitamin C.

Mangoxan is the best tasting mangosteen beverage available in the market. This fruit juice contains many types of antioxidants. The best among all of them is xanthones, a super beneficial antioxidant which is rarely found in other fruits. In fact, this is an antioxidant which is not found in human body also. This antioxidant can cure various kind of human illness; it is effective on the major ones like cancer. By consuming such rich mixture of fruit juices on a regular basis will help you to achieve that level of fitness that you have always dreamt about.

A Great Eggplant Recipe

One of the best vegetarian recipes that is full of flavor. It is also quite beneficial for the health. Here the eggplant is cooked with mushrooms, bell peppers, onions and garlic and flavored with vinegar, chives, tomato sauce, red wine, oregano, salt and pepper to make a gourmet sauce. This is excellent for pasta shells or even rice. These vegetarian recipes can be included in your weekly family menu as it makes a light and healthy meal. This colorful and delightful dish is best enjoyed with a good glass of the perfect wine companion the red wine like Merlot of Pinot Noir.

In this healthy recipe, various flavors meld together to make an unforgettable tasting dish. The tanginess of the vinegar enhances the tomato sauce. The sweet peppers are the ones that balance the tart. To make your mouth water chives, onions, garlic and hot peppers give the dish just the right amount of spice. Mushrooms, on the other hand, give delicate and earthy flavor and a wonderful texture in the palate. It is the wine that gives a depth flavor and exquisite aroma. The wine also deepens the color of the red sauce and makes the dish look elegant. The eggplant, which is the star of this dish, turns silky, sour and sweet that makes this dish a memorable experience.

The eggplant turns sweet when cooked especially when combined with the peppers and the onions. When it comes to how the eggplant is cooked, some like their eggplant firm and with some texture. Others like it really cooked almost to the point of melting. In this recipe, the eggplant is cooked until soft so that it melts in the mouth. The pasta is cooked separately. It is then combined with the sauce later on. You can peel the skin of the eggplant to make it even silkier. But the skin contains substantial nutrition so it is also good to keep them on the eggplant. It is the skin that adds texture and body to the sauce.

2 cups pasta shells
1/3 cup water
1/4 cup vinegar
1 large sized, peeled and cubed eggplant
1 finely chopped onion
1/2 cup chopped mushrooms
1 chopped green bell pepper –
1/2 cup chives - chopped
2 tablespoon garlic - finely chopped/minced
1 each tomato - medium sized, chopped
4 tablespoon tomato sauce
4 tablespoon oregano
Salt to taste
Black pepper to taste
1/4 cup red wine

1. Cover pasta shells in water and cook in a saucepan according to package directions.

2. Add water and vinegar in a separate saucepan, and bring it to a simmer. Then add chopped eggplant, onion, chives, garlic, green peppers, and mushrooms. Cook for about 15-20 minutes until vegetables are tender.

3. Drain when vegetables are cooked then add to the cooked pasta along with tomato sauce, oregano, salt, pepper, and red wine. On low temperature stir and heat gently.

Friday, 27 September 2013

Ticking Our a Halibut

One of the most delectable and versatile fish to cook is halibut because of its firm, mild and white flesh. To make a simple yet delightful gourmet meal, halibut is cooked in the crock pot with a luscious and creamy white wine sauce in this recipe. Halibut is a large flat fish. Its range in sizes depends on its age and kind. The California halibut is relatively smaller. While the Pacific halibut is gigantic in size and can grow up to more than 500 pounds. Most of the time, halibut is sold as steaks in markets and groceries and don't forget about the perfect paired wine for this recipe.

Halibut is very healthy. It can be included in the weekly diet recipes because it is sustainable, especially the Pacific halibut. Most of the halibuts sold in the market are Pacific, specifically Alaskan fishery. California halibut is available in California and usually caught between 4 and 12 pounds. But these kinds of halibut are sold as fillet since they are relatively small in size. Both kinds of halibuts are similar in taste and texture. Halibut can be sold fresh or frozen. This kind of fish stores very well as long as it is vacuum-sealed. It can retain its quality for a year.

In these kind of diet recipes, the halibut is cooked in the slow cooker or crock pot. It contains very little oil because it is a lean fish. It can dry out pretty fast when cooked improperly or too long. While it is cooking, the white wine sauce is added to the dry halibut steaks. It also provides moisture and flavor, allowing the meat to absorb the flavors well. There is no need to marinade the halibut like many recipes require. In the process of slow cooking, the flavors the fish will penetrate deep into the flesh and make a really tasty dish. Also enhancing the moisture and flavor of the fish is the lemon added at the end.

250gms packages halibut - steaks, thawed
2 tablespoons flour, all-purpose
1 tablespoon white sugar
Salt to taste
100gms butter
1/3 cup white wine - dry
2/3 cup milk - or half and half
1 lemon cut into 4

1. Dry the halibut steaks. Then put them in Crock-Pot.

2. Mix the flour, sugar and salt in a separate bowl. Set aside.

3. Melt butter in a pan and add the above flour mixture. Keep stirring. When it combines well, add wine and milk. Cook over medium heat until thick consistency is reached while stirring constantly.

4. Let it boil for a couple of minutes. Pour this sauce on the dry halibut steaks. Cover. Cook on High flame for about 20 minutes.

5. Once cooked transfer halibut to serving plate. Garnish with chopped lemons.

Delicious Foie Gras Treat

Foie gras fried in butter and served on a bed of flambĂ©ed apple rosette, surrounded with curly endive salad and seasoned with a veal stock flavored with Medeira and Calvados, this not you typical healthy recipe by Chef Johann Lafer of the famous Johann Lafers Stromburg is a delightful appetizer that will please the most sophisticated of palates. The rich and creamy foie gras is browned to perfection and perfectly complemented by the sweet and tart apples. The refreshingly crisp salad cuts into the richness of the foie gras and the veal stock with Calvados and Medeira adds an exquisitely savory element.

Foie gras is quite a delicate ingredient and should be cooked perfectly or the perfect texture will be ruined. The best way to cook foie gras is quickly on high heat just like searing steaks. The foir gras is seared on both sides, flipping only once and cooking each side just until the exterior turns a beautiful golden brown color. This gives the foir gras a subtle crunch while keeping the interior soft and melt-in-your-mouth decadent. Now the only thing to think about is choosing the right wine for this dish.

The presentation of this dish and the way the ingredients are arranged on the plate is a very important component for the full gustatory enjoyment of your guests. The thinly sliced apples are arranged like a rose blooming, also known as a rosette. For best results, the apples should be sliced the same size and thinness so that it looks impeccable when arranged. Layer them gently one over the other like a fan that opens into a full circle.

Make the veal stock ahead of time using veal bones and meat or carcass. For a flavorful stock, simmer the bones overnight or half of the day and diligently skim off the foam from time to time. Never let the stock boil to concentrate the flavors and use a heavy bottomed and thick saucepan or Dutch oven.

2 apples
1 ½ tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon cane sugar
4 slices foie gras (goose liver, 2 to 2 1/2 oz. each)
walnut oil
1 tablespoon veal fond with Madere Calvados apple brandy
½ lb. salad (rucola, roquette or curly endive)
grilled pine nuts
olive oil
white balsamic vinegar

1. Peel then slice apple thinly. Melt some butter in a frying pan and gently heat the apples. Sprinkle some brown sugar. Add a few drops of calvados. Using a kitchen blowtorch, glaze the sugar over the apples. Set aside when cooked.

2. In a separate pan, fry two slices of foie gras in butter. When done, place on some paper napkins to remove excess oil.

3. Heat up the veal stock with Medeira and add some calvados.

4. Arrange the apple rosette on a serving plate. Surround the rosette with a few leaves of curly endive salad to decorate. Sprinkle the leaves with fine nuts, Greek olive oil, and white Balsamic vinegar. Arrange the foie gras on top of the dish. Pour some heated veal stock. As a final touch, sprinkle some veal stock around about the edges of the serving plate.

Cocktail Question: Shake It or Stir It

Some people are confused when to stir and when to shake cocktail drinks. Normally, cocktails are stirred when they contain distilled spirits only, like Manhattans and Martinis. Usually, drinks that are intended for sipping rather than gulping are stirred not shaken, in order to preserve the texture. Cocktails are stirred to cool them down in a much gentle manner. Stirring also allows for improved control of the dilution.

A shaker is necessary even when easy recipes contain any kind of juice, non-alcoholic sweetener, like syrup or shrub, or egg white. Shaking is necessary to emulsify, as well as dilute and chill. It is important to know if a drink recipe requires shaking or stirring, otherwise the flavor can be muted. Aside from the flavor, the wrong technique will also affect the texture. You can tell the difference if you're served with a shaken and stirred Manhattan or Martini.

However, most bartenders today shake instead of stir almost all kinds of cocktails. This is probably because of the speed, ease, and presentation, or maybe because guests expect them to shake. Stirring seem like a basic and simple technique, anyone even little kids can do, but its purpose in mixology is very important. The key to stirring cocktail drinks is to gently combine all of the ingredients and dissolve just enough ice to the water down the potent mix. Stirring cocktails is not like mixing a cake batter. It should be smooth, slow, and steady. Patience is important.

Below are the steps on how to stir cocktail drinks. The whole process is easy and usually takes about 20 to 30 seconds.

1. Halfway fill a mixing glass with ice, usually 5 to 6 ice cubes for a single drink. If you do not have a mixing tumbler, you can make use of a highball glass or the base of a cocktail shaker.

2. Add desired liquors and other ingredients.

3. Get a bar spoon and hold it at the top of the twisted portion of the shaft between your first two fingers and your thumb. 

There are two techniques you can use: 1. Dunk the spoon into the glass and then twirl the shaft up and down and back and forth for about 20 to 30 seconds. 2. Place the spoon along the inside of the glass and then rotate it gently around the outer edge for about 20 to 30 seconds. Make sure you move only your wrist.

4. Strain the drink into a well-chilled cocktail glass and then serve.

Here are additional tips in stirring cocktail drinks:

When preparing mixed drinks most bartenders will give the drink a stir or simply leave it drink as is. But they usually include a straw or a sip stick for people to stir, if they want to do so. If a bar spoon is not available, look for the longest spoon available and stir it slowly around and up and down the glass. Diluting the ice cubes into the drink is important to water down the alcohol, just enough to make it friendly to the taste buds.

Thursday, 26 September 2013

Beloved Chocolate Cupcakes

Getting the best chocolate dessert recipes is the desire of most of the people, who are passionate to prepare delicious cupcakes. Preparing delicious food items is a great art. There are many people, who get pleasure by preparing tasty foods. They prefer to prepare these food items not only to taste these ones by themselves, but to present these items to their near and dear ones. However, being a professional cook, one may tend to prepare unique recipe of different food items regularly. On the other hand, being passionate, some people may get interest to discover varied types of unique items. However, everyone, who desires to taste delicate cakes and other food items of different unique tastes, may not be the best cooks. Some of them may get success in preparing unique recipes and some may fail in this course. This is the reason; it is said that preparing unique formula to cook different food items in a unique way is an art. You can take part in developing different unique formula. However, if you don't have enough time or there is any other reason why you are not able to prepare unique food items, then there is no reason to be worried, as options are there to make your dream true.

In these days, when people are taking help from the internet to find solution to their every problem, then why not you will try to follow this way to discover many recipes of different delicious food items? Therefore, if you are passionate to prepare many fast food items, then you can go online and search for the attractive recipes. There are many websites that provide attractive recipes as per your need. It is a good way of making cakes or any other food items easily. Innovating newer techniques to prepare foods of different types may not be possible for you all the times; but, it doesn't indicate that you are not in a position to cook the newer recipes. Discovering the important recipes online is a great way of finding out the cooking process of the newer items.

You can get not only the cooking process of the new items of fast foods, but you will get knowledge of the ingredients that are needed to prepare these items. Therefore, to get a way out that will lead you towards getting the best techniques of preparing delicious food items, you can search online. It is the global source of information, which will make you up to date with the recent trend in preparing cakes. However, going through the magazines also may be a better choice to be familiar with the newer processes of preparing cakes of different types. 

Therefore, you can go through the recipe books, may watch the television channels that present different types of recipe programs through their channel; however, getting the desired information from the online source is no doubt a better choice for you. Nowadays, people are, therefore, searching the best chocolate cupcake recipes online. It is the best strategy to get the chocolate chip cupcake recipe. Therefore, to prepare a cupcake in your home, finding the guidelines on the internet will be the best idea for you.

Buying Your Coffee Roaster

Having a cup of coffee is varied and much of this difference is owed to the roasting process. Bean varieties do play a role but not as large as roasting. Two main methods are used today, fluid bed roasting and drum roasting. The methods directly impact flavor with one producing a slightly acidic taste and the other resulting in a full bodied more 'coffee flavor'. Let's look at how the two work and be on your way in making your quick and easy recipes for your breakfast.

Fluid bed roasting

Fluid bed roasters, also called air roasters, use convection to 'cook' the beans. Rather than direct heat, hot air permeates the interior to roast them. The longer the process is performed, the beans produce a heavier flavor. Much depends on temperature since beans should not be burnt, just roasted.

The term 'fluid' bed roaster would lead one to assume that water is involved in the process. This isn't true and fluid here refers to how fluidly the beans are allowed to move. As they're placed inside the roasting chamber, they float on a bed of air and are subjected to the same temperature simultaneously. This increases consistency and it's rare to find beans roasted in a fluid bed roaster with unequal roasts.

Most fluid bed roasters are easy to operate though some training is required. They work faster too, taking only 6 to 10 minutes to roast a batch of green coffee beans. This speed comes in handy as customers don't need to wait long when placing an order.

Drum roasting

Drum roasting produces a flavor that's strong. When roasted at higher temperatures and for a longer time, a burnt taste is produced. Like fluid bed roasting, convection is used to roast beans but so is conduction or the application of direct heat. The drum also adds to the heat as it is warmed.

Drum roasted coffee beans have a flavor that tends to linger in the palate long after the beverage is consumed. Many people prefer this especially those favoring strong coffee.

Unlike fluid bed roasters, drum roasters need more operation training. This is why they aren't typically purchased for light use. What does fall in their favor according to proponents is durability as they don't need very high speed fans like fluid bed roasters. Air flow is also controllable even if consistency is reduced.

The two techniques given here are what commercial roasters follow. Homeowners usually favor pan roasting as there's no need for expensive equipment and no real training. Not many roast their own coffee because it takes time and needs precision. However, coffee aficionados who prefer freshness above all else do away with commercial roasting. Using a cast iron pan, a food thermometer and a timer, small batches of beans are roasted so that they can be consumed fast and retain freshness.

If consumers decide to get either fluid bed or drum roasters, there are some questions that need answering. Manufacturers will make their products out to be the best so it's important to know what to look for.

When buying fluid bed roasters
• Ease of cleaning the machine, range of functions, how noisy it is, how evenly it roasts and warranty period should be found out.

When buying drum roasters
• Range of functions, durability and warranty, how much does it smoke and how hot does the drum get are key questions to ask.

Making Your Rabri

Basically speaking, rabri is a dish that refers to chilled sweet reduced milk served with different dried fruits. For this recipe, you will need full cream milk, white sugar, cardamom pods, almonds, pistachios, and saffron threads. You may soak the saffron threads in 2 tablespoons of milk ahead of time. Nowadays, a number of variations are added to it such as almond rabri or kesar rabri. Depending on your preference, you may create a new variation of this classic dish and you can even add this to you list of easy dessert recipes.

1 liter - full cream milk
200gms white sugar
3 pods - cardamom
8-10 - almonds, blanched, cut finely
4-5 - pistachios, skinned, cut finely
10 to 15 threads – saffron, soak it in 2 tablespoon of milk

1. Typically, rabri is made using an earthen pot. If you don’t have this at home, you may use a thick-bottom pan instead.

2. Over high flame, mix milk and sugar until it boils. Stir continuously.

3. Lower the heat to low flame. Allow the mixture to reduce to half. Make sure to stir occasionally so that it doesn’t stick to the bottom and sides of the pan.

4. When done, mix in dried fruits and saffron milk. Stir well. Refrigerate. Serve cold.

5. You may also store rabri for a long time as it is just a basic reduced milk recipe. Apart from being tasty, it is very healthy.

Cookie Secrets

There are so many cookie recipes available, but to make them taste yummy is another thing. Everyone has their individual tastes. For that reason the perfect cookie is not only about a recipe, but also about a technique of how to create the kind of cookie you love. Here you can find many tips that will make every recipe you use can result it cookies that taste better. By using these tips you will be able learn how to enhance the taste of your cookies.

To make cookies that taste better than others you need to pick your favorite recipe first. After that, you can just follow these tips:

Choose carefully your favorite cookie recipe and figure out what sort of cookie you like. Check how every ingredient in the selected cookie recipe may affect the outcome of your cookies.

Always use good-quality butter instead of vegetable shortening, margarine, or lard to get cookies with the best flavor and texture. Never use reduced-fat margarine or cheap butter because the ingredient has a lot of water that will make your cookies have a cake-like texture. If you want use salted butter, you may not need to give more salt your cookie recipe calls for.

Do not hesitate to double the vanilla ingredient the recipe calls for. It will make your cookies more tasteful. However, you should remember that if you wish the butter flavor to dominate, adding a little more vanilla may enhance the butter flavor but too much vanilla will only mask it.

Always use fresh ingredients. Be sure that all ingredients are at room temperature unless required otherwise in the recipe. To bring butter and eggs to room temperature you can leave them out for 30 minutes. Remember that old baking soda or baking powder can make your cookies become flat.

Avoid over mixing your ingredients. Less stirring your ingredients together is good as it will make your cookies more chewy. When you mix together the dry and wet ingredients, do not do it with a mixer. Instead, use a rubber spatula or wooden spoon and stir only until the ingredients are completely blended. Over beating your cookie dough may result in a more cake-like, less moist cookie.

Remember that different baking sheets may give different results. Thin baking sheets tend to make the bottoms of cookies to brown faster and you end up with burnt bottoms. For evenly cooking cookies the semi-thick rimmed baking sheets or insulated pans are the best.

Before placing your cookies in your oven, set the oven and make sure it is at the right temperature If you do not do this, wrong temperature may cause your cookies to cook unevenly and this will mess up your cooking times.

Keep your cookies in an airtight container, particularly if your cookies are not all eaten by bedtime.
After all, better prepared cookies will make a huge difference. Always remember that to make yummy cookies you should not stint on your most essential flavor ingredients.

Supporting the Organic Movement

Organic living is an option one chooses with the idea of living a healthy lifestyle and alongside supporting and protecting the environment from harmful toxins that are out there to deteriorate its ailing condition further. Supporting the organic way of life is the only way you can live a selfless life, giving your children the exuberant gift of good health and mother earth, her share of goodness in food recipes.

1.) Cut down on the toxic load: Being considerate and buying organic products promotes a less toxic environment for all living beings. Supporting organic agriculture does not only benefit your family but helps all families, the environment and animals live a less toxic life.

2.) Protect the environment for the future generations: Did you know that industrial agriculture or the conventional form of agriculture is responsible for polluting not only the farmland but also the farm workers and gradually the environment. Besides, studies show that infants are exposed to the numerous pollutants and harmful chemicals in the uterus of the mother itself. Would you want your children or grandchildren to be affected by your deeds? Hence, think again.

3.) Taste truer flavors: Scientists and other organic food product enthusiasts have long known that organic food often tastes better. Also, on the health front, studies have proved that organic produce is lower in nitrates and higher in antioxidants as compared to the regular conventional foods. So, what's the wait for? Let the certified organic products feast begin!

4.) Avoid Chemicals entering your body: Genetically modified foods are laden with a host of chemicals, pesticides, insecticides, fungicides and the list can go on. You should also be aware that in spite of washing these food products, there is a certain amount of chemicals that yet enter your system further leading to a number of health issues. Why risk it? Keep away from the conventional produce and switch to organic products today. You can also buy organic food online to ease your worries.

5.) Celebrate the motive of agriculture: Food is a common link between any number of cultures, countries, religions, languages, and so on. Bring about a culture revolution by standing up for and spreading the awareness of the consuming organic food. Bid adieu to the chemical toxins and environmental harm and embrace the diversity and biodiversity of the concept of agriculture.

Wednesday, 25 September 2013

Pre-Packed Salad Danger

Ready to eat salad is considered one of the products most likely to cause food-related illness, said Professor Hugh Pennington, an emeritus professor of bacteriology at the University of Aberdeen in Scotland -- who worked for the British, Scottish and Welsh governments as an expert on microbiology and food safety. His claim follows a Health Protection Agency investigation into an outbreak of salad-linked Cryptosporidium infections that affected around 300 people in England and Scotland in May.

In the analysis of the exposure to different salad vegetables a significant statistical association was found between infection and the consumption of pre-cut spinach. The strongest association with infection was found to be with consumption of ready to eat pre-cut mixed salad leaves from a major supermarket chain. These findings suggest that one or more types of salad vegetables could have been contaminated. So reminder to everybody that wash your ingredient thoroughly and avoid pre-packed meals so it's better to have a list of good salad recipes.

That is largely because greens are grown directly in the soil, and some pathogens can only be killed by heat or strong detergents, not just water. Certain types of bacteria found in the ready to eat salad bags can be almost impossible to kill, unless the leaves are irradiated - a process the public would oppose.

"You could irradiate it - but that would be a `no, no` with the public. You just can`t be absolutely sure that the bagged salad you are buying - which has been put through a chemical wash to kill the bugs, is actually free of them." Food pathogens are very good at clinging on to salad and the risk from cryptosporidium, salmonella and listeria is very real. "I would advise people to thoroughly wash salad even when it says it has been washed and is ready to eat," Pennington said.

Vegetables are fine and safe if they are cooked in the traditional way of boiling them to death. The only danger comes when you eat them raw.

The responsibility falls on the people who produce food. But much of our vegetables are now grown in countries that do not necessarily have the same hygiene standards. The consumer has no way of knowing how the food has been produced.

Cryptosporidiosis is most common in children aged between 1 and 5 years, but it can affect anyone. People with weak immune systems are likely to be most seriously affected.

There is no specific treatment for cryptosporidiosis. Most people with a healthy immune system will recover within one month. It is important to drink plenty of fluids to avoid dehydration.

Cryptosporidium is found in soil, food, water, or surfaces that have been contaminated with infected human or animal faeces. People may also be infected by consuming contaminated water or food.

Reigning Over the Cookie Empire

As grocery lists across the U.S. get filled each and everyday, cookies always sneak their way into the grocery cart, and list somehow. After all how could we survive without cookies unless we make our very own easy cookie recipes. As kids, it was a must in my home and neighborhood. From the good old home-made cookie to great brand names like Nabisco. Nabisco has been baking goodness into cookies since 1898. The location of that goodness is East Hanover, NJ.

The Nabisco company parted ways with Kraft Foods in 2012 and now the art of cookie making and baking the very best in cookies belongs to Mondelez International. This company was known as National Dairy Products since 1923 and they are established in Deerfield, Illinois. So many people ask why would Kraft part with Nabisco? After all this is one of the more noticed brands in grocery stores all across the U.S. The main reason is, it was an attempt to split into two companies for Kraft. Plus having been purchased by Phillip Morris, the parent company of Kraft for $14.9 million in the year 2000. The upside of this business venture was huge. But all the loyal Nabisco fans can rest assured that the company was only moved for those purposes in 2012 and nothing else. There won't be a Twinkie situation here!
So having given you the history of the Nabisco company along with the movement and shifts within the Kraft Foods network, now we can move along into the tops 5 cookies on the planet. Gourmet cookies aside of course. We will keep these to mass- produced cookies. Here is my list of the top five:

1. The Oreo 
2. Chips A-Hoy
3. The Fig Newton
4. Nutter Butter
5. Fudge Stripes (Keebler)

Beyond Pea Soup

With a few simple ingredients including fresh peas, tapioca, butter, water, and salt and pepper to taste make a sumptuous soup in less than thirty minutes. The soup’s thick and smooth consistency is because of the tapioca while the butter gives it a rich and luxurious taste. You can enjoy the peas at its utmost flavor and freshness when its delicate sweetness stands out. For best results, use freshly shelled peas to make this recipe. This recipe is great to try when peas are in season. Otherwise, you can still make one of these soups recipes with frozen peas. Bake the peas out of the pod and wash them gently yet thoroughly by placing them in a colander and under cold running water before cooking the fresh peas.

Tapioca is a vegetable-based thickening agent. Instead of using flour or cornstarch to thicken the soup, you can use tapioca to make the dish turn pasty or taste floury. Tapioca adds a sumptuous texture and a neutral taste. Sold in flour form or in pearls, tapioca is also known as Manihot esculenta or dulcis. It is the starch of the tropical cassava root and is made by grating the fresh roots and allowed to dry and ferment. Then the grated roots are pressed and baked into a flat cake then powdered to make pure starch.

When the flour or starch is diluted in water or moistened, quickly heated tapioca is achieved. Quick-cooking tapioca thickens the soup excellently. But it will leave tiny gel-like particles suspended in the liquid. If you don’t like this appearance and texture, use tapioca flour to make the soup. You can process quick-cooking tapioca in the blender until it is reduced to a fine powder. Tapioca pearls derived from tapioca flour and are already cooked. They are often used for making desserts and bubble tea drinks.

300gms shelled peas
1 cup tapioca, washed
6 cups water
2 tablespoons butter
Seasonings to taste

1. Add all ingredients in a kettle and allow it to cook for 20-25 minutes. Keep stirring often. Cover it. Let it cook on medium flame.

2. Towards the end add the seasonings. Stir well. Then strain this mixture and serve hot in a soup bowl.

Why Froth Your Milk in Espresso

Billions of people around the world enjoy Barista-crafted luxury Cappuccinos, Caffe Lattes and Macchiatos on a daily basis. But what makes them taste so great? Simple, a perfect combination of expertly extracted espresso hot steamed milk and velvety-smooth milk foam. Milk that is correctly prepared is always foamed. Whether or not you require any foam in the drink you're preparing, a certain level of foam in the milk is required when steaming. Milk is steamed and steamed to enhance the sensory experience of coffee. Incorporating air into the milk improves and sweetens the taste. Milk that has not been foamed tastes and appears lifeless in comparison. Follow the steps below to ensure your milk is foamed to perfection every time using a traditional espresso machine.
Fill your milk jug/steaming pitcher with cold milk (minimum amount of milk should be 1/3 of the jug, never fill the jug more than half full as milk expands to double its original size during steaming. Any type of milk can be used for steaming, whole milk, semi-skimmed or skimmed, as long as it is fresh it will foam. Remember that simple recipes brings out the best flavors.

Tip: Try to get in the habit of pouring only enough milk for the drinks you're preparing to avoid unnecessary wastage. Always ensure the steam wand is purged prior to steaming and frothing milk, as there may often be a build-up of water in the wand; this can adversely affect the final results of your microfoam.

Position the steam wand tip just beneath the surface of the milk and turn the steam flow on fully; you should hear 'tsst' noises, indicating you are foaming the milk correctly. If the tip of the steam wand is too far beneath the surface it will not allow any air into the milk. Too far above the surface and too much air will be introduced causing large bubbles to appear on the surface.

Once you are happy with the temperature and amount of foam, submerge the steam wand tip further into the steaming pitcher. Begin to texture the milk by tilting the jug on an angle and positioning the steam wand close towards the side of the jug. The milk will begin to swirl in the pitcher (also referred to as whirl-pooling), which improves consistency. Steam the milk it reaches the optimum serving temperature of 70°C.

Once milk steaming is complete remove the wand from the jug. Wipe the steam wand using a damp cloth, this is imperative and should be completed after each use to avoid bacteria developing on the wand. Once you have wiped the steam wand, purge it by turning the steam flow on for a few seconds; this removes any milk residue that may be in the tip of the wand.

Tap the base of the jug on a suitable work surface several times to release any large air bubbles and then swirl the milk in the jug to keep the creamy textured consistency. The milk should have a visible sheen to its appearance, contain no large bubbles and have the consistency of liquid foam.

The Barbecue Season

Summer time can be a tough time to watch what we're eating. With all the bbq's, deliciouscocktails, parties, you name it, it's hard to watch what you're eating. Especially when you're a guest at someone else's house. Here's a few tips to take into consideration.

1. Ask your host/hostess what they are serving and how you can help, or what you can bring. They may tell you they are all set and you don't need to bring anything. Next, they rattle off the typical bbq list of hot dogs, hamburgers, ribs, macaroni salad potato salad, etc. Even if they tell you that you don't need to bring anything, at least bring a nice big, healthy salad mixed with lots of different veggies so get always prepare your saladrecipes. And even bring some turkey burgers. If they ask, politely say you appreciate the invitation and are looking forward to the fun day, but you're watching your health.

2. Instead of hamburgers, try making turkey burgers. But watch the label. Some ground turkey has more fat than hamburger.

3. Stick to boneless, skinless breasts of chicken. I love grilling it and then putting it on a nice, big salad. Keep food light, you don't want to be full and uncomfortable.

4. Skip the mayonnaise laden salads. Try expanding your menu and instead, include whole grains in your diet. I love making quinoa salad, or brown rice salad. Plus, think about how much everyone will enjoy the variety. We all know most bbqs offer the same fare, so mix it up.

5. Veggies, veggies, veggies. This time of year, they are abundant. Take advantage while you can. Instead of the heavy potato and pasta salads, why not make some grilled veggies? Or a nice cucumber salad. There's always the delicious tomato salad with fresh mozzarella, sliced red onions garlic, fresh basil with a little balsamic vinegar and a good olive oil. Keep it light.

6. As far as drinks? That can really kill the waist line. Here's a tip. Freeze some fresh fruit then put it in a blender, add a touch of Stevia or Xyletol and some water to get it the consistency you like. If you want to add alcohol, stick with the clears. And alternate one with alcohol, one without. Remember, it's very easy to get carried away in the sun and pool and you can easily become dehydrated. Always drink responsibly and never drink and drive.

7. Stay hydrated! If you're not much of a water drinker, try adding sliced fruit; lemons, limes, oranges. You can even freeze some fruit in ice cubes so it will flavor your water. I've never tried it but I know some of my friends like sliced cucumber or basil or mint in their water. Mix it up. If that gets boring, try making some sun tea. I love making the green tea and I add slices of lemons. Be daring, try one new thing every day. You'll never know what you like. Our taste buds change all the time. Live life.

Wishing you all a happy, healthy life. Let me know if you try any of my tips. And I'd love to hear some of your tips. Post them below. Thanks and have a great one.

P.S. A friend of mine made this and I just had to have the recipe. It's one of my favorites and it's definitely always a hit! Enjoy and let me know if you try it.

Brown Rice Salad
2 cups water 
1 cup brown rice 
1/4 cup diced red onion 
1/2 cup diced celery 
diced peppers... I use red, green and yellow, but up to you what color and how much (peppers were not actually in original recipe but I like them) 
1 cup dried cranberries 
1/2 cup balsamic vinaigrette salad dressing 
1 TBSP. sugar

In a saucepan, bring water to a boil. Stir in rice, cover, and reduce heat to low. Simmer for 45-60 min. or until done. Transfer rice to serving bowl and stir in all ingredients. Refrigerate and serve cold.