Recent Articles

Decent Cooking Advice

| February 16, 2013

One of the most annoying things about the Internet is  the fact that is almost anybody can set up a website, clone to be an expert, and start writing about whatever it is they think they are capable and qualified to write about. Unfortunately – most people are completely clueless about everything they write about, and the Internet seems to be populated with total garbage. Sadly, most people seem to trust Google when it comes to finding information on the Internet, and although I know very little about search engines, while I can say is that most of the information you find will do a Google search is complete rubbish. For some reason Google seem to just favor sites like about.com and other big media sites, regardless of the quality of information  provided.

So, I thought I would point out a few decent websites and webpages that I have found recently, where I consider the information to the actually worth reading and worth looking at. Honestly, I am sick to death of going to a webpage is discovered one of my own recipes that has been slightly adulterated and rewritten in an attempt to claim some sort of level of expertise by people who clearly don’t have a clue about what they’re trying to talk about.

Recipes

American recipes – if you’re looking for really good quality American recipes, check this site out here, called [strangely enough] best American  food - http://bestamericanfood.net

Italian recipes –  There is a really fantastic Italian recipes on the Internet, and this is one of my favorites - http://mark-knowles.hubpages.com/hub/Cooking_made_easy_-_Macaroni_and_cheese -  it’s a genuine macaroni and cheese recipe, using only all-natural ingredients.

This is another superb recipe, for an Italian summer salad - http://thaumaturgical.com/how-to-make-an-italian-stale-bread-salad-recipe-and-video-2/

BBQ & Kitchen Equipment

Most of the advice on buying kitchen equipment and barbecue gear I find on the Internet, Seems to have been written by an idiot who just wants to make a 5% commission selling  a  BBQ.  Here are some sites that offer some genuine impartial advice and information [ I must admit to enjoying the site called hubpages – a lot of good information on there]

http://prokitchen.hubpages.com/hub/cheap-kitchen-appliances-that-work

Well,  I seem to have run out of time for the rest of this post, so I will continue adding more Internet sites that I like in the future. I have to admit, the Internet is a wonderful invention, but sometimes I find it frustrating how much garbage there is there.

Get your kids involved

| October 22, 2012

Cooking, especially barbecuing, can seem like grown-ups only territory. But one thing nutritionists recommend to help broaden your child’s tastes, it to get them involved in food preparation.

If you have had enough of serving up burger and fries, and your ready to try something new, here’s my top tips for getting your kids involved.

1. It’s all in the planning

This is going to require a fair bit of tolerance on your part, but can you suspend your love of healthy food long enough to let your child plan a menu for one meal? You can suggest some fruit and vegetables, but don’t insist. Your child needs to feel they have full control in order for this to be fun and successful.

If your child is reluctant to do this, which may happen in meal times have become a chore in your home, suggest you plan a dinner party for her favorite dolls, or his action figures.

2. Where does food come from

Can you get to a fruit farm? Or even a candy factory? When you walk around the supermarket talk about how the food got their. Look at foods in different states – like corn cob with the leaves still on, or tomatoes still on the vine. Children have a natural thirst for knowledge, and once they feel confident about what food is and where it comes from, they will be more willing to experiment with new flavors.

3. Little Chef

Play cafe, you be the customer, and let your child be the chef. Of course you will supervise any baking, but you could leave the room while they decorate a cake for you and mix up a milkshake. You can even get toy ovens that really bake treats. Once your child has experienced the satisfaction of watching someone enjoy food they have prepared, they can have some understanding of why you are so keen for them to eat the meals you prepare.

More Information

For more tips and ideas, check out this video from Health Central.



Slimming Summer Barbecue Dishes

| August 10, 2012

If you want to keep your bikini body but don’t want to spend your summer searching for Medifast coupons 2012, it’s time to get serious about low-fat, low-calorie meals. Fortunately, there is a bounty of fresh produce and seafood in the warmer months that will help to keep you slim and trim.

If you want to keep the calories down but don’t want to give up on your favorite barbecue meals, there are a few tricks you can use to cut fat and calories from some of summers traditional dishes.

Protein

You don’t have to give up on char-grilled steaks when you’re dieting. The USDA has designated several cuts of steak as extra-lean, including top sirloin and sirloin tip side steak. Grilling is the perfect preparation for these steaks, as the little fat they do contain will drain off during the cooking process.

When you’re planning the main star of the meal, think lean all the way. Pork is a traditional barbecue dish, but many of the cuts, such as pork butt, are high in fat and calories. When in doubt, stick with pork tenderloin — one of the leanest cuts of pork. While you’re thinking lean, also think seafood and chicken — skinless, of course.

Instead of burgers made from beef, go with ground turkey, veggie burgers or portobello mushrooms set on whole wheat buns.

Sides

Unfortunately, many of summer’s popular side dishes don’t mesh with a low-calorie diet, but you do have other options. Traditional mayonnaise-based potato salad weighs in at a whopping 358 calories per cup. Serve mayonnaise-free German potato salad instead at only 240 calories per cup.

Instead of baked beans, which are 250 calories per cup, serve a fresh, black-bean salsa at only 99 calories. Use fat-free mayo in your cole slaw, and you will have just saved over 100 calories per serving. Even summer’s favorite veggie, fresh corn on the cob, can be disastrous to your diet, as every pat of butter you add to it adds roughly 100 calories to the 77-calorie ear.

There are plenty of low-calorie sides you can serve, such as fresh salads with fat-free dressing, cucumber salad with some Spanish onion or grilled veggies.

How To Store Tea

| March 13, 2012

Tea is an agricultural product that has been dried. But although it only contains around 3% water, it doesn’t age particularly well. ( There is one class of teas called pu-ehr teas – see http://tealounge.com.au/pu-erh-tea/ – that are fermented but that’s not the subject of this posting.)  To preserve the aromatic flavor profile of tea it is important to ensure the correct storage conditions.

Tea leaves are a bit like a sponge.  They absorb moisture and ambient odors very easily. So the last thing you want to do is store it next to a strong cheese for example. It will also be affected negatively when it comes into contact with oxygen. This is because a number of the compounds contained in tea will undergo oxidation if exposed. If exposed to bright light for long periods of time, tea will dry out, its flavor will fade and its leaves will lose their color. It will also become brittle and crumbly.  As a result of these factors it is important to ensure that tea is stored in an airtight container that is opaque.

Good storage will do a lot to help the tea leaves retain their freshness. But this is not limitless. Especially if you have any tea with rich top notes, floral accents and fresh aromas as you’ll find these will deteriorate quite quickly.  Muskier and warmer tea classes will last a little bit longer.  As a rule I never allow tea to remain unused for longer than 12 months. And if I’m buying seasonal tea for example like a fresh/spring Darjeeling I’ll try and consume this a few months after picking.

If you keep tea in the refrigerator it’s important to allow the packet to reach room temperature before opening it. This avoids the tea absorbing too much water through condensation.  It also makes sense to store in small batches so that you can remove a batch at a time into an airtight container kept at room temperature.

Tender Barbecue Steak with Yams, Make it Fast in Your Pressure Cooker

| February 18, 2012

Who doesn’t love barbecue during the week? If you’ve relegated barbecue to the weekend, when you’ve got time to fire up the grill and nurse your steak and chicken, then think again. Okay, this might not thrill the grilling you, but you can barbecue your steak in your stove top pressure cooker. Really.

pressure cooker
Yes you can make a delicious and tender barbecue steak in your pressure cooker!

In addition to the pressure cooker, you’ll need a trivet. A trivet is a piece of metal that sits in the bottom of the pressure cooker, to keep food out of the water.

You’ll need a 6-ounce lean round steak to start. Of course the yam, which should be scrubbed and sliced. The last item is a a couple of tablespoons of barbecue sauce. Of course you can use more if you want lots of sauce. It’s your choice if you want to use sweet barbecue sauce to match the yams or firey sauce to act as a balance.

To make mouthwatering and tender barbecue steak in the pressure cooker, first you put the trivet in the pressure cooker bottom and add water. Put the steak flat on the trivet as well as the yams. Turn on the pressure cooker and bring up to high pressure. Cook the steak for 20 minutes. If you are using a stovetop pressure cooker then use the quick cool method by putting the pressure cooker under cold water. Don’t do this with an electric pressure cooker. Read your instructions for a quick pressure release. Open the lid, put the barbecue sauce on the steak. Recover the pressure cooker and bring the appliance to high pressure. Cook the steak and yams for another 10 minutes. Perform another cold water release. Place the steak on a dinner plate. Add more barbecue sauce if you want. I’d put putter and cinnamon on the yams. Throw on a few mini marshmallows as well.

 

Southern Coleslaw

| February 16, 2012

What goes perfectly with awesome southern barbecue? You’ll need some great sides like coleslaw, baked beans, and potato salad. To be perfectly honest, I can’t imagine having pulled pork without a generous helping of coleslaw, and my North Carolinian husband can’t eat a barbecue sandwich without piling on the slaw. Of course there are plenty of other sides that go great with southern barbecue, including pasta salad, fruit salad, baked potatoes, scalloped potatoes, macaroni and cheese, and French fries. All of these are wonderful, but nothing can take the place of good ol’ southern coleslaw.

Southern coleslaw recipe

What you’ll need:

1 medium head green cabbage

1/2 cup minced sweet Vidalia onion

1/3 cup chopped bread and butter pickles, with some juice

3/4 cup mayonnaise

1/3 cup sugar

1/4 cup bottled ranch dressing

2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar

Salt and pepper, to taste

paprika

Directions: Rinse cabbage and remove outer leaves. Cut cabbage into four equal quarters. Shred the cabbage and place in a large bowl. Add minced onion and chopped pickles.

Whisk together mayonnaise, sugar, ranch dressing, and vinegar. Pour this over the cabbage and toss. Add salt and pepper and taste. Adjust seasonings. Cover container and refrigerate slaw for two hours or more. When ready to serve, sprinkle coleslaw with paprika.



Sweet Vidalia Onion Pesto Gives Your Dishes the Perfect Southern Touch

| January 25, 2012

First things first – when you’re talking about Vidalia onions, you are talking about onions that must be grown in Georgia in 20 specific counties. That’s not just talk or opinion, that’s the way it is according to both federal law and Georgia State law. That way when you as a consumer buy an onion labelled as a Vidalia onion, you know that it will have that sweet flavor that Vidalia onions are known for. Of course you can enjoy these wonderful vegetables in your summer dishes and salads.

But what about during the winter. Well if you’re like me and just don’t think that there is ever enough garlic and onions in the world, then you’ll want to try Sweet Vidalia Onion Pesto.
Sweet Vidalia Onion Pesto

For a unique onion dip, combine this pesto with mayonaise. Then add Parmesan cheese to taste. Serve it with rustic bread and a hearty wine that can stand up to the flavors. I always keep several jars of gourmet pesto in stock in my kitchen. As you can see you can easily whip up unique appetizers to serve unexpected guests. You can also bring pasta to life when you toss it with Sweet Vidalia Onion Pesto. Don’t forget to toss in some pine nuts and currants for an Italian accent. With just one little jar of pesto, you can add an entire new range of flavor to your everyday dishes.

The Barbecue Camping Checklist

| December 24, 2011

There are many elements that make up camping a blast, but perhaps none is more enjoyable than food. There something magical about being able to go back to the basics while preparing food surrounded by the wonders of nature. The fresh somewhere blends seamlessly with outdoor cooking and family time. These are the things that great family memories are made of, and you should spare no expense when it comes to what you eat on a camping trip. After all, how many other opportunities do you get to enjoy food like this? You should take every advantage of your surroundings and downtime to fully enjoy the experience. As any good camper nose, preparation and organization are keys to having a successful trip. Here is a quick barbecue camping checklist to ensure you are fully prepared for the experience of a lifetime.

A Good Cooler – it’s not about fancy gadgets or elaborate appliances when it comes to wholesome barbecue cooking. Stick with the basics and you’ll be fine every time. For camping, it starts with a good cooler so that you can ensure your ingredients they fresh until ready to cook. This is one area where you should definitely not skimp so make sure to spend enough on getting yourself a cooler (or two) that will serve you well. In general, filling your cooler with block ice works better than chips because it lasts longer. You can also pre-freeze certain items like soup or stew to act as cooling agents as well.

A Great Grill – one problem associated with portable gas grills is their flimsy nature and tendency to crumble under weight. This is why you might want to go with a larger model with a durable design. These days there are wonderful choices in terms of more portable grill to give you the same type of performance as a backyard model. Make sure that you understand how to operate your grill while maintaining it properly in the outdoors.

Ample Food – here is where the fun begins because it’s your chance to go all out with your menu planning. Just remember to stay organized so that you don’t run out of food before your trip ends. It’s a good idea to plan out each meal in advance while leaving room for extras at the same time. Don’t forget about peripheral elements such as beverages and snacks either.

A Backup Plan – one important aspects of camping is being prepared for any contingency. Hopefully everything turns out fine, and chances are they will. But in case of an emergency you should always have extra food rations on hand. These days you can find prepackaged emergency food that come in handy portable kits. You’ll likely never have to dig into one, but it’s nice to know you have reserves just in case.

Educate Yourself – information is your best friend when it comes to camping so don’t be afraid to explore different techniques and grilling basics. It’s not just about throwing food onto your charcoal grill and leading a cook until it’s done. There are exciting ways to make food tastier in addition to incorporating more health into your menu planning as well. In general, the more you know about basic cooking, the more you can expand your overall routine for exciting results.

Overall Safety – food safety is always a concern in outdoor environment because you don’t have the amenities of a modern kitchen. Remember to handle your food safely at all times especially when it comes to uncooked meat. If something has thawed, then make sure to cook it as soon as possible without trying to refreeze it. Also make sure that you preserve your campsite while keeping the integrity of the area intact. Keep a careful watch on your barbecue to avoid complications with forest fires or too much smoke wandering over to your neighbor’s campsite. When you take care of these basics, it allows you to have a lot more fun without having to worry about an accident or unforeseen event routing your entire trip.

Cooking: Indian curry influence and Japan

| December 19, 2011

Food is one of my passions and, when I have the time, I enjoy writing about it. Recently, while working on a project that involved finding the best autoresponder, I promised myself when I had a little time; I would share some fascinating information about the influence of Indian curry in Japan. We are all familiar with the idea that Indian country seems to have taken over as the national cuisine of Britain and the most popular dish in the country is the Indian “chicken tikka masala”.

Only recently did I find out that curry occupies a place in Japan in much the same level as it does in Britain. This is extremely unusual because Japan has no colonial ties with India and has its own unique and distinctive cuisine. The Japanese simply love curry and every food store in every shopping mall or railway station sells curry and rice which is locally known as karee raisu. And bakeries often offer a bread roll with curry sauce inside that goes by the name of karee pan.

Apparently, in 1982, schoolchildren chose curry as their favorite meal in the national program for lunch at school. In Japanese homes, the three most frequently cooked dishes for dinner are pork cutlets, stir fry vegetables and, believe it or not, curry. The Curry House Ichibanya, a nationwide chain with more than 300 outlets, serves curries with differing levels of spice. You can even find comic books where the leading characters seriously debate the best way of cooking curry.

The Japanese army found that curry and rice was an easy dish to cook in large quantities. Moreover they considered it as one method of feeding the troops beef which they believed would be strengthening. After the Second World War, curry and rice began to feature on school lunch menus. The introduction of pre-prepared curry roux made it easy for housewives who were tired after a day at work to cook curry at home.

Stop Frying Your Foods!

| December 8, 2011

The world has become ever so health conscious and people are now trying everything to eat healthier, lose weight and look good. We tend to try too many quick fixes instead of just trying to fix the root of the problem and the manufacturers aren’t helping. Instead of preaching the importance of proper dieting they are instead coming up with newer gadgets that make it easier for you to stay fit.

One such gadget is the flex belt. People are being told that they can easily watch TV and have their workout done by this belt that they strap around their stomachs. They can eat dinner, they can play with their kids, they can do everything else but stay active and eat healthy. 

Those aren’t the only simple things you can do to stay fit. There are other things you can do in terms of your diet to remain fit. One main thing you can do to loose the flab around your waist is to stop eating fried foods.

Fried foods are known for their high fat content and cholesterol content but they can also be carcinogenic especially when the same oil is reused multiple times to fry multiple items. So if you are not too worried about clogging your arteries you may need to be worrying about cancer.