Archive for the ‘Cooking & Others’ Category
Wines are the perfect way to marry all the ingredients in one plate. But today there are so many to choose from that choosing the right one can be tricky. But once you get to know the basics of wine and meal combinations, you can grow your knowledge on your very own, making your own experimentation and trying different combinations.
One of the key rules you’ve probably heard of is “red wine with red meat; white wine with white meat.” Of course every rule has its exceptions, and in this case there are lots of white wines that can go well with some red meat meals and vice versa. But this rule is still a very good starting point!
Let’s concentrate on red wines. What makes the difference between one red wine and another while combined with a meal is the amount of tannin. Tannin are the natural organic compounds (coming from the grape’s skin, the seeds and the stems) with which red (or rosé) wines are made of. These are what give the color to the wine (thus why white wines have no tannins!). Tannin is also one main classification criteria of wines since it greatly affects the taste (depending on the soil where the grapes were grown, the weather, the region, the methods used, etc.)
Know this: a wine with lots of tannin (tannic wines) are stronger and their taste is more pronounced than the less tannic ones. A good example for a high-tannin wine is the Irouléguy from the South-West region of France. As opposed to a Beaujolais which is less tannic.
Now let’s go to a beef meal. Of course a different cooking mode calls for a different wine.
First: Beef steak (“blue” or medium-rare),
Calls for a powerful and rich red wine:
Pomérol – wine from Bordeaux, France
Pinot Noir – wine from Alsace, France
The traditional Cabernet Sauvignon – wine from California, USA or Australia
Second: A grilled beef with some sauce (Béarnaise maybe? or Pepper sauce?
Calls for a well-rounded and perfumed wine:
Madiran – wine from the South West region of France
Château-Neuf-du-Pape – wine from Vallée du Rhône, France
Aglianico del Vulture – wine from Italy
Naoussa – wine from Greece
Third: A long-simmered beef,
Calls for a high-tannin, strong and full-bodied wine:
Arbois – wine from Jura, France
Pinot Noir – wine from South Africa or Argentina
Shiraz – wine from California, USA
Well, these are only some of the thousands of combination you can make, and remember, taste is personal, it may “go well” with your meal, but that doesn’t mean you will like it!
Instead of choosing a wine to match your meal, try choosing a meal to match your favorite wine! What about that!
Have a nice one!
Müller desserts and yogurts are now a familiar site in the chilled food departments of our supermarkets. The company originated in Bavaria when Ludwig Müller first started his dairy in 1896. I doubt that he thought just how big that company would become.
It wasn’t until 1980 that we were introduced to the Müller Rice range, and they have become a very popular product –especially in my home.
There are seven varieties of Müller Rice, original, apple, smooth toffee, blueberry, vanilla custard, raspberry and my favourite of the bunch, strawberry. To me the strawberry Müller rice is very much like eating the old childhood favourite – creamy rice pudding with a dollop of strawberry jam in the middle!
Müller Rice are actually a product similar to yogurts, and are found with the yogurts in the chilled food section of the supermarket, and are a small plastic pot holding 190g of the delicious dessert, the pot has a foil top and the price is around 60p for an individual pot or £2 for 6, however they are often on multi buy special offers in most supermarkets.
The main thing that I like about these desserts compared to yogurts is that they are good as either a hot or cold treat or dessert – they are equally delicious eaten straight from the fridge nice and cold or refreshing or heated up in the microwave for 70 seconds for a lovely warm treat that makes a great quick and easy dessert.
The rice inside these little pots is creamy and delicious, give it a stir and the rice is soon streaked with the red strawberry jam that’s on the bottom of the pot adding just that little something extra to the dessert in taste, texture and appearance.
These little pots are perfect for packed lunches, picnics or just to have in the fridge when you fancy a sweet treat that is a little different; at 203 calories and 2.5g of saturate fat per pot these are a far healthier way of satisfying that sugar rush than a chocolate bar! When it comes to nutrition these desserts are not as healthy as a low fat yogurt but they certainly do make a lovely change and certainly taste a lot more indulgent than they really are! And to help those of us who are trying to eat a healthy diet, those good people from Müller have now come up with a new product, a pack of six smaller pots of Müller Rice – each pot has 95g of rice in it and contains 103 calorie with 1.2g of saturated fat. These multi-packs are available in the Strawberry variety and also an Apple and Raspberry variety.
So if you haven’t tried these little pots of loveliness yet, do give them a try, I’m sure that you won’t be disappointed!
1. Müller (company)
2. Müller Website: Your health & nutrition questions
I absolutely love pasta or rice meals especially the ones which are really quick and easy to make. I normally make pasta dishes from scratch; but sometimes I really don’t have the time and energy to do so and I opt for a quick fix pasta in a packet. One of my all time favourite quick fix pasta dishes has to be Kraft Cheesey Pasta because it is delicious and tasty. I always make sure I have a few boxes of Kraft Cheesey Pasta in the cupboard because it takes minutes to prepare and it can be eaten on its own or as a part of a main meal. I love the fact that Kraft Cheesey Pasta is really cheap to buy and only costs about 80 pence per 190 gram box from Tesco’s or ASDA.
The Kraft Cheesey Pasta is really easy to find in most supermarkets; you will most probably find it in the rice and pasta aisles. The Kraft Cheesey Pasta is supplied in a tall thin rectangular cardboard box which is mainly red in colour and boasts the Kraft trade mark near the top of the packet. On the front of the box it also states that the product is in fact Cheesey Pasta and there is also a picture of a plate full of the Cheesey Pasta so as you get some sort of an idea of what the Cheesey Pasta is going to resemble once it has been prepared and cooked. On the back of the box of Kraft Cheesey Pasta you will find all of the nutritional values as well as the ingredients which make up the Kraft Cheesey Pasta. There is also very clear and precise cooking instructions printed on the back of the packet which are really easy and simple to follow. You have the option to choose from two different cooking methods, which are on the hob in a pan of boiling water or alternatively in the microwave.
The Kraft Cheesey Pasts is quite lightweight and easy to store as it hardly takes up much room in the cupboards; the best thing about it is the fact that it has a good shelf life. The packet which I have in the cupboard just now doesn’t go out of date until September 2009. The long shelf life of the Kraft Cheesey Pasta means that I can buy quite a few packets of it and store them in the cupboard and not have to worry about using them up quickly, I normally stock up on a few boxes of this when they are on special offer in Tesco’s. Once you open the box of Kraft Cheesey Pasta you will find two things, a large foil sachet which contains the powdered cheese sauce and lots of little pasta shapes. The pasta shapes are quite long and tube shaped and resemble a yellow colour. Obviously the pasta shapes are hard when you open the box but they do become soft in texture once you have cooked them in boiling salted water (like you would do with any other pasta).
Cooking the Kraft Cheesey Pasta couldn’t be easier and simpler and even the most inexperienced of cooks could manage this alone without causing havoc in the kitchen. Basically before you start cooking your Cheesey Pasts you have to decide which method of coking you would prefer, wither it be in the microwave or on the hob. Personally I prefer to cook the Cheesey Pasta on the Hob as it tastes a lot nicer and the pasta has a softer texture. If find that cooking the pasta in the microwave gives the pasta a somewhat rubbery and elastic texture. If you are cooking the Cheesey Pasta on the hob then all you have to do is add the pasta to a pan of salted boiling water and simmer for approximately 6 minutes or so or until the pasta is soft. Once the pasts is soft you have to drain off the excess water in a colander and then place the pasta back into the pot which you used to cook it. Then you have to add 50g of butter or margarine and then 50ml of milk to the pan. I normally don’t measure out the milk and butter quantities, I just add a tablespoonful of butter then add a splash of milk, mainly because it is quicker then measuring out the specified quantities. Once your milk and butter is added to the pan stir them until the butter is fully melted into the milk and it starts to simmer. Then add the cheese sauce and stir continuously until you have a lovely thick smooth cheese sauce; then serve.
If you decide to cook the pasta in the microwave then all you have to do is pour 850ml of boiling water into a microwavable container and then add the pasta and a pinch of salt. Cook the pasta uncovered on full power for five minutes (stirring half way through so as the pasta doesn’t stick together) or until the pasta is soft. Drain of the excess water in a colander and return to the bowl and add the milk, butter and the contents of the foil sachet containing the cheese powdered sauce ands stir well. Once fully combined place bowl back into the microwave and cook on full power for one minute before serving. Cooking the pasts in the microwave takes the same amount of time as cooking it on the hob however cooking the pasta on the hob gives it a better texture and taste.
Once your pasta is fully cooked you will have a plate full of soft textured pasta shapes which are covered in a gorgeous, thick orange coloured sauce. The cheese sauce has a very rich and creamy smell, the worst thing about the pasta sauce is the fact that it smells horrible and sort of reminds me of old socks, but this shouldn’t put you off as it smells a whole lot worse than it tastes. The pasta has a lovely creamy taste which is accompanied with a very rich cheese flavour which tastes similar to that of strong cheddar cheese; although it does have a slightly sharper tang to it. I think that Kraft Cheesey Pasta has a better taste to that of similar branded cheese pasts products as the cheese flavouring is a lot stronger and tastier. Some of the other similar cheese pasts dishes have really bland cheese flavouring and taste more creamy than Cheesey; but Kraft have got the balance of creaminess and cheesiness perfect in this product.
Kraft Cheesey Pasts isn’t exactly one of the healthiest quick fix meals available; but it is very quick and easy to prepare and most importantly it tastes delicious. On average a 100g serving of the Kraft Cheesey pasta contains 230 calories, 11.5g of fat, 7.3 g of saturated fat, and 0.3g of salt. This product is quite high in fat especially if you are eating a whole packet to yourself, however if you are serving two or more people with the Kraft Cheesey Pasta as an accompaniment to a main meal then the calorie content wont be as high as you are each having a smaller portion.
I really like the fact that the Cheesey Pasta can be served as an accompaniment to a main meal, I normally serve it instead of chips or potatoes with a meal as it really does make a satisfying and filling substitute. You can also jazz up the Cheesey pasta a little by adding some of your own ingredients such as diced ham, onions, chives, mushrooms etc.
For more information on Kraft or any of their other products then have a look at their website which is www.kraft.co.uk
1. Kraft Macaroni and Cheese – Wikipedia
2. Cheesy Pasta Bake – Kraft Recipes
Pastis has for many years been the preferred summer aperitif for men throughout the South of France. In recent years, with the proliferation of alternative alcoholic beverages, manufacturers have been working hard to make pastis a drink which appeals to both sexes over a wider geographical area and which can be consumed the year round.
Pastis is an amber coloured liqueur, whose traditional distillers have included Ricard, Pernod and Henri Barodouin. The name “Pastis” was shown on bottles distilled by Ricard, whilst Pernod retained the name Pernod to signify their distinct ‘up market’ beverage. Today Ricard and Pernod have merged to form Pernod Ricard. Each brand is still sold independently, and whereas Pernod is never marketed as Pastis, it has, outside of the South of France, come to be used as a substitute for Pastis in its traditional French form. Pernod Ricard is now an international company, owning such labels as Havana Club rum, Ballantine’s Scotch Whisky and Wild Turkey. Real Pastis, however, is to this day distilled only in the southern French town of Marseille.
Pernod can be mixed into a variety of cocktails, until recently the province only of British youth, but now promoted by the French manufacturers themselves. Pastis, however, is marketed purely as itself, to be consumed the French way.
Order a Pastis anywhere in France and you will be presented with a measure of the liqueur in a tumbler, together with a jug of iced water. Each drinker has a preferred ratio of liqueur to water, but traditionally it should be served as one part Pastis to five parts iced water. A single measure of Pastis can be enjoyed over a long conversation at a pavement cafe by adding a little more iced water as the conversation progresses, so that by the end there is virtually no alcohol left in the glass, merely slightly aniseed flavoured iced water.
When in France, try Pastis the French way, accepting Pernod only if there is no Pastis to be found. At home mix Pernod if you will – you are unlikely to notice a great difference in flavour, though Pernod tends to be more expensive if only because it has always been marketed as a superior drink.
Ricard pastis, Pernod and Henri Barodouin can all be purchased online from the United States and Great Britain. In Great Britain Pernod is easily found in most off licences, but you may have to shop around to find Ricard or Barodouin pastis.
1. The Absinthe Buyer's Guide: Modern & Vintage … – La Fée Verte
2. Vintage Absinthe and Pastis Fontaine Collection – Pontarlier
Many fruits of the Caribbean archipelago are found nowhere else in the world due to the unique ecosystem that surrounds them. Warm trade winds blow year round, helping to keep temperatures mild and in turn provides a year round growing season. A lot of these indigenous fruits, unknown to us are staples of islander’s diets. These fruits are grown and eaten nowhere else in the world.
ABRICOT- The abricot is only known to be found only in Haiti. It is the color of an apricot but two or three times bigger than an avocado. Not much is known about this plant because it is so rare. Haitians use this fruit in jams and jellies.
AJI CABALLERO- Aji Caballero is a rare hot pepper native to Puerto Rico used in many cooking dishes including Puerto Rican pique sauce. The 3-4 inch plants produce vertical standing fruits.
BALATA- Balata trees or cow trees are native to the Caribbean. The sap of these trees is one of many types of trees used to make latex. The fruits of these trees are tiny yellow, edible berries that ripen during the rainy season.
COCORITE- Native to Trinidad and Tobago, this palm fruit can number over 1,000 fruits to one bunch. The fruits are small and bright orange in color with a light, sweet taste.
ORANGELO- A cross between an orange and a grapefruit the orangelo was first cultivated in 1956 in Puerto Rico. Shortly after orangelos were hybridized orangelo plants were discovered growing wild on a coffee plantation on the island of Puerto Rico, apparently having hybridized naturally. Orangelos are the size of grapefruits but are sweeter tasting.
Although only a few fruits are indigenous to the Caribbean islands and are grow and eaten nowhere else in the world, there are many fruits indigenous to the islands that are now grown all over the globe and shipped to our favorite supermarkets.
ACKEE- This ornamental shrub is grown throughout the Caribbean but the fruit of this tree is only eaten in Jamaica. When the round, red fruit is ripe, it bursts open revealing creamy, yellow flesh. The fruit is toxic if eaten before it is ripe.
AVOCADO- The avocado was first cultivated in Jamaica in 1696. Since then it is grown in warm climates all over the world. The avocado is one of the largest cash crops of California. Americans use the avocado in a lot of dips and sauces including Mexican dishes.
GRAPEFRUIT- One of the popular American breakfast fruits, the grapefruit is thought to have originated in Barbados. The grapefruit is a cross between a West Indian fruit called a shaddock and an orange. Sour tasting it is commonly used in juices or as a breakfast fruit commonly halved and sprinkled with sugar.
GUAVA- Guavas are native to the Caribbean and Mexico but today are grown throughout the tropics worldwide. Guavas can vary greatly depending on the type. Guavas have green shells, much like a mango. They can be round or oval and are usually slightly larger than an orange. They can be a deep pink or green inside depending on the variety. Guavas can be sweet or sour, depending on the variety and are most commonly used for juices, desserts and jellies.
NASEBERRY- The Naseberry is native to the Caribbean and Central America. Naseberries are 2-4 inches round, and pleasantly sweet, resembling the taste of a pear. Naseberries have up to a 25% natural sugar content.
SEA GRAPE- Sea Grapes are native to the Caribbean and are grown throughout the tropical Americas and Florida. Sea grapes resemble green grapes and can be eaten as such or made into jellies and jams. Sea grapes inhibit coastal areas and are often grown to stabilize beaches.
SOUR SOP- The sour sop is native the Caribbean and Mexico. It has a delicious flavor that some describe as a cross between a strawberry and a pineapple. It is creamy, like a banana but very seedy and fibrous, therefore it is most used for juices and jellies.
SWEET SOP-The sweet sop is thought to be native to the Caribbean but is now grown all over the world due to its popularity. It has a round, lumpy appearance, looking much like a round pine cone. It produces sweet custard.
There are many other fruits that are exported out of the Caribbean like pineapples, coconuts and bananas. These fruits are not indigenous to the area but were brought to the islands hundreds of years ago by the first settlers to the area. These fruits have learned to thrive in the Caribbean’s tropical climate. Most fruits grown in the Caribbean are citrus fruits, high in vitamin C, most Americans would be lacking if it weren’t for the islanders growing their delicious fruits and exporting them to our country.
1. Caribbean Fruits – TnTisland.com aka Roger's Trinbago Website
2. Fruits of the Caribbean – Wiwords
Oysters are one of those foods with which you have to find perfection before falling in love! You can eat them raw, steamed, or boiled. The tastiest method though, is grilling them! Grilling oysters does not take very long. The most time spent will be getting the grill prepared. Prepare your grill by covering it with foil, this will ensure you don’t have a flood of oyster juice pouring over the coals. Please make sure you clean your shells. This could consist of scrubbing them and soaking them in a bucket of water for a bit to loosen the grime. If you see that a shell is already open or cracked you will want to toss it! That usually means it is not sanitary to eat and there is no use risking that when you can remain healthy by just cleaning the sealed oysters. Once they are clean you are ready to grill them! Once the heat is level on your grill you will place your oysters on the grill.
The process of grilling the oysters to perfection is not a long task. Spread them out so they are not piling over each other. Close your lid and keep a close eye on them. They should be done in about 3-5 minutes. As soon as the shells start to open, remove them from the grill. You will need a knife or fork to pry the shell open fully. Always direct the knife away from your body when cutting into the shell. You can then scoop your oysters out and dip them in melted butter or you can add your favorite toppings in the shell and slurp them from the shell directly. Some people are fans of putting hot sauce or steak sauce on their oysters. This is preferential and completely up to you.
If you choose to boil or steam them the process is close to the same. You will place them in the water once it has come to a boil and leave in until the shells start to pop. These do seem to make them taste a bit watered down if water seeps in. When steaming them place a lid partially over the pot so minimal steam escapes otherwise your pot will start whistling and shaking which could very well end up with your oysters on the floor. Steaming is just like vegetables except you will want the shells start to open up. Still though, if you want the most bang for your buck, and taste for your time, it is highly advised to grill your oysters!
1. How to eat oysters with ease — and be a pro at the raw bar – TODAY …
2. How To Eat The Raw Oyster, Goodness In Its Pure Form – Deadspin
Indulgent Chocoloate Mayonaise Cake.
I was a little sceptical about trying mayonaise cake to start with… it just didn’t seem right to me adding something you would use in a salad dressing to a chocolate cake!
But I tried it and it was the best baking decision I have ever made! This cake is not for those on a diet, but boy is it the tastiest thing you’ll try in a long time and the other plus side is that you can eat the batter without worrying about it!
275g self raising flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
4 tblsp cocoa powder
225ml boiling water
1 tsp vanilla extract
1) Preheat the oven to 180 degrees c.
2) In a large bowl mix all the dry ingredients together.
3) Beat in the mayonaise until the mixture resembles bread crumbs.
4) Dissolve the cocoa powder in the boiling water then add the vanilla extract, beat until there are no lumps.
5) Add the cocoa mixture to the mayonaise mixture and beat until thoroughly mixed.
6) Line a large cake tin or 2 small tins with baking parchment.
7) Spoon in the mixture, cook for approx. 1 hr or until a knife comes away clean when inserted into the middle of the cake.
8) When ready, allow the cake to cool for a while until it is firm enough to be removed without breaking too much.
9) Last but not least, enjoy licking the bowl!
If you want you can cover or fill the cake with a chocolate or coffee butter cream icing just for the added indulgence!
1. Cake Recipes – Allrecipes.com
2. Cake Recipes – Betty Crocker
“Sunny May” Sloppy Joes
NOTE: This recipe can be prepared & served in about an hour.
This first attempt at making Sloppy Joes out of chicken was reportedly successful and ready to share with Sloppy Joe enthusiasts across the entire Internet.
There are some changes over the beef version that ought be explained. Anyone getting tired of recipes that pretend they can simply swap beef for chicken and please anyone? Nothing really beats the flavor of beef. So, in concocting this recipe the idea were to conform the flavor to suit the whiter & lighter meat, in hopes of taking the meat to similar extremes of flavor without anyone dismayed about how the overall effect can’t match the beef.
Sweet, anise-flavored Florence fennel takes the place of celery, while orange zest & OJ imparts a distinctive, deep flavor to the chicken to match the deep flavor of the beef, but in a light way. The use of two different types of peppers frees the cook to decide how spicy the bread filling should be.
They are called “Sunny May” because the sauce is not dark like with beefy Joes – and that goes for those white roll-ups (tortillas), too.
10 Large Tortillas, soft burrito-type
1 Pound Chicken breasts, in 1/4” dice
16 Ounces Tomatoes, diced
1 Cup Pineapple juice
1/8 Teaspoon Ground black pepper
2 Tablespoons Olive oil
1 Stalk Fresh fennel, chopped
6.66 Ounces Red bell & red New Mexican peppers, 4:1 or 1:1
4 Cloves Garlic
4 Ounces Onion, quarter-sliced
2 Tablespoons Dry white wine
2 Teaspoons Orange zest, freshly-grated
1/2 Cup Orange juice
1 Tablespoon Brown sugar, packed
Place tomatoes in medium bowl with pineapple juice and black pepper. Add chicken and blend. Cover and place in refrigerator to marinate 15 minutes – 1 hour.
Place large skillet on medium heat or 70% and carefully coat with olive oil. Immediately add fennel, peppers, garlic & onion, stirring often for up to 10 minutes or until fragrance becomes robust. Pour chicken mixture into skillet and bring to a boil. Add wine, brown sugar, orange juice & orange zest and blend well. Bring to boil and then turn heat to low to cook off excess liquid, uncovered. Meanwhile, prepare tortillas.
When liquid has cooked down, turn on simmer then take care of tortillas. Ladle 1/4 cup of meat mixture onto tortilla then fold up like a burrito & serve. Serves 3-5.
It’s certainly not your ordinary sandwich, but roll-ups could be catching on. They don’t necessarily have to be sloppy to eat, but the trick is in knowing how to fold your tortilla! Sunny May Sloppy Joes may make a great and easy lunch idea and can be served with French fries or corn chips and slaw or a suitable grated salad. They can also be served over rice if you don’t have the tortillas.
1. 10 Quirky Variations on the Classic Sloppy Joe – Community Table
2. The Ultimate Sloppy Joes Recipe : Tyler Florence : Food Network