Category Archives: Food

Fresh Fig and Mascarpone Tartlets

 

Preparation time : 35 minutes (plus refrigeration time).

Cooking time : 40 minutes.

Serves :: 4

Ingredients

  • 1 cup (150 gm) plain flour
  • 1 tablespoon custard powder
  • 1 tablespoon caster sugar
  • 100g butter, chopped coarsely
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 teaspoon grated orange rind
  • 2 teaspoons water, approximately
  • 2 large fresh figs (160 gm)
  • Toffee –
  • 1 – 1/4 cups (275g) caster sugar
  • 1/2 cup (125m!) water
  • 1/4 cup (40 gm) blanched almonds, toasted
  • 1/2 cup (125ml) strained orange juice
  • 2 tablespoons water, extra
  • Mascarpone Cream
  • 1/2 cup (125ml) thickened cream
  • 200g mascarpone cheese

Preparation

  1. Grease four deep 10cm-round loose-based flan tins. Place flour, custard powder and sugar into medium bowl; rub in butter. Stir in yolk, rind and enough of the water to mix to a soft dough. Knead dough on floured surface until smooth; refrigerate, covered, 1 hour.
  2. Roll pastry between sheets of baking paper until large enough to line prepared tins; lift pastry into tins. Press into sides; trim edges. Place tins on oven tray; prick bases with fork. Cover pastry with baking paper; fill with dried beans or rice. Bake, uncovered, in moderate oven 10 minutes. Remove paper and beans. Bake, uncovered, further 10 minutes or until browned lightly; cool. (Can be made days ahead and stored in airtight container.)
  3. Halve figs; cut each half into three wedges, ready for dipping in toffee.
  4. Place pastry cases on serving plates; fill with mascarpone cream. Top each with toffee-coated fig wedges and toffee strands; pour warm orange syrup around tartlets.

 

Toffee – Cover three oven trays with foil. Combine sugar and the water in small saucepan; stir over heat, without boiling, until sugar dissolves. Simmer, uncovered, without stirring, until mixture turns golden brown; remove from heat. Dip fig wedges into toffee; place on one oven tray to set. Place nuts on another oven tray; pour over half of the remaining toffee. Stand until set; break almond toffee into pieces, then blend or process until crushed finely. Gently reheat remaining toffee; working quickly, dip fork into pan and drizzle long thin strands of toffee onto remaining oven tray. Add juice and the extra water to any toffee remaining in pan; simmer about 5 minutes or until mixture is syrupy.

Mascarpone cream – Whip cream in small bowl until firm peaks form; fold in mascarpone, in two batches, then finely crushed almond toffee.

Per serving – 68.2g fat; 3431kJ

Barbecued Tandoori Chicken

Ingredients:

  • 3 very young broiling chickens (about 2 to 2-1/4 pounds each).
  • 2-1/2 teaspoons unseasoned natural meat tenderizer.
  • 1/3 cup lemon juice.
  • FOR MARINADE –
  • 2 large cloves garlic
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh ginger root
  • 1 teaspoon ground roasted cumin seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper
  • 1 teaspoon tandoori coloring, or 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 1/3 cup plain yogurt
  • Usli ghee or light vegetable oil for basting

Preparation

  1. Cut the wings off the chickens. Remove the neckbone carefully. Place the chickens on a cutting board and quarter them neatly. Then pull away the skin, using kitchen towels for a better grip if necessary. (Reserve the wings, neck, and skin for the stockpot.) Prick the chicken all over with fork or a thin skewer. Make diagonal slashes, inch deep, 1 inch apart on the meat. Put the meat in a large bowl. Add meat tenderizer and lemon juice to the chicken, and rub them into the slashes and all over for 2 minutes.
  2. Cover and marinate for an hour. Put all the ingredients of the marinade into the container of an electric blender or food processor, and blend until reduced to a smooth sauce. (Alternatively, garlic and ginger may be crushed to a paste and blended with the remaining ingredients.) Pour this marinade over the chicken pieces and mix, turning and tossing, to coat all the pieces well. (A note of caution: Since certain brands of Tandoori coloring tend to stain the fingers, it is advisable either to use a fork to turn the chicken pieces in the marinade or use a pastry brush to spread it over the chicken.) Cover and marinate for 4 hours at room temperature, or refrigerate overnight, turning several times. Chicken should not remain in the marinade for more than 2 days, because the marinade contains a meat tenderizer which, with prolonged marinating, alters the texture of the chicken meat to very soft and doughy.
  3. Take the chicken from the refrigerator at least 1 hour before cooking to bring it to room temperature. The chicken is now ready to be either roasted in the oven or broiled over an electric or charcoal grill.

TO ROAST IN THE OVEN:

  1. Start heating the oven to 500-550 degrees. Take the chickens out of the marinade. Brush them with the ghee or vegetable oil, and place them on an extra-large shallow roasting pan, preferably on a wire rack.
  2. Set the pan in the middle level of the oven, and roast for 25 to 30 minutes, or until the meat is cooked through. There is no need to baste while the chicken pieces are roasting, because the enclosed environment keeps the chickens from drying excessively.

TO BROIL INDOORS:

  1. Preheat the broiler. Brush the grill with a little oil to prevent the meat’s sticking. Place the chicken pieces, slashed side up, on the grill, and brush the slashed side with ghee or vegetable oil.
  2. Cook 2 to 3 inches away from the heat for 20 minutes. Turn and cook the other side for another 10 minutes, or until the chicken pieces are cooked through.
  3. Brush often with ghee or vegetable oil during cooking.

TO GRILL OUTDOORS:

  1. Fire the coal well in advance (about 1-1/2 hours before you are ready to begin cooking), so that a white ash forms over the surface of the coal. This is when the coal is at its hottest. Place the grill at least 5 inches away from the heat, and rub generously with oil.
  2. Place the chicken pieces, slashed side up, over the grill and brush them with ghee or vegetable oil. Let chicken cook without turning for 10 minutes. Turn, baste the other side, and cook for 10 minutes. Continue to cook, turning and basting the chicken every 10 minutes, until it is done.
  3. The cooking time for broiling and grilling usually varies widely. Much depends upon the intensity of the heat and its distance from the chicken. The point to remember is that the chicken pieces have been marinating in a very strong tenderizing solution for two days and therefore will cook much faster than standard broiled or barbecued chicken.
  4. Serve the chicken immediately, lightly brushed with ghee or oil.

Video

Spanish Chocolate Mousse

Spanish Chocolate Mousse

Serves :: 6-8

Ingredients:

  • 8 ounces Callebaut milk or bittersweet chocolate, broken into small pieces (about half of one block)
  • 1 cup egg whites, about 6-8 eggs
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 pint cold heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup coffee or hazelnut liqueur
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon

Preparation:

Because this recipe uses raw eggs, be sure to use only very fresh eggs.

  1. In a bain marie over low heat, slowly melt the chocolate until smooth. Keep warm.
  2. Bring egg whites to room temperature. In a clean mixing bowl, beat them to soft peaks. Add the sugar gradually and continue beating until the egg whites are stiff but not shiny. Set aside.
  3. In a clean mixing bowl, beat the heavy cream almost to stiff peaks. Be careful not to beat too hard or the texture of the mousse will be ruined.
  4. Quickly fold the warm chocolate into the beaten egg whites. If the chocolate cools it won’t fold in smoothly, and you will have chunks of chocolate in the mousse.
  5. Once the egg white mixture is smooth, fold in the whipped cream, the liqueur and the cinnamon until evenly blended. Chill for two hours before serving. Serve with fresh berries.

Video

All – In- One- Dal

Serves: 6 Adults

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup toor dal.
  • 1/2 cup moong dal
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 tomato, chopped
  • 2 green chillies, chopped
  • 1/2 piece of ginger
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1/2 cup carrots, chopped
  • salt to taste
  • 1/4 tsp. turmeric powder
  • 1 cup spinach, chopped
  • 1/4 cup greenpeas
  • 1/2 tsp. mustard seeds
  • 1/2 tsp. cumin seeds
  • A pinch of asafoetida

Preparation

  1. Boil both the dals with turmeric in a pressure cooker. Separately boil the greenpeas and carrots for a few minutes till they are cooked. In a non-stick pan, saute the mustard seeds, cumin seeds and asafoetida.
  2. Add in the onions, garlic, ginger and green chillies. Fry well. Add tomatoes. Fry for a minute or two. Next, add in the dals, spinach, greenpeas and carrots. Add some water if the mixture is too thick.
  3. Then add salt to taste. Cook for 4-5 minutes or till the spinach is soft and cooked. This dish can also be made without spinach, in which case, garnishing can be done with chopped corriander leaves.

Toffee Apples

Preparation time :: 10 minutes.
Cooking time :: 20 minutes.
Serves :: 4.

A typical chinese sweet.

Ingredients

  • 3 delicious golden apples.
  • 1/2 teacup plain flour.
  • 2 tablespoons corn flour.
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder.
  • For the caramel coating –
  • 1 teacup sugar.
  • 2 tablespoons oil.
  • 3 teaspoons sesame seeds.
  • oil for deep frying.

Preparation.

For the caramel coating

  1. Put the sugar, oil and 2/3 teacup of water in a pan and cook on a high flame.
  2. When the mixture begins to bubble, shake the pan continuously to prevent burning.
  3. Continue cooking and shaking the pan until the syrup is light brown in color.
  4. Remove from the heat, add the sesame seeds and mix well.

How to proceed

  1. Mix the plain flour, corn flour and baking powder in a bowl. Add water and stir into a smooth, thick batter.
  2. Peel, core and cut the apples into bite-size pieces.
  3. Coat the apple pieces evenly with the batter and deep fry in hot oil until golden.
  4. Fill a serving bowl with ice-cubes and cover with water.
  5. Put the fried apples in the caramel syrup and coat evenly. Drain well and plunge into the ice-cubes bowl. Keep for a few minutes till the caramel coating hardens. Drain thoroughly.

Serve.

  • Variation : Toffee Bananas. Proceed as above substituting apples by bananas pieces.

Shredded Beef Soft Tacos Recipes

Preparation time : 15 minutes .

Cooking time : 9 hours

Standing time: 1 hour.

Ingredients

  • 1-1/2 pounds top sirloin steak or sirloin tip roast, all visible fat removed
  • 3 cups chopped yellow onion (6 medium)
  • 1 cup chopped green bell pepper
  • 1/4 cup dry red wine (regular or nonalcoholic)
  • 1/2-cup low-sodium ketchup
  • 2 tablespoons cider vinegar
  • 6 medium cloves garlic, minced, or 1 tablespoon bottled minced garlic
  • 2 teaspoons low-sodium beef bouillon granules
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 3/4-teaspoon liquid smoke
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin, divided
  • 1/2-teaspoon red hot pepper sauce
  • 1/4-teaspoon pepper
  • 1-teaspoon dark brown, light brown or granulated sugar
  • 8-8-inch nonfat or low-fat flour tortillas

Preparation

  1. Preheat oven to 325°.
  2. Put meat in slow cooker. Add onions and bell pepper. In a medium bowl, whisk together wine, ketchup, vinegar, garlic, bouillon granules, bay leaves, liquid smoke, 1/2-teaspoon cumin, hot pepper sauce and pepper. Pour wine mixture into slow cooker, cover tightly and cook on low setting for 9 hours, or until meat is tender.
  3. Shred meat using two forks, and return it to slow cooker. Remove and discard bay leaves. Add 1/2-teaspoon cumin and sugar and let mixture stand for 1 hour to allow flavors to blend.
  4. Wrap tortillas in aluminum foil and warm in oven for 6 to 8 minutes. Spoon meat mixture down center of a tortilla. If you want to add garnishes, such as chopped tomatoes, salsa, shredded lettuce or nonfat or low-fat cheese and sour cream, do it now. Roll and repeat with remaining tortillas. Serve immediately.

Nutritional Facts: per serving:

257 calories, 22 g. protein, 5 g. fat (percent calories from fat, 17), 31 g. carbohydrates, 53 mg. cholesterol, 229 mg. sodium, 3 g. fiber.

Whole Grain Cereals

If you’ve been to the grocery store lately you probably have noticed the new trend going on with breakfast cereals. Many of your favorite cereals have switched to whole grain wheat as the main ingredient. Are these cereals good for you or is this just another gimmick used by companies to sell more of their product? I am going to explain some of the positives and negatives associated with the “healthy cereals” you have recently been eating. I am also going to give you some examples of the different marketing techniques used by cereal manufactures to sell more of their product to the consumer.

Whole Grain Cereals

In the past couple of years cold cereal has been given the reputation of being unhealthy. Since most cereals contain high amounts of sugar, most bodybuilders try keeping away from it for a couple of reasons. The sugar can make you even more hungry and you could end up eating more than your body requires. It is also considered a high G.I. carb source which can spike your insulin levels rapidly, leaving your body feeling low on energy. Now that cereal companies have switched to whole grain, it leaves you wondering if it’s actually a good part of a trainee’s diet.

Many cereals such as Frosted Mini Wheats and Wheaties have been around for years. Most of these cereals also contain a decent amount of fiber which helps with digestion and also makes you feel full faster. People always considered these as a healthy part of your breakfast so why wouldn’t the new whole grain cereals be considered a good source of carbohydrates as well?

Will all of your favorite cereals switch to whole grain wheat or is this just another trick used by cereal companies to sell more of their product to us? Only time will tell but we also must remember the different marketing techniques these companies have used in the past. A good example is when they state the cereal is low in fat and people start to think they can eat however much of it they want and not gain any fat. People don’t realize that the sugar in these cereals is just as bad for you as saturated fat. They also make you believe that their product is low in calories. If you look on the label you will notice it does have a low amount of calories but the serving size is less than a cup.

If you want to start eating cereal you must make sure the words “whole grain wheat” are the first three words on the list of ingredients or you will be doing yourself more harm than good. I love cereal and like the fact that I can eat a bowl of my favorite brand without feeling guilty afterwards. Portion control is crucial. You must have the discipline to control how much you eat no matter how healthy you think it is. If your having to much trouble with a good thing then you need to accept the fact that your body doesn`t respond well to a certain food. If you have that discipline needed to control your portion sizes then these new whole grain wheat cereals are for you. Until next time.

Filipino Style Barbecue

Barbecue is definitely not just a summertime event. For Filipinos, it can be in every party or a part of an ordinary meals. A Filipino barbecue is prepared with tiny bits of pork that are char-grilled and skewered on bamboo sticks. Although it is thinly cut in squares, the meat is filled with tons of flavors. You can taste the sweet, savory and spicy flavor that many people have come to know as Pinoy Styled Barbecue.

In the Philippines, these pork barbecues can be seen being sold on the streets. It is an affordable street delight that Filipinos cannot resist. The aroma of the barbecue attracts them and they line up in hordes to get a bite. Filipinos often serve beers with barbecues to enhance the flavor of the meat.

Filipino Style Barbecue

Ingredients for Filipino-Styled Barbecue

  • 2 pounds of pork (shoulder or belly)
  • 1 teaspoon of finely minced garlic
  •  ½ cup of soy sauce
  • ¼ cup of calamansi juice (Calamansi are lime for Filipinos)
  • ½ cup of banana catsup or tomato catsup
  • 8 oz or a can of Ginger Ale (7-Up or Sprite for alternatives)
  • ½ cup of brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon of sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon of ground black pepper powder
  • 12 to 14 bamboo skewers

*This recipe can make about 12 to 14 Filipino-style servings.

Directions for Filipino-Styled Barbecue

  1. You have to slice the pork meat in 1-inch cuts, to make it ready for the skewer.
  2. Prepare the marinade by mixing together the minced garlic, soy sauce, calamanco juice (or lemon), banana catsup, half of ginger ale, salt and black pepper in a bowl.
  3. Leave aside half of the marinade and sugar for the glaze.
  4. Soak the pork in the marinade and keep the container in the freezer overnight.
  5. Immerse bamboo skewers in water for 20 minutes.
  6. After 20 minutes, skewer the pork onto the bamboo sticks. Have 6 to 7 pieces on each bamboo stick.
  7. Set the barbecue grill to medium high heat so it can pre-heat.
  8. Add the ginger ale and sugar that was set aside for the grilling glaze.
  9. Grill the pork for 12 minutes on each side until it is char-grilled. Filipinos brush the glaze on the pork barbecue to make it moist and shiny.

Every barbecue is best served hot, but Filipino-style barbecue is served best with tomatoes, cucumbers, green pickled mangoes or green papaya pickled relish.

A tip to prevent the sugar from crystallizing or the meat from hardening is to mix the sugar in the marinade or glaze.

If your taste buds crave for spicy barbecue, add a teaspoon or two of sriracha sauce or one to two bird’s eye chilies.

Filipino-style barbecues can still be enjoyed in the winter season! Prepare the marinade and the pork on bamboo skewers. The oven should be pre-heated at 190.56 Degrees Celsius. A 9 by 13 with a height of not more than 2 inches. Place the grill over the shallow pan and the skewered pork on the grill rack. The pan should be placed at the center of the oven for 30 minutes at Pre-heat the oven at 190.56 Degrees Celsius.

What knife sharpener do chefs use?

Chefs or professional cooks usually have their tools of trade majorly as knives. For them to be enjoyable during use, their sharpness is usually very important in preservation of true flavors of fresh ingredients. It is also important for safety purposes as the risk of body injury is greatly reduced. Most do this when they are still sharp, most probably after their daily shift. This will require less effort compared with when it is completely blunt. To sharpen a knife one usually has two options; to either sharpen it yourself or give it to someone else to do it for you. But now you would want to know what knife sharpener do chefs use if you are planning on doing it yourself.

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Tools used by chefs for sharpening

  1. Japanese wet stones; this gives the knife a superior edge, thus enhancing its sharpness and its use usually requires lots of practice in order to be perfect. They are also known as water or whet stones.

The grades of stone used are;

  • Arato – a rough stone used for repairs and creation of a new bevel on badly worn knives.
  • Nakato- a medium stone used for very minor repairs and creating an even bur which is the first step of sharpening
  • Shageto- a superfine stone used for creating a highly polished edge and removing the coarse scratches left by the medium stone. This gives the feeling of smooth and sharp as opposed to just sharp.
  • Electric knife sharpeners; these mainly use electricity and have many advantages. They save time of the professionals and also reduce the costs of buying the new ones. They are also quick and ensure regular sharpening thus always having a sharp cutting edge always. These sharpeners use diamond coated disks in the first two sharpening stages and a patented and polishing disk for stage three. They are of different models and they work differently according to the chef’s choice and preferences. They also require regular manual cleaning when they become dirty or gazed. There is also a manually activated diamond pad that can be used if necessary.
  • Honing steel: these are steel metals that are usually bought together with the knives and are used for straightening the curved edges of blunt knives. They also maintain the sharpness of the cutting edge, thus providing a sharp and required smooth edge.
  1. Using professional sharpeners; Most chefs always use tools such as professional knife sharpeners. The art of knife sharpening is always learnt through apprenticeship .The skills are perfected through continuous practice and years of experience in the trade.

It is no surprise that we always enjoy food prepared by master chefs without knowing the tools of trade used. Their tools are usually knives and they are always sharp so as to ensure that we get the best from them. Next time you see a chef, always appreciate the sharp knife behind him.

Best Ways to Buy Wheatgrass

Are you looking for a super food that can virtually replace your multivitamin and provide you with all the essential nutrients you need? If so, wheatgrass may be the answer you have been looking for. Filled with all variety of essential vitamins and minerals, it is one of the best super foods out there today. With just a small quantity of this food added to your daily routine, you could experience a major change in your mental and physical well-being.

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All the Essential Nutrients in Wheatgrass

From virtually all the B vitamins to vitamin A, C, E, K, and plenty in between, wheatgrass is filled with those vitamins. In addition to these vitamins, it has plenty of minerals like iron, zinc, and even a little bit of calcium, magnesium, and other essential minerals. In many ways, it can easily eliminate your need for a daily multi-vitamin as it already provides many of the same nutrients.

The Many Health Benefits of Wheatgrass

Of course, the health benefits of wheatgrass expand well beyond the measurable. Many buy wheatgrass not just to improve their physical health and wellness but also as a means to improve their spiritual well-being. After all, it is known to provide great cleansing benefits to the body. Beyond these cleansing effects, it also stimulates circulation, improves digestion, can help minimize sinus congestion, and has even been used to help prevent conditions like cancer. In many ways, wheatgrass is a sort of panacea, offering a one-stop solution for many of your common health problems and allowing you to align yourself better with the world around you.

Buy Wheatgrass Online

Going to your health food store, you might find that there are very few or no options when it comes to wheatgrass. Perhaps the easiest way to buy wheatgrass is to shop online instead. When you go online, you open up the possibility of shopping from all around the country. Instead of worrying about an item being in stock, you can take full advantage of everything that is available to you. More important, if you find an organic supplier you can be sure you are getting the absolute best in nutritional content and working with a product that will last.

Can You Grow Your Own Wheatgrass?

The other option out there is actually to grow your own wheatgrass. While this might sound like an attractive concept to all those self-sufficient people out there today, the trust is that growing wheatgrass can often be more trouble than it is worth. Many seeds are not heirlooms, which means that they can only be used effectively to make one harvest. As such, the perceived lower cost is often beat out by the time and energy required to grow. More important, you will also need to buy new seeds every time you want a new harvest.

Knowing that, the best way to buy wheatgrass is to just look online. When you can find an organic seller of this super food, don’t let it go. There are very few foods out there that compare to wheatgrass, so make it part of your diet the easy way.