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Sunday, November 30, 2008

Melt and Mix

The technique of melting butter and sugar together, then adding them to the flour and other dry ingredients speeds up cake-making, as it eliminates the time-consuming necessity to cream the butter and sugar. These cakes also require less beating than cakes made using the conventional method, do not overbeat. The following is the recipe of one of melt and mix cake, Double Chocolate Cake.

2 cups self raising flour
2 tbsp cocoa powder
185 g unsalted butter
100 g dark chocolate, coarsely chopped
3/4 cup caster sugar
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 milk.

1. Preheat oven to moderate 180 degrees celcius. Brush a deep 20cm square cake tin with melted butter or oil. Line base with paper, grease paper. Sift flour with cocoa into large mixing bowl. Make a well in the centre.

2. Stir the butter, chocolate and sugar in a small pan over low heat until melted and well combined. Remove from heat. Combine eggs and milk in a small mixing bowl.

3. Add the butter and egg mixtures to the dry ingredients. Using a wooden spoon, stir until just combined; do not overbeat.

4. Spoon mixture into prepared tin; smooth surface. Bake for 45 minutesor until a skewer comes out clean when inserted in the centre of the cake. Turn onto wire rack to cool.

Note: Decorate cake with whipped cream and purchased chocolates or grated chocolate, if desired. Or ice with rich chocolate icing. Store in refrigerator if topped with cream, or up to four days in an airtight container.
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Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Victoria Sponge

This is another one bowl-cake I've practised. Just following the directions in the recipes, and you'll effortlessly produce the lightest sponges. Let's start then.

Victoria Sponge


125 g unsalted butter, chopped.
1/2 cup caster sugar.
3 eggs, lightly beaten.
1 cup self-raising flour.
1 tsp baking powder.
1/2 cup strawberry jam.
Icing sugar.


1. Preheat oven to moderate 180 degrees celcius. Brush two shallow 20cm round sandwich tins with melted butter or oil. Line base with paper; grease paper.

2. Using electric beaters, beat unsalted butter and sugar in a small mixing bowl until light and creamy. Add eggs gradually, beating thoroughly after each addition.

3. Add the sifted dry ingredients to bowl. Beat on low speed for 30 seconds, then high speed 1 minute or until the mixture is is thick and creamy.

4. Pour mixture evenly into prepared tins; smooth surface. Bake 20 minutes or until sponge is lightly golden and shrink from side of tin. Turn onto wire rack to cool.

5. Spread top of one cake layer with jam; top with remaining layer. Dust lightly with icing sugar before serving.

Note: For a lighter sponge, sift flour three times before combining with the remaining ingredients. Sponge cakes are best eaten the day they are made. Keep in a cool, dry place until ready to serve.
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Friday, November 21, 2008

Benefits of Parsley

When it comes to herbs, traditions have changed, varieties have increased, but through it all, Parsley has just stayed Parsley, flat or curly leaf, nothing major and no need for change. Use it as an herb or use it as a garnish, it does not matter people still love it.

Often used fresh or dried, fresh is more popular and has very easy access when purchasing it or growing it. Storing it is simple, just wrap it in a damp paper towel and place it in a baggie and store it in the fridge. Parsley is used for all kinds of sauces and salads. Parsley can pretty much be added to anything and is used often to color pesto's but it is very frequently used as a garnish.

Throughout history, parsley has been used for cooking as well as for medicinal purposes but has also been used for a lot more.

Early Greeks used Parsley to make crowns for the Olympian winners. Hebrew tradition uses Parsley as part of Passover as a symbol of spring and rebirth.

Parsley tracks all the way back to Hippocrates who used it for medicinal purposes for cure alls and as an antidote for poisons. He also used it for ridding kidney and bladder stones. Many of these prior claims have been validated through modern science and it is true that Parsley is rich in vitamin A and C and is also shown to clear toxins from the body and reduces inflammation.
Parsley has three times the amount of Vitamin C than oranges do!

Back in much earlier times, any ailments that was thought to be caused from a lack of Vitamin C was treated with Parsley such as for bad gums and loose teeth, and for brightening what were considered dim eyes. The Greeks almost feared Parsley because it was associated with Archemorus, who too was an ancient Greek.

Ancient tales tell that Archemorus was left as a baby on a parsley leaf by his nurse and was eaten by a serpent. For this reason the Greeks were terrified of Parsley which sounds kind of silly now but it took a while for them to get over that.

Parsley was also used to regulate menstrual cycles because parsley contains apiol which mimics estrogen, the female sex hormone. Parsley was also used to ward off Malaria and is told to have been very successful in doing so and it aided with water retention as well.

Although these are old wives tales as some might call them when you consider them for just a minute they really do make a lot of sense. Some of these old remedies still are used in part today such as the use of Parsley for kidney stones, as a diuretic, for rheumatoid arthritis, as a stimulant, for menstrual regulation, to settle the stomach, and as an appetite stimulant.

You can purchase Parsley juice at herbal stores and it can be very healthy for you although it might not taste the greatest it can be mixed with other juices to enhance the flavor. Dried Parsley really has the least amount of nutritional value to it.
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Wednesday, November 19, 2008

One-bowl Cakes

Mix up these speedy cakes made in one bowl, following the directions in the recipes, and you'll effortessly produce the lightest sponges, hearty fruit cakes, muffins or moist sour cream or chocolate cakes. Here is one of one-bowl cakes recipe, STRAWBERRY and CREAM MUFFINS.


2 eggs
1/4 cup oil
2 tbsp strawberry jam
1/4 cup strawberry yoghurt
1/2 cup caster sugar
1 3/4 cups self-raising flour
100 g cream cheese
1/4 cup strawberry jam, extra strawberries, to decorate.


1. Preheat oven to moderate 180 degrees celcius. Brush melted butter or oil into eight 2/3-cup capacity muffin cups.

2. Place eggs, oil, jam, yoghurt and sugar in a large mixing bowl.
Using a wooden spoon, beat mixture 1 minute or until well combined. Add sifted flour, stir until combined; do not overbeat.

3. Place 2/3 tbsp of mixture into each muffin cup. Cut cheese into eight pieces. Place a piece in the centre of each muffin.
Top each piece with 2 tsp jam. Divide remaining mixture evenly between muffins. Bake for 30 minutes or until muffins are puffed and lightly golden.
Stand 5 minutes in tin before turning onto wire rack to cool. To serve, dust muffins with sifted icing sugar; decorate with strawberries.
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Friday, November 14, 2008

Kitchen Designer Brooklyn for the Contemporary Look of Your Kitchen

Having modular kitchens is one of the greatest ways to put a touch of exceptional style to your house. It not only makes the décor of the kitchen look elegant but the available area is also utilized in an adequate manner. Futuristic furnishes, appliances, compact designs and extra storage space are all merged in order to endow you with a kitchen designer Brooklyn.

Features to add in your kitchen

Kitchen designer Brooklyn includes pull down racks, warming drawers, wall mounted cups and cutlery holders and various ideas like this are incorporated for maximizing the design. However, the functionality of the kitchen is also not ignored. Kitchens generally have different small things, which make them look like an absolute mess.

Nevertheless, installing the kitchen cabinets is an excellent idea so as to keep everything looks clutter free and organized. You might select from the see through cabinets that have glass doors or simple cabinets with wooden finish. At the time of deciding the place where the cabinet has to be fitted in, always ensure to take the correct measurements.

Arrange your kitchen in an organized manner

Minimalist idea of the interior decoration is excellent particularly when it comes to décor of the kitchen. This means that things that are of use should only be available inside the kitchen. A clutter free and simple look adds onto the modern-day design of the kitchen designer Brooklyn. Besides, the colors that are used on the cabinets as well as appliances or the wall paints must also be subdued.

You may try out colors like brown, yellow or metallic. Such subdued colors add to the overall enhanced appearance of the kitchen. You may further combine these colors different bright colors such as red or electric blue. In addition, it is vital to consider that it is every time feasible to use light color shades if the area of the kitchen is less. Pastel colors might also be employed in order to make the kitchen look more spacious.

Light and bright your kitchen

Another essential consideration that must be kept in mind is the lightning of the kitchen. Directional lynching lights placed in the cone of metal is a nice option for the lightning of the kitchen. Nonetheless, one should note that the inside lights of the kitchen must never be negotiated for enhancing the facet of style in the kitchen. Since the lack of adequate light inside it can lead to some serious mishaps.

Add floor to your kitchen

The next necessary thing is the flooring of the kitchen. Ingeniously designed ceramic and linoleum tiles are the most affordable solution to include in your modular kitchen. The concrete floors, which have granite and linear designs, add to the beauty of the kitchen even more. However, they are a little expensive. Also, in case you have a small sized kitchen, you might make it look more spacious by eliminating the small distinctions and walls inside it that separates different sections.

Once the décor of your kitchen is all done then you can place your microwaves and multiprocessor to give your cooking area an entire new look. Therefore, if you are interested in renovating or remodeling your cooking completely and prepare food in a modish way, you can certainly opt for the services offered by Kitchen Designer Brooklyn over the net.

Avail contemporary kitchen with a simple click

You might brief the service provider regarding your budget and preferences and they will take on the job of remodeling and designing your kitchen almost immediately. You can give thoughts and imaginations to the professionals in order to get the desired look for your kitchen. Thus, do not delay remodeling of your kitchen any longer and start clicking. Assume how great it will be to cook in an organized and clutter free contemporary kitchen? It would certainly be a paradise of your abode.

Source: James Peligrino
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Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Homemade Baby Food: Is Homemade Best?

This debate has gone on for some time. There are some mothers who swear by homemade baby food and won’t give their babies anything else. While other mothers rely on the convenience of baby food jars, cereals and snacks.

So which is best homemade or jars?

Like everything else it depends on your family’s needs and what works for you. However, there are a few things to keep in mind when contemplating what to feed your baby. Although baby food has come a long way and you can buy many organic brands which reduce the amount of pesticides your baby eats, there are still many baby foods which contain added salt, sugar and sometimes other preservatives.

Logically, anything that’s fresh and homemade will be healthier than anything that is pre-packaged and has been sitting on store shelves. It doesn’t mean that it will necessarily do your baby harm but your baby may get more nutrients from a fresh, homemade baby puree.

Another factor is cost. Although convenient, baby food jars can be expensive. Making food for your baby at home really couldn’t be easier and it is definitely much cheaper. There is no need to prepare huge batches of baby food either. A simple mashed banana or sweet potato can make a healthy nutritious baby food in a flash.

Ultimately the choice is up to you. If you’re schedule is really packed and you want to spend those few precious spare hours a day bonding with your little one then perhaps baby food jars would work best for you.

If you already cook a fresh meal for your family daily, then making a few adjustments for your baby’s meal should be a breeze.

Or you may choose the route many mothers take, fresh baby food for days at home and a few jars for outings or days where you really just don’t have time.
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Monday, November 10, 2008

The Soy of Cooking

Soy foods have grown in popularity as consumers learn more about associated health benefits -- soy food sales are expected to reach $4 billion for 2003. Several studies have shown that soy products help lower cholesterol and reduce the severity of menopausal symptoms, as well as reducing the risk of certain types of cancer, such as breast and prostate. Soy products are also a great way for consumers to get high quality protein in their diets with less fat and cholesterol than animal protein.

For consumers who want to add the benefits of soy to their diet, the good news is that the wide variety of soy products available today makes it easy. Crum Creek Mills, a Springfield, Penn.-based soy foods company, specializes in making everyday food items healthier with the addition of soy. No more trying to figure out how to make tofu palatable to your family -- they’ll be eating foods they already like, made healthier with the addition of soy.

“We focus on products everyone knows and loves,” says Rich Rothman, general manager. For example, the company’s soy protein pancake mix or soy protein muffin mix would be a great addition to any brunch menu. Choose from buttermilk or blueberry pancake mix and from three muffin varieties: Bold Banana Walnut, Bountiful Blueberry and Brilliant Bran.

Another easy way to add the benefits of soy to your meals is to opt for soy protein pasta as a base for your favorite sauce. Fast, filling, nutritious and delicious, these pastas provide between 70 and 90 percent more protein and up to 20 percent fewer carbohydrates than regular pastas. Every 2-ounce serving packs 13 grams of protein and only 36 grams of carbohydrates. This better balance of protein to carbohydrates provides the body with consistent energy over time. Crum Creek has pasta for every need -- Passionate Penne, Savory Spaghetti, Fabulous Fettuccine, Heavenly Angel Hair and an all-time favorite made healthier, Marvelous Mac and Cheese.

If you or someone you know is looking for a fun way to sample a variety of soy foods, the Soy to the World gift pack is just the thing. It includes three boxes of soy protein pasta in assorted shapes; one box of soy protein macaroni & cheese (the kids will love it); two packs of Soy Bites Breadstick Snacks in assorted flavors; one bag of soy protein muffin mix; one bag of soy protein pancake mix; one bag of soy nuts; and one bag of soy nut mix. All this soy goodness comes attractively packed and can be shipped directly to friends, family, business associates, neighbors -- anyone who enjoys good eating and good health.
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