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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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Sunday, November 9, 2008


Pancake is one of the best breakfast we've had everyday, because pancake is easy and fast made. Everybody loves pancake.

The salty pancake made with sweet corn and bacon, mushroom or spinach can be served for your lunch or dinner.

You can also try the sweet pancake for your breakfast, served with maple syrup, jams, or fresh fruit and creme, or even ice cream.

The following are two of pancake recipes I've practised. One is the salty pancake (Mexican Corn Pancake with Avocado) and the other is the sweet pancake (French Pancake).

French Pancake


1/2 cup flour
2 tsp caster sugar
1 cup milk
2 Eggs, beated
60 g butter, melted
1 tsp vanili essence
Served with fresh sliced orange

Sweet Lemon Cream

50 g butter
1/3 cup caster sugar
1/4 cup lemon juice
2-3 tbsp creme.


1. Process flour, sugar, milk, egg, butter, and essence, using food processor or blender. Process for 15 minutes until smooth.
Remove the dough into a bowl. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap, set aside for 10 minutes.
2. Brush the pan with oil, pour 2-3 tbsp of the dough to the pan. Cook for 30 seconds with medium heat golden light.
Turn around the pancake up side down and cook the other side until golden light. Remove it to the plate, cover it with napkin to keep the pancake warm.
3. Repeat step number2, process until nothing is left.
Fold the pancake to make 1/2 round. Spray the pancake with sweet lemon cream.
4. How to make sweet lemon creme:
Mix butter, sugar, and lemon juice in a pan. Cook with small heat until boiled. Add creme, stir it until everything is mixed well.
Remove it, Serve with the pancake.

Mexican Corn Pancake with Avocado


1/3 cup yellow corn flour (polenta/ maizena)
1/2 cup flour
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
1 cup buttermilk
2 Eggs
30 g melted butter
Vegetable oil
Served with 2/3 cup sour creme.

Avocado mixture

1 Avocado
8 leeks, smoothly sliced
2 tomatos (without the seeds), sliced
1 tsp chili sauce
2 tsp lemon juice
1/4-1/2 tsp salt and pepper.


1. Put polenta/ maizena, flour, baking powder, sugar, and salt into a bowl.
Make a hole in the centre of the flour mixture.
Beat buttermilk, egg, and butter. Pour into the flour mixture. Beat until smooth and slight. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap. Set aside for 20 minutes.
2. How to make the avocado mixture:
Peel off the avocado skin, Crushed the avocado meat with fork. Add half of the leeks,tomatos, chili sauce, lemon juice, salt, and pepper. Stir, put it in the refrigerator for 20 minutes.
3. Brush the pan with oil, heat it. Pour 2 tbsp of the pancake dough, cook with medium heat until golden light. Turn around the pancake up side down, Cook the other side until golden light
4. Put the avocado mixture on the pancake, and fold the pancake to make 1/2 round shape. Serve with sour creme.
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Friday, November 7, 2008

The Art of Icings

The following recipes are for classic cake toppings with variations in flavour. Glace, buttercream, and cream cheese icings will give the finishing touch to your cakes easily and quickly. Choose your own or follow the suggestion given after the recipes.


This is a shiny, smooth icing made with icing sugar, a small amount of butter and a little fruit juice or other flavourings such as coffee or chocolate, so it can be either tangy or sweet. The mixture is combined over gently simmering water and spread with a wide knife. Dip the knife into hot water occasionally to give a smooth, shiny finish.

Lemon Glace

1 cup icing sugar
1 tsp finely grated lemon rind
10 g unsalted butter
1-2 tbsp lemon juice

Orange Glace

1 cup icing sugar
1 tsp finely grated lemon rind
10 g unsalted butter
1-2 tbsp orange juice

Passionfruit Glace

1 cup icing sugar
10 g unsalted butter
1-2 tbsp passionfruit pulp

Coffee Glace

1 cup icing sugar
1 tsp instant coffee powder
10 g unsalted butter
1-2 tbsp water

Chocolate Glace

1 cup icing sugar
1 tbsp cocoa powder
10 g unsalted butter
1-2 tbsp hot milk

Glace icing method combine sifted icing sugar, flavouring, butter, and sufficient liquid in a small heatproof bowl to form a firm paste. Stand bowl over pan of simmering water and stir until icing is smooth and glossy, remove from heat. Using a wide knife, spread icing over cake.


This icing is rich and creamy, with a substantial amount of butter used in the mixture. Icing can be spread smoothly, swirled with a knife for a textured effect or first smoothed then run through with a fork. Use a generous layer of icing for the best flavour and appearance.

Honey Buttercream

60 g unsalted butter
1/3 cup icing sugar
2-3 tsp honey

Chocolate Buttercream

60 g unsalted butter
1/2 cup icing sugar
2 tbsp cocoa powder
2 tsp milk

Rich Chocolate Buttercream

60 g unsalted butter
1/3 cup icing sugar
60 g dark chocolate, melted

Lemon Buttercream

60 g unsalted butter
1/3 cup icing sugar
2 tsp finely grated lemon rind

Orange Buttercream

60 g unsalted butter
1/3 cup icing sugar
2 tsp finely grated orange rind

Buttercream method using electric beaters, beat butter and sifted icing sugar until light and creamy. Add the flavourings, beat for 2 minutes or until the mixture is quite smooth and fluffy.


This is a soft, thick, creamy topping. The creaminess of the cheese goes well with the tang of lemon or orange rind. Have the cheese at room temperature.

Lemon Cream Cheese Icing

100 g cream cheese
3/4 cup icing sugar
1-2 tsp finely grated lemon rind
2 tsp milk

Orange Cream Cheese Icing

100 g cream cheese
3/4 icing sugar
1-2 tsp finely grated orange rind
2 tsp milk

Honey Cream Cheese Icing

100 g cream cheese
3/4 icing sugar
1-2 tsp honey, warmed
2 tsp milk

Passionfruit Cream Cheese Icing

100 g cream cheese
3/4 icing sugar
1 tbsp passionfruit pulp

Cream cheese icing method, using electric beaters, beat cream cheese and sifted icing sugar together in small bowl until light and creamy. Add flavourings. Beat for 2 minutes or until the mixture is smooth and fluffy. Spread icing over cake, using a wide knife.


Fruit glazes give a delicious, shiny finishing touch to cakes or fruit tarts. Simply warm apricot, strawberry or any other jam with brandy, strain and brush over the cake.

Jam Glaze

1/4 cup jam
3 tsp brandy
Combine jam and brandy in small pan. Stir over low heat for 3 minutes or until jam has melted and mixture boils. Remove from heat and strain into a small bowl. Brush the warm jam mixture over the top of the warm cake.

Fruit Gel Glaze

110 g jar fruit baby gel
2 tsp brandy
Combine gel and brandy in small pan. Stir over low heat until gel has melted. Remove from Heat. Brush warm mixture over cake.


60 g unsalted butter
100 g dark chocolate, chopped
1 tbsp cream
Combine butter, chocolate, and cream in small heatproof bowl. Stand over pan of simmering water, stir until butter and chocolate have melted and mixture is smooth. Cool slightly or until mixture is spreadable. Spread icing over cake using a wide knife.

Chocolate Sauce

100 g dark chocolate, chopped
1/3 cup cream
Combine Chocolate and cream in small pan. Stir over low heat until chocolate has melted and mixture is smooth. Remove fro heat, cool slightly, pour over cake.

Source: Family Circle Fabulous Fast Cakes (MURDOCH BOOKS).
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ICINGS, The Beautiful Finishing Touch

The icing on the cake is, to some people, as important as the cake itself! The plainest cake can be transformed into a work of art by a drift of icing sugar or an imaginative decoration. This guide illustrates quick, simple, and delicious cake toppings, and recommends some ready-made sweets and other ideas for finishing off your cake in style - fast.

For decorating cakes in a hurry:

Whip cream to firm peaks, pipe or spread over cake. Top with chocolate flakes.

Pile the centre of a plain sponge with fresh berries, pipe swirls of whipped cream around the edge.

Sift icing sugar over cakes using strips of paper or through a lace doily to create striking patterns. Icing sugar can be plain, or mixed with cocoa, drinking chocolate or cinnamon. Place in a small metal strainer and scrape with a spoon to achieve a fine drift of sugar.

Purchased sweets such as marzipan fruits, after-dinner mints, small discs or squares of chocolate or foil-covered chocolate money (wrapped and unwrapped) positioned on chocolate glace icing turn an everyday cake into a celebration cake.

Drizzle or pipe melted white or dark chocolate over iced or un-iced cakes.

Sprinkle chopped, toasted nuts, chocolate or coloured sprinkles over icing.

Edge iced cake with whole nuts or glace cherries.

Source: Family Circle Fabulous Fast Cake (MURDOCH BOOKS).
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Thursday, November 6, 2008

Strawberry Mousse, a Perfect Dessert.

Every children loves to eat dessert. This is one of my children favourite, so you can practise to make it for your family at home.

Strawberry Mousse


  • 250 g Strawberry
  • 2 cups low calorie Strawberry Yoghurt
  • 2 tsp honey
  • 1 tbsp gelatin
  • 2 tbsp water
  • 250 g added strawberry


  • 1 Egg (only the white part)
  • 1/4 cup sugar

1. Brush the oil to the cake ring tin with 2 cups capacity.

2. Process the Strawberry, yoghurt, and honey for 30 seconds using food processor until the mixture is smooth. Set aside.

3. Mix gelatin with water in the small bowl. Put the bowl on the boiling water, stir until gelatin and water mix well.
Pour the mixture of gelatin and water into the yoghurt dough. Process for 5 seconds until everything is mix well.
Pour into the cake ring tin. Put it in the refrigerator for 2 hours until firm.

4. Make the Meringue:
Heat oven over 150 degrees Celsius heat. Brush the oil into the bake tin, line the base and side with paper, grease paper.
Using the electric beaters, Beat the white egg until firm. Add sugar gradually, beating thoroughly until the sugar mix well and light.

5. Put the meringue dough into the drizzle or pipe.
Pipe swirls the meringue dough on the bake tin. Bake for 30 minutes, turn off the oven, let the meringues cool.

6. Serve the Strawberry mousse on the serve plate. Put the meringues around the strawberry mousse.
Sprinkle the added strawberry on the topside of the mousse.

7. Well, now you can enjoy the perfect dessert with your lovely family.

Tips: You can use raspberry, blueberry, or blackberry instead of strawberry for other alternative.
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Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Fried Noodle for Noodle- Lovers

As an asian, noodle is a must main course to eat. I've practised this recipe and it turns out great, very tasty fried noodle. Korean cuisine has many delicious dishes to choose from, and this selection include one of the classics for all the noodle- lovers. Well, let's start.

Fried Noodle.


1/4 cup sesame seeds
2tbsp oil
2tsp sesame oil
4 spring onions, chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2tsp finely chopped red chili
150 g raw prawn meat, rinsed
150 g fresh firm tofu, diced
100 g button mushrooms, thinly sliced
1 red capsicum, cut into thin strips
2 tbsp water
2 tbsp soy sauce
2 tsp sugar
300 g packet hokkien noodles


1. Roast the sesame seeds an a frying pan over medium heat for 3-4 minutes, until seeds are nutty brown.
Remove from pan at once, crush an a food mill.

2. Mix oil and sesame oil in a small bowl, and pour about half into a wok. Heat over medium-high heat.
Stir fry onions, garlic, chili and prawn meat for 2 minutes. Remove from pan, set asside.
Stir fry tofu, until lightly golden. Remove from pan, set asside.
Add the remaining oil to pan and add vegetables, stir fry for 3 minutes until just crisp.

3. Add water, soy sauce, sugar, and noodle to pan. Toss gently to seperate and coat noodle in liquid. Cover the pan, steam for 5 minutes, toss well.
Add prawns and tofu, toss for 3 minutes over medium heat.
Sprinkle with crushed sesame seeds, serve.
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Tuesday, November 4, 2008

5 Commandments Of Cooking Healthy Meals

Cooking healthy for your family is important for everyone. Not only will you be eating healthy meals, but your children will learn a lot from eating healthy. They will get to experience healthy foods that they may have not even tried before, or wanted to. They will learn how to cook healthy meals so that they can pass down this tradition to their own children in the future. They will also come to enjoy healthy meals better than junk or foods that are bad for them.

Cooking healthy meals for your family will give everyone the energy they need for a full day, give them better concentration and focus, and help them do well in life. This will not deprive your family in any way. You will all be getting the proper nutrients you need without completely passing on all treats. Eating healthy is important for your health – not just now, but for the future as well. Studies have shown that eating healthy can help to reduce the risks of various ailments, heart disease, stroke, and many cancers. You can help your family lead a healthier life by cooking healthy meals.

Guidelines For Healthy Cooking

Use Plenty of Fruits And Vegetables: Fruits and vegetables are often overlooked in today's diet. However, fruits and vegetables are very important because they have vitamins, minerals and even antioxidants to keep you healthy, strong and help you fight illnesses. It is important to use fresh ingredients when cooking. Do not overcook your vegetables, as this will take out some of the nutritional value in them. Consider serving your vegetables raw or just blanch them (boil for about 5 minutes). Kids will especially love blanched veggies because it brings out their colors and makes them a little bit softer. Blanching doesn't take out nutrients because you are only boiling them for 5 minutes. Just wait for the water to boil and place the veggies in. Put them on ice after the 5 minutes to stop the cooking process. You may also want to serve fruits with dinnertime as well. Most people don't and that is why most people don't get enough fruit in their daily diet. Serve a fruit and veggie with each meal.

Stick To Lean Meats And Fish: Lean meats and fish are an important part of your diet. However, too much meat can actually cause health problems. This is why adding fish to at least two meals a week can increase your health. Lean meats are better for you because they have less fat and sometimes less cholesterol than the other meats. Look for lean meats in your grocery store. Don't be afraid to experiment with different types of fish: salmon, tuna steaks, haddock, cod, etc. Fish has important fatty acids that are excellent for your body and mind.

Watch The Fat You Use: Try to wean off of real butter and other fatty foods. If you must use real butter remember that just one tab of it a day is enough – no more. There are other options to choose from than just butter or lard. Add some of these items to your kitchen and your meals: olive oil, avocado, vegetable oil, butter spread made from olive oil, etc. You can also try using spices for your meals instead of fats. Try balsamic vinegar on your salad instead of salad dressing, or vinegar and olive oil. These can make great alternatives to other fatty foods.

What You Drink Counts Too! Do not forget about what you drink. As adults, we tend to not pay any attention to what we choose for beverages. A simple can of soda can have a lot of calories, sodium, sugar, and more in it. It doesn't really matter if it is diet or not. It is still unhealthy. Cut down on drinks like soda, juices, coffee, and tea. You can healthily have coffee and tea about two times a day – that's two cups a day, especially if you use sugar and cream. Try using lemon in your tea instead of honey or sugar. The best thing to drink is water. Always try to choose water over any other drink. Kids should not have more than two cups of juice a day because of the sugar. Make sure they get water everyday – and you too!

Treats In Moderation Are Ok: This is not a fad diet. This is a lifestyle change for you and your family. Yes, you can have treats in moderation. Have something every once in a while.

Source By : Susanne Myers
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10 Tips For Camping Cooking

Camping cooking can be some of the best cooking there is. With the environment and s mel ls and then add the wonderful taste of food off the fire, nothing is better. There are several different methods that can be used when cooking while camping including with camp stoves, charcoal, wood fires, foil cooking and more. What you're making and how you like it cooked sometimes decides what method you'll use. There are, however, several camping cooking tips to consider before going out.

Tip 1: Freeze Meat
Freezing the meat ahead of time will keep it fresh and keep other foods cool as well.

Tip 2: Plan ahead of time
Measuring the right amount of ingredients needed for meals ahead of time and putting them in ziplock bags helps ensure a great meal. Also preparing soups and chili and freezing them makes for quick camping cooking to reheat and eat.

Tip 3: Easier cleaning method
To avoid food from sticking to the pans apply oil on the grill. Also, putting liquid soap on the outside of pots and pans before placing them on the fire protects from smoke and fire danger while also providing an easier clean-up.

Tip 4: Keeping matches dry
Many camping cookbook recipes require a fire and there is no better way to start a fire then with matches. One method to help keep the matches dry in case it rains is to place matches in wax and then when needed just scrape the wax off and light the match.

Tip 5: Cooking hamburgers thoroughly
One camping cookbook secret for cooking hamburgers thoroughly is to place a hole in the center of the hamburger the size of your finger. The hole will fill in during the cooking and the center will cook the same as the outside.

Tip 6: Keep food and drinks in separate cooler
Keeping your drinks in a separate cooler from food helps keep foods colder longer avoiding any kind of spoilage.

Tip 7: Cooking on or over coals
It can be difficult to make sure you don't overcook or undercook any food. If you cook on or over coals (wood or charcoal), this helps provide a steadier and even heating for the food. This will allow you to control the food better.

Tip 8: Cooking chicken
Camping cookbook secret with chicken is to cook the chicken halfway and then place the sauce of your choice on it. This will prevent the sauce from burning onto the chicken.

Tip 9: Water bottles for containers
Keeping water bottles when you're finished with them are great for camping cooking containers. For instance, placing salad dressing, oils, or any other liquid substance.

Tip 10: Too much salt?
Adding too much salt when you're preparing a good camping cooking meal happens to the best of us. You can fix this by peeling a potato and adding the potato, as the potato will absorb the excess salt from the dish.

These are just a few camping cooking tips to consider. There are several more tips like this that are worth checking out, and if you really feel like making some good meals you might consider purchasing a camping cookbook to get the best of your meals.

By : Jeff Schuman
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Saturday, November 1, 2008

Create a family heirloom cookbook

Almost every family has a treasured recipe, handed down through generations, that is not only beloved because it is delicious, but because it evokes memories of favorite family get-togethers.

A family heirloom recipe book is a wonderful way to combine favorite dishes and family folklore. According to Cheryl Wolf, a performance artist and graphic design instructor at The New England Institute of Art, "Family recipes are a valuable resource for a family history. I have built an entire performance around my family's recipes and the stories they evoke! "Breaking bread" together is life-affirming. What better way to reach back and bring personal history to the present?"

Wolf adds, “A family recipe is also a family history, and can be a wonderful work of folk art.” For example, she says, take the opportunity to not only write down family recipes for generations to come, but include famous family stories (every family has them), photos and memorabilia as well.

But how to turn family culinary gems into actual recipes? Try these few tips: “Start with a family letter, asking everyone to send back one or more of their ‘specialties’ by a particular date. Ask those who can to reply by email so you can cut and paste recipes right into your final document.”

If you have a relative who never writes down recipes (it seems like all the best recipes are never written down), but rather cooks by "a dash of this, a little bit of that,” consider having someone in your family be the “helper,” and prepare the dish along with them. The “helper” should measure, guesstimate, and generally keep track of how the dish is prepared, including cooking times and temperatures. The “helper” should also be sure to ask about consistency, color, texture and doneness. “This last bit of information is always the most important part of passing along a recipe.” Once you have a written recipe, prepare it again according to the directions, and adjust the recipe as necessary to get as close as possible to the original.

When you are asking for recipes, provide everyone with a similar format. For example, ask family members to list the ingredients to be used in order, together with the quantities. Lay out the steps that are needed in order to make the item, and always add little comments about what to look for as the dish is prepared, and when it is done. It can be a lot of work, especially with recipes that were never written down. But ultimately it’s worth it because you will be saving an important -- and delicious bit of your family’s history.

Once you have the recipes, you will want to create a look for your cookbook that reflects your family. A simple way to do this, is to include family mementos or old photos, along with the recipes. A simple way to share one-of-a-kind memorabilia is to take them to a local copy center and make color copies.

“You can use the color copies you make as background, and print a recipe over the photo, or have the recipe on one page, and a photo on the facing page. You can also create a collage using items such as blue ribbons (won for a cooking), tickets stubs or airplane tickets from a favorite trip that produced a great recipe,”

For text, use simple fonts like Times Roman or Arial so that they are easy to read for all ages. Save decorative fonts for recipe titles or chapter headings. Consider creating a box -- with shading and borders -- for the recipe itself so that there is enough contrast between the recipe and any background artwork you use.

Write an introduction about the cookbook, its organization and how family responded to the project. Be sure to date the book and have a table of contents so family and friends can easily find a favorite recipe. Here are a few of these suggestions for organizing recipes:

* by category, for example, appetizers, soups, salads, entrees and desserts

* by family, for example, grandmother, aunt and uncle, or cousin recipes

* by holiday, for example, favorite dishes for the 4th of July, Thanksgiving or Labor Day

To keep recipes easy to read and clean, consider putting them in plastic sleeves (available in craft and office supply stores) and then in 3-ring binders. "This way, you can add a new recipe every year."
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