Wednesday, August 31, 2011

New Kitchen, No Clue How To Cook

So your brand new kitchen is freshly installed, you have a beautiful array of state-of-the-art appliances and shiny new work surfaces – and absolutely no clue what to do with any of it! A can’t cook, won’t cook attitude is never more apparent then when someone has a new kitchen and the rest of the family is waiting for Michelin star style food to start emerging. Newsflash – just because we bought a new oven doesn’t mean we are any better at cooking!

Photo: limonada

The panic starts to set in and the excuses you have been living off whilst the builders were in – bliss – for eating out or microwaving ready meals in the front room have exhausted themselves completely. The kitchen cabinets are crying out to be stocked with culinary delights, and the tape on the new hob has got to come off sometime. Well, take a deep breath and see if any of the following can help you.

First of all, don’t run before you can walk. No-one is expecting your maiden voyage around the kitchen worktops to include you producing a complicated soufflĂ©. Try and master some basic dishes which the family will enjoy and build up your repertoire from there. Mostly getting it right is about not panicking and preparing the elements of the meal in the right order. If in doubt ask for a competent friend or relative to work with you the first time and guide you along your way.

To get you out of having to run the kitchen gauntlet every night then cook in large quantities. Freezing portions of casserole, bolognaise or curry for example will not spoil the enjoyment of the food and will mean that you only have to prepare the accompanying vegetables, rice or pasta in order to produce a complete meal.

If you can plan menus and shop accordingly you won’t go far wrong, and at the end of the week I think you will definitely deserve a meal out to celebrate!

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Healthy Salads

There are times, especially in the winter, when a huge bowl of spaghetti bolognaise hits the spot and other times when you just fancy a salad. Luckily the days when a limp lettuce leaf and a tomato constituted a salad are well and truly over and nowadays you can really go to town and make an unusual and tasty 21st century salad.

Photo: Chandra Marsono

Not all salads need to have meat or poultry in them but if you have a chicken breast in the fridge this makes a good base for a salad. A nice piece of organic chicken needs no added flavour but if you are on a budget and feel that the chicken might be a little tasteless then don’t worry as help is at hand. Schwartz for instance do a range of rubs for poultry so if the chicken needs a bit of tarting up that is a quick and easy way to do it. Add some papaya along with your other salad basics for a tropical taste and make a tangy dressing out of vinegar, oil, sesame oil and finely grated root ginger.

If you are looking for something a bit different from the usual range of cold meats and poultry then why not experiment with some smoked duck? This is delicious with toasted nuts such as pecans and walnuts and if you like dried cranberries they are rather tasty in a smoked duck salad too.

Chickpeas are a good source of protein for vegetarians and are a delicious alternative to meat in a salad. Tyr them with a medley of salad vegetables such as raw carrot, cucumber, tomatoes, rocket, spinach and red or yellow peppers. For a dressing with a difference blend a ripe avocado with a dash of Tabasco sauce and combine into a normal vinaigrette dressing.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Posh Picnics

This is definitely the season for outdoor concerts and theatre. Whether you live in the south and are looking forward to seeing Katherine Jenkins at Audley End, or in the north and have enjoyed the recent performance of Macbeth at Ripley Castle, there is no doubt that despite our often inclement weather in the UK we have well and truly taken these outdoor summer events to our hearts.

Posh Picnic
Photo: scribbletaylor

The first time we attended a summer prom we were well and truly humbled by many of our fellow picnickers who seemed to have half their dining room with them and a feast that looked as if it had been prepared by Raymond Blanc. Vowing to do better the following year we got together with a group of friends for a classical extravaganza at Warwick Castle. We all took our own collapsible chars and sat around a wallpaper pasting table whose humble origins were cunningly disguised by a smart white table cloth and enjoyed an impressive meal.

With a group it is easy to share the shopping, preparation and cooking but even if there are just two of you it is still possible to have a memorable picnic. If you are doing this in style you will want a nibble with your glass of champagne and things like olives, posh crisps, and cheese straws are ideal. For starters some rustic rolls with pates, dips, potted shrimps, dressed crab and the like are all easy to transport and delicious. You will probably think along the lines of a salad based main course. There are some delicious pasta recipes for pasta salads with chargrilled vegetables.

You may well decide to raid the deli and have a selection of cold meats or alternatively something like a coronation chicken always goes down well. As well as the usual mixed salad why not check some vegetarian recipes and supplement it with a Waldorf salad, coleslaw and potato salad? If you have room then a selection of cheeses is a great way to round off the meal or for those with a sweet tooth perhaps a punnet of strawberries and some clotted cream.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Italian Ingredients You Need for the Perfect Italian Recipe

There are really several non-Italian people who determine Italian cuisine with popular dishes like pasta and spaghetti. These people also share the concept that Italian dishes are pretty significantly alike; nevertheless, people who have gone to Italy would discover the differences in each and every dish as well as the eating routines in between metropolitan areas, although they are only a few miles apart.

Bucatini a matriciana
Photo: roboppy

Each region in Italy has its very own style and preparing food method of Italian meals. Italian cooking is varied but you can nonetheless get that Italian taste inside your dishes via using Italian ingredients that authenticate each cooking.

With the large selection of ingredients made accessible by food markets for Italian cooking food, how will you figure out the crucial ingredients you’ll need? Here is really a short list of substances to acquire inside your kitchen.
  • Pasta sauce – Pasta sauce could be made with many distinct substances. With all of its varieties, look for a tasty sauce offering the garden fresh flavor of basil and tomato vegetables. It provides any recipe of Italian pasta a dash of taste identified by all Italians.

  • Marinara sauce – When you are searching for Italian food products like marinara sauce, you need to locate one that features a great traditional experience. Incorporating marinara sauce to the pasta recipe will give it an Italian flair. This makes it a perfect choice.

  • Balsamic vinegar – This vinegar is brownish in color and sweet in flavor. It really is made from the juice of a boiled-down white grape. As regulated by Italian law, balsamic vinegars labeled as aceto balsamico tradizionale need to not consist of any wine vinegar and ought to become aged for 12 years, at the least. Use comparable Italian ingredients should you want the best blend of Trebbian grapes and Lambrusco di Sorbara.

  • Olive oil – Its top quality is dependent upon the level of acidity, fragrance, and flavor. Olive oils that contains higher acidity levels could be dealt with or rectified with chemicals to reduce its level of acidity. They are known as refined and not virgin olive oil. Normally, olive oil is extremely unsaturated and is considered as a healthier option to saturated oils. Additionally, it really is extremely flavored, allowing you to utilize it much less in comparison to making use of oils with lighter flavors. There are various kinds of olive oils: extra virgin olive oil, virgin olive oil, pure olive oil, cold-pressed olive oil, and extra light olive oil.

  • Lime and lemon juice – There are Italian food products offering lime and fresh lemon juice in a bottle. This provides you the convenience of adding fresh juice to our Italian dishes. Make use of this to include zest flavor in your pasta, meats produce, beverages, and fish dinners.

Italian Food
Photo: PetitPlat

There are many on the internet Italian food shops offering these Italian food goods. Search for trustworthy names identified for delivering natural Italian flavors in a bottle. Adding them suitably to your dishes makes each and every dish unique as it provides real Italian flavors. Exhibit your Italian cooking skills by making use of these crucial ingredients you have to have inside your kitchen.

Larry McBride is a sous chef covering Italian food products found over the internet. He tends to buy online for Italian ingredients because he usually locates the items he’s trying to find.