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We’ll be adding content to Hugh’s blog to keep you updated as the campaign moves forward.
Huevos Rancheros (Ranch Eggs) are an example of southwestern cuisine, and represent the marriage between Mexican and gringo culture. They are a great brunch treat served with hot biscuits, spicy pork sausage, and a cold glass of buttermilk. This spicy recipe will leave your taste buds whimpering for more. Some people like a sauce on the side, but true aficionados know that real huevos rancheros have everything in the eggs.
Huevos Ranchero Caliente
6 medium or large eggs
3 tbsp buttermilk
1 tsp salt
2 tsp black or red pepper
1 medium onion, diced
2 medium sized Jalapeno peppers, chopped
2 tbsp Tabasco or other hot sauce (Texas Pete works just as well)
1 medium green pepper, diced
1 garlic clove, diced
4 slices of cheddar or Monterrey Jack cheese, chopped
1 tbsp vegetable oil
Break the eggs into a medium size mixing bowl, and beat them until they are frothy. Add buttermilk, salt and pepper and mix it thoroughly. Put the vegetable oil in a cast iron skillet and heat it on the stove top with the temperature set at medium. When you can feel the heat when your hand is held two inches above the skillet (do this with care in case the oil pops, to avoid burning your hand), dump the onion, Jalapenos, garlic and green pepper. Saute them, stirring constantly, for about two minutes, or until the onion is tender. Then pour the egg mixture over this, add the cheese and hot sauce and cook it, stirring constantly until it is fluffy and there are no traces of egg white liquid. Keep that bottle of hot sauce handy, as some people like a bit more bite than you can get from a mere two tablespoons. A couple of fresh jalapeno peppers on the side, add to the authenticity of this old southwestern staple.
Served with hot biscuits and honey, spicy pork or beef sausages, and cold buttermilk, you have a meal similar to that eaten on the trail by Texas cowherders of old.
How to Have a Successful Cajun Fish Fry
Having a cajun fish fry can be a lot of fun, whether it is for a large group of people, or just for a small number. Cajun spices are tasty, but they can be very hot! Begin by choosing your own cajun spices or plan to use a prepared cajun spice mix. If you know it might be too hot for some people, plan to mix it with some extra flour.
Prepare for your fish fry, by filleting several, different kinds of fresh fish like pickerel, perch, pike or trout. Frying different kinds of fish allows your guests to get to know the difference between them. Some of your guests may already know what kind of fish they prefer.
Depending upon how many people you are inviting, plan to serve approximately three to five pieces of filleted fish to each person. Some of your guests may want more. Prepare your fish fillets, by washing them well first and then cutting them into portion size pieces.
Using a deep fryer, begin to heat canola oil.
Beat eggs together in a large bowl. Dip the fish portions into the beaten eggs and then place them on a plate.
Prepare a mixture of flour, salt, pepper and various cajun spices in a large plastic bag. Place several pieces of fish at a time, into the flour mixture. Shake the bag in order to coat the fish well.
The canola oil is ready, when it is almost ‘smoking’ hot. Carefully place the portions of fish into the hot oil and allow them to brown. When they are ready, take them out and place them on a large platter. Sprinkle the fried fish with vinegar.
Serve your fish fillets as finger food, with hot french fries.
Enjoy your fish fry, knowing that your guests will too!
If you are planning to work through the night then there are many things that you can do to improve your energy levels and ensure the highest standard and quality along with the general enjoyment of the busy shift that you are about to undergo. One of the most beneficial things that you can do to increase your enjoyment and your work flow throughout your night shift is to have the best drinks at the ready for you to indulge in to keep you concentrated and motivated to work throughout the night. There are many things to consider when shopping for drinks to help you work through the night.
The first thing to keep in mind when shopping for drinks to help you through the night is to consider drinks that are going to keep your energy levels up and keep you motivated and alert throughout the night. Therefore, while they may not essentially be healthy or good for you, every now and then you could consider energy drinks to help you get through the night. Energy drinks can now be purchased that are high in caffeine but low in sugar for better results and less of a toll on your health. You could also consider drinking coffee if it is a cold night during your work shift.
Another thing to consider when shopping for drinks to help you get through a night shift at work or a general night of working is to never overlook the importance of keeping tabs on your health and wellbeing. There are drinks that may be tasty and enjoyable to indulge in, but they may not necessarily be good for you. An added motivational boost can come from ensuring your health throughout the night also. Therefore, drinking regular water or green tea can give you that extra kick to keep you concentrating and ready to work throughout the night.
Shopping for drinks when planning to work through the night can be very beneficial to your work flow, the quality of your work and your general concentration and motivation levels also. Be sure to never overlook the importance of drinking to get you through a busy night of working. Consider energy drinks or coffee every now and then for a particularly difficult night of work as long as you keep in mind the negativities of such products but if you are looking for that extra boost and want to maintain peak health and wellbeing also, consider drinking water and green tea to help you work through the night. Having the right drinks to help your standard of work can be very beneficial overall and therefore, careful planning should be taken when looking to work through the night.
To test the freshness of your eggs is a fairly simple procedure. So get your eggs and a bowl of cold water. First wash your eggs in cold water. Throw the dirty water down the drain. Gently drop your egg into a clean bowl of cold water. Doing this without gentleness would not be good. If it sinks and stays sunk than you have yourself a very fresh egg, If the egg floats the freshness has begun to be lost.. A”bad” egg should be light and will have a pungent smell. Phew wee!
Some say the water test is not an accurate way to determine egg freshness, Those “non believers” say you should go by the expiration date on your egg carton.
Also, there is a light test. How do you do this,you ask? Just hold you egg up to a light. Do you see the air pocket? The smaller the pocket the fresher the egg. The bigger the pocket the older the egg of course. If you hard boil your eggs and they are easy to peel then you have a fresh egg. Fan of fried eggs? Fry one up. Does it look rubbery? If so then that was a not so fresh egg.
There is also another way to test for freshness of an egg. Take your egg and break it on a plate. For a fresh egg the yolk will be round and sit positioned high in the middle of said egg. The egg white should stay close to the yolk and have a think consistency.
Certain things can influence the freshness of eggs. Temperature,humidly and how recent the egg was laid will all play a factor in how “new” you egg is when it gets to you. Ideally you should get them from a local farm. If you are able you can go and get yourself a few hens. Built a them a hen house and have your own eggs and the peak of ripeness so to speak. You never know you could even make some extra cash. People love homegrown food that cost half the price of the grocery and doesn’t contain questionable chemicals.
Store you eggs in the their carton and away from meats. They can pick pick of bacteria and absorb odors easily. If you have a crack in your eggs shell,toss it.. Your refrigerator should be about 41 degrees.Very fresh eggs are great for poaching. But if your egg has surpassed it’s peak than you can use it to bake a delicious cake for your family.What will you do with your newly discovered way of checking eggs for the peak of perfection? Whether you like white or brown eggs,I think we can all agree that eggs are an important part of our lives! They help us start our morning and show our love for those around us when we use use them for baked good. It’s time for you to go and show your eggs some appreciation.
Nothing is worse than a watery insipid soup that looks like dishwater. A soup should be thick and full of flavour, warming you from the inside out and leaving your guests in a state of awe.
Cornflour is traditionally used to thicken soup. Take a small cup with cornflour and mix with a little of your soup to make a runny consistency. Then slowly introduce into your soup. This method is preferable to adding the cornflour directly to your soup as it avoids lumpy bits forming.
Alternatives to cornflower
Traditional flour, rice flour, oat flour and cornstarch can all be used if you have no cornflour available.
A French roux
Roux can easily be made but it is another cooking process to add to the soup process and more pans to wash too. To make a roux melt a portion of butter and once melted add flour until a runny paste forms. It is important to stir continuously so all the flour is covered with butter and to prevent lumps forming. After 5 minutes the roux can be added to the soup and will thicken as it cooks.
Peel and cube a potato and add to your soup as it cooks. As the potato breaks down it will release its starch and thicken the soup. This method is suitable for robust soups such as vegetable, carrot, and chicken. Often however adding too much potato can distort more subtle flavoured soups such as mushroom or spring onion.
Beans and Pulses
Again the natural starches found in beans and pulses can help thicken a soup and add a grainy taste.
Rice adds a great thickness and texture to soup. It is less likely to break down than potato and is sublime in exotic soups like coconut, Indian spiced soups and Thai variants.
Egg yolk can be used as a soup thickener as well. Simply separate 2 yolks from the egg whites and add to a bowl. Add a little cooled soup to the eggs and mix well. Add this to the soup. A note of caution is necessary here. This method can result in scrambled-egg soup if your soup gets too hot or boils.
Adding a good dose of cream will thicken your soup too and change its colour and taste so use this for mild soups such as carrot and mushroom.
Thickening soups is easy to do and really depends on what your main soup flavour is. Then simply match a style of thickening to your soup.
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A healthy lunch for your child should be your priority as a parent. Most children would prefer to have junk food for lunch rather than having healthy food.
However, as a parent you should make the right choices and pack the right lunch for your child.
The following tips mentioned below will give you several ideas on how to pack the right lunch for your child.
Choose the type of lunch box to use for packing
A lunch box that seals properly is ideal for packing your child’s lunch and making sure that there are no leaks. Buy an attractive looking lunch box that serves the purpose and at the same time your child will enjoy carry to school.
Using a lunch box to pack your child’s lunch, will save you lots of money that you would have spent on buying paper or plastic bags which are also harmful to the environment.
Prepare a healthy lunch
When preparing lunch for your child to take to school, try and be creative but at the same time maintain a balanced diet. You can try out recipes that include a bit of everything and get adventurous in the kitchen.
You should add some fresh vegetables and fruits to your child’s lunch pack to make your child’s lunch rich in variety.
Preparing a balanced meal for your child rather than packing junk food has numerous benefits to your child’s health.
Surprise your child with a treat
Most kids do have a favorite type of candy or fruit bar that they enjoy the most. Make it a habit to pack for your child a treat once in awhile and make your child excited about having his or her lunch.
Include a fruit in the lunch pack.
“An apple keeps the doctor away” should be incorporated in your child’s mind by teaching your child why he or she must have fruit in their lunch pack. You should always make sure that you don’t miss to pack fruit when packing your child’s lunch.
Include a drink in your child’s lunch pack
You should not forget to include a healthy drink when packing lunch for your child. Fresh fruit juice or water should be top on the list of drinks to pack for your child.
Avoid packing a soda or any other artificial drinks that are not beneficial to your child’s health. You should try and encourage your child to drink water or fresh juice as part of promoting a healthy lifestyle.
Create a menu for what to pack
If you run out of ideas on what to pack for your child, try investing in a few books that have exciting recipes for children. A menu will also help you with choosing the right foods to pack for your child.
You can also ask your child what he or she would like to eat for lunch the following day, and pack for your child what he or she requested to have for lunch.
This is only applicable to children who are of a certain age and know what their favorite foods are.
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Learning how to turn cucumbers into pickles gives any pickle lover the opportunity to experiment with new tastes and flavors. While it may seem so much easier to buy pickles in the grocery store, nothing will come close to tasting as good as those that you prepare yourself! With a few simple ingredients and some basic equipment, anyone can make their own pickles.
Tips and Tricks
There are thousands of recipes for pickled cucumbers available on the internet, some involve canning; some are intended for more immediate use of the pickles. The recipes that do not require any refrigeration or curing time will not have an intense pickle flavour. You may wish to consider some of the following points when making pickles:
*Whatever recipe you use, do not change the amount or the ratio of salt, sugar, water or vinegar. Doing this will alter how much water is drawn out of the cucumbers; which is what gives the pickles their unique taste and balance of flavours.
*When selecting cucumbers, ideally choose small ones with a thin skin as these will pickle best.
*The salt you use should be canning or pickling salt, as normal table salt contains additives that will make the brine you prepare go cloudy.
*You can add different herbs and spices, onions, jalapenos and anything else you can think of to your pickles to create your own flavour combinations.
A basic recipe
*750g small pickling cucumbers
*750mL (3 cups) water
*125mL (1/2 cup) white wine vinegar
*1 ½ tablespoons (30mL) pickling salt
*Optional – try 2/3 cup fresh dill leaves, 2 teaspoons of pepper or 1 red onion (thinly sliced)
*Large jar – 3 litres (12 cup) – previously sterilised
1. Wash the cucumbers and dry thoroughly. Thinly slice the cucumbers and layer in the large jar. Alternate layers of cucumbers with any optional extras you are adding.
2. Place the water, vinegar and salt in a medium saucepan. Bring to the boil and then pour the liquid over the cucumbers in the jar. Seal the jar at once. Keep at room temperature for at least one week to pickle prior to opening.
There really is no correct way to turn pickles into cucumbers. It is a matter of finding what method you prefer to use that gives you the type of flavour you desire. Selecting the right ingredients and using the correct amounts of these ingredients are the key tricks to making great pickles. Master these tricks and you will become a pickling expert!
How to cook veggies fast
Vegetables can be a delicious addition to any meal, but cooking them can be a time-consuming chore. While it is important to incorporate fresh vegetables into your diet, you can also get plenty of nutritional benefits from frozen vegetables. This fast option is gaining popularity in the market today, which has made it easier than ever to quickly cook veggies so you can enjoy them in a meal. New inventions, ideas and technology have made cooking vegetables fast and easy for people who are otherwise short on time in their daily lives. Who couldn’t use less time cooking and more time spent with friends and family? There are many options for people who are cooking for their family or even those who are just cooking for one or two. The sky is the limit! Here are some ways to cook veggies quickly and efficiently.
Invest in cooking tools
It seems you only need to turn on the television to get a glimpse at the latest and greatest gadgets in the cooking world. However, there are many tried and true tools that have been around for decades and can be used to cook vegetables. One of the fastest and most popular ways to cook veggies is to steam them. Buying a simple metal or plastic steamer basket is a great investment to allow you to steam vegetables. Steamer baskets come in a standard sized bottom that will fit inside most pots and pans and have adjustable sides. You just place your veggies in the basket and steam them right at home. This can be done in a variety of ways, but the easiest method is to use your range or stove top’s burner. Simply put a small amount of tap water in the bottom of the pan and place the veggies in the steamer basket and put the lid on top of the plan. Then set the burner to a high setting, allowing the water to boil. The boiling of the water will release steam, cooking the vegetables and giving them a great texture and flavor.
Use the microwave
Next time you’re at the grocery store, consider taking a walk down the frozen foods aisle for your vegetable purchases. You will likely be surprised by the significant number of frozen vegetable options available. Many products on the market today can be stored in your freezer, and then popped into the microwave for a few minutes to cook. Best of all, they can be cooked, or steamed, right in the bag! This not only helps make cooking your veggies more convenient, but it also means there are fewer dishes to clean up after your meal is finished. It’s an easy, fast and convenient way to include vegetables in your family’s next dinner or lunch.
There are many ways to cook your veggies, but using the right tools and methods can ensure this is an easy way to incorporate more vegetables into your diet.
Sushi is one of Japan’s most well-known cuisine. If you have never tried it before, it is going to look really exotic. Not least because it includes raw fish type sushi on its menu. Nonetheless, there are several misconceptions about this Japanese delicacy, and you would do well to familiarise yourself with the various forms of sushi and dining etiquette before stepping into a Japanese restaurant for the first time.
Sushi is a Japanese dish of sticky rice with seafood topping. The term sushi’ actually refers to the vinegared rice, so it is the true essential ingredient. If it is just a dish of raw fish you have in front of you, it is called sashimi – not sushi. Also, not all fish used in sushi is uncooked. One of my favourites, unagi (or eel) sushi, has the eel sliced, cooked and marinated in sweet sauce.
There are three main kinds of sushi. Sushi that is rolled in seaweed (or nori) is called maki. My own personal favourite is the nigiri sushi, or the specially hand-moulded clumps of rice that comes usually with raw fish toppings. Another type, known as inari, comes with the sushi in a sweet fried beancurd skin.
Sushi is often served with various condiments. These include the special Japanese soy sauce, known as shoyu. Wasabi is a Japanese green paste famous for its very strong, spicy flavour. Gari refers to sweet, pickled ginger, said to aid digestion and to cleanse the palate. No Japanese meal is really complete without a cup of Japanese green tea, commonly known as ocha or agari (used in restaurants). If you like alcohol, sake will be a decent alternative.
If you are out for a casual Japanese meal, it will be an interesting experience to try the conveyor belt sushi style restaurants, where you just pick the sushi you want from a rolling conveyor belt. The pricing of the sushi is determined by colour-coded plates that will be tallied after the meal. This system is especially useful if you are not familiar with the different types of sushi available. I personally prefer to order off the menu. Some of the higher class restaurants have their sushi chefs preparing your sushi at a counter right in front of you.
Sushi can be eaten with your hands, so if you are not used to chopsticks, it is perfectly alright to do so (just remember to wash your hands first). Traditionally, one begins the meal with white-fleshed varieties with a milder taste, before moving on to the darker fleshed raw fish sushi, which have a stronger taste. When dipping the sushi in soy sauce, only dip the end of the topping and not the rice, as the rice can fall apart in the sauce. Also, use the soy sauce sparingly to avoid spoiling the taste of the fish. The same goes for wasabi. In fact, it is recommended to try the sushi on its own first, as the fish will already have been tinged with a dash of wasabi. In high class restaurants, it is sometimes rude to ask for more wasabi, as the chef will have apportioned accordingly during preparation.
If you are new to the sushi experience however, just try to relax and enjoy the meal. Sushi is widely available in Japan and is often the most common dish on the menu in any Japanese restaurant outside of Japan. You certainly do not need to be an expert to enjoy your sushi. So cheers, and ittadakimasu!
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The consistency of a pasta sauce is important for more reasons than simply the diner’s taste preference. Different shapes of pasta hold sauce based on its thickness and therefore the consistency can dictate the outcome of the entire dish. The correct consistency will blend all elements of the pasta together, and enhance the whole dining experience. So how can you fix a sauce that’s a bit too runny?
Choosing the right pasta
The shape of the pasta is the first thing that needs to be taken into account. Larger and more complex shapes like shells and corkscrews need a thicker sauce than strands of spaghetti do. The sauce should match the shape you wish to use.
Thickening tomato sauces
If the sauce is tomato-based, it’s extremely easy to thicken it by simmering it until it reaches the consistency you want. This is called reduction, and works by boiling off water until the sauce reduces in volume. This process also concentrates and enhances the flavour in the sauce, so herbs and spices should not be added until after it reaches the thickness you want, to avoid using too much.
Adding tomato paste is another option, but whether you’ve made your sauce from scratch or purchased it pre-made, it’s more than likely it already contains tomato paste, and adding more introduces more acidity that can throw off the balance of flavours in the dish. If reducing the sauce is not an option and you want to add tomato paste, adding cream or butter can rebalance the flavours and cut down the acidity whilst making the dish richer.
Thickening white sauces
White sauces can be slightly more difficult to thicken. Sauces based on cream can be reduced fairly effortlessly, and the standard carbonara sauce uses eggs to thicken the cream and make the sauce more decadent. Cream cheese is usually thick enough already when used as the base of a cheese sauce, but you can run into problems with milk-based and low-fat white sauces.
A milk-based white sauce like the bechamel sauce, is made primarily from butter, flour, and milk. The fact that it’s made from milk means it cannot simply be reduced like a tomato sauce as there’s a high likelihood of the milk curdling or burning from boiling it. It also has so much water content that you’d lose half the sauce to thicken it by reduction.
The usual way to thicken a milk-based sauce like this is with a roux. To make this you melt a tablespoon of butter in a saucepan, then add a tablespoon of flour and fry this for a minute to cook away the starch taste. Then it’s a simple matter of slowly adding the milk to the sauce whilst stirring to blend all the ingredients. Flavours like herbs can then be added and as the sauce starts to boil, the roux will thicken the sauce.
Fat-reduced pasta meals are usually made by substituting cream or cream cheese, with light cream, evaporated milk, light cream cheese, light ricotta, or cottage cheese. The main issue thickening these bases is that light cream separates really easily from heat, and cheese bases can curdle and be ruined by heat, therefore reduction isn’t the most viable option. A roux can be used, as can cornstarch or rice flour.
Using starch thickeners
Cornstarch and rice flour are quicker ways to thicken a sauce than reduction, and they won’t usually change the flavour of the sauce. They can change the texture and mouthfeel very slightly, but you won’t really notice this in a white sauce due to cream and cheese bases having a dominating texture. The key is to not use too much as the sauce will go gummy and look like ruined gravy.
Cornstarch has to be mixed into a little cold water into a runny paste before it can be added to sauces. Adding it straight to a hot liquid will cause it to form lumps in the sauce and it won’t work. It can go lumpy if added straight to a cold liquid too if it’s not mixed with water, so always remember to mix it with water before adding it to sauces for best results.
A teaspoon or two of cornstarch is best to start with, and if the sauce isn’t thick enough you can use some more. The sauce needs to be simmering for it to thicken, and you should be constantly stirring it until it does. Rice flour is even easier to work with. All you have to do to thicken a sauce is sprinkle it over the sauce whilst stirring until it thickens to the desired consistency. By following these methods it’s relatively easy to enhance your meals from average to spectacular and showcase your culinary prowess when entertaining guests.