Thursday, November 26, 2009

Papaya Leaf, Food Fiber Source

Papaya leaf, although a bitter taste, can be dioleh delicious dishes. Quite a lot of the nutrients that are beneficial to health in the green-colored leaves. Compared with the pulp, vitamins A and C papaya leaves are much higher.
Another prominent component in the leaves of papaya are food fibers. Here are some of the benefits of papaya leaf fiber:

1. Consumption of high fiber foods (especially from papaya leaves) will affect the intestine mikroflora such a way that does not produce carcinogenic compounds cause cancer.
2. Fiber foods can lower cholesterol and increase bile acid excretion in feces. This will reduce the availability of fat and cholesterol, thus preventing aterosklersosis and heart disease.
3. Fiber food can prevent constipation. In the gastrointestinal tract, fiber capable of absorbing water in a large enough amount, so that a soft stool mass and the pressure decreases in the large intestine.
4. Fiber food in very good papaya leaves to support the diet program. Diets with high fiber food will help weight loss programs. Food fiber has the ability to absorb water that is high enough considering dapt nutrients that teleh simplified by digestive enzymes.
Nutrients are dissolved and attached to the fiber, then be excreted through feces. These circumstances could reduce the availability of nutrients to the body, so that they can lose weight and prevent obesity.
5. Food fiber capable of absorbing water and the binding of glucose, thereby reducing the availability of glucose. Enough fiber diet also led to complex carbohydrates and fiber, so that the reduced carbohydrate digestion. The situation is capable of reducing blood glucose rise and make it stay in control.
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Sunday, October 25, 2009

is Green tea bad for our bone

is Green tea bad for our bone
Green tea is often a healthy lifestyle choice. However, behind his ability as a natural antioxidant for the body, green tea is feared to give a bad impact on bone health.

As quoted from page Genius Beauty, a number of researchers from the University of Oregon and Connecticut, USA, are developing adverse findings about green tea on bone health.

Research conducted on rats, which are grouped a number of foods consumed based. The first group consume food without green tea extract content, a second group with 1 percent green tea extract, and the last 2 percent green tea extract.

Results, groups of rats who ate the most green tea ingredients impaired bone quality. Like the smaller size of the femur, decreased bone mass and reduced bone mineral. This group also had lower body weight than the other two groups.

Research results published in the Journal of Nutrition in October was also identified in humans. However, researchers still continue to develop to ensure that consumption of green tea also gives bad effects to the health and growth of human bone.

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Sunday, October 18, 2009

Making Soy Milk

Compared with cow's milk can raise cholesterol, soy milk actually lowers cholesterol. In addition, soy milk is also rich in isoflavones. In one glass of soy milk is approximately 20 mg of isoflavones, which is a source of potential antioxidants.
Isoflavones are beneficial for reducing cholesterol, reduce symptoms of menopause, prevent osteoporosis, and reduce the risk of cancer. For skin beauty, antioxidants in isoflavone keep skin smooth and smoothness.
Here is a simple way to make their own soy milk for optimum benefits can be obtained:

1. Soaking
Clean the soya beans and soak in water for 10-16 hours. You can peel and soybean seeds with water rinse. This soybean seed peel would make soy milk extraction process to be more efficient.

2. Heating (optional)
This warming can not be done. Heating is only to remove the unpleasant odor in soybean seeds. The heating process can be done by including soybean seeds that have been soaked into the microwave for two minutes.

3. Grinding soy beans
Milled soybean seeds that have been soaked in a liter of water in a blender machine. Filter using a cloth to separate the pulp with the juice soy milk.

4. Boiled soy milk
Heat the soy milk till boiling point and continue boiling for five to ten minutes. Wait until cool and ready to drink soy milk. This milk can be stored in the refrigerator up to three days.

5. Taste (optional)
Soy milk can be drunk as it is, but can also add sugar to taste. With soy milk, you can also make fruit smoothies are very healthy because they contain soy and fresh fruit.
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the Apples, For Healthy Colon

In addition to genetic disorders, food consumed affects the incidence of colorectal cancer (colon). One of the foods that are proven to be able to prevent this cancer is an apple.
Recent research shows, an apple or apple juice have a positive impact on the large intestine. Content of pectin and polyphenols found in apples much, are known to increase biological mechanism to produce compounds antikarsinogenik (anti-cancer) in the fermentation process.
"Apples are a source of fiber and antioxidants are good. Apples are also rich in pectin are effective as an anticancer substance in the large intestine," said the researchers.

In a laboratory study conducted by German researchers, Dr. Dieter Schrenk, known components in apples can increase butyrate production, to prevent the formation of HDAC (Histone deacetlyases). HDAC declining production will push the growth of pre-cancerous cells and tumor cells.
Colon cancer is a cancer that is often encountered in Indonesia. Cancer is not just about the men but also women. Colon cancer risk increases in consumption of high fat and low in fiber, body fat, smoking, and lack of exercise.
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Saturday, October 17, 2009

be smart to Choosing Cooking Oil

In the process of frying, the oil serves as an introduction medium heat, savory taste, nutritional values and calories for fried foods. Smart select the type of frying oil used for food processing is one of the determinants of health. So that no one select, meet with various types of cooking oil.
Based on the presence or absence of double bonds in the molecule structure, the oil can be divided into three groups, namely:
(1) oil with saturated fatty acids (saturated fatty acids)
Saturated fatty acids, among others present in breast milk (Lauric acid) and coconut oil. Its stable and not easily react / transformed into other types of fatty acids.

(2) oil with fatty acid monounsaturated (mono-unsaturated fatty acids / MUFA) or multiple (poly-unsaturated fatty acids).
Unsaturated fatty acids having double bond carbon atoms are easy to decompose and react with other compounds, to obtain a stable composition of saturated fatty acids. The more the number of double bonds (poly-unsaturated), the easier it is to react / change the oil.

(3) oil with trans fatty acids (trans fatty acids)
Trans fatty acids found in many animal fats, margarine, butter, hydrogenated oils, and is formed from the frying process. Carcinogenic addition, trans fats raise bad cholesterol levels, lower good cholesterol, and cause the babies born prematurely.

Unsaturated fatty acids (omega 3, omega 6, omega 9) is often promoted has many benefits, including lowering "bad cholesterol" (LDL = low density lipoprotein) and prevent heart attacks. Lots contained in vegetable oils such as soybean oil, canola oil, sunflower oil, palm oil, and others.
However, with deep frying Frying system, which is commonly used Indonesian society, as well as repeated use of cooking oil, would alter unsaturated fatty acids into trans fatty acids, which can increase bad cholesterol and lowers good cholesterol.
In addition, excessive heating will change the unsaturated fatty acids into clusters peroxide and free radical compounds that can cause cancer. Because of that, get used to fry with the temperature not too high.
Types of oil that also should be avoided is jelantah or oil that had been used many times. This oil is more viscous, has a free fatty acids high, and blackish brown. Several studies in animal models show repeated use of oil can cause symptoms of carcinogenic and various diseases.
In addition, there are three types of fatty acids by long-short-chain fatty acids, namely a long chain (long chain trigliseride / LCT), the chain's (medium chain trigliseride / MCT), and short chain (short chain trigliseride / SCT).
Oil with a short carbon chain and was immediately absorbed by the body without going through digestive process convoluted. Immediately taken to the liver to convert into energy to improve the function of endocrine glands, organs and body tissues.
Vegetable oils are generally classified as long-chain fatty acids (long chain fatty acids = LCFA), which consists of 18 carbon atoms or more. The size of large molecules, so that should be processed first into small fatty acids and free fatty acid form to be absorbed through the intestinal wall.
Having escaped from the intestinal wall, free fatty acids are reassembled into lipoproteins and taken to heart. There is converted to energy, cholesterol, and the rest piled into fatty tissue. Well, cholesterol and fat that is the cause of many chronic diseases, degenerative diseases, and cancer.
According to research, most of its content is LCFA safflower oil (78%), followed by sunflower oil (69%), and canola oil (31%). LCFA content of olive oil ranges from 9%, while the lowest was coconut oil (2%).
Oil is good for health is containing MUFA and MCT. Olive oil is better and can protect the heart (because of lowering total cholesterol, triglycerides and cholesterol "bad" or LDL) when used as vegetable oil, not fried.
Vegetable cooking oil was classified as PUFAs and LCT will be better if used for sauteing, frying temperatures are not high. If you still want to fry with a high temperature, it is best to use coconut oil or palm kernel oil.
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Reducing the Negative Impact of Cooking Oil

In our culture, fried foods, including favorite foods. It was a tasty, crunchy, plus low price makes many popular fried. However, eating fried food can be harmful to health.
Fried food fried in oil containing saturated fatty acids would be metabolized when consumed, will eventually increase in blood lipid profile. The higher the intake of saturated fat, higher cholesterol. This will eventually lead to degenerative diseases, such as coronary heart disease or stroke.
To prevent these undesirable due to consumption of fried foods, Prof.Dr.Ir.Made Astawan, food technologists, Bogor Agricultural University, share tricks.
1. When you choose to buy cooking oil in accordance with the needs, how to read labels and packaging, with good care. Select which include cooking oil complete information on the label.
2. For high cholesterol, choose oils that contains unsaturated fatty acids (such as peanut oil and corn oil).
3. Do not choose cooking oil just by color and appearance. A clear oil is not necessarily better than the yellow oil concentrated. Color is influenced by the content of carotenoids and other components in the oil. In some cases the very beneficial carotenoids to health.
4. As far as possible gorenglah food gangsa system (less oil) to prevent excessive oil absorption in fried foods, and repeated use of oil.
5. Cooking oil so that is not easily damaged, should not use too high heat. Control the size of the flame.
6. Save the cooking oil in a sealed container, cool, and avoid sunlight to prevent oxidation and rancidity was not easy.
7. Clean the frying pan or wok with a detergent that is free from the crust or other dirt.
8. Do not get used to using used oil that has been used repeatedly to fry.
9. Drain the oil in fried food before eating. If necessary use a tissue or paper to reduce the oil layer on the surface of the food.

i hope it can be helped.

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act wisely during dinner to trim

HOW TO : act wisely during dinner to trim

INSIDE running weight-loss program, many believe that the dinner is one that must be avoided. This assumption or myth, it's embedded in the community and there were several doctors who suggested the reason that at night our bodies do not need a lot of calories.
But in practice, what happens is just a lot of dinner and then replaced with snacking habits to starve. If a snack is high in calories, of course forget the effort to dinner meant nothing. Weight loss will not fall, while the stomach still rumbling. What's worse, eliminating dinner can also result in the emergence of other unpleasant complaints such as stomach upset or ulcer.
According to clinical nutrition specialist and consultant dinner diet is not something to fear and forbidden, especially when undergoing a diet program.
"To maintain weight, dinner still allowed as long as you wiser in choosing foods and calculate caloric intake," says Dr. Samuel.
He explains, is essentially unnecessary dinner was removed from the program as long as consistent in maintaining the balance of calorie intake for a full day (24 hours). Weight was affected in total calories in minus calories the body issued through activities in a day.
"To outsmart, calculate the total calories your body needs for a day. Then we cracked a breakfast, lunch and dinner. If the amount of calorie intake in the morning and afternoon a little, you're okay enough rest at night," added Dr. Samuel.
Excessive dinner, Dr. Samuel light, it makes the body becomes risky. Calories from food are stored in the form of body fat because not used. Whereas if we put more calories in the afternoon, likely will be used for energy and activity. "So, in order to maintain balance, Be Wise at dinner," he said.
The number of calories a person needs each day can vary depending on the activity and calorie burning process. But roughly, the calories needed each day by one adult male 45kalori/kg about his weight, being a grown woman 40 calories / kg body weight. For example, a man with 65 kg weight, the number of calories needed are: 65X = 45 calories 2925kalori.
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Friday, September 18, 2009

mistaken of the diet myths

Many people still mistakenly in the diet. The following diet myths that need your attention.

1. No dinner
Avoid dinner to lose weight is a myth that is not right. Weight is influenced by the total calories minus calories diasup issued in a day (weight loss = calories total calories diasup-issued). If dinner is removed and replaced with little food to keep hunger (if the little food high in calories), then the weight still will not come down. Eliminating dinner will also result in the emergence of the complaint is not uncomfortable, hungry, and even gastric disorders (ulcer).
If dinner is replaced with a snack of fruit, according to Luciana, okay, with a note on the night did not do anything activity. Principally, eating is to supply the body for metabolism of the body, replacing damaged cells, physical activity, and others. "If there is no supply, it will not be able to move because of famine, which will be compensated by forming the body of sugar from the body's own reserves. As a result, your metabolism will be disturbed and complaints arise not feeling well, even an ulcer arises," he said.

2. Not a good breakfast for dieting
Wrong. Without breakfast, blood sugar will drop. Low sugar levels lead to disturbed concentration, lethargy, irritability, and so on. With demikikan, not effective for people who work. Usually, the breakfast was not overcome by hunger snacks, which are often for its dry and mild but high calorie. As a result, the goal is not reached even as well, weight might go up. Another tendency is that the morning did not eat breakfast, lunch and dinner the day of hunger so much. Become ineffective as well. Normal metabolism can not accept the pattern of disordered eating.
3. Drinking water and ice water will make the body elastic.
This myth is also misleading. Water contains no calories, so it will not cause fat. Water ice absorption is going to make better food, but water itself does not contribute calories, so no amount of drinking water will not increase fat deposits. In a normal body, water consumption is very much will be issued by the body through the urine so that the water content in the body remains within normal limits.

4. Cespleng lime juice to lose weight.
This myth is not true. Which usually occurs we have ice orange with a lot of sugar so sweet. As a result, more and accumulate fat. Boro-boro weight loss, which happens even to the contrary.

The principle of weight loss diet is to reduce food intake without disrupting the activity and metabolism. The way to reduce the total calorie intake of daily meals. With the prescribed calories for the day, and then determined for each meal. Ideally food intake analysis carried out, namely the food you eat is calculated and evaluated. For example, in the morning just drink milk, lunch and evening meal complete, but why keep your body fat? We find fault where. Apparently, his lunch too much. Well, lunch is too much of this should be reduced. Causes of lunch can be too much for too little breakfast, just drink milk, the result will be faster hungry. In this case can be added a breakfast bread or fruit to prevent hunger pad during the day.

Another example, breakfast, lunch, and dinner is good, a good snack, but snack outside meal schedule and eating schedule was too much distraction. "When analyzed, which must be discarded BB cemilannya down. If the discarded breakfast or dinner, sacrifices made too heavy. Especially when having breakfast or dinner is removed is replaced with a calorie snacks are not small, so the same result, BB will not decrease, "he said. Luciana B. Sutanto, MS, Sp.GK, clinical nutrition specialist from RS Mitra Keluarga Kemayoran Jakarta.

What often happens is someone will be happy if he lost weight rapidly, but he himself did not know what it's reduced. "The water? Fat, or muscle? The expected loss is fat, because fat is the body that are not part of metabolism, even interfere with metabolism when stacking (causing diabetes, cholesterol, etc.)," said Luciana.

If the missing or decreased muscle mass it will be more difficult to lose weight because the body's metabolism (basal metabolism rate) will decrease. "If it decreases the body's metabolism, meaning it takes calories also decreases so that the low calorie intake, calories are sufficient or even excess of that needed. As a result, weight is not down anymore. So what happens if the muscles are shrinking, not fat loss, "explained Luciana. The amount of muscle mass could be due to reduced calorie intake is too low, insufficient protein supply, or low physical activity.
Different if the fall were fat mass, while the larger muscle mass. "If this happens, Body Weight would be easy to continue to fall."
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Saturday, September 12, 2009

Papaya, fruit of Angels : Rich with Vitamin and Mineral

Papaya is a fruit that is rich in vitamins and minerals. In addition to direct consumption, papaya is usually used as a mixed salad, juice, fruit and ice. Papaya is also often taken to overcome constipation.

Papaya fruit or the Carica papaya called L has been known since hundreds of years ago. Christopher Columbus called the fruit of this as "the fruit of the angels", the fruit of the angels. According to VN Villegas in his writing published in Vegetable Resources of Southeast Asia 2, each 100 grams of papaya contained 450 milligrams of vitamin A, 74 milligrams vitamin C, 86.6 grams of water, 0.5 grams of protein, and 0.7 grams of fiber.

Various vitamins and minerals contained in them such as potassium, electrolytes that are important to the body, and calcium are beneficial to bone. Other minerals such as potassium and magnesium, are also contained in the papaya. Meanwhile, the enzyme papain to break his serve leftovers fiber making it easier bowel movement. Papaya is also useful for treating stomach and reduce body heat.

In addition to pulp, papaya leaves are also nutritious. In addition to vegetables and lalap, papaya leaf useful for treating malaria, intestinal worms, abdominal pain, increased appetite, and soften the meat. Seeds could cure worms. Meanwhile, the sap and roots can treat bladder pain, and even bitten by a snake.
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Monday, August 10, 2009

Tortilla Chips With Fresh Mango and Tomato Salsa

Here is a fresh-tasting, colourful salsa that is rich in vitamins and valuable anti-oxidants.
Preparation time 25 minutes
Cooking time 15 minutes, plus cooling
Serves 6

8 corn tortillas (about 300 g in total)

Tortilla Chips With Fresh Mango and Tomato Salsa ingredients
For the salsa
2 ripe mangoes
1 large ripe tomato
grated zest and juice of 1 lime
1 medium-hot fresh green chilli, deseeded and finely chopped
1 garlic clove, crushed
2 tbsp chopped fresh coriander leaves
1 tbsp snipped fresh chives
salt and pepper

How to make Tortilla Chips With Fresh Mango and Tomato Salsa
1 Preheat the oven to 160ºC. To make the salsa, peel the mangoes and cut the flesh away from the central stone. Chop the flesh into small pieces and place in a large bowl. Chop the tomato into small pieces and add to the mango.

2 Add the lime zest and juice, chilli, garlic, coriander and chives. Stir, then season with salt and pepper to taste. Spoon into a serving bowl, cover with plastic wrap and set aside in a cool place while preparing the tortilla chips.

3 Cut each tortilla into wedges using kitchen scissors. Spread out the wedges on a large baking tray and bake for 15 minutes or until crisp and firm. Transfer to a wire rack and leave to cool.
4 To serve, place the bowl of salsa on one side of a large serving platter and scatter the tortilla chips next to it.< Some more ideas…
Instead of the corn tortillas, use 4 large or 8 small flour tortillas (also called wraps).

Make a fresh peach salsa by using 4 ripe peaches instead of the mangoes. There is no need to peel the peaches – just cut them in half, remove the stone and chop them.

For nachos, prepare the tortilla chips and leave to cool, then make a melted cheese dip. Finely chop 3 spring onions, 2 green capsicums and 1 medium-hot fresh green chilli, deseeded, and put in a shallow ovenproof dish. Sprinkle with 1⁄4 tsp cumin seeds and season to taste with salt and pepper. Cut 200 g low-fat soft cheese into small cubes and scatter over the vegetables. Bake in a preheated 190ºC oven for 10–15 minutes or until the cheese has melted. Scatter a little finely shredded lettuce over the top, and serve hot, with the tortilla chips.

Each serving provides
Key nutrients 590 kJ
4 g protein
1 g fat (of which 0.1 g is saturated fat)
28 g carbohydrate (of which 10 g are sugars)
4 g fibre
126 mg sodium
GI estimate low
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the Meatloaf With Porcini Mushrooms

low fat recipe:
Serving: 10
Prep Time: 25 minutes
Cook Time: 78 minutes
Total Time: 103 minutes

the ingredient :
1 ounce dried porcini mushrooms
2 freshly chopped tbsp basil
2 tbsp freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1 whole lightly beaten egg
1 lightly beaten egg white
to taste salt and freshly ground pepper
1 6 oz can tomato paste
Garnish: fresh basil leaves
3/4 (not instant) cup quick-cooking oatmeal
2 tsp olive oil
1 finely chopped large onion
1 finely minced clove garlic
1 lb very lean ground beef
1 casing removed and finely chopped (optional) lean turkey sausage
2 grainy style preferred tbsp Dijon mustard
2 freshly chopped tbsp parsley

direction :
1. Soak the mushrooms in ½ cup hot water until softened, about 20 minutes. Strain the mushrooms, finely chop, and set aside. Strain the reserved mushroom liquid into a small bowl, stir in the oatmeal, and allow to sit at room temperature.
2. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Coat a 9-x-5-x-3 inch nonstick loaf pan with nonstick cooking spray.
3. In a small skillet, heat the oil and sauté the onion over medium-high heat, stirring often, until the onion is lightly golden, about 6 to 7 minutes. Add the garlic and stir to just combine the flavors, for 30 seconds. Remove the skillet from the heat, transfer the onions to a large bowl, and allow to cool slightly.
4. Add the remaining ingredients to the onions, including the chopped mushrooms and oatmeal, mixing with your hands until well combined and place in the prepared loaf pan. Spread the tomato paste to cover the loaf.
5. Bake for 1 hour. Remove the pan from the oven and allow it to sit for about 10 minutes to allow the flavors to develop and to make it easier to slice the loaf. Slice and serve the loaf garnished with basil leaves. Serves 8 to 10.
6. Cook Note: A meat loaf cooked in a loaf pan will be juicier than one patted into a shape and cooked in a larger pan
7. Do-Ahead Prep: The meat loaf can be shaped earlier in the day, wrapped tightly, and refrigerated until ready to cook.

nutritional information :
Calories: 200
Total Fat: 10 g
Carbohydrates: 11 g
Protein: 17 g

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Sunday, August 9, 2009

Lamb Racks with Garlic and Rosemary

Serves: 4
Yield: 4 racks
Ready in: 1 hour (40 mins prep - 20 mins cook)

Ingredients for Lamb racks with garlic and rosemary
4 lamb racks (with 3 cutlets per rack)
2 garlic cloves, sliced
2 long sprigs of fresh rosemary
1 tablespoon honey
2 tablespoons wholegrain mustard
2 tablespoons mint sauce

Preparation method for Lamb racks with garlic and rosemaryPreheat the oven to 200˚C.

Trim any excess fat from the lamb racks. Cut small slits in the top of the lamb with a small, sharp knife. Insert slices of garlic and small pieces of rosemary into the slits. Sit the lamb on a plate.
Whisk together the honey, wholegrain mustard and mint sauce and brush over the lamb racks. Allow to marinate for 20 minutes in a cool place.
Put the lamb racks into a baking dish and spoon on any sauce that may be left behind on the plate. Bake for 20 minutes for medium–rare, or until cooked to your liking, basting a couple of times during cooking with the honey mustard mixture.
Remove from the oven and allow to stand, covered, in a warm place for 10 minutes to allow the juices to be absorbed back into the meat. At this stage you can either cut the lamb into individual cutlets or leave the rack intact and serve as is.
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Monday, August 3, 2009

the Glossary of Wine Preservatives and Additives

Alcohol – a natural by-product of yeast fermentation converting sugar to ethanol and carbon dioxide. Alcohol may cause allergic reactions in some people, regardless of the level of preservatives, tannins or esters in the wine. (Of course, alcohol is also responsible for hangovers, but these can be easily avoided by simply drinking in moderation!) Extra alcohol may not be added to wine at any stage of the winemaking process.

Sulphur dioxide – labelled "Preservative 220" or "SO2", this is the most contentious and maligned of wine additives. It has been used for thousands of years in wine production. A small amount of SO2 is produced naturally as part of the fermentation process in all wines.

Ascorbic acid – also labelled "Antioxidant 300" and commonly known as vitamin C, ascorbic acid is naturally present in grapes. In Australia winemakers can add ascorbic acid to white wines to help prevent oxidisation. Ascorbic acid is not used in red wines. When added to fruit juices it is listed as "Vitamin C".

Chaptalisation – sometimes called ‘enrichment’, the addition of sugar to a wine raises the alcohol level, enhancing a wine’s flavour and body. In Australia, sugar can only be added in the form of concentrated grape must (grape juice). Addition of sugar (sucrose) is common in Northern Europe, parts of the USA, Canada, Brazil, Japan and much of New Zealand.

Acidification – In much the same way that chaptalisation is used to lift highly acidic wines from cooler regions, acid is used to balance the sweeter, ripe flavours of wines from warm to hot regions. It may be added in the form of tartaric, citric or malic acid and helps brighten the colour of wine while freshening flavours and aromas.
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Saturday, August 1, 2009

the Cleanskins Wine: The Lowdown

It's the wine without the fancy label and with just the barest details to guide selection. But the "cleanskin" is grabbing attention from wine buyers across Australia.

An oversupply of grapes and intense competition within the industry means many producers are having to find inventive ways to turn a profit. The no-fuss bottles allow wine producers to quietly rid themselves of excess stock - whether it's a prestige brand's bin end or a boutique winery forced to balance its books.

By law the labels must show alcohol content, volume, additives and standard drink information.
. . . but beware

Often when wineries have trouble selling a certain line, they package it as a cleanskin. And if they need to clear the warehouse or empty tanks, they do the same.

Worse, a few operators even use it as a way to clear that sem-sav that fell victim to a batch of bad corks or the unripe cabernet that Joe Winemaker was obliged to take in because of a contractual obligation. But to be fair, this can happen under known brands, too. The only way you will know for sure is to try the cleanskin first.

They are usually so cheap that retailers shouldn't baulk at pulling the plug on a bottle and pouring a free taste. And if you aren't allowed to taste it first, why wouldn't you prefer a well-known brand that you know you can trust? Especially when well-known, mass-marketed brands are also being discounted to amazingly low prices these days.

source :
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the Red Wine: the pros and cons

Heart disease

Scientists believe the polyphenols found in red grapes' skin are cardioprotective. The Copenhagen City Heart Study tracked more than 13,000 people over 12 years and found those who drank 3-5 glasses of wine a day had half the risk of dying from coronary heart disease or stroke as those who never drank. Canadian cardiologists analysed more than 13 studies to find red wine drinkers had 32% less atherosclerosis than non-drinkers.

Will any old red do?

Initial studies by London researchers suggest cabernet sauvignon may be the most effective at protecting against heart disease. All reds suppress endothelin-1, a protein in blood vessels that leads to hardening of the arteries, but the polyphenols in cab sav more than halve its production.

Harvard researchers have found that resveratrol switches on an enzyme that slows the ageing process, extending the life of yeast cells by as much as 70%. If the same process is found to work as well in humans, researchers believe this may extend the average human life span by up to ten years.


A study at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine found that adding cabernet sauvignon to the drinking water of mice with Alzheimer's-type brain changes reduced brain deterioration. Earlier studies had found that resveratrol, which is abundant in the skins of red grapes, activates the brain enzyme MAP kinase, which helps the regeneration of neural cells.

Prostate cancer

A daily glass of red may halve a man's risk of prostate cancer, according to a US study of almost 1500 men. Resveratrol may clear the body of cancer-causing free radicals, reduce cell proliferation and work as an anti-inflammatory. It may even reduce levels of male hormones such as testosterone that fuel the growth of prostate cancer.


The tartaric acid in wine can wear away tooth enamel and red wine's tannins can also cause staining. However, researchers at the University of Laval in Quebec believe the polyphenols in red wine may help dental health. Lab tests show they reduce gum inflammation and stave off periodontal disease.


A Lancet study tested migraine-sufferers who believed that red wine, but not alcohol in general, caused their headaches. Red wine triggered a typical migraine in nine out of eleven sufferers, whereas none of eight migraine-sufferers who were tested with vodka experienced an attack.

Some researchers believe that red-wine headaches may be caused by the bacteria in wine. Vintners are working on the problem - a red wine with a genetically-modified strain of yeast (MLO1) performing the function of bacteria was released this year.
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Saturday, July 25, 2009

The Mejor Tequila : REVIEW

For review : drink

This is a new 100% agave tequila brand (the master distiller is formerly of Don Julio) arrives in four expressions — the usual three plus one you might not expect: blanco, reposado, anejo (we didn’t sample this one), and “pink.” What’s pink tequila? We’ll get to that. But first, let’s start with the basics.

Mejor Blanco is a traditional, unaged, silver tequila. Pretty standard as far as blanco tequilas go, Mejor’s silver has a lot greenery to it, with a hefty agave hit on first sip. This fades into more citrus notes as it aerates and fades on the palate, with some minty character in there too. This blanco grows on you, with some very mild vanilla in the finish, but ultimately I think it’s a better blending spirit than a straight sipper. B / $35 to $45

Mejor Reposado is aged for nearly a year in old Jack Daniel’s barrels, and it’s a great improvement on the blanco, much different all around. A strong vanilla character kicks in immediately, with a moderate agave backbeat running underneath it. This tequila is really easy to drink, and pleasant as all get-out. A- / $40 to $55

Mejor Pink is, yep, pink tequila. It is not an infused or flavored tequila. It’s just pink, a silver tequila with natural color added. The idea is obviously to help make pink-hued yet tequila-based cocktails (sans grenadine, I suppose), but in the glass it’s barely distinguishable from Mejor Blanco. Mejor says it has a slightly stronger agave flavor, and I think that’s true. And that’s also a little strange: The pink tequila is actually a slightly truer version of agave than the clear one. I give it marks for that, but it’s certainly nothing that any tequila nut is going to start sipping solo. Sheesh, it’s pink! B / $35 to $45
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The Noilly Prat Dry Vermouth – the New Recipe in 2009

The most people agonize over what brand gin or vodka to use in their martini, but precious little thought tends to go into the selection of vermouth. Today I’ve done something most would deem unthinkable: Drink vermouth straight.

noilly-prat-vermouth-old-bottleWhy? Because Noilly Prat, the French maker of one of the world’s best-selling brands of vermouth, is changing its recipe. Well, updating it, really: Noilly Prat is introducing its current European blend to the U.S. market, discontinuing the old American blend that’s been sold here for years (decades, maybe). The bottle design gets an update too (that’s the old one to your right, the new one is below), so you’ll be able to tell which version you’re buying as stores run out of the old stock. The new blend is scheduled to go on sale in January 2009.

How do the two compare? I definitely prefer the new, European version to the old. The original is very pale, almost clear, with a very strong bitterness overwhelming any herbal notes in the vermouth. It’s fine, but plain and unthrilling. The new version is striking in its changes but it’s still a real vermouth: It’s got a distinct, light gold color to it and hits the tongue first with some sweetness and a more pronounced herbal flavor, before then fading into a lighter bitter finish. The new Noilly Prat is quite reminiscent of Lillet Blanc and even reminded me a bit of Strega. (However, both Noilly Prat versions — tied at 36 proof — are better than Martini & Rossi dry vermouth… but of course they say you should only drink Italian vermouth if it’s sweet and stick with France for the dry.)

Of course, the true test of any dry vermouth is in a martini… and I’m happy to report the new Noilly Prat shines with either gin or vodka. Check it out!

A- / $6.50 (750ml bottle) /
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The Beef with Brakoli

This is secret to this popular restaurant dish is to marinate the beef in a bit of oil.

can be Serves 3 to 4


3/4 lb (375 g) lean beef, sliced thinly into bite-sized pieces

Marinade for Beef:
1 egg
1/3 tsp (1.5 mL) salt
1 Tbsp (15 mL) cooking wine
1 Tbsp (15 mL) cornstarch (corn flour)
2 Tbsp water

1 1/2 Tbsp (20 mL) oil

1 1/2 lb (750 g) broccoli, flowerets removed, slice on the diagonal into thin slices
1 cup (250 mL) cooking oil
2 1/2 Tbsp (30 mL) oyster sauce
2 Tbsp (25 mL) light soy sauce
3/4 Tbsp (10 mL) dark soy sauce
1 Tbsp (15 mL) sugar
a few drops of sesame oil
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1/2 cup (125 mL) chicken broth
2 Tbsp cornstarch (if desired)


Slice beef and mix together marinade ingredients. Add marinade to beef and marinate for thirty minutes. Add 1 1/2 tablespoons of oil to beef, mix in thoroughly, and marinate beef for another thirty minutes. While beef is marinating, prepare the vegetables.

Heat wok and add 1 cup of oil. When oil is ready, add beef and stir-fry until it is nearly cooked. Remove beef and set aside on a plate. Drain the wok and wipe clean with a paper towel.

Add 1/2 cup water to wok. Bring the water to a boil and add the broccoli. Cover and cook until broccoli is cooked through. Drain the wok.

Heat wok and add oil (about 2 tablespoons). Add the garlic and stir-fry for about 1 minute. Add vegetables and beef and mix together. Make a well in the middle of the wok and add the sauce ingredients. Add cornstarch, stirring to thicken. Mix sauce together with other ingredients. Serve hot.

*Add carrots and onion if desired. Boil in the wok with the broccoli (you’ll need to add more water).

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Thursday, July 23, 2009


if you want to exchange link, just left a message comment in here, and i will put your link to my friends link columm :
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Wednesday, July 22, 2009

the Spicy pumpkin and orange soup with lemon gremolata

Serves 4
Whizzing the soup in a blender gives you a rich velvety texture without the need for cream.
spicy pumpkin and orange soup with lemon gremolata
1 onion, halved and finely sliced
2 tbsp olive oil
1 kg butternut squash or pumpkin
1.2 litres chicken or vegetable stock
2 tbsp tomato paste
2 cinnamon sticks
half tsp grated nutmeg
1 tsp smoked paprika
1⁄4 tsp cayenne pepper
100 ml orange juice
sea salt and pepper
1 orange, cut into wedges

How to cook spicy pumpkin and orange soup with lemon gremolata
Heat the oil in a saucepan and cook the onion over gentle heat for 5 minutes until soft. Cut the butternut into large chunks and cut off the skin.
Add the butternut, stock, tomato paste, cinnamon sticks, nutmeg, and cayenne to the leeks and bring just to the boil.
Simmer for 20 to 30 minutes or until the butternut is tender.
Remove the cinnamon sticks and 4 chunks of butternut, add the orange juice, sea salt and pepper and heat through.
Whiz in a blender (in batches) until smooth.
Serve in warm shallow soup bowls with the reserved butternut and a wedge of orange, topped with crunchy gremolata crumbs.
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Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Lamb with feta and mint

Lamb with feta and mint Serves: 4
Rield: 4 servings
Ready in: 40 mins (15 mins prep - 25 mins cook)

Ingredients :

¼ cup (60 ml) olive oil
300 g new potatoes, scrubbed and thinly sliced
1 large zucchini, sliced
1 red onion, sliced
2 red capsicums, deseeded and sliced
8 garlic cloves, peeled
⅓ cup (80 ml) red wine vinegar
75 g feta cheese, drained
25 g fresh mint, finely shredded

Preparation method for Lamb with feta and mint

Heat a large frying pan with a tight-fitting lid over a medium heat. Brush the lamb steaks on one side with a little of the oil. Add the steaks to the pan, oiled-side down, and fry for 3–4 minutes until nicely browned. Lightly brush the lamb steaks with a little more oil, then flip them over and continue frying for a further 1 minute. Transfer the lamb steaks to a plate and set aside.
Add 1 tablespoon of the oil to the pan and heat. Add the potatoes and fry, turning occasionally, for 5 minutes or until golden and they start to soften. Add another 1 tablespoon of oil to the pan. Add the zucchini, onion, capsicums and garlic and continue frying, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes or until all the vegetables are tender.
Meanwhile, mix the remaining oil with the vinegar in a small jug or bowl. Return the lamb steaks to the pan, placing them on top of the vegetables, and pour in the oil and vinegar mixture. Crumble the feta cheese over the top. Reduce the heat to low, cover the pan with a lid and cook for about 5 minutes for medium-rare or 7 minutes for medium.
Uncover the pan and scatter the mint over the top. Season with freshly ground black pepper to taste. Serve at once, straight from the pan, with a drizzling of the pan juices.

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Monday, July 20, 2009

Serves: 4
Yield: 4 servings
Ready in: 30 mins (20 mins prep - 10 mins cook)

Ingredients for Asian chicken salad with peanut dressing 500 g cos lettuce
150 g snow peas
1 can (565 g) canned lychees, drained and cut in half
1 large navel orange, peeled and cut into sections
1 red plum, stoned and sliced
4 spring onions, thinly sliced
370 g chicken breast fillets
Creamy peanut dressing:
1/3 cup reduced-fat mayonnaise
3 tablespoons creamy peanut butter
1 garlic clove, finely chopped

Preparation method :

Finely shred the lettuce and place in a bowl. Trim the snow peas and remove the strings. Cut the snow peas in half on the diagonal and add them to the bowl. Add the lychees, orange, plum and spring onions and toss to combine.
Coat a heavy-based frying pan with nonstick cooking spray and set over medium-high heat until hot, about 2 minutes. Fry the chicken breast fillets until cooked through, about 4 minutes on each side.
To make the dressing, whisk the mayonnaise, peanut butter and garlic in a small cup. Cut the chicken diagonally into thin slices and add the strips to the bowl. Just before serving, drizzle the salad with the dressing and toss to coat.
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Tuesday, May 19, 2009


Domaine du Fontsainte: Demoiselle
Appellation Corbiéres

Carignan (70%) Grenache (20%) Syrah (10%)

This smooth red wine is full of rich berry fruits, yet it has a dry peppery back note from the carignan grape. Hand picked from old vines, it comes from the rocky slopes of the Corbiéres, which are covered with wild herbs. Although it has a strong velvet feel it is versatile enough to be matched with lighter flavours like chicken, veal & goats cheese.

Demoiselle retails at £6.45

Chateau Hauterive: Appellation Corbiéres
Grenache blanc (60%) Maccabou (20%) Marsanne (20%)

This cool and subtle white is refined with a gentle dryness and no heavy sweet tones as in a New World chardonney. Chilled, it is delicious just by itself or a perfect match to delicate fish or poultry.

Hauterive blanc retails at £6.75

If you would like to buy any of the above wines then contact us by emailing

Domaine du Fontsainte: Demoiselle Chateau Hauterive
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Hazelnut Crispy Biscuits

Ingredients for Hazelnut Crispy Biscuits
50g (2oz) icing sugar
50g (2oz) dairy free spread
75g (3ozs) rice flour
50g (2ozs) potato flour
25g (1oz) tapioca flour
2 tbsp rice milk
1 tsp vanilla essence
50g (2oz) chopped hazelnuts

To decorate:
75g (3oz) icing sugar
½ - 1 tbsp Warm water

How to make Hazelnut Crispy Biscuits
* Cream together icing sugar and dairy-free spread until light and fluffy.
* Sieve the flours into the creamed mixture.
* Add the milk and vanilla essence and knead to form a soft dough.
* Cover with cling film and place in fridge for 30 mins.
* Roll-out dough on surface dusted with a little icing sugar, to no less than ½ cm (¼ inch) depth.
* Cut into your chosen biscuit cutter.
* Place on a lightly greased baking tray and bake for 8 - 10 mins, or until lightly golden at the edge.
* To make icing, sieve icing sugar into bowl and gradually add warm water until icing is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon.
* Decorate as you wish.

Susan Swann
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Chewy Sultana Cookies

Ingredients for Chewy Sultana Cookies

100g (4oz) rice flakes
100g (4oz) dairy free margarine
75g (3oz) brown sugar
1 tbsp golden syrup
75g (3oz) sultanas
50g (2oz) ground almonds
25g (1oz) rice flour
25g (1oz) potato flour
50g (2oz) tapioca flour
½ tsp xanthan gum

How to make Chewy Sultana Cookies
* Preheat your oven to 180°C / 350°F / Gas 4
* Melt the butter or margarine, sugar and syrup over a low heat.
* Add in the dry ingredients and mix well.
* Line a flat baking tray with parchment or greaseproof paper.
* Take about 1 tablespoon of dough and form into a ball in your hands, then flatten roughly and place on the baking tray.
* Makes about 15 gluten free cookies

Susan Swann
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Scotch Pear Pancakes

This recipe is gluten free, wheat free, dairy free, egg free, soya free and reduced sugar

Ingredients for Scotch Pear Pancakes

50g (2oz) corn flour
50g (2oz) potato flour
250g (9oz) rice flour
¼ tsp xanthan gum
½ tsp salt
1 tsp caster sugar
8 level tbsp tinned pears (mashed)
400ml (15floz) water
1 tbsp baking powder
1 tsp cream of tartar
Sunflower oil for greasing

How to make Scotch Pear Pancakes
* Sift the flours, baking powder and cream of tartar into a bowl. Mix in salt and sugar.
* Stir in the mashed pears, add the water and beat to a smooth batter.
* Heat a little oil in a heavy based frying pan, barely covering the base.
* Pour in hald a ladle of batter and cook over a high heat for about 2 minutes until bubbles start forming in the surface and lightly browned underneath and turn over.
* Remove and keep warm while cooking rest of pancakes.

Susan Swann
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Scotch Apple Pancakes

Ingredients for Scotch Apple Pancakes

50g (2oz) corn flour
50g (2oz) potato flour
250g (9oz) rice flour
¼ tsp xanthan gum
½ tsp salt
1 tsp caster sugar
8 level tbsp unsweetenend stewed apple
400ml (15floz) water
1 tbsp baking powder
1 tsp cream of tartar
Sunflower oil for greasing

How to make Scotch Apple Pancakes
* Sift the flours, baking powder and cream of tartar into a bowl. Mix in salt and sugar.
* Stir in the stewed apple, add the water and beat to a smooth batter.
* Heat a little oil in a heavy based frying pan, barely covering the base.
* Pour in a half ladle of batter and cook over a high heat for about 2 minutes until bubbles start forming in the surface and lightly browned underneath and turn over.
* Remove and keep warm while cooking rest of pancakes.
* Serve each pancake with a little stewed fruit.

Susan Swann
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The Gluten free Pastry

Ingredients for wheat and gluten free Tiramisu

3 medium eggs
4 tbsps caster sugar
250g (8½ oz) Mascarpone cheese
500ml (18fl oz) Cold strong black coffee
5 Tablespoons of Brandy or Rum
200g (7oz) Gluten free sponge fingers
Unsweetened cocoa powder or grated dark chocolate, to decorate

Visit and click on useful websites where you will be able to find two websites to buy Gluten free sponge fingers.

How to make wheat and gluten free Tiramisu

* Separate the eggs in a bowl.
* Beat the yolks and sugar, until thick and creamy.
* Beat the whites separately, until stiff.
* Add the Mascarpone cheese to the yolk mixture, a spoonful at a time. Stir until smooth.
* Fold in the egg whites.
* Mix the coffee with the Brandy or Rum, in a shallow bowl.
* Dip half the sponge fingers in the liquid, soaking both sides, and use them to line a serving dish.
* Pour half the Mascarpone mixture into the dish.
* Dip the remaining fingers in the liquid and arrange on top.
* Pour in the remaining half of Mascarpone mixture and smooth the surface.
* Cover and chill for about 2 hours.
* Sprinkle generously with cocoa powder (using a small sieve), or grated chocolate, before serving.

Susan Swann
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The Food Tip on food hygiene basics

The Most food poisoning cases occur from harmful bacteria in the foods we eat. To understand how to control bacteria we must first understand what bacteria require for growth or to multiply.
Bacteria are asexual and multiply by a process called 'binary division'. This means that under the right conditions they will split into two. For this process to take place they require:
* Moisture
* Food
* Warmth: 37ºC (98.6ºF) which is our body temperature
* Time : if all of the above is in place, bacteria will multiply every 20 minutes.
Note that they do not require oxygen to survive, in fact many pathogens thrive in air tight conditions, i.e. clostridium botulinum, so if not properly sterilised, bottled vegetables, canned goods etc can also be source of pathogens. Great care must be taken when producing home made bottled goods, preserves etc. In ideal conditions, a single bacteria can multiply in 24 hours to:
and remember we are never talking about a single bacteria, but millions! With 3 million of them fitting on a pinhead!
Which should make you think twice about eating that food you left standing on the stove overnight !
Now by understanding their requirements to multiply, we can look at how to control or destroy them. Basically if we remove one of their requirements we are on our way to control them, if we remove more than one we are on our way to destroying them. Lets look at this in detail . . .
The most important of the bacteria requirements is the warmth or temperature they require. If we control our temperatures in the kitchen we can control the bacteria growth or destroy them.
Controlling bacteria in food
* -18ºC (0º F):
The temperature that freezers should be running at. Freezing does not destroy bacteria, pathogens or their toxins and spores. In a freezer bacteria are merely in a state of suspended animation or a hibernation state. They will not multiply, but nor will they die.
* 0ºC to 4ºC (32º to 39ºF):
The temperature that refrigerators/chillers should be running at. Chilling food does not destroy bacteria, pathogens or their toxins and spores. In a chiller bacteria merely slow down their rate of reproduction to a virtual stop, they will however continue to multiply, all be it very slowly
* 65ºC (149ºF):
Most bacteria will start to die at this temperature
* 75ºC (158ºF):
The internal temperature of foods should reach this to ensure any bacteria has been destroyed. To achieve this solid foods such as roast meats and steaks need to be thoroughly cooked until the juices run clear (no signs of blood). Liquid style foods such as sauces, soups and stews etc should be brought to a boil (while stirring) and simmered for a minimum of three minutes.
NEVER reheat foods more than once or the bacteria in the food will not only multiply as the food is cooled down and stored, but they will also become heat resistant. Bacteria are capable of producing spores; this heat resistant shell will resist the most ardent cooking temperatures and food poisoning is inevitable.

The danger zone
This is the temperature zone at which bacteria will multiply: 5ºC to 65ºC (32ºF to 149ºF). When food is held within this zone, bacteria will multiply and could end up being a problem and cause food poisoning. To ensure this doesn't happen:
* Take a chilly bin with you when shopping to place ant chilled or frozen foods in to transport home.
* Plan your shopping so that any other chores are completed first: checking your mail box, clothes shopping, coffee or lunch, visiting friends etc....always go straight home after grocery shopping.
* Place chilled and frozen foods away as soon as you arrive home.
* Leave fresh meats or fish in the refrigerator until just before you need it and ensure it is covered (to stop flies etc landing on it)
* When you go on a picnic or have a bbq, ensure the food is kept in a chilly bin with ice to keep it chilled.

Defrosting foods
Defrost foods in a sealed covered container, slowly in the refrigerator, DO NOT leave defrosting on the kitchen bench overnight.

Storing foods in the refrigerator
* Store all raw meats below cooked foods (preferably on the bottom shelf)
* Store all raw meats in sealed containers (both of these points will prevent any blood dripping onto foods below
* Store all raw meats and fish separately; do not mix poultry and beef for example in the same container.
* Keep all fruit and vegetables, dairy products and foods that require no further cooking away from all raw meats and fish
* Thoroughly clean your refrigerator as needed (at least once a week)

Controlling bacteria on work surfaces (benches, knives etc)
Tea towels are PUBLIC ENEMY No. 1!! The moment a tea-towel is used for drying dishes etc it is 'unclean'. Further use of it will only help spread bacteria.
Application of heat: the best method to control and destroy bacteria is the application of heat, however the following points must be considered:
1. Wet heat is far more effective than dry heat; it destroys the pathogens far quicker
2. Temperatures in excess of 70ºC must be used; however above 80ºC is preferred and will be safer
3. Washing, disinfecting and sanitising with hot water is far more effective and quicker than using chemicals (and cheaper!)

Using chemical agents

There are many commercial and retail chemicals available to banish bacteria from your work surfaces. They all no doubt do what they claim they will, but using water at the correct temperature will do the job not only better, but also quicker and cheaper. Common chemicals used for cleaning are:
* Detergents: unless they have an anti-bacterial agent are used to remove grease and dirt, by forming an emulsion between them and the water.
* Disinfectants: used to reduce the levels of bacteria to a safe level
* Sanitisers: will eliminate most bacteria

If you do decide to use chemicals remember these points:
* Use only in the manufacturer's recommended amounts
* Use only in the manufacturer's recommended water temperature (too cold or too hot can render the chemical useless)
* Use only as per the manufacturer's instructions: most require being left on the surface for an hour or so to be effective
* Most will require being rinsed off after being left on the surface for required amount of time or they will contaminate your foods

Using hot water

By far the most effective method of destroying bacteria is cleaning with water at the correct temperature, especially as it will clean and disinfect or sanitise at the same time. Cancelling the need for purchasing and using chemicals.

Water temperature must be as hot as possible
* 80ºC (176ºF) for disinfecting
* 100ºC (212ºF) for sanitising

Therefore by washing work benches etc with soap and water (at boiling point), will not only remove all dirt and grease, but will destroy any bacteria.

Which has got to be good for all of us!!

Washing your hands

Frequent hand washing is an important step in eliminating food poisoning cases. Hands should be washed in as hot as water as the hands can stand, with soap and a nail brush. They should be dried with paper towels, roller towels or hot air blower.

When should you wash your hands?
* After touching your hair
* After touching any part of your face
* After blowing your nose
* After visiting the bathroom
* After handling raw meats and fish
* After handling chemicals (cleaning agents etc)
* After handling garbage
* In between changing tasks: between handling raw meats and cutting cooked meats, between handling raw fish and cutting fruits and veg etc
All equipment for these tasks should also be thoroughly cleaned.

Controlling cross contamination
Cross contamination: "The contamination of safe foods from unsafe foods via a vehicle". By following all of the above should eliminate the possibility of contaminating your nice fresh, clean foods with bacteria from unsafe foods and minimise your chances of getting food poisoning.

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Sunday, April 5, 2009

WINE ( Italian Wine )

Italian Wine
It is often said, both by experts and amateurs alike, "There is an awful lot of rubbish written about wine". This is another contribution.

There are various theories as to where wine was first made, ancient Persia 6,000 BC, give or take a century or so, being a favourite. One thing for certain, around 1,000 BC it was being produced and traded all around the Mediterranean. It was first brought to the Italian peninsular by the Greeks, who colonised much of the south and the Etruscans who moved in north of Rome. The ancient Romans liked a tipple but forbade its production outside of Italy. Gauls who liked it in quantity and shockingly drank the stuff neat, exchanged grain, gold and slaves to import it. Romans mixed it with water and honey.

By the middle ages vines had been planted all over Europe. By good fortune the Catholic church, though it frowned upon beer, was very supportive of the grape. After all wine has its own miracle and was a necessary part of Mass. Italian wine was especially prized. Many northern European aristocrats will have tasted some as they passed through on their way to Rome on a pilgrimage or off to the crusades. The pilgrim road would have bought them through the vineyards where Chianti, Brunello di Montalcino and Vino Nobile di Montepulciano are now grown. Understandably they often sent a few barrels home giving the region international fame.

The internal turmoil of Nineteenth century and the wars of the early Twentieth left Italy weak in export markets and impoverished at home. Italian wine was seen as a low priced poor relation to French. It was known mostly for the straw clad bottles, kept as souvenirs or made into bedside lamps. The rebirth was to come from an unlikely source, prohibition. Much of the heroic struggle to keep the USA supplied with alcoholic beverages, in the time it was illegal, fell on the willing shoulders of Italian immigrants. When prohibition was repealed it was only logical that those same "Families" would continue in the wine trade, becoming largely legitimate and later free to import from their newly liberated homeland. Italy exports over a third of its wine production, mostly to North America where the total has increased both in volume and quality.

The accelerating interest in Italian wine has led to changes in the way it is made and marketed. Once producers were mostly interested in local sales, the purchaser would decide to buy or not after tasting. Now vintners must cater for international tastes and rely on various forms of labelling to inform the buyer. Here is a short guide to the terms used when discussing Italian wine.

The label. A new world winery label will normally show the producer and the grape. Something like "Leaping Frog Winery" Cabernet. For most Italian wine the label will have producer and the type of wine, Vino Nobile di Montepulciano for instance. This tells a whole story about where the wine is produced the grapes used and the production method. In the case of Vino Nobile the wine must:

  • Be produced within the commune of Montepulciano
  • At an altitude of 250 metres to 600 metres above sea level
  • Contain a minimum of 70% Sangiovese grapes (Prugnolo varietal)
  • The remaining percentage from a list of approved grapes
  • Maximum production of 8 tons per hectare
  • Spend two years aging in wooden barrels (there can be exceptions to this)
  • May not be sold until January 1st of the second year after its harvest
  • Must be bottled within the Commune boundaries
  • Must have an alcohol content of at least 12.5%

The list goes on and becomes very specialised concerning what bottles it can be sold in, irrigation (not allowed) additives (very few, no sugar) and so forth.

The Consorzio

This is the organisation responsible for deciding all the rules and allowing changes over time. It is elected by the wine growers. It also promotes the wine and checks that standards are maintained. Most wines have a single consorzio, some such as Chianti have more dividing up the large area of production.

DOCG - Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantita

Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantita is the top level of official approval, apart from having been seen to have obeyed all the rules it is subjected to a blind tasting to make sure it is up to scratch. In a good year it can be promoted to being a "Riserva" though it might have to be aged longer.

DOC - Denominazione di Origine Controllata

Denominazione di Origine Controllata is the next level down which shows the wine is made under the accepted rules but does not have to be tasted by experts.

ITG - Indicazione Geografica Tipica

Indicazione Geografica Tipica is a relatively new description denoting the area of production.

VTD - Vino da Tavola

Vino da Tavola can be pretty much anything and will normally have a lower alcohol content than the others

Super Tuscan Wine

Super Tuscan is a wine made in Tuscany but not by any of the consorzio rules. Most are inventions of the wine maker and of high quality. The majority are blends using grapes not historically present in Italy. Before the ITG label was introduced these had to be sold as table wine.

The Wine Seal

The Seal is a slip of paper around the neck of the bottle or over the top of it, often pink. These are given by the consorzio to the wine maker, only enough for the amount of land under vines. It helps to stop over production and the code number can be used to trace the bottles history, some times on-line at the consorzio site.

Wine Corks and Caps

Most wine is consumed within a couple of years of production, for these almost any kind of cap is fine, unfortunately a lot of good cork is used to bottle these leaving a shortage for the wine that really needs it. If young or poor quality cork is used it can ruin the bottle hence the move towards plastic "corks" and screw tops. It's probably too early to tell whether wine aged a long time will suffer from these. Recently, ways to sterilise cork have been developed making it less likely to go bad.

Aging wine in the barrel

Barrels were used as a robust way to store and transport wine. But barrels also alter the wine. First by leaching tannin, which helps to preserve it. Secondly by allowing a micro infiltration of oxygen, which stabilizes the wine molecules. A high alcohol content is also recommended if the wine is to keep and travel. This is probably why foreign consumers tend to be familiar with and like wine with a lot of alcohol and tannin. Large Slavonian oak barrels were traditional in Italy, but now the use of smaller Barrique made of French or American oak is common. They speed up the process, the greater ratio of surface to volume makes for rapid tannin transfer, the more open grain for a faster oxygen infiltration, these always leave a slight vanilla after taste.

Aging wine in the bottle

When wine has just been bottled, the sloshing around and exposure to the air make it unsettled for a while, its taste very different from what it will become after resting a few months. As time goes on, if it is left in peace, some of the constituents such as the tannins will combine together producing a smoother taste. Other chemicals form, creating different flavours that give a greater complexity and a flavour which seems to remain longer in the mouth. Few wines will gain much after their fifth year in the bottle though they may maintain their quality for years after.


Spumante is the fizzy wine of Italy. There are three ways of making fizzy wine. The simplest is to pump carbon dioxide into an existing wine. The result tends to make a fizz that is very energetic but not long lasting. Italian wines labelled "Methodo Classico" are made the same way as Champagne. The wine undergoes a secondary fermentation in the bottle, which is held at about 45° cork down. Once a day it is turned and thumped on the bottom to send the sediment down to the neck, after three years this is frozen and extracted. Prosecco is created with a similar process but rather than in a bottle the secondary fermentation happens in a stainless steel tank.

Ordering wine in Italy

Though it can be great fun to taste all sorts of different wines, if you are eating at a trattoria or inexpensive restaurant the best choice is often the house wine. It tends to be local, young and not too heavy, just the thing if you intend doing anything else but have a nap afterwards. It wouldn't travel or age well but is the sort of thing people will be drinking at home in the area.

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Monday, February 23, 2009

Chile Lime Tequila Popcorn

I tucked a bag of this chile lime tequila popcorn into my luggage as I was packing for a trip to Santa Fe, New Mexico a few weeks back. The recipe came from a new single-subject book, Popcorn, which caught my attention because it was photographed by my talented friend Lara Ferroni. To choose one recipe to try from sixty popcorn-centric creations was a bit of a challenge, but my love for lime-spritzed savory treats led me to page 39. Fresh popcorn is tossed with melted butter, lime juice, jalapeno peppers, red pepper flakes, cumin and a splash of tequila. I threw in a couple handfuls of toasted peanuts for good measure before securing the bag with a bit of twine.

Popcorn enthusiasts will find plenty to inspire here. Dozens of toppings are suggested - from herbes de Provence to chai spices, za'atar to Chinese five spice. There are plenty of sweet ideas too, for those of you who find yourself solidly in the kettle corn camp.

There was also a Spanish smoked paprika popcorn that just about won out - and I think I'll try that one next. Unless one of you can trump that by suggestion a favorite topping of your own for me to try. -h

Chile Lime Tequila Popcorn Recipe

4 quarts freshly popped popcorn*
1/3 cup butter, melted
2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lime juice
1/2 teaspoon lime zest
1 teaspoon tequila
1/2 small jalapeno, seeds and membrane removes, minced
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon ground cumin

Preheat the oven to 300F degrees. Line a baking sheet with foil or a silicone baking mat (hs note: or unbleached parchment paper). Set aside.

Put the popcorn in a large, clean paper bag or a washable muslin bag. In a medium-size bowl whisk together the butter, lime juice and zest, and tequila. Add the jalapeno. In a small bowl combine the black pepper, salt, red pepper, and cumin.

Drizzle half of the butter mixture over the popcorn, fold over the top of the bag, and shake until the popcorn is coated and moist. Taste. Add more of the butter mixture if you like, and give a second shake. Sprinkle (most of) the pepper mixture over the popcorn, fold over the top of the bag, and shake a few times to coat. Taste, and if you'd like more pepper flavor add the rest of it.

Spread the popcorn evenly over the baking sheet and bake until the popcorn is dry, five to seven minutes.

*To pop 4 quarts of popcorn, heat 1/4 cup olive oil in a deep pot over medium heat. Add a few kernels to the pot. Once they pop, add 3/4 cup popcorn kernels and shake the pot until they cover the pot evenly. Cover the pot and shake intermittently until the popping slows to 5 seconds between pops. Remove the popcorn from heat and transfer it to whatever bag you are going to use for tossing.

Make 4 quarts of popcorn.

Reprinted with permission from Popcorn by Patrick Evans-Hylton. (Sasquatch Books 2008)

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Thursday, February 19, 2009

Almost Cheeseless Pasta Casserole Recipe

More often than not pasta casseroles are deliciously cheesy affairs. The formula goes something like this - pasta, a bit of sauce, a pound of cheese. The cheese is the decadent glue that works to hold the rest of the casserole together. It's what helps to keep things moist. It's what calls me back for that second piece. There are few things I love more than a golden fork-full of oven-browned mozzarella straight off a hot slice of lasagna. But there is only so much I can take, and truth be told, I rarely cook or eat this way any more. It's too heavy, too much. I end up needing a nap...immediately. So, while I still bake the occasional pasta casserole, I'll typically enjoy it as a side dish, and I try to lighten things up as far as the ingredients go. In this case, to keep things moist and creamy I tossed a rustic farro pasta in yogurt that had been beaten with a bit of egg. In went plenty of garlic, toasted almonds, chard, butternut squash, and olives. Then I finished things off with a sprinkling of feta before baking until golden.
I'm sure you can imagine re-interpreting this recipe based on the seasons. I opted for butternut squash in part because I had some leftover from the Adzuki Butternut Soup the other day. I could imagine zucchini with roasted tomatoes sprinkled on top in late summer, or an asparagus and dill version this spring. I highly recommend the toasted nuts because the add a nice amount of crunch. And whatever the season, zest the bottom of your baking dish. It will transform your casserole.


I used a 100% farro pizzichi pasta here, but whole wheat penne is much more readily available - shoot for something made from whole grain flour, and roughly that size.

zest of one large lemon
8 ounces dried whole wheat pasta (penne or something comparable in size)
1 1/2 cups butternut squash, peeled and sliced into quarter sized pieces
3 handfuls kale, chard, and/or spinach, loosely chopped
2 cups plain Greek yogurt (I use 2% here)
2 egg yolks
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1/2 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
2/3 cup sliced almonds, toasted
1/4 cup Kalamata olives, pitted and torn into pieces
scant 1/4 cup feta cheese, crumbled
1/4 cup fresh mint, chopped

Preheat oven to 400F degrees, with a rack in the middle. Butter or oil an 8x12-inch baking dish, or two smaller gratin dishes. Sprinkle with lemon zest and set aside.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil, salt it generously, and cook the pasta until al dente. Just 10 seconds before you are done cooking the pasta, stir in the butternut squash and kale - for the quickest possible swim. Quickly (but carefully) drain. Now run cold water over the pasta, squash, and kale (just enough to stop it from cooking). Shake off any extra water and set aside.

While you are waiting for the pasta water to boil, whisk together the yogurt, eggs, garlic, and salt in a large mixing bowl - set aside until the pasta is boiled. Then. when ready, add the pasta-squash-kale mixture to the yogurt mixture and stir in half of the almonds. Scoop everything into the prepared baking dish(es), sprinkle with olives and feta, and bake for 25-30 minutes. Remove from oven and serve sprinkled with a bit of the chopped fresh mint and remaining almonds.

Serves 6 -8 as a side.

source :
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