Monday, November 20, 2017

4 Fun Ways To Jazz Up Your Morning Coffee

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, and most of us accompany it with a cup of coffee. I hate to admit it, but I’m quite a religious coffee drinker. I like my morning cup, but sometimes it can feel a bit repetitive and boring. So, I came up with a few fun ways you can jazz up your morning coffee, adding some excitement to your mornings!

Start your day with a happy cup of coffee. Credit

Add Some Flavored Syrup

If you’ve a coffee-lover, then the taste of a fresh brew is enough to send your tongue to heaven. However, if you want to take your coffee to the next level, why not add some flavored syrup? All the big coffee shops have syrup that you can add to your drink (usually for an added price, I’m not sure why) and you can buy them for home too. There are so many flavours, including pumpkin spice, which is great during fall, along with a more Christmassy gingerbread. A teaspoon in your coffee is all it takes to give you some extra flavor every morning.

Try A Different Roast

Coffee comes in many different roasts, using different coffee beans. Most people tend to find a roast they like, and stick with it. A typical breakfast coffee tends to be a medium roast, so if you’ve been drinking that all your life, now’s the time to switch it up. You can go for a lighter roast or a darker one. Personally, I say give dark a try as some of the best dark roast coffee is made by Italian companies, and Italian coffee is superb! Obviously, if you’re a dark roast kinda gal, why not switch things up and change to medium or light for a few days per week? It gives you a chance to experiment with different flavors!

Make A Fancy Coffee

When I make coffee for myself, it’s usually something quite boring. It’s either a filter coffee or a standard americano, sometimes I just have it black. But, you can add some extra spice to your mornings by making a fancy little flat white, latte, or cappuccino. All you need is something to froth up and heat milk, and you’re good to go. There are loads of tutorials online to help you make any of these drinks, it just adds some extra fun to your mornings.

Have It Ice Cold

What about this; you make your normal morning coffee, then you shove it in a blender with loads of ice cubes! Just like that, you’ve got yourself an iced coffee! Add some extra milk or cream to the mix, and you can turn it into a milkshake of sorts too. A fun little idea to help wake you up even more with a jolt of coldness. Also, the perfect morning drink during the hot months of the year too.

Try each of these ideas during the week, and you’ve already got four alternatives to your normal morning coffee! Break the mold a little bit; have some fun first thing in the morning.

The Secret's Professional Chef's Learn In The Industry

When it comes to food, everyone has an opinion and a preference. It’s arguably more diverse than politics, religion or any other hot subject. Everyone, no matter who they are, will have their own edible tastes and prefer to experiment within certain parameters. Of course, good food and bad food still exist, and there is an objective determinant of quality. However, when it comes to becoming a better cook, it can be difficult to learn where to start.

What cuisine should you specialize in? How do you learn new techniques? How do you approach that new ingredient you’re hesitant to try? Well, some of the best ways to learn is through the experience of those who have worked in professional kitchens. We’ve managed to secure some of the best tips they learn, which can hopefully inform your own time in the kitchen to a significant degree.

Without further ado:

Always Keep Your Station Clean

Obviously, in this situation, our ‘station’ is likely going to be our kitchen countertop. However, just because you haven’t a screaming head chef following your every move, the benefits of kitchen hygiene should not be ignored. Not only does it help you keep everything organized, but it’s much safer. Dropping a piece of heavy equipment, or cross-contaminating is much less difficult when you regularly wipe down your countertop with a disinfectant. Not only that, but cleaning as you go helps you eschew the dread of a huge dish-pile to take care of at the end of the session, allowing you to focus more on the meal you’ve created stress-free.

Learn Online

Of course, there are many places you can learn about cooking. Sometimes, the best place you can learn is from your grandmother or close relatives, especially if they know old methods which your culture have preserved for years. Carrying on a family recipe could be an important privilege to hold. However, that doesn’t mean learning online can’t be immensely resourceful.

Not only do you have a wondrous repository of online recipe books, and video tutorials provided by sites like ours and celebrated television chefs, but specialist websites such as Fire Food Chef allow you to diversify your interests in knowledgeable directions, such as meat-specific cooking or vegan focused alternatives. Even the best chef’s will look at their iPhone during service to make do without ingredients they might be lacking, or to top off their menu with that little-added flair. Information is everywhere, so be sure to use it.

Timing Is Crucial

While cooking is a skill with seemingly endless possibility, there are some steadfast rules that anyone embarking on a pursuit within the kitchen should learn. For example, one of the most important things to understand is that timing is crucial to know. A mastery of timing getting a feeling for the different cooking requirements of certain foods will help you masterfully pull your dish together. You can use the best ingredients in the world, but an undercooked or overcooked feature of a dish can ruin the whole experience. For that reason, experimenting, experimenting and experimenting could be for you. Try to memorize the time and temperatures of certain implements instead of simply relying on looks, and you’ll have a sharp tool in your arsenal to contribute to the fight of making beautiful food.

With these tips, you’re sure to be a little more skilled in your ambition, approaching the same level of the chef’s you would gladly pay to cook for you.

Monday, November 13, 2017

Easy Lunches to Bring to Work

We have all been in this scenario; it gets to the middle of the day and your stomach starts rumbling. You realise that you haven’t brought anything to have for lunch, so you head out to buy something. And when you are hungry, you often come back with way too much unhealthy food.

To combat this, in this article, we are going to talk about a few easy lunches to cook and bring into work. Not only is this the much healthier approach as you can control exactly what goes inside, it is also the more cost-effective choice. And, here are some coolers worth the money that you can bring your healthy lunch in with. So, let’s begin!

Interesting Salads

Salads are a classic lunch option, but they can get a little boring over time. The trick is to vary things up over time. Why not try an avocado chicken salad with some yoghurt and lemon juice? If you are a vegetarian, you could replace the chicken with chickpeas so you still get your source of protein. Looking for something with a little more spice? Then go for a chorizo and tomato salad with some tangy cherry vinegar.

Super Sandwiches

Rather than your boring old ham and cheese, you should try to be a little more interesting with your sandwich-making. For example, who could resist a crunchy peanut butter wrap with some chopped apple and granola? A nice simple option (it only needs four ingredients) is a red pepper, goat cheese and fresh mint wrap, with just a pinch of salt. If you have a little bit more time on your hands to prepare a really great lunch, go for a sweet potato, chickpea and quinoa veggie burger.

Something Different

If you are sick to death of the usual sandwich and salad options, you could instead try something a little different. Check out this buddha bowl recipe, packed with protein to keep you going through a long day at work. Another great healthy option is a chicken and asparagus lemon stir-fry, where you can transform some relatively bland basic ingredients with lemon juice, garlic, and soy sauce. If you feel like having a bit of brunch at work, you could go for some mini frittatas.

Slow Cooked Options

A nice, affordable option is to make things in bulk and enjoy them during the course of the week. If you have a slow cooker, now is the time to dig it out. During the winter months, there is nothing like a nice stew - beef and barley is a fantastic choice or you sausage and bean is another nice one. Alternatively, you could go for some handmade soup such as tomato lentil or vegetable. These are very cheap and can last you a long time. Another great option is a vegetable curry complete with sweet potato and chickpeas.

Hopefully, you are now inspired to create yourself some lovely work lunches which are great for your health, your tastebuds and your wallet!               

Thursday, November 2, 2017

In Your Twenties? Let’s Learn How To Get Into Cooking

OK, guys, the party’s over. It won’t be long until we’ve left university behind and find ourselves out there in the big, bad (but also awesome!) world, and it’s high time we learned how to take care of ourselves. All the goods things in life happen when we’ve got the essentials in place, which means looking after ourselves, getting enough exercise, and eating well. But how do we achieve the last part if we’ve been eating noodles for the past three years? Below, we take a look at simple ways you can get into cooking and make it a part of your life.

pexels-photo-326278 (1).jpeg

Look Up Simple Recipes

We’ll save the three-course Sunday dinners for another time. To begin with, look up those simple, easy to make delicious meals. There are plenty of nutritious options out there that you can whip up in no time. This will just get you used to spending time in the kitchen; once you’ve got your bearings, you’ll be able to tackle more advanced dishes.

Affordable, Tasty

One of the biggest misconceptions about cooking is that good food has to be expensive. This couldn’t be further from the truth. Good food is all around and never has to cost too much. Fill your cupboards with lentils, beans, hummus, and all the other delicious kitchen staples. If you have them and some Smithfield Meats, you’ll be able to create a healthy and tasty meal that won’t put a dent in your post-student life budget. So the next time your friend tells you they opt for inexpensive ready meals because they can’t afford to eat anything more nutritious, tell them they’re wrong!

Have a Tidy, Well-Prepped Kitchen

We’ve all been in some pretty horrific student digs. Indeed, this is one of the reasons students are known for not cooking: it’s impossible to find all the cooking utensils! Having a tidy kitchen, one that has all the essential cooking supplies and equipment, will make you much more likely to spend some time getting to know the art of cooking. Also, it’s just more hygienic!

The Power of Leftovers

One of the best things about cooking is the leftovers! If you make one great pot of curry or chilli, you’ll be able to eat for days. And you’ll also discover that these types of foods only become more flavoursome if they’re stored overnight. If you’re in the mood for a warming, hearty dish that’ll feed you for days, look up the best autumn chilli recipes.

Make It Fun

Like anything in life, you’ll be much more likely to get stuck into the habit of cooking if you find it enjoyable. So make it fun! Playing music, dancing around, or enjoying a glass of wine as you prepare food will show you that cooking doesn’t have to be a chore.

Final Thoughts

The motivation for a takeaway will always be there, but at some stage or another, you’re going to have to cook for yourself. Start today, and begin your journey towards a healthy lifestyle!

Monday, October 30, 2017

Making the Most of Fall and its Harvest


Fall is with us. The leaves are falling from the trees, the temperature is dropping, and harvest is coming to an end. This is the time of year that can really come to be defined by its edible offerings. Just think of how many people wait in anticipation of pumpkin spice lattes throughout the year. But there’s so much more to try out than mass-produced, commercialised beverages. Hearty, warming food is where it’s at this season, and we’re here to help you make the most of it! Here are just a few ideas to get your mouth watering and your stomach grumbling.

Root Vegetables

Root vegetables should form the foundations of most of your main meals this season. Why? Well, they’re stodgy, packed with energy and will keep you full and functioning through the colder, shorter days. There’s so much you can do with them. But a firm favourite of ours is a chunky vegetable stew. This meal will take a while to make, but it’s surprisingly easy and is definitely worth the wait. All you need to do is fill a huge pot and leave it simmering with vegetable stock. Then roughly cut wholesome root vegetables such as white potato, sweet potato, carrots, parsnips, onion and garlic, and throw them into the pot. Guarantee the good quality of these ingredients by purchasing from renowned suppliers such as Smithfield Food. You don’t need to be precise with your slicing. The rougher, the better, as it will give the final dish a more authentic, rustic feel. Store any leftover stew away in Tupperware in the fridge. It could last you for a few filling and hearty meals.

Sweet Treats

While savoury options spring to mind at the mention of harvest vegetables, you should bear in mind that there are delicious sweet treats that can be made from humble ingredients such as the pumpkin. Pumpkin pie is an autumnal staple and is something that everyone should try their hand at making at some point or another. After all, what’s better than home baking? It fills your home with delicious scents, and there’s something oh so rewarding about making your own baked goods. For pumpkin pie, use fresh pumpkin rather than tinned pumpkin. This will give you the best final taste and texture. Scoop out the stringy portions and ensure that the remaining pumpkin flesh is rinsed of seeds. Cut the flesh into chunks, then boil with water in a saucepan. Drain it, then mash. Place in a blender with evaporated milk, two beaten eggs, and 175g of brown sugar. Add cinnamon and nutmeg to taste. Blend. Next, prepare your pastry as usual, or invest in ready-made store-bought pastry if you have a little less time on your hands or are a little less confident in your pastry making skills. Gently press your pastry around a pie dish. Fill with your blended pumpkin mix and bake for 40 minutes in the oven at 200 degrees celsius (gas mark 6).

This is the best time of year for the produce that will make these recipes, so make the most of it!

We Wish You A Tasty Christmas: Australian Christmas Foods

October is almost over, which indicates that Christmas is right around the corner. For many people (myself included), Christmas dinner is the best part of the entire holiday, so you have to make sure that it’s done right. While Christmas is the same day in England, America, and Australia, Australia’s weather is completely different, which means that the food on the Christmas dinner table differs too. Here are some of the best foods that you find on a traditional Christmas dinner table in Australia.

Christmas Ham
While turkey is the traditional Christmas meat in England, in Australia, ham runs the show. Different families will have different rules and recipes for their ham glaze, but typically apricot, maple, or honey is used to create the perfect blend of sweet and smoky within the meat. Your ham, like the legendary ones from Smithfield Food, will take a few hours to cook, but this is usually much quicker than a turkey, and in this time, your house will be filled with the delicious aroma. Once finished, be sure to serve your ham with cranberry or applesauce, as they compliment the meat and crackling perfectly.

While some families in England and The USA like to serve a side dish of salmon with their Christmas dinner, in Australia, we’re all about our prawns, from a simple, yet delicious prawn cocktail, to entire platters of king and tiger prawns. Although prawns are great as a starter or a side dish, some families forget about the ham altogether and have prawns as their main dish. However, if prawns aren’t really your things, you could always go for lobster or a fish, such as salmon. Just be sure that your seafood is the last thing that you buy for your Christmas dinner, and buy a couple of days before Christmas at the very earliest, to ensure that it’s still fresh on Christmas day.

Christmas Pudding
Whether you love it or hate it, you can’t escape Christmas pudding on Christmas day. It was brought to Australia from England during early British colonisation and is rich in flavour. Typically served with custard, the Christmas pudding contains cinnamon, ginger, and a range of other mixed spices as well as several different fruits, such as dates, figs, and sultanas. Brandy or rum was typically mixed into the batter, to give it a kick, and keep the pudding moist, although sherry and port have since been recommended instead.

What is Christmas without gingerbread? Ginger is a scent typically associated with Christmas, along with cinnamon, and is found in all Christmas scented candles, air fresheners, and anything else Christmas scented. During the Christmas period, you can find gingerbread men and houses absolutely everywhere, so why not make some of your own? Gingerbread houses aren't the easiest thing to construct, but there are kits in most supermarkets, so you have no excuses for not giving it a go.

There you have it, the foods typical of an Australian Christmas dinner. If you’re not from down under, why not incorporate some of these into your own Christmas dinner, for a change during the festive period.

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Eating the Ethical Way

here is a way to eat right. And no, this doesn’t necessarily mean eating a healthy diet. And no, this doesn't necessarily mean using your cutlery. This means eating ethically. This means eating what you want, but ensuring that what you do eat is sourced ethically and caused no harm to anybody or anything on its way to your plate. To see how you can become ethical with your eating habits, make sure to read on.

Eating meat can be ethical

Yes, you don’t have to become a vegetarian or a vegan to be an ethical eating; you can eat meat and eat ethical at the same time. But, when you do you have to do more then just pick meat up from the shelves of your supermarket and then be happy to cook and eat it. No, you have to do your research into how the meat that you buy is sourced. Specifically, for meat to be ethical it needs to be sourced from an animal that was provided comfort whilst alive. It needs to have been free in the fields and treated with the utmost respect, not packed indoors with its kind and literally shoved around like a herd of cattle. To eat meat ethically, you have to be sure that the meat you eat has been treated with respect. Smithfield Food are one such producer of food who are committed to producing food, good food, the right way. They provide meat, but the meat they provide is wrought from animals that they have treated in the right way — a humane way — and they make this clear in their mission statement. So, you need to get your meat from this producer, or a producer of the like, if you want to be sure that the meat you eat is ethical.

Something else that you can to be more ethical with your meat eating, as stated here, is to eat 50% less meat a week, if you can.

Respect the rights of your fellow humans

To be truly ethical with the way you both eat and drink, you need to bare in mind the hardship a human being might have had to go through in order to source it for you. You have to consider what kind of treatment and pressure they were put under when sourcing it. And you need to think about the working conditions they worked in when sourcing it.

To be fair and ethical with your food and drink choices, choose food and drink, particularly drinks like coffee and tea, that comes with a Fairtrade logo attached to the box. When this logo is evident, you can be sure that no workers or farmers were harmed in the sourcing of your drink, and you can be sure none of them were treated unfairly.

Basically, eating ethically is refusing to eat food at the expense of anything, be it the environment, animals or even humans. For more advice on how to be ethical with your eating, make sure to check out this helpful article.