Friday, June 25, 2010


13 Amazing Tips For Preparing Healthy Chicken

Today, most people would like to consume foods that are good for health, and a great means of achieving this is by consuming poultry. There are quite a few handy hints on cooking chicken that can be of use to you while cooking and at the same time ensure your family is eating chicken are furnished below.

1.Always ensure to thoroughly clean your hands, cutting board and knife in piping hot sudsy water after handling raw

2. On no account should you utilize the very same cutting board and utensils for other
food items unless you have meticulously washed them before and after using them. This fully puts a stop to any cross contamination.

3. Always see to it that the marinated poultry is kept in the refrigerator. By no means keep it exposed to the outside air.

4. Marinade applied to poultry should not be used for basting.

5. In the event that the marinade is intended to form the sauce base, make certain that it is boiled for a couple of minutes.

6. In no way place the poultry that is cooked on the very same dish that was earlier used to carry the raw poultry. This yet again, ensures there is no cross contamination.

Following are a few hints on storing poultry.

7. Always remember that fresh poultry is highly prone to rot quickly. You should never keep it outside in the open. Instead, once you bring the poultry home from the shop, enfold it in a plastic wrap, and keep it in that part of the refrigerator that is the coldest. Make sure that you consume it within a day or two. If this is ruled out, then use a freezer bag to store the poultry. Keep it frozen for a good 3 months. At all times ensure that livers and giblets are not frozen together with the whole bird but stored separately.

8. Poultry that is fully cooked can be kept frozen. Then again, make certain that poultry preparations that include hard-boiled eggs and
mayonnaise are not frozen.

9. Permit small preparations of poultry to totally cool down prior to covering them in a plastic wrap and storing them in the deep freeze. On the other hand, cool larger poultry dishes in the refrigerator itself before sealing and freezing them.

10. By no means freeze poultry that is stuffed.
A number of the key cooking chicken hints entail the right defrosting of poultry.

11. It is very vital to see that the poultry has suitably defrosted and then cooked. Let it defrost in the refrigerator itself, where it is placed in a plastic wrap. You can put it on a serving dish to prevent any dripping as it defrosts.

12. In case defrosting the
chicken inside the refrigerator is out of the question due to lack of time, you have two options to choose from. For express defrosting, you can place the chicken in a waterproof wrap and then immerse in ice-cold water. Keep changing the water as often as possible to speed up the thawing process. Birds that are small need about a couple of hours to thaw completely.

13. The other option is to store the chicken in its original cover and deposit it in a bulky paper bag. Fasten the bag tightly and put it in a cool place. You will be required to inspect it at regular intervals, and the moment the chicken is defrosted, it should be cooked at once.

For more useful hints on cooking chicken, you can browse online or refer to excellent cookery books.

Some of the popular tips on


10 Quick & Easy Ways To Make Ice Cream Interesting

Everybody loves to eat ice cream in the hot weather, but have you ever wondered how you could make plain old ice cream more interesting? I am going to share with you 10 quick and easy ways to do just that. Providing you have the ingredients at hand, none of these ideas should take more than a few minutes to prepare.

01. Nuts About Ice Cream - One of the easiest ways to spice up your ice cream is to buy a bag of your favourite nuts or a bag of mixed nuts if you prefer. Put a little hole in the bag (but not big enough for the nuts to come out) and compress until all the air is removed, then take something hard and smash the nuts up in the bag. Simply sprinkle the broken nuts onto your ice cream and mix them in.

02. Strawberry, Coconut Ice Cream - Something I like to make which is really easy and the kids love, chop up some fresh strawberries and place in a mixer with some vanilla ice cream and then add a bag of coconut flakes. Mix for a few seconds but don't overdo it. This ice cream is really good inside chocolate eclairs.

03. Oooh, Saucy Ice Cream - Most people would use some sauces to liven up their ice cream, but the usual chocolate or strawberry sauce can become a bit tedious. I like to use some sauces which are a bit different: apple sauce, lemon sauce, honey or syrup, mocha chocolate sauce, caramel sauce or rhubarb sauce.

04. Marshmallow, Chocolate & Honey Ice Cream - Take a bag of mini marshmallows and slowly mix them into some vanilla ice cream along with a crushed up bar of chocolate and a few drizzles of honey. Garnish with a sprig of mint. This idea is perfect if you are trying to impress party guests or even your partner.

05. Banana Splits - This is probably one of the easiest things to make but some people never do. Slice a peeled banana in half (lengthways) and place in a dish. Add a few scoops of your favourite ice cream (vanilla is probably my favourite). Squirt a little squirty cream around the banana and ice cream then sprinkle a few broken nuts and drizzle a little strawberry sauce or honey over the top to finish it off.

06. Peanut Butter Jelly Ice Cream - One of Kathy's favourite things is peanut butter so I made this ice cream for her and she absolutely loved it. Take some vanilla ice cream and add a few spoonfulls of peanut butter and also a few spoonfulls of your favourite jelly, mix gently to combine, but not too much. Serve in a bowl with wafers and sprinkle a few chopped nuts over the top.

07. Apricot Ice Cream - If you are partial to apricots then this one is for you. Take a few dried apricots and chop into tiny pieces and mix into your favourite vanilla ice cream along with some apricot sauce. This is really good when your sat outside on hot, sunny days.

08. Cookies & Ice Cream - Cookies are a really good snack, but cookie dough ice cream is much better. Either make your own chocolate chip cookie dough or use Nestle's Toll House ready made cookie dough and break it up into pieces and mix with some vanilla ice cream, delicious. You may also want to drizzle a little caramel sauce over the top too.

09. Fresh Mint Ice Cream - This is one of my personal favourites because I love the taste of fresh mint. Take about 6 or 7 sprigs of mint and chop very finely or use a blender (saves time) then mix into your vanilla ice cream. I like to place this back into the freezer for 30 minutes or so to allow the mint flavour to penetrate the ice cream.

10. Rum & Raisin Ice Cream - This is for adults only. Soak a couple of handfulls of raisins in some rum overnight then add the raisins and the remaining rum into your vanilla ice cream and mix until the ice cream turns a light brown colour (add a little more rum if needed). We recommend not driving after this one


A Chefs Guide to Sweeteners

The Industrialized world is obsessed with diets, and yet has the raging sweet tooth of a child. Everybody wants non-fattening food that tastes fat. And so here we are in the industrial age, working our laboratories round-the-clock to come up with a way to have the taste without the calories. This has given us a host of sort-of, one-off-from, and flat-out substitute sugars. The bewildering variety of them needn't drive you to shudders - here we present you with a sanity guide:

First, to dispel a myth, while sugars do indeed lead to a wide waistline, there is no conclusive evidence that actual sugars cause hyperactivity in children or diabetes. These are chronic diseases that you're either prone since birth to get or aren't - no matter if you eat nothing but sugar or eschew it zealously. And all sugars are carbohydrates and contain four calories per gram. If it says 'sugar' on the label, this rule applies.

The aspect we refer to as 'sweetness' can come from five general sources: sucrose, glucose, fructose, honey, and corn syrup. The various sweetener substitutes that we use all start with one of these five basic forms.

Sucrose is more easily known as common table sugar. It comes from the evaporation of moisture from the juice of either sugar cane or sugar beets. The next step in the refining process is purification, which is to remove any impurities, making the sugar white. Other forms of sucrose include raw sugar, brown sugar, confectioner's sugar and granulated sugar, plus a special one made for the baker's industry which is finer than regular sugar. Confectioner's or powdered sugar is simply made by taking regular table sugar and grinding the crystals down to a fine powder. While being sifted, a mixture of about three percent cornstarch is added to the sugar to prevent caking.

Sugar that is only partially refined is what we call brown sugar. It retains some of the molasses syrup and parts of sugarcane, which gives it that distinctive maple-ish flavor. Light brown sugars are used more in baking and making glazes. Dark brown sugars are good in gingerbread, fruitcake, and other densely-baked treats. All brown sugar contains more moisture than white sugar and tends to clump.

The naturally occurring sugar that makes fruit and produce sweet is called fructose. It is made into two forms: one is a crystalline version make from cornstarch, and the other is a combination of fructose and glucose. The combination of fructose and glucose is called 'high fructose corn syrup', abbreviated as HFCS. Because it comes in a syrup form, it is very cheap and easy to use. HFCS makes up a whopping forty percent of all caloric sweeteners that are used in drinks and food.

HFCS is the ingredient that alarms scientists and brings out the protesters. For one thing, considering that corn growers have such muscle in the halls of politics, it seems that the corn growers have a food monopoly when you reflect that nearly every food product contains some form of corn. Then there is concern over genetically-modified corn, a breed of 'supercorn' which is wiping out all the native strains of corn - all it takes is for one disease to come along and exploit a weakness in this strain and we have a 'corn famine' on our hands. Finally, HFCS does not stimulate insulin the same as regular sugar, and insulin triggers a hormone called 'leptin' that tells the body it is full. Thus, a pro-corn diet leads to over-eating, which is ironic when you think about how HFCS was originally intended as a diet food.

We'll leave you holding your measuring spoon and bottle of corn syrup in the kitchen to ponder these weighty moral issues. Going on to other sweeteners:

There are currently just six low-calorie sweeteners approved for use by the Food and Drug Administration. These are acesulfame potassium, aspartame, neotame, saccharin, sucralose and tagatose. Aspartame is sometimes called by its commercial names of NutraSweet and Equal. Because it is sweeter than sugar (ignoring the label hype about how many times sweeter it is), less can be used in foods and drinks, allegedly lowering the number of calories overall.

Acesulfame potassium, the substitute with the scariest-sounding name, was approved in 2003, and its commercial names are Sunett and Sweet One. Because it is stable in heat and improves the taste of foods with no calories, it is used in cooking and baking. Saccharin was the first approved artificial sweetener and contains no calories. Sucralose is the only low-calorie sweetener that comes from real sugar. It has been approved for use on the tabletop, in food, drinks, cooking and baking. It is also said to be sweeter than sugar. Its commercial name is Splenda.

Just because its a sugar substitute doesn't mean that it's going to cook like sugar. The texture and principle attributes of these substitutes varies from one application to another. Then again, there is no escaping the fact that sugar substitutes do not taste exactly like sugar. Try a packet of saccharine some time - some say it has an aftertaste like chewing an aspirin. Factors of taste and texture make a difference in how the substance dissolves on the tongue, how it mixes in coffee and tea, and whether it will make or break your cookies when they bake.

And then there's the health issues. Saccharine is almost extinct, so maligned was it for its link to cancer. There are people who are allergic to corn sweeteners. This is difficult to screen for, but medical studies have finally confirmed it. Bear in mind that corn is a "New World" food, unknown amongst the people of the Eastern hemisphere until it was discovered in the West.

This means roughly half the human race evolved without a tolerance for corn. Corn sweeteners may be the cause of more problems than we even know about yet. Other sweeteners have only had moderate testing. The fact is that we cannot know what kinds of side effects may come up in twenty or thirty years from the usage of all these sweeteners we've been using which have only been invented in the last ten.

What the heck; stick with sugar. I've heard a spoonful of it helps the medicine go down.