Category Archives: Food & Drink

Serious health tips : 5 foods you should never reheat.

Heating food is something that people are accustomed to almost on a daily basis. It seems to be a way of making food fresh and enjoyable. Sometimes people would like to turn left overs from another meal into a new meal at another time. However , did you know that the following foods cannot be reheated,

  • Spinach
  • Chicken
  • Eggs
  • Mushrooms
  • Potatoes

These 5 foods can give you food poisoning or worse if reheated. Lets have a brief look at the few facts that supports this.

  • Spinach

It has been scientifically proven that the nitrates of these veggies can turn toxic and release carcinogenic properties when they are reheated a second time.

  • Mushrooms

Mushrooms should be eaten and finished just after preparation because it has been found that proteins will start deteriorating as soon as you cut them, what more reheating, that will be bad news for your stomach.

  •  Chicken

Protein composition in chicken will change when it is reheated, this can result in digestive troubles.

  • Eggs

Reheating this high protein food when its boiled or scrambled can be toxic and can cause problems in the digestive system.

  • Potatoes

The problem with reheating potatoes is not the reheating itself but how you store them after they are cooked. If they are left to cool at room temperature , conditions may be right for the growth of botulism, especially if they are kept sealed in a way that oxygen is kept out. So reheating will not kill this bacteria anyway, so storing potatoes safely as they cool is sensible.

These are some of the health tips you should never reheat the above 5 foods , you can do a further research on this to gain more accurate knowledge on this.

Good health to you

Fidelity

 

 

Advertisements

Home baking : Irish soda bread

Ingredients

  • 450 g plain flour
  • 1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 40 g butter or lard, diced
  • 300 – 350 ml plain buttermilk , if buttermilk is not available you can use 300 ml fresh milk
  • plain flour for dusting

Preparation

  • Heat the oven to 200 C , sift a thin dusting of flour over a baking sheet.
  • Sift the flour, bicarbonate of soda and salt into a bowl, then rub in the butter. Make a well in the centre and pour in 300 ml buttermilk. Mix quickly to a soft dough with a fork , adding more buttermilk if necessary.
  • With floured hands , gather the dough together, turn out on a floured surface and knead lightly and briefly until smooth. Shape the dough into a round about 18 cm in diameter, then place on the prepared baking sheet.
  • Score round into quarters. Bake the bread in the top of the oven for about 30 minutes, until golden brown and the underside sounds hollow when rapped.
  • Transfer the bread to a wire rack, cover with a clean tea towel and leave to cool

Nb: To score the dough into quarters, cut a deep cross in the dough with a sharp , floured knife to within 1 cm of edges.

Home Baking : Jam Buns

Ingredients

  • 200 g plain flour
  • 25 g ground rice
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 75 g margarine or butter, diced
  • 75 g caster sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 2 tablespoons jam, caster sugar for dredging, vegetable oil for greasing
  • pinch of salt

Preparation :

  • Heat the oven to 200 C , grease a large baking sheet and line the base with greaseproof paper then grease the paper.
  • Sift the flour , ground rice, baking powder and salt into a large bowl. Add the margarine and rub it in with your fingertips, then stir in the sugar. Make a well in the centre.  Beat the egg with the milk, then add to dry ingredients and mix to a moist, but firm, dough.
  • Cut the dough into 8 equal pieces. With lightly floured hands, shape each piece into a ball. Make a hollow in the centre of each bun with your finger. Spoon a little jam into each hollow, then pinch the edges of the dough together to seal.
  • Placed the buns, sealed side down, on the prepared baking sheet. Bake in the oven, just above the centre, for about 20 minutes, until risen, golden and just firm to touch.
  • Cool the buns for 10 -15 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack. Sprinkle with caster sugar and leave to cool completely. Serve fresh.

Tips:

Raspberry jam is often used to fill the buns, but children will love the surprise of different jams hidden in the buns, you can try strawberry, apricot, plum and blackcurrant.

NB : Recipe taken from Nice and Easy cookbook.

Fidelity

Home made jams and jellies

Sweet preserves are made by first slowly cooking fruit until soft. Sugar is then added and the fruit is boiled rapidly until setting point is reached. Jams and jellies are made in a preserving pan which is a wide , deep pan with sloping sides that allows for rapid boiling and evaporation. It’s heavy base prevents sticking, aluminium and stainless steel pans are the most practical. A large heavy based sauce-pan may be used but never fill more than halfway.

Fruit

  • Choose ripe but firm fruits, under ripe fruit lacks flavour, in overripe fruit the pectin content will be diminished.

Preparation

  • Cut away any damaged parts and discard overripe fruits, particularly soft fruits and berries which usually contain mould. Wash fruits quickly in cold running water. Raspberries , blackberries and strawberries however will retain too much moisture if washed and so should be picked over for impurities.

Sugar

  • Pectin also reacts with the sugar to obtain a good set. Sugar not only preserves the fruit but also helps it to keep it’s colour. Too much sugar will prevent setting and cause crystallization and too little will cause fermentation of the jam. High pectin fruits will take more sugar and thus yield more jam or jelly than low pectin fruits. Granulated sugar is the most economical sugar to use. Brown sugar produces more scum than white sugars, but use it whenever a darker colour is wished. For different flavours, one quarter of the sugar may be replaced by syrups such as honey . Warming the sugar in a low oven shortens cooking time and improves fruit colour, spread the sugar in a roasting tin or baking tray and then place in the oven .

Let’s then dwell a little bit on how to make jam . Read on below :

To make jam , fruit should be trimmed of stalks , stems and cores. Stones however may be left in as they will float to the top of the pan after the fruit is boiled. Chop the fruit or leave whole according to size. Grease the pan with a buttered paper before adding fruit as this helps to prevent sticking. Whole spices such as ginger, cloves and cinnamon may be tied in a muslin bag and added to the pan. Cook soft fruits in their own juice. For hard fruits which need longer cooking, water is added, it should reduce by at least one – third during cooking. Stir fruit occassionally to prevent sticking. Once it has softened, warmed sugar is added and gently stirred over low heat until dissolved. The fruit and sugar are then boiled rapidly for 10 – 15 minutes or until setting point is reached. Near the end of boiling, add a knob of butter to the pan to help disperse the form.

Test for setting point

  • Clip the sugar thermometer to the side of the pan before boiling, read it at eye level. It will register 105 C when setting point has been reached.

Wrinkle test

  • First remove pan from heat. Spoon 1 teaspoon jam on to chilled saucer and allow to cool, then push it with your finger – the jam should wrinkle and separate. If not, reboil jam for 1 -2 minutes then test again. Skim off scum and stones if any, with a slotted spoon. Leave to cool slightly, about 15 minutes for whole fruit jam so that the fruit has time to settle. Stir the jam once more before potting.

Potting and storing :

  • Jam and jelly must be tightly sealed in clean jars or the preserves will grow mould. Preserving jars must have screw top lids or glass lids with rubber rings and spring – clip closures. The jars should be very clean and completely dry. Sterilizing is not essential, but is an extra precaution to prevent mould growth. Warm the jars to prevent cracking  when the hot jam is poured into them.Place on oven shelves in a 110 C oven while cooking the fruit.

In my next article l will be dwelling on the making of jelly at home, in your own kitchen.

NB : Recipe taken from the Nice & Easy Cookbook.

Good health to you

Fidelity.

Meal in just couple of minutes: Egg – mayonnaise appetizer.

Friends are coming around for dinner at a short notice, don’t panic , just follow this super quick, super delicious menu : the ingredients are not complicated and the meal can be on the table in under an hour.

Ingredients : Serves 4

  • 6 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 6 tablespoons thick bottled mayonnaise
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 1 quarter teaspoon mustard powder
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • garnish 4 lettuce leaves and sweet paprika

Preparation :

  • Put the eggs in a sauce pan and cover with water, bring to boil, then lower the heat and simmer gently for 8 – 10 minutes. Drain off water and hold pan under cold running water to cool the eggs quickly. As soon as they are cool to handle, tap each one once against a hard surface to crack the shell, then cool.
  • Put the mayonnaise in a bowl and stir in the lemon juice, mustard and salt and pepper to taste.
  • Remove the shells from the cold eggs, then slice the eggs. Reserve 8 slices and chop the rest. Mix the chopped egg into the mayonnaise.
  • Arrange the lettuce leaves on individual serving plates and spoon the egg mixture on to them. Garnish each portion with two egg slices and sprinkle with paprika.

Serving ideas : The egg mayonnaise can also be served on triangles of buttered brown bread.

NB: Recipe taken from ‘Nice and Easy Cookbook’

Good health to you

Fidelity

 

 

World of cooking : Liver fritters

Ingredients : serves 4

  • 250 g lamp liver, thinly sliced
  • 350 potatoes , roughly chopped
  • 1 onion roughly chopped
  • 25 g plain flour
  • half teaspoon dried mixed herbs, salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Vegetable or or lard for shallow frying

Preparation

  • Heat the oven to 110 C
  • Put the liver, potatoes and onion through a mincer, then put in a bowl and mix together with a wooden spoon until well combined
  • Stir in the egg, flour and herbs and season to taste with pepper. mix well together
  • In a frying pan, heat enough oil barely to cover the fritters.
  • Fry spoonfuls of the mixture for three to four minutes on each side until browned. Drain on absorbent paper and keep hot in the oven until all fritters are cooked. Serve at once.

Some useful tips : –  This is a good recipe for encouraging children to eat liver, which is high in food value.To add interest , fry the fritters in different shapes such as rounds, or ovals. When the fritter mixture is dropped from the point of the spoon it forms a round shape and when dropped from the side it becomes oval.

  • Instead of mincing the potatoes and onion, can be coarsely grated and the liver cut into very small pieces and mixed together thoroughly .
  • 340 calories per portion.

[NB :’ Nice & Easy’ recipe]

Good health to you

Fidelity.

Vegetables and fruits : Tomatoes

This most versatile of vegetables and fruits has a wide range of sizes and shapes from small, cherry tomatoes through medium and large salad tomatoes to the huge beefsteak ones with undulating shapes. Unripe green and yellow tomatoes are sometimes on sale. All types of tomatoes are rich in vitamin A and C, and most are available all year round. They are also sold canned and as puree in cans , jars and tubes.

Buying guide : Choose firm fruit.

To use : Slice , halve or quarter with a sharp serrated knife and use for salads and all sorts of garnishes, or for grilling and frying – either alone or  as topping for savoury dishes. For stuffing take off the tops and scoop out the seeds with a sharp edged spoon. To loosen skins , cover with boiling water for 1 minute , then plunge in cold water. In cooked dishes , tomatoes have innumerable possibilities. Can be made into soup, baked on their own or with creams, herbs and other vegetables. They make an excellent sauce if cooked to a puree with basil and onions.Green and yellow tomatoes make chutneys.

Storage : Keep ripe fruit in a cool place or in a refrigerator for 3 to 4 days. To ripen green fruit, put it in a sunny place with one or more ripe fruit; the gases released by the ripe fruit help ripen green ones.

To freeze : Open , freeze whole until solid, then pack in polythene bags , seal , label and return to freezer for up to 12 months. To serve, defrost the tomatoes for about 2 hours and use in cooking as fresh tomatoes. Or cook to a sauce or puree before freezing  or work in a blender, sieve to remove any pips and freeze as tomato juice. Freeze tomato puree in ice cube trays to make handy tomato stock cubes.

Nb: Taken from ‘Nice & Easy ‘ cookbook.

Good health to you

Fidelity.