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Category Archives: Food

Be Food Safe

In many cultures of the world food is cooked and served on a leaf. Sometimes the leaf is to be devoured with the dish and sometimes not. Why go far, in Southern India dosa is traditionally served on a banana leaf which is hygienic, flexible and waterproof way of serving your food. This banana leaf is also used in cooking. The food is wrapped with banana leaf and steamed to perfection. The leaf imparts a subtle sweet flavour to the dish, lends an overwhelming aroma and acts as a platter for serving. Not just south India, the culture of using banana leaf is widely popular in many other Southeast Asian countries like Thailand, China Vietnam.

In Mexico, their popular breakfast Tamales are steamed and cooked wrapped in a corn cob leaf and served in the same leafy wrapper. Similarly, in many countries bamboo barks are used as natural eco friendly packaging material. The list is endless. However, over years the culture of using leaves as food wrapping and packaging material has been replaced by clay, ceramic, metal and now plastic. This advent has been, not only a disaster for environment but has also exposed our food to a number of hazards. The plastic reacts with our food and makes it toxic. Also, the plastic doesn’t biodegrade itself. When it breaks it readily soaks up and releases toxins that then contaminate soil and water.

It’s understandable, the world is moving at a fast pace where everything is portable and in a hurry. Fast food chains are mushrooming up with junk food and adopting unsafe ways of cooking and serving them. On the other hand, finding such leaves appropriate for wrapping and cooking food can be quite a task. They may not be readily available or may be too expensive. So the pertinent question arises what are the other safer available food wrapping material, which does not cause havoc to the environment, are safe to use and sound on your pocket?

  1. Of Course, nothing replaces the good old Banana Leaf. As discussed earlier, they are convenient, safe and natural product used both for cooking and serving.
  2. Traditional cotton towels can be used to wrap lunches. However, care has to be taken to wash them after every single usage. Otherwise, they themselves can be a storehouse of germs and highly unsafe for the food you wrap in it. You can cook your food wrapped in parchment paper or en papillote
  3. Use of good quality Food wrapping Paper is a safer way of wrapping food for storage, for taking aways and hygienic lunch boxes.
  4. Parchment Paper is another multi-purpose and safer option. It can be used for baking, wrapping and even lining confections.
  5. Airtight containers are another option, but they have their own limitation. They are to be washed after every usage. They are not very compact and not that light weight and of course, they can be messy as the food can spill inside the container.

About Gourmet Shrimp

First up is a garlic butter prawn or shrimp. You can toss these over pasta with cherry tomatoes, or you can serve them as is with a fresh salad and some crunchy bread to mop up the sauces. If you’re more a rice person, that would work too, especially with some coriander. The recipe below from Once Upon a Chef is simple, timeless and a real crowd pleaser. It takes only twenty minutes, so it’s perfect if you’re in a rush. You could even use frozen shrimp, which you can just keep in your freezer for a hurried day. If you do opt for that route, then run them under water to help defrost before you start cooking.


2 pounds extra large or jumbo shrimp, peeled and deveined

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon black pepper

2 large cloves garlic, minced

4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened

Pinch freshly chopped parsley, for garnish (optional)

Lemon wedges, for serving (optional)


Preheat the oven to 350°F.

Place the shrimp on a baking sheet and toss with the olive oil, salt, pepper and garlic. Roast for 6-8 minutes, or until the shrimp are pink and just cooked through. Immediately add the butter directly on the hot baking sheet and stir until melted. Transfer the shrimp and butter sauce to a serving dish and sprinkle with a bit of fresh parsley, if desired. Serve with lemon wedges.

For one more perfect, easy shrimp dish try this shrimp alfredo from Allrecipes. Pasta is always a winner, and who can argue with over 500 reviews? Half and half is an American mixture and you can achieve a substitute by mixing half full cream milk and half light cream, or ¾ full cream milk and ¼ heavy cream. To keep things on the healthier side, you can use whole-wheat pasta, add mushrooms and serve with a green salad.


1 pound fettuccini pasta

1 tablespoon butter

1 pound cooked shrimp – peeled and deveined

4 cloves garlic, minced

1 cup half-and-half

6 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese

1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley

Salt to taste


Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add pasta and cook for 8 to 10 minutes or until al dente; drain.

In a large skillet, cook and stir shrimp and garlic in the butter for about one minute. Pour in half and half; stir. Sprinkle Parmesan cheese in one tablespoon at a time, stirring constantly. After all Parmesan is added, mix in parsley and salt. Stir frequently making sure it does not boil. Sauce will take a while to thicken.

Different tricks Cooking Rice

Soak a cup of rice in one and a fourth cups of water for an hour, then add a cup of milk, turn into a dish suitable for serving it from at table, and place in a steam-cooker or a covered steamer over a kettle of boiling water, and steam for an hour. It should be stirred with a fork occasionally, for the first ten or fifteen minutes.
Boiled (a Japanese method).
Thoroughly cleanse the rice by washing in several glasses of water, and soak it overnight. In the morning, drain it, and put to cook in an equal quantity of boiling water, that is, a pint of water for a pint of rice. For cooking, a stewpan with tightly fitting cover should be used. Heat the water to boiling, then add it, and after stirring, put on the cover, which is not again to be removed during the boiling. At first, as the water boils, steam will puff out freely from under the cover, but when the water has nearly evaporated, which will be in eight to ten minutes, according to the age and quality of the rice, only a faint suggestion of steam will be observed, and the stewpan must then be removed from over the fire to some place on the range, where it will not burn, to swell and dry for fifteen or twenty minutes.
It has to be boiled in an ordinary manner, requires two quarts of boiling water to one cupful of rice. It should be boiled rapidly until tender, then drained at once, and set in a moderate oven to become dry. Picking and lifting lightly occasionally with a fork will make it more flaky and dry. Care must be taken, however, not to mash the grains.
With fig sauce.
Steam a cupful of best rice as directed above, and when done, serve with a fig sauce. Dish a spoonful of the fig sauce with each saucer of rice, and serve with plenty of cream. Rice served in this way requires no sugar for dressing, and is a most wholesome breakfast dish.
Orange rice.
Wash and steam the rice. Prepare some oranges by separating into sections and cutting each section in halves, removing the seeds and all the white portion. Sprinkle the oranges lightly with sugar, and let them stand while the rice is cooking. Serve a portion of the orange on each saucerful of rice.
With raisins.
Carefully wash a cupful of rice, soak it, and cook as directed for Steamed Rice. After the rice has begun to swell, but before it has softened, stir into it lightly, using a fork for the purpose, a cupful of raisins. Serve with cream.
With peaches.
Steam the rice and when done, serve with cream and a nicely ripened peach pared and sliced on each individual dish.

You can Make Tomato Sauce in Home

Here’s what you need to prepare your organic tomato sauce:

  • tomato strainer or food mill;
  • big pots with lids;
  • wooden spoon;
  • glass jars;
  • clean cotton cloths;
  • organic tomatoes and basil.

Now, let’s have a look at the sauce preparation.

Take the San Marzano tomatoes, wash them thoroughly and cut them, removing only the dented parts. Then, place the tomatoes in various pots and make sure that they aren’t too full, otherwise you won’t be able to properly mix them.

Put the pot on the stove and cover it with a lid: let it cook over low heat. Stir the tomatoes frequently and lower the heat when they begin to simmer. You have to cook the tomatoes until their consistency will be more liquid.

Remember that the sauce shouldn’t be too thick, because when you reuse it you will still have to cook it for a few minutes. Then, seep the tomatoes in the tomato strainer or in the food mill: this way you will remove the seeds and the tomatoes’ skin, obtaining a smooth and rich tomato puree.

To sterilize the glass jars, you have to boil them in a clean pot full of water for at least 30 minutes. You should put a cotton cloth into the pot before boiling it in order to avoid breakage and then you should fill in the glass jars with the cloths.

Leave them cool until you can handle them. Then, put a few fresh basil leaves inside the jars and pour the tomato sauce in the jars. Close the jars when the tomato puree is still warm, leaving a space of one centimetre.

Put the jars upside down in a large pot full of water and boil it for 30 minutes. It is absolutely necessary to ensure sterilization and vacuum-sealed jars.

Some Diet Dessert Recipes

Mom’s Chocolate Cake


2 cups white sugar

½ cup shortening 2 eggs

¾ cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1 cup milk

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 ½ tsp baking powder

1 cup hot, brewed coffee

2 tsp baking soda

2 ½ tsp vanilla extract


  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
  • Grease and flour one 9×13 inch baking pan.
  • Cream the sugar and shortening together until light and fluffy.
  • Add the eggs and mix well.
  • Stir in the cocoa, milk, flour, baking powder, boiling coffee, baking soda and vanilla extract.
  • Mix until just combined. Pour the batter into the prepared pan.
  • Bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 30 to 35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the cake comes out clean.

Pistachio and Yogurt Cake


Light olive oil or low-fat spread, for oiling or greasing

140g shelled, unsalted pistachio nuts

4 eggs

175g caster sugar

150g plain low fat yogurt

75ml light olive oil

115g self-rising flour

Greek yougurt and mixed fresh berries to top


  • Preheat the oven to 160°C/315°F/Gas mark 2-3.
  • Oil a 23cm spring form cake tin with a little light olive oil or use some low-fat spread.
  • Start by finely grinding the pistachios in a food processor, then set aside.
  • Using a free-standing electric mixer, beat the eggs and the sugar together until very pale and thick.
  • This will take about 5 minutes, so be patient with it!
  • Next, gently mix in the yogurt and olive oil.
  • Now, sift in the flour and fold in using a spatula, then add the ground pistachios.
  • Pour the mixture into the prepared tin and bake for 40 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean. Allow to cool in the tin for 10 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack to cool.
  • Top with Greek yogurt and mixed fresh berries.

Use Spices in Meals

1 Powdered spices release their flavors much easily so they can be added towards the end of the cooking time. Whole spices on the other hand release flavors slowly so they must be added at the beginning of the cooking process.

2 Always store your spices in a cool, dark place so that the flavor is retained for a longer period. A cabinet in the kitchen away from the stove or the refrigerator door shelf is a good place for your dry spices.

3 Ensure that dampness does not get into the spice container. Always use a dry spoon to remove the portion of spice you need.

4 Dried leaf herbs like thyme, basil or oregano may be crushed by hand before adding to the dish. Add fresh herbs at the end of your cooking time so they retain the flavor.

5 How much of spice is enough? That’s the question most people ask, but there is no hard and fast rule as to the right amount to be used because it is always the combined effect of the spice flavor and the food that gives it the taste. It’s a good idea to go by the time-tested recipe. Generally the strong spices like cayenne pepper, cloves, star anise and cinnamon are used sparingly.

Food Dehydration


First and foremost, you should explore the health benefits of drying your foods. Recent studies have revealed that cooking foods in other manners can actually remove the food’s nutrients. These are precious nutrients that your body needs and craves! By making the switch to a food dehydrator, you can prevent this from happening. Drying out your foods actually allows them to maintain these nutrients, so they’ll be much better for you.


When using a food dehydrator, the food will not only be dried, but it will also shrink to some degree. This might not seem like a major benefit, but it can be for many individuals. When you’ve shrunken the food, you’ll be able to store it away much easier. A massive pound of meat will be made much smaller and it can then be stored away in bags and jars, without so much difficulty.

Enhanced Longevity

One of the biggest problems associated with various foods is the fact that they cannot maintain their freshness for a lengthy period of time. If the food is left out in the open, it’ll spoil very quickly. A refrigerator can preserve the food for a period, but a dehydrator is even better in this regard. When using a food dehydrator, it is possible to take meat, which would normally spoil in less than a week, and make it maintain its freshness for up to a year! The difference is substantial and it is even possible to enhance the food’s longevity with proper storage. Using a vacuum sealer can also help.

Simple Almond Milk Recipes

With that established, here are some ways you can enjoy the taste and health benefits of almond milk:

Creamy Almond Milk Shake with Chia Seeds

This thick and rich shake is packed with nutrition you can use for the day. It takes just five minutes to make and serves two.


½ cup of organic almond milk, unsweetened

¼ cup plain Greek yoghurt (option 2: coconut milk)

3 whole medjool dates, pitted

3 ripe bananas, peeled and sliced

1/3 cup of pistachios, roasted and shelled

2 tbsp of black chia seeds

2 tbsp of cocoa powder, unsweetened

1 tsp of vanilla extract


  1. Combine the chia seeds and almond milk in a bowl. Let the mixture sit for at least ten minutes.
  2. Put the medjool dates and pistachios in a food processor and blend on high until very finely chopped. Once it becomes almost like butter in texture, scrape the sides. Your aim is to achieve a texture that’s as smooth as possible.
  3. Once smooth, add the almond milk and chia seed mixture into the food processor. Then, add the remaining ingredients-sliced bananas, yoghurt, vanilla extract and cocoa powder. Blend them all together until smooth and creamy. This should take around four minutes of blending.
  4. Do a taste-test and adjust accordingly. If the texture is too thick, thin it down with more almond milk. Pour in serving glasses and serve immediately.

Lip smacking Breakfast

Scrambled Egg Tacos


4 large eggs

kosher salt and black pepper

1 tbsp unsalted butter

4 corn tortillas, warmed

½ avocado, thinly sliced

¼ cup salsa

¼ cup Monterey Jack, shredded

2 tbsp fresh cilantro


  • In a medium bowl, beat the eggs with ¼ tsp each salt and pepper.
  • Heat the butter in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat.
  • Cook the eggs, stirring, until set but still soft, 2 to 3 minutes.
  • Divide the eggs among the tortillas.
  • Dividing evenly, top with the avocado, salsa, Monterey Jack, and cilantro.

Easy Chocolate Croissants


1 8-count tube refrigerated crescent rolls

1/3 cup semisweet chocolate chips or chopped semisweet chocolate


  • Heat oven to 375° F.
  • Unroll the dough and separate it into 8 triangles.
  • Place about 10 chocolate chips on the bottom third of each triangle and roll the dough up around the chocolate.
  • Transfer the croissants to a baking sheet (lined with parchment paper, if desired, for easier cleanup).
  • Bake until golden brown, 12 to 14 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Egg Sandwich with Ham and Spinach


1 tbsp olive oil

2 large eggs

2 whole-grain English muffins, split and toasted

1cup baby spinach

2 slices deli ham

kosher salt and black pepper

hot sauce, for serving (optional)


  • Heat the oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat, then fry the eggs to the desired doneness, 2 to 3 minutes for slightly runny yolks.
  • Form 2 sandwiches with the English muffins, fried eggs, spinach, and ham.
  • Season with ¼ tsp each salt and pepper.
  • Serve with hot sauce, if desired.

Savory Oatmeal and Soft-Cooked Egg


½ cup quick-cooking rolled oats

Coarse salt and ground pepper

Nonstick cooking spray

1 large egg

2 tbsp shredded sharp cheddar

1 tbsp thinly sliced scallion greens


  • In a small saucepan, bring 1 cup water to a boil.
  • Add oats and pinch of salt; stir now reduce heat, and simmer until tender, about 5 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, heat a small nonstick pan over medium.
  • Coat lightly with cooking spray.
  • Add egg and cook until white is set and yolk is still runny, about 3 minutes.
  • Season egg to taste with salt and pepper.
  • Serve oatmeal in a bowl topped with cheese, egg, and scallion greens.

Must know Low fat Cake Recipes

Glorious Sponge Cake


6 eggs

1 cup white sugar

¼ cup water

1 tsp lemon extract

1 tsp lemon zest

1 cup cake flour

½ tsp cream of tartar

¼ tsp salt


  • Separate the eggs.
  • In a large mixing bowl, beat egg yolks until very thick and lemon colored. Beat in sugar gradually.
  • Add water, lemon extract and lemon rind.
  • Beat in flour.
  • In another bowl, beat egg whites until frothy.
  • Then add cream of tartar and salt.
  • Beat mixture until whites are stiff, but not until they are dry.
  • Fold this whipped mixture into yolk mixture.
  • Pour batter into an ungreased 9 inch tube pan.
  • Bake at 325 degrees F (165 degrees C) for one hour, or until done.

Angel Food Cake I


1 ¼ cup cake flour

1 ¾ cups white sugar

¼ tsp salt

1 ½ cups egg white

1 tsp cream of tartar

½ tsp vanilla extract

½ tsp almond extract


  • Beat egg whites until they form stiff peaks, and then add cream of tartar, vanilla extract, and almond extract.
  • Sift together flour, sugar, and salt.
  • Repeat five times.
  • Gently combine the egg whites with the dry ingredients, and then pour into an ungreased 10 inch tube pan.
  • Place cake pan in a cold oven.
  • Turn the oven on; set it to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C).
  • Cook for about one hour, or until cake is golden brown.
  • Invert cake, and allow it to cool in the pan.
  • When thoroughly cooled, remove from pan.