Author: Norah Knight

There is one aspect however that is common to all pizza making that could perhaps hamper any one person’s pizza making process. This problem is in getting your pizza to bake correctly. A few of the problems that can arise when baking your pizza have to do with getting the pizza to bake to the point that it is done throughout the entire crust. The first way this problem can arise is from putting too many toppings on your pizza. It is easy to get carried away when you are making your own pizza at home, in a commercial setting, you usually pay by the topping, therefore when people make their own at home they tend to put on more toppings. If you put a pizza in the oven that is over loaded with toppings it will not bake all the way through. So you can imagine the thinner of a crust you choose, the smaller number of toppings you can safely put on. Another way that the problem of a pizza not getting baked all the way through is by placing all the toppings on the center of the crust.

This is called “center loading.” It is important to evenly distribute them across the entire pizza so that it bakes evenly. Occasionally even a pizza without a large number of toppings or center loaded toppings will not bake evenly all the way through. This is a very common problem and is not the fault of the baker. It can be very frustrating to follow directions and still not get the results you wanted. This issue is caused by the oven. Even if a dough mix box has a bake time and temperature written in its instructions, it does not guarantee it will work for everyone. If you find yourself following directions and getting a pizza that is done around the edges but not in the center, simply turn the oven temperature don’t and bake it for longer. This is by far the most common issue I hear people have so I hope these tips help you avoid the problems in the first place.

The most common cause of food borne illnesses is incorrect or insufficient hand washing. Before handling any food is imperative that you wash your hands thoroughly.

Other important things to consider when preparing food are:

  • Do not store or prepare raw meats with cooked meats and dairy produce.
  • Use different chopping boards for raw meat, cooked foods and fish.
  • Cook food thoroughly and ensure it is heated throughout using a special food thermometer if necessary.

When cleaning your surfaces make sure that you do so thoroughly, anti-bacterial disposable wipes are good for this and are far more hygienic than using a regular dishcloth that is likely to be harbouring more germs than you could ever dream of.

Do not use damp tea towels and make sure that you wash them regularly and dry them thoroughly before use.

All fruit and vegetables must be washed thoroughly before eating them. This is especially important if they are to be eaten raw because there is no cooking process to kill any bacteria.

Before storing food, cool it as quickly as possible to prevent the spread of bacteria and cover it before refrigeration. Eat within two days.

Food dates can be a minefield and confusing to understand. Don’t be caught short! You look in the kitchen cupboard in December and discover that the can of soup that you fancy says best before October. What do you do? Are you the kind of person that is horrified and immediately tosses it into the bin for fear of botulism or are you quite nonchalant about it and warm it up before devouring it with a crusty roll?

It’s easy to get confused with dates on food and you may have seen several variations:

  • Sell By
  • Use By
  • Best Before

Date marking is required by the EU to act as a guide and retailers must adhere to the law.

  • Sell by dates are there as a guide for the retailers. It is not against the law for shops to sell goods after the sell by dates.
  • Use by dates means that you should not eat the food after this date. Highly perishable foods usually display this label and if you eat food after the use by date then you could be putting yourself at risk of food poisoning. It is also illegal for shops to sell foods that are past the use by date. It is also an offence for shops to have food on display that are past their use by date.
  • Best before dates indicate when food will lose its quality. It is not illegal to sell food after its best before date. You may find that foods such as crisps and canned foods are not at their premium quality and might lose some flavour or colour.

More and more outlets are selling short dated foods and there are some great savings to be had just by visiting the supermarket late at night.

The Pleurotus species, alternately known as abalone or shellfish mushrooms, usually favor hardwoods and less often conifers. One variety, Pleurotus populinus, is only found on one species of tree, the quaking aspen. Young caps are tender and mild while older plates have a firmer texture, but a sweeter flavor. Their color varies from light grey to beige, and even pale pink or yellow, and they are likely to have an off center stem if one appears at all.

This particular species of mushroom is experiencing a rise in popularity in the United States. Part of their newfound appeal can be attributed to the rise in demand for organic and naturally grown foods. In the wild these uniquely shaped fungi grow on dead trees during the fall of the year, however, they can and are cultivated year round. Whether they are farm grown, or naturally harvested, mushrooms are one of the least expensive and easily produced organic crops on the market.

These tasty delicacies also double as a dietary powerhouse. They contain significant amounts of fiber, protein, iron, potassium, and phosphorous as well as many other minerals and nutrients. They are a natural source of statins, which are often taken in the form of medication to lower high cholesterol levels. Along with a healthy diet and exercise regimen they might push down that dreaded LDL number.

As an added plus, they are naturally low in fat, calories, and carbohydrates. Further health benefits come in the presence of polysaccharides, which is a complex form of carbohydrate that has been found to inhibit tumor growth. Polysaccharides also help to build natural defenses against cancer by strengthening the immune system.

While their popularity is just starting to take off in the West, oyster mushrooms have been a staple of the Eastern diet for centuries. They are the third largest cultivated mushroom worldwide, with China leading the way with close to eighty-five percent of the world market. The U. S. might be late to the game, but interest is growing, and with the upswing in the organic food market the future looks bright for Pleurotus.

  • Animals that are dead before it is slaughtered
    According to the teachings of Allah dead meat is forbidden regardless if it is a sea or land animal. It is considered impure to their religion and should not be consumed at all costs.
  • Animals not slaughtered properly
    When slaughtering animals, it should be done in a way that the four main arteries: jugular artery, jugular vein, food pipe, and windpipe are cut off completely. It’s not enough if the arteries just split open, so it must cut off the neck.
  • Blood
    Consuming blood is considered impure in Muslim, so ensure that the food is cleansed off any blood before cooking. Be certain that the foods are properly cooked because meats that are not cooked well enough can still have blood in it.
  • Alcoholic Drinks
    Alcoholic drinks are considered Haram because the process of fermentation is seen us unethical because it produces intoxicants. This is no exception to cuisines that were prepared with alcoholic drinks.
  • Selecting Halal Caterers
    Catering services facilitators should be well aware of the people attending the event and know the most common choice of food. Professional Halal caterers adhere to Islamic and Muslim dietary laws; therefore, it is important the buffet catering services provider is fully competent in dealing with Muslim laws to have a great Halal buffet dinner.

Ensure that the company is Halal-compliant. All meat should be in compliant with the Islamic law. The caterer is only allowed to buy meat that has been slaughtered by cutting the throat. Meats should not be carrion and should contain no blood when served.

Another important factor in selecting Halal caterers is that the foods should not contain any pork product. Other than pork meat, a Halal buffet diner should not contain pork fat when frying food. It is considered cross-contamination when tools and machines were previously used with pork products.

There is no point in hiring a caterer that does not adhere to Halal guidelines. Gather all the necessary information available in the chosen Halal caterers. Don’t risk having food served with non-Halal caterers and those that do not offer the things needed for the event. It will only get expensive in the long run.

Check prices and compare it with the budget for the event. Some Halal buffet dinner may be too expensive others come very cheap. It is essential to narrow down the choices to get the ones that offer the right services at the right price.

First the most obvious way to cut down on sodium use is by not using salt, but our perception is that foods that aren’t salty taste bland. We can spice things up with spices. There are many manufacturers of spices who package spices with no sodium added. They come in an assortment of flavorings like Barbecue, Chipotle, or Lemon Pepper. You want to find yourself using natural occurring herbs like thyme, paprika, cumin, or sage for more bodied full flavors. These herbs have bolder flavors, that when added to the right foods can really bring out natural flavors.

The second is to use other foods to enhance low sodium recipes. The most common food combination which comes to mind is pork and apple, or steak and baked potato. These meals are American cuisine at its finest. The sweeter apple really brings out the own natural saltiness of the pork. Pork chops combined with some sliced apples and cinnamon or apple sauce is a very tasty meal that is low in natural occurring sodium. How about the steak and baked potato? Some might argue the potato will taste bland without salt, but if we use the right seasonings or sodium free marinades, you can have a really tasty combination which is a suitable meal for any.

And finally, the most common use of salt is to preserve our food. It is no mystery that salt will prolong the shelf life of food. However you shouldn’t focus on the shelf life of the food but rather on the shelf life of health. One’s health can be harshly impacted by the use of salt. It would be in one’s best interest to limit salt, as salt is a precursor to high blood pressure. Overall if salt is consumed in moderation we don’t see a real impact on one’s health.

The cocktail is believed to have come from Italian culture. The Italians have been making a drink called the frozen granita for centuries. This involves shaving ice off a large block and crushing it. This is then mixed with available juices, such as lemon, orange and watermelon. This would ultimately create a slushie like beverage, which is enjoyed by both kids and adults.

The granita laid the platform for the frozen cocktail. People starting adding left over bits of alcohol into the granita which formed an alcoholic slushie. From here people came up with different recipes and today there are hundreds of cocktail recipes.

Making a cocktail can be pretty easy. It is just a matter of mixing some juices and alcohol. However, a frozen cocktail is a little bit more challenging. To make one, you need about half a kilo of ice. This needs to be broken down into smaller pieces. To achieve this, you can use a few techniques. The first is to use a blender. This is the easiest way. All you do is put the ice inside and blend for 30 seconds and it will finish in a nice slushie texture. You can also use a pestle and mortar and break down the ice, doing only a handful at a time.

Once you have the ice into a crushed form, you can then start mixing the rest of the ingredients. So, to make a tequila sunrise, you would need a few ingredients. You would need 2 peaches, a handful of raspberries, 100ml of tequila and a fresh lime. You need to chop up all the fruit into small pieces. You can then blend or use the pestle and mortar to crush. You mix this into a jug with your crushed ice and stir thoroughly. You can then add the tequila. This will also help to break down the fruit a bit so it is in more of a liquid consistency for easier drinking. Then all you need to do is squeeze in one fresh lime and mix together and you will have a refreshing cocktail.

With today’s modern technology you don’t have to go to all this effort if you don’t want to. There is a machine available on the market which automates this whole process. It is commonly know as the slushie machine or the cocktail machine. All you need to do is pour in ready to go juice or flavouring, There are hundreds of ready to go cocktail mixes available so you don’t have to mix any fresh fruits. The best part is the cocktail machine turns the liquid into ice after sixty minutes, so you don’t need to add any ice. A spinning auger inside the slushie machines mixes all the juice and ice and then you can just pull down the handle and the drinks are ready. The downside to these machines are that they are expensive to buy. You can hire a cocktail machine relatively cheap from a party hire supplier if you only need to use it occasionally.

Making Tzatziki is an organic process. Below are the base ingredients, you can add more or less to fit your process. Once you know what goes in it, it’s easy to experiment and find your desired taste.

A note to mentioned: Authentic Tzatziki is always served chilled and thick!

Ingredients

  • 5 of English cucumber, ends and skin removed.
  • 2 cups of Greek yogurt (whichever is your favorite)
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced (to preference)
  • 1 handful of dill, minced
  • 3tbs Greek olive oil
  • 1tbs red wine vinegar
  • 1 pinch of sea salt
  • Juice of one lemon

Steps:

  • Grate cucumber
  • Squeeze grated cucumber to remove all liquid
  • add to yogurt
  • add all other ingredients to yogurt
  • Mix well
  • let sit for at least 4hrs for all flavors to come together
  • Serve!

Here are a few variations to the recipe above that you may wish to try. All are same steps to make as first (give or take ingredients):

  • 5 of English cucumber, ends and skin removed.
  • 2 cups of Greek yogurt (whichever is your favorite)
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced (to preference)
  • 1 handful of dill, minced

or

  • 1 regular cucumber, ends and skin removed.
  • 2 cups of Greek yogurt (whichever is your favorite)
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced (to preference)
  • 1 handful of dill, minced
  • 3tbs Greek olive oil
  • 1 pinch of sea salt
  • Juice of one lemon

or

  • 5 of English cucumber, ends and skin removed.
  • 2 cups of Greek yogurt (whichever is your favorite)
  • 1 handful of dill, minced
  • 3tbs Greek olive oil
  • 1 pinch of sea salt
  • Juice of one lemon

or

  • 5 of English cucumber, ends and skin removed.
  • 2 cups of Greek yogurt (whichever is your favorite)
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced (to preference)
  • 1 handful of dill, minced
  • 3tbs Greek olive oil
  • Juice of one lemon

Lastly, here are some ways this can be served:

  • With bread, it makes for a nice dipping sauce.
  • On top of meats (think Gyro)
  • With sliced meats, like salami
  • With chips
  • With fruit

Remember, it’s part of the fun to experiment and learn a new way or a way you like to make this wonderful sauce!

Asahi’s “Off,” is another top very low-calorie beer in Japan. It pour a gold color. Nose is weak. It really doesn’t have much taste for me, but after taking one sip I was slightly disappointed. However, some of my colleagues claim that the beer is light tasting and refreshingly clean on the palate. Easy to drink and enjoy without getting too drunk, so not too bad of a choice, I think. Still quite popular with Japanese.

Third sector beers take happoshu and blend it with spirits derived from barley or wheat. Some have low-calories, others have zero glucose content, while others contain less additives and purines. Alcohol content in these drinks ranges from 4% to 8%.

Kirin¬†Tanrei¬†Green Label by Kirin pours a pale yellow colour, no head. Smells malty. Not a bad beer, nothing special, though. It has a great flavor depending on who’s drinking it. Typically, Westerners may not identify with the same flavor profiles as Japanese drinkers on this particular beer. This is still considered a popular low-calorie beer in Tokyo.

Aqua Blue (Asahi) pours a pale straw color. It has a decent white head and is full strength with low-calories. This beer is popular with binge drinkers who want something light for dinner while still enjoying a fairly decent alcohol percentage.

Kirin ZERO (Kirin) pours a pale yellow. The foam head dissipates rather quickly. Faint aroma of pale malt. Tastes like watered down beer, faint hints of wood. Not much going on, but not bad. Again, finding a great tasting low-calorie beer is a matter of personal tastes and preferences. When you replace malt with spirits or other additives, you get less beer characteristics.

Though eating out is fantastically diverse in Los Cabos, the abundance of fresh food in Baja California should encourage travelers to spend at least one day trying its delicacies, even if it means staying at home to cook. Most expatriates agree that one of their favorite facts about food-shopping in Mexico is this: It is easier and cheaper to eat fresh & local food than to dine on imported, canned, or processed food in Mexico. This encourages the freshness of Baja fare; Dining out is reliably fresh, and home cooking generally involves a bounty of unusual fruits and familiar vegetables that might have cost triple in the United States or Canada.

The Sea Of Cortez is one of the most ecologically diverse bodies of water in the world, and the Pacific Ocean isn’t far behind with its edible inhabitants. Suffice it to say, fish-lovers worship Baja’s amazing aquatic variety. Abalone and Anchovies are both nutritious and plentiful in Baja and several varieties of clams are found in Sea of Cortez and Pacific Coasts. Conger Eel and Squid are caught and sold fresh in Baja California Sur. Albacore, Yellowfin, Blackfin, Bigeye, Pacific and Northern Bluefin Tuna can be found off Baja coasts. Cod is available fresh and from fishmongers, but most is exported to other countries. Barrilete Negro (or Black Skipjack Tuna) and Bonito are other fish similar to tuna fresh-caught in Baja California. Scallops, Shrimp and Crab are also readily available in Baja California from Los Cabos to Tijuana. Corvina, Dorado, Red Snapper and Jack Fish are delicious additions to Baja’s fresh catches.

The pastured eggs and free-range chickens many pay dearly to procure in the United States are plentiful in Baja. It is quite easy to find a small, family chicken farm in every village in Baja California Sur, and in the larger cities, an egg-lover’s choices for procuring fresh fowl are limitless. And the small farms produce pastured eggs that are not only rich in vitamins, minerals and omega 3s, but also delicious and cheap. Fresh Bacon is available at supermarkets in Los Cabos, and small, local butchers offer excellent, fresh pork and beef as well as Birria [goat], Arrachera, which is skirt steak marinated in lime with chiles, garlic, onion, is one of the ultimate treats for any carnivorous type. The secret to Arrachera is its marinade: The citrus marinade tenderizes a once-tough skirt steak with mouthwatering voracity. Known as one of the most flavorful [and cheap] cuts of beef, the Arrachera marinade will turn this generally chewy belly-cut into the melts-like-butter goodness many find fairly addicting. This excellent dish is known nationally, and is as delicious on Baja as the mainland. Delicious rotisserie chicken is available every few blocks in most towns, and the ubiquitous fish taco stands pepper the whole of Baja California Sur.

Baja California boasts a varied selection of fantastically familiar and wild, wonderful fruits and vegetables. Tomatillos are a staple of Mexican cuisine, and they resemble tart, green tomatoes with an exceptionally fresh flavor and are as excellent in a fresh salsa verde as they are cooked in stews and sauces. Tomatoes are fresh, ripe and locally grown. Spinach is readily available and freshest in the cooler winter months. A Chayote Squash has a sweet and delicate meat behind its spiny exterior. Despite its formidable appearance, this squash is excellent and has a delightful, delicate flavor. Avocados, of course, are everywhere. Many varieties of Lettuces & Greens, Herbs, Cabbages and Squash Blossoms are common in findings in Mexican markets, as are the pads and fruits of the Nopal Cactus. Excellent both raw in juices and cooked, the Nopal cactus pads are exotic and healthy treats. Chiles in just about every range of picante are available everywhere. Citrus fruits, particularly limes, grapefruit and several kinds of oranges are delicious and sweet. Dates, Coconuts, Bananas, Plantains, Mangos, Papaya, and Melons are readily available at small and large vegetable markets. These are only some of the fruits and vegetables travelers may find in many of the restaurants and groceries in Baja California Sur.

Freshly-made Crema, or sour cream is just one of the delicious dairy products that has become a remarkably unctuous staple of Mexican cuisine. Creamy, delicious milk and farm-cheeses are some of Mexico’s most delectable treats and each tastes more flavorful than many can imagine. Having never enjoyed a huge amount of dairy products North of the Border, many tourists enjoy the fresh goat-and-cow creations that are readliy found in Mexico. Supermarkets and Restaurants in Baja California also have a wide variety of fresh cheeses and creams if visitors don’t care to dairy-hunt while exploring Baja.

Now, of course it’s ludicrous to think that this particular food has the same caloric value as a bowl of celery sticks, but people should realize that some of the ingredients are actually very beneficial to people’s health.

One of the beneficial ingredients it contains is cheese. Unless someone is lactose intolerant, consuming cheese can actually be a great thing. That’s because it’s a dairy product and most dairy products contain a significant amount of calcium. Calcium helps to build strong bones. This in and of itself is a great reason to see this food item as a healthy choice.

Just think about it, as people get older they begin to experience the horrible effects of diseases such as osteoporosis. This causes their bones to weaken and become fragile. Eating a food that contains a respectable amount of cheese can help to prevent or curb the harmful effects of these types of issues.

Another great thing about pizza is the fact that it contains tomato sauce. One of the reasons that this ingredient is so helpful is because it contains vitamin C. This vitamin is good because it helps to fight against bacteria that cause things like the common cold and other viruses.

Some may not see the common cold as being a big deal. However, they aren’t taking into account how agitating and problematic something like the common cold can be. It may not be life threatening or dangerous, but it can be extremely agitating and cause major inconveniences. There are times when people have to actually take financial hits, because they are forced to miss a few days of work just to get over their cold. As for viruses, these sicknesses can be a little more harmful. Some people have actually had to stay in the hospital for days at a time until they got over their virus.