Author: Norah Knight

  • The Dogs
    Typically the Lagotto Romagnolo is the dog of choice when it comes to hunting Truffles as they are the easiest dog to train to pick up the scent of Truffles. They have an incredible nose so they can find Truffles quicker than many other breeds of dog. They are natural retrieving dog and don’t get distracted once they are on the trail of something, which is incredibly useful whilst hunting Truffles in woodland areas.
  • The Hogs
    Truffle Hogs aren’t used as much as Truffle Dogs nowadays but they are very good at finding Truffles. Unlike the Lagotto Romagnolo they don’t need to be trained to smell them out. It is a natural instinct for them to find Truffles I suppose you could say! The main issue with the Truffle Hog is that they have a tendency to eat the Truffles they find very quickly. This is one reason why they aren’t used much nowadays.
  • So which one is best?
    They both are very good at finding Truffles but the Dog must be better than the Hog. This is mainly because they are much easier to control in terms of finding the Truffle and not consuming it. They also can be used to find other things depending on how you train them. The Dog can also be kept in a house with other animals and children as they are great with other animals and people if they are kept around them for a while. The Lagotto Romagnolo is also a very loyal and obedient animal so it is perfect for the truffle hunters to keep at home.

The Hog is still useful but requires someone to be ahead of it so the Hog doesn’t devour the Truffles! The Hog doesn’t require training to find the Truffles but they are very hard to control so it is much easier to use a Truffle Dog. The Hog however has been banned in some areas such as a few regions in Italy due to the fact that they eat and destroy thousands of euros worth of Truffles! This is only in some areas but it does show that the Truffle Dogs are better to find Truffles with.

Goat meat terminology

We sometimes use different terms for goat meat depending on the age of the animal. For example, cabrito is meat from young goats aged 4 – 8 weeks, while chevreau or chevon meat comes from 6 – 9 month old animals. The term kid, or the Italian capretto, is also used generically to mean any kind of baby goat meat. Finally, you may also come across references to mutton, adult goat meat.

Cuts of meat and recipes

It’s worth trying different way of cooking with goat meat to see what works for you and your family’s palette. The tenderness of your cut will dictate what type of cooking method you should use, but get creative and see what tasty results you can produce.

  • Shoulder meat, neck cuts and steaks are great when cubed in stews or curries, as is common in the West Indies. Bring out a delicious flavour by mixing in garlic, cinnamon and other spices.
  • Breast meat works well stuffed and roasted -experiment with nuts, dried fruit and herbs.
  • Ground meat can be used in Mexican-style meals such as tacos with chilli and coriander, in burgers, and as a spread on breads and crackers.
  • Belly meat can be turned into sizzling sausages, which are especially succulent after grilling.
  • Legs can be roasted or grilled whole, with olive oil, wine, garlic and rosemary. Try marinating them in advance for a punchier taste.
  • If you are feeling up to the challenge, serve goat in the Japanese fashion, in raw, thin slices.

Goat’s meat is gaining increasing popularity with farmers, butchers and consumers all across the world, as they look for healthy, ethically raised animals that provide nourishing meals. If you’ve never eaten this type of meat before, try one of the recipes for bove and taste what everyone is talking about!

When our first tank of water in the motor home was expended, we refilled it from the RV resort where we had spent the night. Then we found we disliked the taste of the water even when used for coffee or tea! Before that moment, we had not realized there was a difference in the taste of water. We searched high and low for “good” tasting water before we refilled that RV tank and ended up buying bottled water to drink.

Thus, began our education about water and what a precious commodity it is. We are blessed to live in a country that has good water for the most part. There are questions about the use of Fluoride in public water supplies, aging utility pipes and how safe our water supplies are from terrorist attacks. But, we can take many steps to ensure that we have access to good, pure drinking and cooking water.

When we had finished our odyssey of America, we settled in a small town in Arizona. Would you believe that the water does not taste very good here? We love the area so just purchased a water filter for our new home. So, began our next education, not all water filters are the same.

Many people living in under-developed countries do not have good water nor the opportunity to obtain any. It is dirty, polluted and often shared with the animals around them. An article recently posted on the website stated that more hours are spent collecting water for personal use than are spent working at Wal-Mart, United Parcel Service, McDonald’s, IBM, Target, and Kroger put together..The water thus collected may or may not be healthy and fit for consumption. For information about water supplies in other parts of the world visit

Grilled tomatoes and mushrooms on whole grain bagel

Tomatoes and mushrooms are best grilled so you avoid adding calories by soaking them in oil.

Mushrooms and tomatoes are included in the 5 A day as well as whole grain bread which includes vitamins B and E, plus fiber and minerals.

Porridge with semi-skimmed milk topped with dried fruits

Insoluble fibers are considered gut healthy fibers as they do not dissolve in water and speed up the digestion process of which the passage of food passes through the gut, providing an almost laxative effect and the oats do exactly this which may help reduce cholesterol levels in the blood.

Oats however are unlike other insoluble fibers like vegetables as they still take a while to break down keeping you fuller longer while they release sustained energy with additional fruit to boost vitamin count.

Low-fat spread on whole meal bread and a boiled egg

Rich in minerals, vitamins A and D, riboflavin and protein, eggs are an essential 5 A ingredient while whole meal is an insoluble fiber that contains vitamins B, E, fiber and a wide range of minerals.

Muesli, low-fat yoghurt and fresh fruit

Calcium in low fat yogurt provides a source of protein combined with a mixture of both insoluble and soluble fibers found in muesli.

Soluble fibers in this case form a gel like matter when digested causing you to stay satiated longer as it delays the emptying of the stomach which will help you control your weight.

Slower emptying of the stomach may also have a positive effect on insulin levels which in turn will help diabetics.

Soluble fibers will also interfere with the absorption of dietary cholesterol which can help lower LDL – bad cholesterol levels.

Semi-skimmed milk with whole grain cereal topped with fresh fruit

Whole grain insoluble fibers with semi-skimmed milk will be fortified with minerals and vitamins and with additional fruit, you help build up your anti-oxidant levels which are beneficial for destroying free radicals in the skin and body.

Gourmet style kitchen means to prepare and eat food not just to satisfy a basic human need, but to find those exquisite flavors that are extraordinarily mouth-watering. Those who adopt this style take the time to learn more information about food and drink and learn how to prepare them just like experienced chefs.

Meals are served in small portions. The foods on the plate are picked because of the way in which their flavors blend, but they are cut into small pieces that do not burden the plate and the stomach. Moreover, gourmet dishes are known for their uniqueness and preciousness.

Some of the most popular foods are foie gras, which literally means fat liver, and it refers to a specially prepared duck liver dish; pate, a mix of meat fat and vegetables, as well as dishes such as caviar, special varieties of cheese, and of course truffles. However, any food can become gourmet as long as you make it unique and exceptional.

Most believe that gourmet food is mainly aimed at extremely wealthy people. Even though things used to be so, the food industry recently started to lower the price on delicacies and make them available to people from all walks of life.

The whole gourmet concept refers to the ability of a gourmet chef to create an ingenious, inventive menu, inspired by nature and the environment, the seasons and the people, a menu that is made from 100% raw foods, or from sources of the best reputation; gourmet refers to the ability to create different kinds of food aimed at elevating our sense of taste during a meal, as well as presenting the various meal courses in an arty manner.

The Winter Garden is one of the most-unique Marylebone restaurants because it is located within the atrium of the Landmark Hotel. The restaurant has even won awards for their afternoon tea service and dinner. For anyone that wants to dine in a luxurious hotel, and an award-winning restaurant, then the staffs are ready and waiting.

Here is more information on dining in style at the Winter Garden Restaurant:

  • Breakfast: Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, and the Winter Garden understands just how necessary breakfast is. To make sure their guests start their day off right, the menu for breakfast has a variety of tasty and nutritious things to eat like freshly baked pastry, and other items that make up a traditional English breakfast. If a person prefers an omelette made with fresh eggs, a chef will prepare it right at their table.
  • Lunch: When lunchtime comes around, a person can sit down to authentic British cuisine or something with more flair like Mediterranean or Middle Eastern cuisine, there are many delicious meals to choose from for that mid-day meal. To make lunch even more pleasurable, there are private booths were two people can sit, and their privacy is guaranteed.
  • Afternoon tea: The Winter Garden has won many awards for its afternoon tea. Many Marylebone restaurants have won awards for their afternoon tea, and the Winter Garden is by far the most luxurious. Featuring scones, French pastries, fresh coffee, and fresh tea, brings back to the traditional English tea. There is also the option to have drink champagne instead of tea, and there is also a variety of seasonal tea that comes out every autumn.
  • Dinner: Dinner at the Winter Garden is a magical experience, especially when someone chooses to have dinner as the sun is going down, and the night is starting to settle in. Imagine being able to eat dinner with a view of the stars right above? There is a lot of delicious entree to choose from, and with the ambience and friendly staff, it will be a meal that will never be forgotten.

The Landmark Hotel is a five-star hotel that is famous for its luxury. The most famous part of the hotel is its eight-story glass atrium that is located right in the middle of the hotel. The Winter Garden is one of the many award-winning Marylebone restaurants, and it has been awarded many times for its afternoon tea. Anyone that wants a luxurious meal, in a beautiful setting, should head for the inside the Landmark Hotel.

Coconut Husk

Coconuts are mostly sold in grocery stores with a small part of their husk (coconut hair) still attached to it. This is done in order to preserve its freshness. Most of us remove the husk and discard it without a moment’s thought. However, this husk can be collected and used in a number of ways.

  • As peat moss – Instead of buying coco peat from the market, you can collect the coconut husk and use it along with compost and fertilizers as a potting soil. Adding it in layers in the soil can help the soil as it trap more water and avoids washing away essential nutrients.
  • As a cleansing tool for mince strainers – If you use a fine mesh strainer to wash mince, you will notice that the fat and small pieces of meat clog the pores of the mince strainer. Using the daily utensil scrubber to clean it would be unhygienic while using a separate scrubber each time you wash your mince would not be economical. In such cases, coconut husks can be a great cleansing aid. First, soak the strainer in hot water for about ten minutes. Then take some coconut husk, wet it with a little liquid soap and scrub the strainer. The coarseness of the husks ensures that all the fat and meat is scrubbed out thoroughly. The husks can then be discarded. This method is both economical and hygienic.

In fact coconut husks were used as scrubbers’ way before we were introduced to the modern version. And it is still used in many parts of the world.

Coconut water

Coconut water is well known for its medicinal and healing properties such as combating weight loss, skin care and replacing fluid loss during diarrhoea. Here are some more uses of coconut water:

  • As a marinade: Coconut water can be used as a substitute for normal water in beef and chicken marinades.
  • Cook rice: You can cook your rice with some coconut water added to the normal water. This provides a sweet taste to the rice.
  • In recipes: Coconut water can be used in smoothies, mocktails as well as an ingredient in pizza crust.

Coconut meat

Dried coconut meat is used in curries, desserts and garnishing. Here are some other uses:

  • Face pack – The coconut meat can be ground with poppy seeds to create a face pack. This face pack can be used on normal or dry skin to provide a glowing complexion as well as moisturizing your skin.
  • Dog snack – Coconut meat is proven to be safe for dogs in adequate quantities. However, do be sure to consult a vet as prior health conditions need to be assessed.

Coconut shell

This is the most creative part of the coconut. Coconut shells have been used in many cultures around the world for cooking and as cutlery. Once cleaned, sandpapered and lacquered, they make for some very attractive items. Let’s see some more innovative ways of using the shell.

  • As a container- You can paint or carve the shells and use them as containers. Depending on the shape and size, you can use a half or a full coconut shell for holding buttons, pins, trinkets, potpourri, pens/pencils or floating candles.
  • To serve nuts or dips – You can glue / bind several coconut shells to each other in order to use them to serve a variety of nuts, dips or candies to guests. You can bind them in twos or more to suit your purpose.
  • Layer for pots – Coconut shells can also be broken into smaller pieces and used to layer the bottom of pots instead of traditional stones to prevent soil and water leakage.

The regulations start right from the raising of the animals to ensure that procedures comply with the set regulations. For meat in Australia to be branded organic, livestock have to comply with the Australian Quarantine Inspections (AQIS) organic meat certifying agency. The certification programs and protocols are prepared, analyzed, accredited and audited each year to ensure that meat continuously complies with all set regulations. This is a requirement set by the national standard on organic meat production to ensure that standards aren’t compromised with the changing structure and policies of meat production.

In the production of this meat, compliance of even the soil as well as water management has to be in line with the National Standard for Organic:

  • Livestock must be left freely on the pasture
  • There has to be no intake of growth enhancers by the animals
  • Animal feeds must be fully free from synthetic pesticides.
  • The livestock inputs are not to be genetically modified to favor growth or high yield production.

All these are attributed to the fact that organic meat can only be produced if the process, right from the start incorporated only organic farming and environment friendly practices.

Since there is need to differentiate organic from conventional meat, the AQIS attributes the certification of organic meat to various different bodies within the country. These bodies provide certification in accordance to the set National Center for Organic and Bio-Dynamic Produce standards. The certification means that Australians can fearlessly buy guaranteed organic meat from the market. The standards also help certain bodies such as the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) to track and punish fake meat organic claims by some sections of the meat production lines.

In the event that organic meat is really cheap, then as a consumer, there is a need to check out how genuine it is. The production process is labor intensive and the certification process is strict, so as a customer, you would expect to pay more. The absence of a label that proves its authenticity should also be noted. All labels contain logos of the relevant certification bodies which prove the authenticity of the meat. If the retailer can’t tell you who certifies the meat or where it’s from, then this is a red flag and, as an organic meat consumer, you need to shun the place and inform relevant authorities where applicable.

As more and more consumers base their purchasing decisions on reviews they read on various websites, that has, unfortunately, provided motivation to those who would try to sway people in an unethical fashion. Most avid readers know how that many merchants will post extremely glowing reviews of their own products while trashing the competition. They do so under the guise of “regular” customers. Sometimes, however, it can be extremely difficult for even savvy online veterans to be able to ascertain whether or not a review is to be trusted.

Five-star reviews of restaurants, for example, may be cleverly written by someone working on staff, or even the owner. The ones who are smart will write their “opinions” in a way that is virtually indistinguishable from legitimate reviews. The incentives for cheating remain high while the odds of being found out are very low.

However, owners of restaurants and many other kinds of businesses are getting much more sophisticated when it comes to weeding out illegitimate reviews. Some of them use advanced tools such as linguistic analysis to look for similar strings of words that appear in multiple reviews. Another example of a bogus review is when someone who is a first-time poster to a forum has an overly zealous opinion, whether it’s positive or negative.

On the other hand, there are several people who feel motivated to truly express their opinion when they have either a very good or bad experience. If you are trying to choose among restaurants, one way to separate legitimate and illegitimate reviews is to bypass five-star and one-star ratings completely. Also, you should compare reviews across different sites. Make sure that the reviewers are verified by each site and put more stock in their opinions. Look for specific information rather than a certain rating. The more details a person includes, the more confident you can be that you are actually reading someone’s honest opinion.

The beauty of Padrón chillies is in their versatility and ability to be utilised in almost any type of dish – raw or cooked. But easy as they are to use – the real key is in the quality of fresh produce. All good green grocers can supply Padrón chillies. Try to purchase the best chillies from local growers or any reputable green grocer.

Vibrantly fresh with a beautiful green colour, Padrón chillies are a mild relative of the paprika family with origins in Mexico and Spain. Measuring about 3cm – 5cm long with a gently rounded pointed tip, they are deliciously adaptable – able to transform from very mild and sweet through to hot and spicy. How? It’s all in the freshness, quality and a little preparation.

Padrón’s can be eaten raw, steamed, fried, roasted, baked or grilled. Any way you want really – there’s no limit to these value-packed little gems. Most Padróns are sweet and mild to taste and with the seeds removed, are even milder (only just beating pepper, they’re about a “two” on the heat scale). Some are a bit hotter – as it’s name Padrón charmingly translates: “Some are hot and some are not”.

If eaten young, the Padrón chili has a sweet flavour, great in salads or on toast for instance. A favourite traditional recipe is fried chillies in pure virgin olive oil served with a touch of simple sea-salt. The depth of the green colours look sensational served this way and the chillies just melt in your mouth with an after taste that won’t let you just eat one.

Grown between June – September, the more mature Padróns are generally hotter and for those looking for a chili for the more traditional or regular usages, these chillies are at the fore for flavour as well as heat control.