Coeliac Disease

Fresh is usually best and this is especially true for Coeliac’s who will discover that most if not all of the processed food they have been enjoying is actually harming their intestines. A simple blood test will point out to your doctor if you are showing any of the many symptoms which can manifest themselves with this problem.

My daughter has followed a vegetarian diet for more than 25 years including many processed non-meat products and her absolute favourite of filled pasta shells. After the birth of her second child, she asked her doctor to give her a blood test, due to her lack of energy and general tiredness. The protein in her blood was very high and a test at the hospital confirmed she had Coeliac Disease.

By cutting out pre-packed meals and following a gluten-free diet, her symptoms cleared up within a short time. She has lots more energy and looks so much healthier, she now includes plenty of fresh food, and together we have come up with a number of great recipes substituting lentils for the filling in any meat-free meals.

You don’t need to suffer from wheat or gluten intolerance to enjoy a healthier diet, try making your own tomato sauce to go with pasta, it will cost you less than buying a jar of sauce and is better for you, plus it tastes great.

Here are a few suggestions to help you with your weekly shopping.

  • fresh fruit and vegetables – no need to read the labels here
  • fresh fish, beware if it’s breaded
  • unsalted butter, cream, and free-range eggs
  • rice, sunflower seeds, flax, rice flour, chickpeas and corn flour
  • many cheeses, yoghurt, cottage cheese and milk

There are now many items on the shelves at all the main supermarkets aimed at people with gluten intolerance, if you are a busy person without any time to make your own bread you may find it fairly tasteless. Bread makers are great, you will have your money back within a short time, as gluten-free bread is very expensive to buy too.

A good tip is to check on-line if you have been diagnosed with Coeliac Disease as there is help available in the United Kingdom to subsidise some of your weekly shop.

There are many symptoms relating to wheat intolerance, our daughter’s was highlighted due to anaemia, but if you have ongoing fatigue or depression it may be worth while talking to your doctor about it. Other symptoms may well be diarrhea, weight loss or mouth ulcers, it’s always better to have these things looked at by a doctor, rather than diagnosing yourself via the internet.

Breweries in Western Australia

Enjoy original beer recipes

Western Australian breweries have maintained many traditional practices and specialties of beer making. Many breweries still have master brewers who are able to use the original recipes to take you back in time. One of the known names for preserving these recipes is the Old Swan Brewery at Perth. This brewery is an important part of local history and attracts patrons from all over the world.

Variety of Brews

The Swan Valley in Western Australia is definitely the heart of the brewing industry. Here, you can get many varieties that are brewed in house. These brews appeal to even those who usually do not consume beers.

Themes and styling

The breweries in Western Australia have been created with the sole intention of creating memorable experiences for all the patrons. The Duckstein Brewery, for instance, is a tribute to Germany. The ambience is carefully created to give you the feeling of enjoying a chilled beer in a garden in Bavaria. In addition to this, even the menu is designed to give you a hint of the theme and complete the experience. This is a specialty that is available in most breweries in Western Australia.

Friendly ambience

Most breweries in Western Australia provide a comforting, informal ambience. You can expect the staff to greet you as ‘mate’ rather than ‘sir’. The staff in these breweries is extremely helpful when it comes to choosing from the variety available. They are trained to provide you with the best service.

Awards and accolades

Breweries in Western Australia have been acclaimed internationally. The special brews that are created in these breweries have received awards on an international platform. The crowds that most breweries in Western Australia attract are a testament to these award winning brews.

The concept of Microbreweries

Microbreweries are a relief from big beer brands available in Australia. These microbreweries create some of the most unique flavours and tastes that attract patrons from various parts of the world. Microbreweries provide local beers and ciders that give you something to look forward to during your travels.

Nature of Greek Yogurt

By way of education, the thickness that Greek yogurt has over other brands comes from the fact that the excess milk whey is strained off. Using a special cloth, manufacturers extract the watery substance, which then gives the yogurt a thicker, fuller look and feel, with a wavy texture that belies the creamy taste.

It can be a little overwhelming to visit your local grocery store and see the aisles full of both Greek yogurt and Greek-styled yogurt, so this is the difference: Greek-styled yogurt is fake – it’s all a part of a marketing ploy to capitalize on the big bucks being made by real Greek yogurt suppliers like Fage, Chobani, Voskos and Oikos. Although the Greek-styled version does usually have more protein, the truth is that the true process makes it more expensive, so there’s no way it can still be the same price you’ve come to expect of yogurt. If you want the full health benefits, avoid this kind and go for the Greek. The other kinds have artificial, thickening additives to give them that full look and feel – but without the benefits. It’s actually quite a terrible practice…

You might be wondering how yogurt is made in the first place. Milk is fermented using cultures – which are just probiotic bacteria (basically, they’re good for you; much like the billions that live in your stomach already). This is how all yogurt starts out. When it comes to Greek yogurt, an extra step is added to the process: the runny milk whey is removed to create a thicker mix that has more in common with cheese than yogurt. And here we come to why Greek yogurt has more than double the protein and often double the cost of traditional yogurt – about four times as much milk is used to make a single cup. There you have it.

Another great benefit of Greek yogurt is that there is less sugar and carbs. This is due to the cloth strainer; it removes this stuff and produces a product choc-full of protein but lacking in fattening elements. The live bacterial cultures are preserved, too, which helps digestion and even helps fight off colds when made a part of your regular diet.

The nutritional benefits are great, but the truth is that Greek yogurt puts quite a bit of a load on the environment. It takes a lot to make it, as you can see from the extra milk, for example. So perhaps it’s a cost-benefit analysis between health and environment, because regular yogurt really just isn’t that good for you because of the added sugar. For those desiring a bit more than “plainly plain,” as the famous Fage yogurt commercials tout, there are multiple varieties of most brands of Greek yogurt on the market – and best of all, these strawberry, peach and other fruit concoctions don’t count towards your daily value of sugar because there’s no added sugar in them – they’re all-natural. Greek may very well be the way to go.

Making Great Homemade Pizza

First, preheat your oven as soon as you begin cooking. You will want your oven to be as hot as possible when you bake the pizza to ensure that the crust is as crispy as possible. Additionally, the best place to put the rack is as low as possible, close to the heat source. This will provide the best browning and cook the pie more thoroughly.

You should also thaw out your dough while you prepare the other ingredients. Dough that is too cold is harder to roll out, so letting it sit on your kitchen counter while you cut vegetables and prepare the sauce can make things easier once you’re ready to roll it out and add toppings. Additionally, it is a good idea to wet the dough before you start rolling it. This will make the crust crispier once you’re done baking the pie.

When you’re ready to roll the dough, you should work a rolling pin from the center of the dough to the edges. If you have the time and patience to do so, you might want to consider skipping the rolling pin and kneading the dough by hand, which generally produces better results. Roll or knead it as thoroughly as possible to ensure an even thickness, and be sure to cover both the dough and your hands with flour. This will make it easier to shape the dough into a crust. If the dough springs back and refuses to flatten, it may be too cold to shape. If this occurs, you should wait five minutes and try again.

In addition to properly rolling out the dough, it’s also important to pick the right pan. Not all pans conduct heat effectively. You will want to use a round pan or baking sheet, because these conduct heat evenly. Additionally, spread cornstarch on the pan before you place the dough on top of it. This will prevent the pizza from sticking to the pan and will make things easier once you take it out of the oven.

Uses of Garlic

  • Health & Beauty
    This is a popular use of garlic that you have probably heard of umpteen times before. Rubbing a raw garlic clove helps you bid adieu of pesky acne. It has blood cleansing properties, keeps digestive tract healthy and is an effective antibiotic too. Garlic prevents cancer, keeps cold at bay, helps keeping a healthy heart and is good for the liver. Garlic works on itchy skin and fungal infections as well.
  • Mosquitoes and Fleas
    You can put garlic cloves at your bedside or rub their juice on your skin to repel mosquitoes. Ticks and fleas also run away from garlic so you can rub garlic juice on your pets as well. If you don’t want your pet to sport that foul smell you can ensure that you include small amount of garlic in your pets’ diet.
  • Pesticide
    Garlic also makes good green pesticide. It’s eco friendly and quite effective too for warding off whiteflies, cabbage loopers and other irritating pests. All you have to do is to mix garlic with pepper and soap to protect your veggies.
  • Disinfectant
    Mix chopped garlic with vinegar and lemon juice for an effective disinfectant or cleaner.
  • Fishing Bait
    You can try this one next time you go fishing. Coat those marshmallows liberally with crushed garlic. Apparently this makes fishing easier.
  • Adhesive
    Garlic works on paper and even glass. You can use the juice as glue.
  • Aphrodisiac
    Just like cardamom, garlic too is an aphrodisiac. Such a difference between the two! Garlic helps blood circulation and hence the effect, so they say. If garlic breath worries you then you can drink some lemon juice to cure it.

German Sausage Summer

There are too many sausage products in the market and this makes it even harder to find the best. It’s important to go for quality and well-known brands. This is because you are sure that their meats are of prime quality. Sausages are all about the meat and it goes without saying that people are more interesting having good meat content than fillers. It’s best to read the ingredients at the back to identify what you are buying. Spices have given new meaning to the flavor of a sausage but you also do not want to go for a sausage that has too many spices. As a general rule of thumb the fewer the ingredients in the packaging, the better it is.

You want your sausage to be firm especially when grilling it and still have great meat texture. Fat is an important part of a sausage and contrary to popular opinion, your sausage doesn’t need to be filled with high fat contents to be great. As we have seen, there are great sausage products which have 2% fat content and this is enough to cook your sausage in any way you want and still enjoy a juicy, well-flavored treat. Last but not least, it’s important to note that good sausages do not shrink when cooked. This is usually a sign of poor meat quality.

Sausages are a good source of nutrients and this is because they are packed with proteins, Vitamin B-12 which is a necessity for healthy red blood cells and iron a vital mineral in production of hemoglobin as well.

Having given you tips on what to look for in good sausages and their health advantages, we now arm you with interesting ways to make your sausages more enjoyable. You can begin by having a casserole which is a great way to enhance the flavor. You may also want to consider making some curried sausages which provides for great comfort food or baked sausages. One of the unique things about sausages is that they do not dry out or toughen in the oven. Sausage rolls are quite popular and these are usually popular due to their tasty and moist nature. Alternatively, you could mix up your sausages with some rice or pasta dishes or go the old-fashioned way and simply fry them or better still grill your German sausage.

Keep Vegetables Fresh

Plan Your Weekly Grocery Shop

Before you start your grocery shop, firstly plan the meals you intend to cook for the forthcoming week. This means you should only buy what you need and not be tempted to buy everything you see on the supermarket shelves.

Don’t buy based on cheap prices, because if you have no where to store them, whether that’s your fridge or a store cupboard the chances are they will go to waste.

The majority of fresh vegetables can usually be stored from 2 to 3 days, with the exception of root vegetables which can be anything from one week to several weeks depending where and how they are kept.

Storing Incompatible Foods

The title of this particular tip may sound a bit strange to some, but storing fruit and vegetables together can be problem because they are incompatible with each.

Both fruit and vegetables give off a gas called Ethylene after they are picked. This particular gas is harmless, tasteless and odourless. Storing these two together in a confined space will speed up the ripening of the more sensitive vegetable.

A plus point though if you need a vegetable to ripen early, just store it with some fruit and it will quicken the process. Otherwise make sure that they are separated whether it’s in a fridge or store cupboard.

Understanding Your Fridge

Storing vegetables in the fridge will ensure that they keep fresh and last longer because the cold environment will slow down the decaying process.

A word of caution here though, there are some exceptions to this, especially potatoes, they will quickly darken and their starch content turns to sugar resulting in a unpleasant taste when cooked. Depending who you believe onions are another root vegetable which is best left out of the fridge, although the opinion is divided among many people. It’s probably true to say they may last a little longer in the fridge but unless they are used in a very short space of time, they will lose their crispness and go soft.

When storing your vegetables in the fridge the best place for them is in the crisper drawer where there is high humidity. Most fridges will have either a fresh drawer or a crisper drawer. There is a slight difference between them and can be somewhat confusing, and if you’re not careful it can lead to your food being wasted because it hasn’t been properly stored.

A fresh drawer is primarily used to store food at a low temperature without actually freezing them, whereas a crisper drawer will help those foods with a high moisture content keep fresh for longer.

Pressure Cooker Foods

No doubt that no one can make applesauce like my grandmother used to, partly because she said what made it so good was her loving fingers. I believe her. Although we don’t have my grandmother’s pretty hands and smiling face with us anymore we do have her method and I am willing to share her method with you (lucky). So first things first, if you don’t already have a pressure cooker please go out and get one now. I would look in thrift shops and second hand stores first to find the best economic value. More than likely you will be able to find one in good condition that will last you for quite a while. If you are unable to find one used you will have no trouble finding one new in any major department store that carries kitchen appliances. Good luck on your hunt!

When making applesauce the apples are very important. Great care should be taken when obtaining your apples. My grandmother and I would get a bushel of apples from the tree that lived behind our house. If you don’t have your own apple tree you can always go out to an orchard (for a small fee) and pick your own apples. The next best thing would be to buy them from a farmers market pre-plucked. As a last option you can always get them from a grocery market. After we picked the plumpest apples we would bring them inside to wash, peel, take the core out, and cut them into chunks. Now we were ready to plop them into some water inside the pressure cooker. Next we would add two or three whole cinnamon sticks (Which never failed to surprise my cousin. He always thought that we had somehow put apple tree branches in there by accident.), some honey to taste (to lightly sweeten), and if it’s to your liking a smidge of butter.

The funny thing about my grandmother is that she never measured anything out yet somehow it was always consistent and always yummy. After being in the cooker for what seemed like forever (though in retrospect it probably was more like ten minutes or so). She would take the pressure cooker off of the heat source and let it stand for a while before opening it. Inside the pot magic had happened. The smells were fantastic and would fill our whole house. It was great. During the next step we would fill the quart sized Mason jars (32 Oz or 946.35 mL) almost to the tippy top with our homemade applesauce. Next lay on the flat part of the lid and then lay on the ring part screwing it down firmly. Fill the cooker with two or three inches of water, making sure you put the pressure cookers rack in before you place the jars inside. Tightly close up the cooker with seals in place. Turn the heat on high and wait for the steam.

Once the steam starts check your gauge to make sure it is at five or six pounds of pressure. Let the pressure cooker cook for about ten to fifteen minutes. Keep an eye on your cookers gauge to make sure everything is going smoothly. If there is excessive rattling, reduce the heat a tiny bit. Once the time is up (10 -15 min.) reduce the heat slowly until the pressure cookers gauge is at zero. Be careful when taking the lid off as the steam rising up could burn your skin. Take the jars out using tongs and place them on a cooling rack. The lids will make a popping noise when they cool. This popping noise will let you know that your can of yummy applesauce is sealed. Let the jars stand overnight.

In the morning take the rings off to check that the lid is sealed. If the lids are sealed replace the rings and put the jars in storage. If the lid is not sealed eat the applesauce right away or throw it out. You now know how to make a jar of grandma’s old fashioned applesauce to enjoy with your family for generations to come.

Louisiana Pecans

These nuts are very light and creamy, filled with nutrients that help you power through the workday. Their exceptional flavor has made them one of the most traditionally popular nuts for sweet confections like the pie and pralines mentioned above. Other varieties of nut can have a slight bitterness due to tannins that offset sweet applications. They are also used in savory dishes, such as crunchy salads or as a crust for fried fish. This incredible versatility makes pecans a top-notch companion to coffee or tea. A smoked nut is a great choice when drinking strong black coffee, or highlight the contrast of the bitterness with a sweet candied variety.

In addition to being naturally delicious, pecans are high in vitamins, protein, healthy fats, and antioxidants. They also have a high amount of vitamin E and a substance called “tocopherol,” which has been connected to a lessened degree of bad cholesterol in the bloodstream. In fact, the American Heart Association has declared pecans a “heart healthy” food! Nuts contain other compounds that can help shield your health from diseases like ALS, cancer, and Alzheimer’s. Those searching to reduce their weight will appreciate a relatively low caloric impact with a filling nutritional profile. If munched alongside tea, your antioxidant intake can double instantly!

If you are seeking to bring more pecan nuts into your diet, the options are close to infinite. You can reduce calories by choosing a handful of raw unsalted nuts for a protein-packed pick-me-up, or choose a decadent chocolate-covered option for those long and trying days. For something a little on the sweet side but not quite sugar-packed, try a variety in a candy shell or cinnamon-spiced dust. For those who are lovers of savory things, try them smoked or cayenne-spiced for something different. No matter what the variety, these wonder nuts are an exceptional alternative choice when the clock ticks to 4 PM and the cookies are calling.

Mooncakes

Background

Traditionally celebrated on the 15th day of the eighth month of the Chinese calendar, the Mid-Autumn Festival is a major holiday across China, Taiwan and Vietnam and is rife with traditions and history. As could be expected, food plays a major role in this autumn holiday.

Traditional Foods

One of the most visible and traditional Mid-Autumn recipes on display is often the mooncake. While many varieties exist, traditional mooncakes have a soft outside crust with a sweet, dense filling in the center. Other foods that are enjoyed during this time are things like pumpkin and taro to bring good health and good luck respectively. Other foods include wine with osmanthus flower and river snails, each of these are also tied to lore bringing happiness and bright eyes to those who consume them during the festival.

Simple mooncakes

Making mooncakes along with other Mid-Autumn recipes can be quite a challenge without access to traditional ingredients or mixes. In order to easily make this recipe, stopping by an Asian grocery will help speed up the process. Try to pick up ingredients like golden syrup, alkaline water, melon seeds, along with whatever fillings you’re considering for your traditional mooncakes. Another thing that should be picked up at any Asian market is a mooncake mould. They come in a variety of shapes and designs, so pick a few that could add a pleasant variety to your display.

Once you have picked up your ingredients, it’s time to make the filling and dough. For the filling to do ratio, consider this ratio 7 parts filling: 3 parts dough. That should give you an idea of how much to make when planning different types of filling.

Filling (feel free to make your own variations):

  • 14 oz. (400g Package) Lotus Seed Paste
  • 1.5 oz. (around 40g) Melon Seeds

Dough:

  • 1 Cup All-Purpose Flour
  • 1 / 2 Tsp Alkaline Water
  • 5 Tsp Vegetable Oil
  • 5 Tbsp Golden Syrup

To make the dough, first mix together the alkaline water with syrup. Stir in the oil and mix until they are completely blended. In a separate bowl, add the flour and make a well where you will stir in the syrup mixture. Mix the dough until it forms a loose dough. From there, knead and shape the dough into a round ball and wrap in plastic wrap. Let this dough refrigerate for at least two hours.

While the dough is resting, mix together the lotus seed paste and the melon seeds. Separate the mixture into two tablespoon portions and shape into balls. Set the balls of filling aside for later.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Divide the dough into.5oz portions and shape into a ball. Roll each ball into a small disc with some flour about two inches in diameter. Place a ball of filling in the center of the dough and shape into a ball and dust well with flour. Add the ball to the mould and press out the mooncake. Add to a baking sheet. Spray them lightly with water to prevent cracking and bake for 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and let them stand on the baking sheet for ten minutes before moving them. Make a quick egg wash and cover the mooncakes before returning them to the oven for another 15 minutes. Remove the mooncakes and let them cool.