Wheat

If you were to look closely at an ear of corn, you would see that each grain consists of small spikelets. Looking into each spikelet, the wheat grain is held inside the lemma and the palea. The size and shape of the grain varies in its shape and the size of its hairs. Most of the cultivated variety have fusiform spikes and are easy to thresh. The wheat itself is generally classified based on when it was grown and by the baking quality that it can produce. Throughout the world, most of the wheat that is produced is for human consumption. Due to its many unique properties, a wide range of potential is created through the growing of wheat.

Wheat can be very nutritious, but once again there are several different types. Whole grain wheat can be an excellent source of fiber. The vitamin and mineral contents of wheat based products varies depending on the type of wheat used. The outer layer of the grain contains much of the nutrients, but is unfortunately often removed during the refining process to create cereals. Even still, wheat based products such as bread and flour can have many good nutritious properties. When purchasing these products, take a close look at the ingredients to determine what type of wheat has been used and just how nutritious the product actually is.

Wheat recipesĀ are a rather broad subject, as many different things can be produced from it. A few of the more popular products derived from wheat include cakes, rolls, and breads. By searching online, you can find a host of sources providing detailed instruction into what you will need for the perfect wheat recipes. If you are looking for something especially nutritious, or a savory for dessert, there is no shortage of meals that can be made off of wheat. The world of bread may be considered by some to be especially fascinating as there are hundreds of different types available on the market. A quick trip down to the local bakery will show just how much is actually available. A typical supermarket only begins to touch the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the vast potential that is available in the area. It is always a good idea to have a few tastes and immense yourself in the world of delicious wheat recipes.

Gluten Free Day Out

Start the day with a filling breakfast to keep your energy levels up so you do not have to stop at a roadside cafe with a limited selection of foods. Gluten free porridge works a treat. Sprinkle on some seeds and nuts, and swirl in a dollop of honey for a healthy, hearty treat to prepare you for a day out. Alternatively, toast a few slices of coeliac friendly bread and top off with your favourite jam or savoury topping.

Nowadays, many cafes and restaurants will either feature gluten free dishes in their menus or be able to offer a coeliac friendly alternative upon request. This makes it a whole lot easier to spend the day outside your home as you needn’t worry about not being able to find somewhere to have breakfast, lunch or dinner. Even bakeries and tea rooms are likely to offer at least one gluten free cake or pastry so treat yourselves to elevenses or afternoon tea.

If booking a table in advance, which is advisable, particularly at weekends, let the staff member know about your special requirements and they will ensure the kitchen is prepared in advance with gluten free products stocked and ready for your arrival.

Sadly, some places have been slower to respond to the needs of gluten intolerant foodies. This is particularly true in small villages and towns with limited supplies. Also, some foreign countries are less aware of coeliac disease.

Alternatively, in nice weather it is always lovely to have a picnic in the great outdoors. Fortunately, there is now plenty of gluten free food which comes in convenient packaging to slip into your picnic basket or backpack.

Oatcakes make a nice alternative to bread and come in pocket-sized packaging. Bring along some homemade dips like hummus, taramasalata, salsa or guacamole and fresh, pre-prepared vegetables to dip into the sauce for a light, refreshing but energising snack. For a little something heavier, pack some lunch meats but be careful not to keep them outside the ice box or fridge for too long in hot weather. This applies to the dips too.

Gourmet Cookery Basics

Genuine gold leaf garnishes do not add or take away from the taste of the dish at all; they are used entirely for their visual appeal.

Using gold leaf in luxury gourmet preparations

  • Luxury confectionery items such as special-occasion cakes and desserts also make use of edible gold leaf garnishes. The gold leaf used in these needs to be genuine and unalloyed, unlike that used in jewelry or other decorative, non-edible purposes.
  • Edible leaf garnishes are increasingly being utilized by experienced chefs as well as relative novices at cooking and bakery. As is the case with most specialized ingredients, this leaf too needs to be used with some skill and expertise.
  • Edible gold consists of highly purified gold metal brought down to the thickness of a few microns across. A single careless or mistaken touch is all that it needs to be displaced or get lost on the user’s skin or stick to an unintended place on your gourmet dish or confection or candy.
  • Edible gold is also available in flake form. But the sheet form is more useful when covering larger surface areas. The flake form may come in more useful when decorating eating surfaces with bits and flakes of gold, or to give an overall shimmer. Special-occasion drinks such as champagne and specialty wines or desserts may be flecked with edible gold flakes.
  • Because it is made of genuine gold metal, edible leaf preparations are best used as garnishes. A garnish is usually the last decorative touch given to a dish, before it is served. This rule works for gold leaf as well, because though it is an inert metal, devices such as microwave ovens may react to its shimmering surface if food using edible metal leaf is cooked in it.

Ingesting gold leaf

Such leaf is a non-reactive addition because gold is an inert metal. But to be used in edible preparations, it has to be as purified as possible. For this reason, gold of a high carat value is usually used in edible leaf preparations. Gold of carat value of 22 to 24 is considered pure enough to be used for edible purposes.

In this case, it is ingested by the body harmlessly. It may be impossible to identify genuine gold leaf just by looking at it. Since touching edible gold or silver leaf is next to impossible since it will stick to your fingers, the next best thing to do is to buy it from a trusted source.

If you are catering to a diverse guest list, you may want to ensure that the edible gold leaf you are buying is kosher or halal certified as well. You may find leaf sheet packaged in the form of several sheets within a leaflet. Sizes may vary, but usually, edible leaf will be around or even less than 0.13 microns in breadth.

Eating Insects

Nothing New

While in the West the notion of eating insects make most people squeamish, around 2 billion people in the world already eat insects as part of their everyday diet. And if you think you could never eat them, well think again as you probably already have.

Insects are already present in our diet in food additives such as cochineal (E120) which is made from crushed red beetles and used as a colouring in drinks, cakes, jams, sweets, sausages, ice cream etc…

Shellac is obtained from the secretion of the female lac bug Shellac and used as a Glazing Agent to improve the shine of sweets as well as apples, pears and other fruits Nutritious, sustainable food

In March BBC Four aired a documentary “Can Eating Insects Save the World?” where presenter and food writer Stefan Gates travelled in Asia where eating insects is common. In Cambodia and Thailand insects are not only eaten as a delicacy but also in poorer regions eaten for survival. In some areas insects represent big business bringing profitable incomes to disadvantaged communities.

Gates explains that there are 1,900 edible species of insects. They represent an incredible food resource with 40 tons of insects available for every man on the planet. Insects are high in protein, low in fat and are about 20 times more efficient than beef at producing body mass. Insects could be the ultimate sustainable food source as they reproduce a lot, are fast growing (crickets only take 45 days from egg to fully adult size), require little water or food and produce low CO2 emissions. In bugs infested areas, insects’ “hunters” play also a major role in pest control reducing the need for pesticides and insecticides.

Solution to curbing world hunger?

In the near future we almost certainly will have to change our eating habits. The already strained current food production will need to almost double to feed the 9 billion world population estimated by 2050.

This week the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the UN presented the results of a study of the role of insects in fighting hunger and the world food crisis. The FAO points out that “globally, the most consumed insects are: beetles (31 percent); caterpillars (18 percent); bees, wasps and ants (14 percent); and grasshoppers, locusts and crickets (13 percent). Many insects are rich in protein and good fats and high in calcium, iron and zinc. Beef has an iron content of 6 mg per 100 g of dry weight, while the iron content of locusts varies between 8 and 20 mg per 100 g of dry weight, depending on the species and the kind of food they themselves consume.”

The report also argues that sustainable insect farming might provide a stable low cost protein source and a steady income for poorer Asian countries.

The future of food is a serious problem and while insects are invaluable in preserving our eco systems, their biggest contribution might just be helping the survival of the human species. But first we need to overcome our prejudice towards bugs. Personally after watching Gates’ documentary, I am curious about red ants and crickets. Who knows, as a low fat high protein food The Coleopteran Diet might be the next big thing? A good thing if you ask me, as long as the insects are sustainably sourced of course!

Make Pizza From Scratch

The first thing you’ll want to do is preheat your oven to 425 degrees. The whole thing can be done in about the time it would take to heat a frozen pizza in a regular oven. Your preparation time will be a lot less than it will take for preheating.

Take some flour, with the amount you need depending on how large your meal will be. Some people like taking a mix of white and whole-wheat flour for added texture. Plus, it’s healthier for you as well. Put the flour in a large mixing bowl, add a pinch or two of salt, and shake in a little bit of baking powder. You’ll need to add water but not a lot.

Mix briskly and you’ll notice that the baking power will start to react to the other ingredients and form bubbles. This is important because it will make sure that your dough rises when you put it in the oven. Don’t mix to the point where the bubbles are worked out of the dough. Try to use as few strokes as possible when mixing. More than likely, you’ll have some dry flour left over. If that’s the case, add a little more water and keep mixing until it is all absorbed. You only want enough water so that all the flour is used. If you happen to add too much, just add a bit more flour until the water is gone.

Once you have a small lump of dough that is not sticky, you’ll be done mixing. If it is too sticky, add some flour to the outside and work it in. Fold the dough in half a few times and add a little more flour so that the stickiness goes away. Then, grease a baking pan or coat it with non-stick spray and spread your dough. You could use a rolling pan if you happen to have one, but that won’t be necessary.

Next, add some tomato sauce and your toppings. If you don’t have tomato sauce, spaghetti sauce should work fine. Add some grated cheese and whatever seasonings you like. A lot of people use oregano, thinly sliced onions, mushrooms, and olive oil. Use whatever you think sounds good.

Early Copper Stills

Distillation is a process of physically separating units and is not in any way a chemical reaction. Distillation as a commercial process or using copper stills has a slew of applications. For one it is utilized to separate crude oil into specific fractions for various uses. Water for instance is distilled in order to remove any of its impurities.

As an example seawater is separated from salt. Air is also distilled to separate oxygen argon and nitrogen for industrial purposes. The process of fermenting distilled solutions has long been used in ancient times in order to create distilled beverages with a high alcohol content.

The history of distillation

The initial evidence of the distillation process or an early form of copper stills was seen from alchemists in Ancient Greece during the 1st century AD in Alexandria. Also distilled water has long been in existence since c. 200 when the process was described by Alexander of Aphrodisias.

Arabs later learned the distillation process using copper stills from Egyptians who used distillation extensively in their experiments. During the 12th century a solid evidence of alcohol distillation or an early form of a whiskey still was seen from the School of Salermo.

Meanwhile the 13th century is where Tadeo Alderotti developed fractional distillation. In the 1500’s Hieronymus Braunschweig – a German alchemist – published The Book of the Art of Distillation Liber de arte destillandi. It is considered as the first discovered book exclusively dedicated to the topic of distillation. This was followed by an expanded version published in 1512.

Early types of distillation involved batch processes via a single vaporization and condensation. Purity was further improved through distilling the condensate. More volume was processed through repetition. Chemists were said to produce more than 500 distillations to acquire a pure compound.

During the 19th century, modern techniques involved reflux and pre-heating. In the year 1830, a patent was given to Aeneas Coffey by the British for a whiskey column. This has been said to be the archetype of petrochemical modern units.

Exotic Fresh Food

  • To make herbs last longer, trim Ā½ inch of its stem and immerse the herbs in a glass of water. Cover it with a plastic bag and place it in the refrigerator. The water has to be changed every two to three days. Asparagus, limp celery and broccoli can also be stored similarly in large jars.
  • Corn should be consumed without much delay as their sugars turn into starch. But if the delay is not avoidable then it is wise to not remove its husk until its ready to cook. Corn should be refrigerated in a wet paper bag placed in a plastic bag.
  • Lettuce can be refrigerated for over a week’s time when washed, trimmed and rolled in paper towels and stored.
  • Berries spoil quickly. Soak them for five minutes in a bowl of 3 cups of water and 1 cup vinegar. This treatment kills bacteria and mold spores which cause the berries to rot. Drain, rinse and dry them on paper towel. Then store them in paper lined containers.
  • Food and produces should always be stored in well ventilated bags to avoid spoilage.
  • Wipe moisture from fruits and vegetables before refrigeration.
  • Refrigerated Carrots last for a month when kept moist, wrapped in plastic.
  • Peeled potatoes, apples, pears should be stored under water with 1-2 tablespoons of vinegar to avoid browning.
  • When radishes and carrots lose their crunch place them in a bowl of iced water with a piece of raw potato and watch them freshen up within minutes.
  • Hang bananas from a hook to prevent accelerated ripening that occurs when bananas touch surfaces.
  • Cheese should be removed from its original packing, wrapped in a cloth sprinkled well with cider vinegar to avoid molding and rewrapped in plastic or wax paper and sealed in a plastic bag.
  • In order to make cottage cheese or sour cream last longer, place the container upside down in the fridge. This creates a vacuum that inhibits the growth of bacteria that causes food to spoil.
  • Eggs which are fresh sink in water and bad ones float.
  • Wine or champagne that’s gone flat can be restored by dropping a raisin or two into its bottle. The natural sugars will work magic.

You will not only save money by throwing away less food but also retain the nutritive value of these foods for longer by practicing these simple steps for preserving food for long.

Cornish Sea Salt

One of the ancient practices in the area was harvesting salt from the sea and using it for curing meat as well as selling to others. Traditional methods were always used but the practise unfortunately died out and it was not resurrected until after the millennium. At this point there was one man who wanted to change his life; that man was Tony Fraser. Looking for a new business idea, he went through a huge number of ideas before, by chance, hearing about an old salt works that used to exist on the Lizard Peninsula. Inspired by this, he decided that this was the path for him and Cornish Sea Salt was formed.

It took four years for the business to get off the ground, set up the necessary methods and start producing sea salt to a satisfactory standard. So in 2008 the first pots were ready to be sold and really it’s been a success story since. As well as being stocked locally, it has been bought up by huge national supermarkets and has even been used by famous chefs such as Hugh Fearnly-Whittingstall. The company has been expanding ever since and now there are a number of flavours of salt available, expanding the range and appeal to more and more people.

One of the most fascinating aspects of the whole venture is the way that it is produced. Of course the old method of using clay pots and fires is no longer practical; however, they do use a natural process that uses a mix of new and old technology. The harvesting plant is based right next to the sea, ensuring that it’s about as fresh as you can get. Firstly the pumped in water goes through three filters and a UV treatment to remove any impurities.

After this it is brought down to concentrated brine, heated and then the salt crystals form. These are then hand-harvested to produce what ends up on our tables. Any water left at the end is returned to the sea, ensuring that there is as minimal effect on the environment as possible. And with low energy usage at the top of their agenda, it is incredibly environmentally friendly. While this means that the process is slightly longer, it results in a much better product and a great image for the company.

Colorado Produce

The great Western Slope is where the most produce comes from. You have your famous Palisade peaches, Olathe sweet corn, and Grand Junction tomatoes. The peaches are so big and sweet compared to a California peach, it’s a night and day difference! Why are they so much better? Farmers swear its the hot dry sunny days and the cool crisp night’s combined with the soil and water from the snow pack of the Rockies. The weather can be very dangerous to the produce in spring. Mainly cherries and apricots because they start to bloom when the weather can still freeze. If the temp hits 27 degrees or below say goodbye to your Colorado cherries and apricots. There is also some great wineries on the western slope. I have yet to try the Palisade peach wine but I hear it is amazing. Colorado’s wine industry, contributed more than $40 million to the state’s economy during the 2012 growing season, according to a new study conducted by Colorado State University.

The plains of Colorado can grow some amazing fruits and veggies also. Ranging from all kinds of lettuce to the famous Rocky Ford melons. Certain areas of the state produces better fruit and veggies depending on what and where it is. Rocky Ford melons prove this because the town is in the southwestern part of the state, which is on the plains.

Some folks will only eat Brighton’s famous peaches and cream corn and some will only eat Olathe’s sweet corn. Both are grown in two separate parts of the state. I guess it’s what you grew up eating or started eating first, cause both are great. The peaches and cream kernels are crisp compared to Olathe’s corn which is a softer kernel.

Taste of Pepper Best With an Electric Pepper Mill

The flavor of fresh ground peppercorns is used in creating tasteful dishes in many types of cooking. To keep their flavor intact, you can easily go for the electric pepper mill, an effective mini grinding machine that can easily grind pepper and many other spices. The machine can be used to grind raw peppercorns and create a finished powdered form in just a few seconds. The mill is generally electrically operated and can be used to create sufficient amounts of powdered spices with it.

The taste of the pepper is best when ground fresh. The small corns of pepper actually store the fragrance and flavor inside them. When they are ground using an electric pepper grinder, they release these elements and using them on any kind of dish generally enhances the flavor. If you are getting the packaged powdered pepper from the market it will be fully effective only until their first use. After the seal is broken and the ground pepper comes in contact with the air it begins to lose its fragrance. That is why chefs use fresh ground pepper when cooking.

If you are using an electric pepper grinder then you can easily grind your own peppercorns as needed. You can grind as much pepper as needed so that there is no waste.

An electric pepper mill is an effective appliance whose presence in a kitchen makes cooking easier. The instant grinding that the grinder provides quality that can be directly used in your cooking. It also becomes cheaper this way as packaged peppers costs more than peppercorns. Since you will be buying the latter one and will be grinding them using your mill, you save money through this process. Thus, you can prepare even tastier food with the help of these home appliances.