Spices

Published October 21, 2013 by chio masundire

Spices are the buds, fruits, flowers, seeds, bark and roots of plants and trees, many of which grow in tropical climates. Spices are plants with spiky tufts or heads, equivalent to spikes. Spices are pungent or aromatic substances of vegetable origin.

A FEW TIPS:
-Store spices in a cool place, tightly covered in opaque containers. Heat, light and moisture deteriorate herbs and spices rapidly.
-Don’t use stale spices and herbs, and don’t buy more than you can use in 6 months.whole spices keep longer than ground spices, but both loose much flavor after 6 months.
-Be cautious after you have replaced older spices. The fresher products are more potent, so the amount you used before might now be too much.
-Whole spices take longer to release flavor than ground spices, so allow for adequate cooking time.
-Whole herbs or spices for flavoring liquid should be tied loosely in a pice of cheese cloth (called a bouquet or sachet) for easy removal.
-When in doubt use less than you think you need. You can always add more.
-Except for dishes like curry or chili, the spices should not dominate. Often they should not even be evident. If you can taste the nutmeg in creamed spinach, there is probably too much nutmeg.
-Herbs and spices added to uncooked foods such as salads and dressings need several hours for flavors to be released and blended.
-Taste foods before serving. Adjust seasonings.

Some spices are ( and what to use them for):
1) all spice: pickles, relishes, cakes, cookies, pot-roast, stew and meatloaf.
2) cardamon: marinade, coffee, bread, Swedish meatballs, mulled wine and cake.
3) cinnamon: cakes and cookies
4) cloves: ham, tea, mulled wine, chutney, pickles, soups, cookies, cakes boiled and soups.
5) curry powder: curry, eggs, marinade and sauce.
6) ginger: cookies, cakes, puddings, pot roast, fruit, sweet potatoes, squash and carrots.
7) nutmeg: eggnog, compote, spice cake, apple sauce, meatloaf and spinach.
8) pepper: White; with sausages, pale-colored foods and sauces.
Black; with dark sauces, red meats, salads.
Cayenne pepper; in some sauces used sparingly.

Home made

Published October 21, 2013 by chio masundire

If you are anything like me then you love to get down and dirty in the kitchen. Well, as long as the ‘dirty’ is kept to a minimum. I get this feeling when i make something from scratch. I love watching it all come together. The smells, the feel, the look. Love it.

Enjoy

Homemade Apple Sauce

Prep Time30 min
Cook Time1 hr 30 min
Total Time2 hr

Ingredients
2 large navel oranges, zested and juiced
1 lemon, zested and juiced
3 pounds Granny Smith apples (about 6 to 8 apples)
3 pounds sweet red apples, such as Macoun, McIntosh, or Winesap (about 6 to 8 apples)
1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
Throw in a cinnamon stick or two, if you have them

Instructions
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.
Place the zest and juice of the oranges and lemon in a large dutch oven.
Peel, quarter, and core the apples (reserving the peel of 2 of the red apples) and toss them in the juice.
Add the brown sugar, butter, cinnamon, and allspice and cover the pot.
Bake for 1 1/2 hours, or until all the apples are soft. Remove and discard the red apple peel.
Mix with a whisk until smooth, and serve warm or at room temperature.

For more, click in the link below..

http://a-life-from-scratch.com/fall-pot/

Classic bruschetta

Published August 20, 2012 by chio masundire

The sweetness of the little tomatoes is perfectly balanced by the goat cheese and balsamic vinegar. The basil adds another interesting note, and is complemented nicely by the freshly ground pepper. All on top of crusty french bread perfection.

I would serve this bruschetta as an appetizer to any Italian meal, though it would be perfect to nibble on during wine night!

Ingredients

1 french baguette
10 oz. cherry or grape tomatoes; (or one package of these)
4 tbsp. olive oil
1 tbsp . bacon drippings
2 tsp. balsamic vinegar
2 sprigs fresh basil
1 tbsp. minced garlic
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Serves: 4-6

Instructions

Slice baguette diagonally into half-inch-thick slices.
Combine 1 tbsp. bacon drippings and 3 tbsp. olive oil in a microwaveable dish or coffee mug. Heat for about 25 sec. in the microwave. Brush or spread oil mixture both sides of bread slices.
Heat a cast-iron or non-stick skillet over medium to low heat. After pan is sufficiently heated, toast bread until both sides are slightly browned.
Meanwhile…
Roughly dice and drain tomatoes. After tomatoes have been deseeded and drained of excess juice, combine in mixing bowl with 1 tbsp. olive oil, 2 tsp. balsamic vinegar, garlic. Stir well and set aside.
To finish…
After bread has toasted, spread with goat’s cheese. Top with tomatoes, sprinkle with basil, sea salt, and generously season with black pepper.
Pro Tips

Upgrade to sea salt. Though it does not dissolve well into dishes, it is perfect for this kind of application: a generous sprinkle on top.
The key to this recipe is the freshness of the tomatoes, basil, and ground pepper.

green tea and vanilla pannacotta with chocolate sauce

Published May 31, 2012 by chio masundire

ingredients

• 100ml milk
• 1 vanilla pod, split and seeds removed
• 3 green tea bags or 2 heaped tablespoons of green tea
• 350ml double cream
• 1¼ leaves of beef gelatine, soaked in water
• 70g icing sugar
• 30g caster sugar
• 150ml water
• 1 level tablespoon cocoa powder
• 100g dark chocolate, broken into pieces
method

Pannacotta is a fantastic Italian dessert – it basically means boiled cream. My recipe is half milk and half cream, so it’s not too heavy when it dissolves on your tongue. I’ve used green tea to flavor it, which has no relevance to Italy but works so well, especially with the chocolate sauce.

Put the milk, vanilla pod and seeds, tea bags or tea and half the cream in a small pan and slowly simmer for about 10 minutes until reduced by a third. Remove from the heat and extract the tea bags (put the mixture through a sieve if you’ve used loose tea or your tea bags have burst). Squeeze out the gelatine, discarding the soaking water, then stir the gelatine into the tea mixture and leave to dissolve. Allow to cool a little, then place in the fridge, stirring occasionally until the mixture coats the back of a spoon. Remove the vanilla pod.

Whip together the icing sugar and the remaining cream. Mix the two cream mixtures together. Divide into four metal molds (small glasses or cappuccino cups also work well). Cover and chill for at least an hour.

Meanwhile, place the caster sugar, the water and the cocoa in a small saucepan and bring to the boil. Take off the heat and stir in the broken chocolate. Stir until dissolved and warm briefly before serving.

To serve, sometimes I dip the mold or cup into some simmering water to loosen the pannacotta, then turn it out on to a plate and spoon the chocolate sauce around it, or – especially if you feel the mixture is a bit wet – you can simply serve the dessert in its cup with chocolate sauce poured over the top.

chocolate tiramisu

Published May 31, 2012 by chio masundire

ingredients

for the sponge
• 110g caster sugar
• 4 large eggs, preferably free-range or organic
• 50g unsalted butter, plus extra for greasing
• 85g plain flour
• 30g cocoa powder

for the topping
• 100g good-quality white chocolate
• 2 tablespoons milk
• 250g mascarpone
• 30g caster sugar
• 1 large egg yolk, preferably free-range or organic
• 30ml vin santo (or sweet dessert wine)
• a splash of Tia Maria
• 50ml espresso coffee
• cocoa powder, for dusting
• optional: good-quality dark chocolate (70% cocoa solids), for shaving

method

Inspired by classic tiramisu, this is a slightly less indulgent version that uses home-made chocolate sponge for the base instead of sponge fingers, and has white chocolate in the mascarpone to add a lovely sweetness. With all that extra chocolate, it’s a guaranteed good one for the girls.

Preheat the oven to 180ºC/350ºF/gas 4. Grease and line a large shallow tray (approximately 25cm by 40cm).

In a large bowl, use an electric hand whisk to whiz the sugar and eggs together for about 4 to 5 minutes, or until light and fluffy. Meanwhile, melt the butter in a small pan on a medium heat, then fold it through the sugar and egg mixture with a spatula. Sieve the flour and cocoa powder into the bowl and carefully fold the mixture together in a figure of eight motion. Once combined, spread the cake mixture across your prepared tray so it’s about 1cm thick. Cook for 10 minutes, or until firm and springy to the touch. Leave to cool.

Meanwhile, smash the white chocolate and add it to a glass bowl with milk. Sit it over a pan of gently simmering water, making sure the water doesn’t touch the base of the bowl, and leave to melt, stirring occasionally, until smooth. Leave to cool a little.

Carefully mix the mascarpone with the caster sugar, egg yolk and vin santo. Once combined, fold through the melted white chocolate. The sponge should be fairly cool by now, so tear it into chunks and use it to cover the base of a 20cm by 30cm serving dish in a double layer (don’t worry if it breaks up). Sprinkle over the Tia Maria and drizzle with the espresso and leave those to soak in for a couple of minutes.

Spoon the mascarpone mixture over the top, spreading it out in a fairly even layer. Dust the whole thing with a little cocoa powder, then scatter with some shavings of dark chocolate, if you like. Pop in the fridge until you’re ready to eat.

romantic dinner for 2 recipes: quesadillas with guacamole

Published May 31, 2012 by chio masundire

method

A quesadilla is basically a Mexican-style stuffed pancake, like a toasted sandwich, made with two tortillas sandwiched together with a cheese-based filling. They are warmed through and served with guacamole and sour cream. They are one of my favorite things to eat – Jools and I tend to have them every Saturday because we love them!

To make the guacamole I use 2 or 3 ripe avocados, 2 or 3 ripe deseeded tomatoes and a couple of deseeded red chillies, and I throw all this into a food processor with a handful of peeled and chopped spring onions and a good handful of fresh coriander. Once this has been chopped up nice and fine, I add a couple more chopped tomatoes, a good pinch of salt and half of another avocado, chopped, to give it a nice chunky texture. Transfer everything into a bowl and season carefully with sea salt, freshly ground black pepper and a good squeeze of lemon or lime juice. If you decide to buy ready-made guacamole, which is a bit lazy but probably very realistic, you can put it into a bowl and chirp it up a bit with a squeeze of lemon juice, a little extra salt and a bit of chili to give it a kick.

To fill the quesadillas you will need a couple of big handfuls of grated Cheddar and/or red Leicester cheese, some finely sliced spring onions, a couple of handfuls of chopped fresh coriander, and a red pepper and some red or green chillies all deseeded and finely chopped. Mix all this up in a bowl and then sprinkle half a handful between two layers of tortilla. You can make up 4, 10 or even 20 quesadillas and keep them in the fridge until you need them if you want.

Some people like to fry them in oil, but this makes them greasy and is not all that healthy. You can grill them, but I like to put them in a dry non-stick frying pan on a medium heat, so that after about a minute and a half on each side you are left with a really crispy outside and an oozy, stringy filling. Serve the quesadillas cut into quarters, with the guacamole, sour cream and a beer.

PS You can also posh them up a bit using grilled chicken or seafood, leftover pork, shellfish, or a selection of grilled vegetables.