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Herbs and Nutrients
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More Dieting Ideas

 


Food and Drink:

Tips to enhance your eating experiences. Making it easier to prepare, tastier and better for you.

Sweet Treat at the Barbecue: Take a banana split it down the middle and fill with marshmallow, wrap in foil, leaving a small hole in top. Remove when marshmallow is right consistency (monitored through hole in top). - Barry McDonnell

Non-Stick Baking Tray - to make a baking tray non-stick coat thinly with vegetable oil - -olive will do, and coat with flour. shake off the flower and away you go - Terry V

Brussels Sprouts - Cut a small cross in the bottom of the sprout and speed up cooking time  - Regards -- Dianne Dimke

Kitchen and Carving Knives - Many good chefs and cooks use carbon steel knives (so did Hannibal Lecter) the blades can get a bit dull and stained, however you can brighten them up with half a potato dipped in sodium bicarbonate. Rub each side for half a minute and it will come up nice and shiny. Carbon steel can take and keep an edge. To sharpen them I use a diamond Lap obtained from a specialist tool shop. I have two, one is medium and the other fine. James A Mohammed St Ives UK

Mussels - do not wrap your live mussels, they could suffocate - never freeze and do observe the sell by date, discard mussels that do not close when given a sharp tap and discard the ones that do not fully open after cooking. Regards -- Dianne Dimke

Using the Microwave. - When Microwaving food on the plate that is to be used to serve up the food make sure that the plate has been heated before the food is placed on it. If the pate is cold then it will suck much of the heat away. I use hot or boiling water to heat the plate up before use. - Davina Martin

Removing the Top of a Jar - If the top of a jar refuses to budge put an elastic band around it and you will find it improves your grip making it much easier to remove ~~ Regards Dianne Dimke 13 June 2005

Cake Crumbs: Fed up with the cake or other crumbly food disintegrating when you cut it? Use a wetted knife. ~~ Wendy Quinn 01 June 2005

Pasta , add a lapsang souchong tea bag to water when boiling pasta, gives it a really nice smokey taste.. Steve Clarke 31 Jan 2004

Decaffeinating Tea  - Although tea contains about one-third the caffeine there is in coffee, and some teas are already decaffeinated, you can remove most of the caffeine from any tea by steeping it for about a minute, discarding the liquid and adding water to steep it again. ~~  Sylvia PF   21 Sep 2002

Cream. If you don’t have single cream, a mixture of milk and melted butter is a useful substitute. To 4 units of milk, add one unit of melted butter. - Jonny Koh, Washington.

Keeping fresh coffee in the fridge or freezer preserves the taste ~~ Wendy Quinn ; Kuala Lumpur Malaysia

Filling Devilled Eggs: After boiling your eggs, and cutting in half - scoop out the yolks and make your filling for the eggs. Put the mixture in a ziplock baggie. Then - making sure the bag is sealed - cut one corner of the bottom of the bag. Squeeze the filling into the halved egg whites - simple & easy -! When all egg halves are filled - simply throw the baggie away. No more trying to fit a spoon into those small holes of an egg! :) Martha 

An easy way to get the "paper" off of garlic without peeling is to smash the clove with the palm of your hand, the garlic will slide right of the "paper". So much easier than spending all that time peeling. ~~ "kelly" Sep 2002

Store sugar with vanilla pods, lemon zest, rose petals, or lavender to give it a nice flavor. ~~ Darryl Edwards. 

Soften Brown Sugar by covering the container with a damp cloth. Some people use a small piece of bread ~~ Darryl Edwards.

 Baking with Flour: If you run out of self raising flour, the general rule is 2.5 teaspoons of baking powder to 250g (1 lb.) of plain flour. ~~ Scott Ed.

Cake Mixes: How to use cake mixes and add other ingredients to make it taste like homemade: '... Use a white cake mix. One can of Cherry pie filling or 2 depending on the quantity you are making. Spread the cake mix over the pie filling. Cut up one cube of marj. or butter and place though out the top of the cake mix. Bake at 350 degrees for about 40 minutes. It's fabulous. "Dump Cake" Top with whipping cream. They will think you slaved and it was simple... 'Jan Tani

A cocktail stick or toothpick can be used to test whether a cake is ready, If it comes out clean then the cake is ready. You can also tell from the elasticity of the crust ~~ Helen Budkiewicz Toronto Canada

Bread: it is so lovely to make your own bread, and I find that brushing the bread with salty water before baking gives it a lovely crunchy topping. ~~ Maggie Renton, Athens, Georgia, USA

Fruit Pies: I find that tossing the fruit in flour stops the pastry at the bottom of the pie from getting soggy. Also when making cakes with glace cherries toss the cherries in flour first.


Coffee:
Check out our Coffee page

An interesting fact is that raw blackcurrants, and kiwi fruit contain more vitamin C than oranges. Green bananas go yellow quicker if there are ripe bananas with them ~~ Robbie Gill Heston England

Dates: if you are dieting, natural dates contain only half of the sugar of the sun-dried variety you get in boxes. ~~ A Husaini, London W6 

Lemons: when squeezing lemon, if you put them in the microwave for half a minute makes them release more juice. ~~ Comi Ed 

Vegetables 

Carrots are easier to peel if they are briefly blanched in boiling water. – Essie 2000. 

A drop of lemon/lime juice will stop the browning (caused by oxidation) of vegetables or fruit ~~ Anon. 

Lettuce should never be cut, but torn instead – Vanessa Echols 

Cook vegetables quickly and in a closed pot with only 5cm or so of water. Taste an color are better this way ~~ Bruce Snyder England Dec 98

Before you peel your onion heat it up in the microwave for one minute. No tears, I guarantee ~~ Bruce Snyder Radlett England

Meat 

Excess gravy can be frozen and used for stocks and sauces later on. Poultry: I found that my turkey or game casserole is even nicer when I add just a little bitter chocolate. I never tell the people eating it though. ~~ Anon. 

Herbs/Spices Keep fresh herbs, and fresh spices such a root ginger in the freezer to stop them going off. The ginger or garlic can be grated into the food while still frozen ~~ Darryl Edwards, UK, Jul 98.

Chew some parsley after eating garlic to sweeten your breath– Wendy Quinn Kuala Lumpur Jun 98. 

 Chili Peppers: Check out our Chillies Page

Wear gloves when chopping hot peppers, always wash your hands after touching them, and never rub your eyes or touch other parts of the body when handling them as they will burn and sting. ~~ Sara Sutherland age 10 

If you’ve overdone the spices in a dish, a bit of sugar will balance it out. Lemon juice helps, as does putting in half a lemon cooking for a few minutes then removing ~~ Rathna Ali London England. 

Spices should be roasted and cooked for a few minutes before cooking the rest of the dish to get the most of the flavours, and remove the really choking burning sensation if they are hot. ~~ Rathna Ali London England. 

Herbs

Dried Herbs. The general rule of thumb is one tablespoon of fresh herbs is equivalent to one teaspoon of dried ones. - Anthony Daniels, Los Angeles  

Eggs

eggs, boiled. ~~ Boiling water hardens the protein in egg whites. To avoid this, cover eggs with 3" of salted water, heat to boiling, turn off stove and let sit for 20 minutes in the hot water. Run under cold water for easier peeling. Bill Shockley San Francisco, CA. ~~  

Boiling Eggs using boiling water: Soft boiling takes 6 minutes, hard boiled eggs take 10 minutes.~~ Wendy Quinn   Kuala Lumpur

Shelling Boiled Eggs: Use a wetted teaspoon, it has just the right curvature and slips under the shell ~~ Davina

To test eggs for freshness put in cold salty water, and bad ones will float to the top. – Wendy Quinn   Kuala Lumpur

If you accidentally break an egg onto the floor put some salt onto it, leave for 10 minutes, and then the egg is much easier to pick up as it had clotted. – Bonnie Pacifico 

Boiling eggs : Eggs that are cracked may be boiled by wrapping them tightly in aluminum foil before placing them in the water – Ricardo Bos 

Egg Whites: To stiffen egg whites I find that adding a pinch of salt or cream of tartar does the trick. ~~ Michael Goldstock, USA 

To discourage cracking It is best to perforate your eggs before boiling them. Sausages too, like to be perforated. ~~ Dave Ed

Need Boiled Eggs for recipes. Whenever I need boiled eggs  for a recipe or a salad ,instead of the nuisance of boiling eggs and the frustration of peeling them, I use one of those poached egg cookers (found at any large discount store) and cook the eggs in the microwave. Within a minute or less, I have a perfectly cooked egg for chopping without the shell mess. Great for when you need only one or two boiled eggs. ~~ Nancy Collins  
 

Seafood

Fresh Caught Fish - Nothing tastes better than fish frewsh from the ocean, however fish if allowed to die slowly build up lactic acid in their flesh, so for better tasting, longer lasting and less smelly fish you should kill your catch straight away. For sushi and sashimi the Japanese spike the brain. My preferred method is to rapidly cut off the head using a very sharp knife ~~ DM

 Cooking fish: When shallow frying fish always coat in seasoned flour or egg as it holds the fish together and keeps it moist. ~~ Kay Chan. 

Mussels: with live mussels clean first by scrubbing, remove the beards and barnacles with a knife, rinse several times in cold water and soak them a couple of hours so they clean themselves. Any mussels that float should be discarded along with any with cracked shells. Any mussels with open shells should be tapped, if they don’t close these should be discarded. Make sure they open when cooking, and keep stirring because they may have trouble opening if they are too packed together. To remove grit from the cooking liquor sieve through muslin or use a (clean) sock. - - Anon 

Tartar Sauce. A quick way of making a nice substitute sauce is by adding 7 tablespoons of mayonnaise to 2 tablespoons of chopped mixed pickles. - Shelia MacDonald

Eating Lobster. Use electricians side cutters (sterile) instead of the conventional mallet. Jaz D

Rice

Don't settle for any Risotto rice, there are several varieties, my favorite is Carnaroli. it is less sticky than Arborio and it usually tastes more like the rice I am used to. My local store stocks Vialone Nano risotto rice which is similar in texture but is shorter and the ones I have tried have been a bit blander than the others. ~~ Scott Ed

Other rices to use for Risotto are; Baldo, Roma or Arborio. Viale Nano can also be used in Minestrone soup and is the best one to use in timbales (dry rice dishes). Carnarole takes a little longer to cook; 18-20 minutes whereas Viale Nano is ready in 14-15 minutes. 

Risotto (and Paella): When making Risotto you must have the stock pre-heated so as not to interrupt the cooking process and the stock should be added gradually while gently stirring. If using wine it should be added before the stock. As with Paella, the rice should be gently fried before adding the stock, a little onion, herbs and spices should be added before the rice and be patient when adding the stock. Slowly does it and test continuously. Remember that rice will cook after heat is taken away so stop before it is fully cooked.  ~~ S. Ed 

Pans

Many top chefs never wash their frying pans. They scour them with salt and some-times salt and oil. One chef I know used to "condition" his pan by raising to a high temperature with just salt, and then, when it had cooled some, he got rid of the excess salt, and only then he added the oil ~~ Dave Ed

Knives

The best way to look after your kitchen knives is to use a set of diamond laps; these can be bought fron a good tool shop. -- R J Snyder

A weird but irresitable foodie site: Wildrecipes

 

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