Buying a Christmas Gift for Someone Who Loves their Kitchen

Cooking Equipment
For people who love food and cooking, a present for their kitchen could well be top of their list this Christmas. A present of this nature will show that you’re thoughtful and have really put some consideration into their interests. Here are some of out top ideas for the foodie in your life in 2016: A mixer. These highly sought-after appliances are all the rage with bakers. They have a range of features, come in many different colours and will look gorgeous in any kitchen. Be warned though, they usually don’t come cheap. If you decide to go down this route, look to get yourself a Christmas bargain. Cookery books. Ask them about recipes that they like or chefs they enjoy watching on tv and find a book that matches their interests. Even in the age of the internet, people still love a good recipe book. A coffee machine. For anybody who loves a good-quality coffee to wake them up in the morning, a coffee machine will be the perfect gift. The technology behind these has really come Keep reading

A Quick Guide to Steaming Vegetables

Cooking Techniques
Steaming your vegetables is a quick and simple process. You can get food on the table in no time at all, and it will still remain tasty and nutritious. In order to get the best results from steaming, there are a few things you should think about. What are you going to use for your steaming? The easiest thing to do is buy a steaming set, which will come with everything you need. If you don’t have one though, it’s easy to improvise. You can use a heat-proof colander over a pan of boiling water. Just make sure the veg is covered and doesn’t go into the water, otherwise this is the same as boiling and you will lose valuable nutrients. Is your veg cut up properly? It will need to be chopped up into similarly-sized pieces. Don’t make them too small or too big, otherwise they will cook at the wrong speed, and if they’re different sizes, they will cook unevenly. Do you know how long you should be steaming different vegetables for? Here are some approximate Keep reading

Simple Changes for Healthier Meals

Cooking Techniques
It can be very easy to eat too many foods containing high amounts of fat and sugar, especially if eating takeaways and ready meals. Eating more healthily is about making lifestyle changes, finding ways to replace your unhealthy habits with healthy ones. Here are some inventive ideas to help you swap everyday unhealthy foods with more nutritious alternatives: Use shredded courgette instead of pasta. Simply peel it into long, thin strips and then fry until softened. You can eat it with sauces and dressings in the same way that you would eat pasta. Eat wholemeal bread or wraps instead of brown bread. The seeds contain fibre, and brown bread is made from complex carbohydrates that are good for you and will keep you full for longer. Swap fatty meats for fish of chicken. These will still give you the protein that you need, without the fat. Swap crisps for low fat popcorn. This is still a satisfying and quick food to snack on, but it is much lower in calories. Choose natural, home-made food instead of processed options. Keep reading

Making Your Own Pasta From Scratch

It can be very rewarding to make your own pasta. It can be a little fiddly, but overall, the recipe isn’t difficult and you will get the hang of making it very quickly. Ingredients 1 large egg 100g pasta flour 1/2 teaspoon salt Method Combine the flour and salt. Beat the egg, then mix it into the flour. Once well combined, knead the mixture for around 5-10 minutes to form a stiff dough. Cover the dough in clingfilm and leave to rest for about half an hour. Unwrap the dough and divide it into two. These will be your pasta portions. Roll it out, making it as thin as possible. You will want to flour the work surface and rolling pin before you begin. Keep adding more flour as required. Alternatively, you can use a pasta machine to make sure the sheets are uniformly thin. Cut the pasta into whatever shape you want, e.g. sheets for lasagne, or strips for tagliatelle. Cook the pasta for 4-5 minutes in boiling water.  

Cooking Knives – a Breakdown of the Different Types

Cooking Equipment
Chefs and ambitious cooks alike will probably have many different types of knife. They’re one of the most integral pieces of cooking equipment and will serve a multitude of purposes. The one you select will depend entirely on what you’re cooking and how it needs to be prepared. Here is a summary of the different kinds of cooking knives and how they can be used: Serrated edge kitchen knife – the serrated blade will give more grip, so this kind of knife can be used to cut things like meat and hard vegetables. Straight edge kitchen knife – use this for slicing. It will give you a precise cut and is best used for foods like salmon. Paring knife – you will be able to get a range of paring knives with different blade shapes and sizes. They are generally used for more delicate slicing work and can be useful when slicing tomatoes. Bread knife – as the name suggests, this is the perfect knife to cut bread. It will easily cut through thick crusts using a backwards Keep reading