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Top 10 Cooking Tips

  1. Preserve the nutrients and colors in veggies. Cook them quickly by steaming or stir-frying. 
  2. Use herbs, vinegar, tomatoes, onions and/or fat-free or low-fat sauces or salad dressings for better health, especially if you have high blood pressureor high cholesterol. 
  3. Use your time and your freezer wisely. When you cook once, make it last longer by preparing enough for several other meals. Freeze it and have a ready-made healthy treat for the next time you are simply too tired to bother. 
  4. A smoothie can cover a multitude of needs. Throw a banana (you can keep them in the freezer for weeks) into your blender along with frozen berries, kiwi or whatever fruit is around, some orange or other 100% juice, some fat-free or low-fat yogurt. You can get 4–5 servings of fruit in one glass of yummy shake. Try getting your loved one to sip on a smoothie. It’s easy, cool, refreshing and healthy. 
  5. Prepared seasonings can have high salt content and increase your risk for high blood pressure. Replace salt with herbs and spices or some of the salt-free seasoning mixes. Use lemon juice, citrus zest or hot chilies to add flavor. 
  6. Canned, processed and preserved vegetables often have very high sodium content. Look for “low-sodium” veggies or try the frozen varieties. Compare the sodium content on the Nutrition Facts label of similar products (for example, different brands of tomato sauce) and choose the products with less sodium. If you buy canned, rinse veggies under cold water to reduce the level of sodium. 
  7. Prepare muffins and quick breads with less saturated fat and fewer calories. Use three ripe, very well-mashed bananas, instead of 1/2 cup butter, lard, shortening or oil or substitute one cup of applesauce per one cup of these fats. 
  8. Choose whole grain for part of your ingredients instead of highly refined products. Use whole-wheat flour, oatmeal and whole cornmeal. Whole-wheat flour can be substituted for up to half of all-purpose flour. For example, if a recipe calls for 2 cups of flour, try 1 cup all-purpose flour and 1 cup minus 1 tablespoon whole-wheat flour. 
  9. In baking, use plain fat-free or low-fat yogurt or fat-free or low-fat sour cream. 
  10. Another way to decrease the amount of fat and calories in your recipes is to use fat-free milk or 1% milk instead of whole or reduced-fat (2%) milk. For extra richness, try fat-free half-and-half or evaporated skim milk.

Seven foods that will naturally cleanse your liver

by: (NaturalNews)

The primary way in which your body expels toxins is via the liver, which detoxifies and cleanses your body by continuously filtering the blood of poisons that enter it through the digestive tract, the skin, and the respiratory system. But when your liver becomes overworked as a result of stress or excessive exposure to toxins, your entire system can be thrown off balance, and your health severely compromised.

Since the liver is also responsible for producing bile, another form of detoxification that is metabolically necessary for the breakdown and assimilation of fats and proteins from your food, it is exceedingly important that your liver be properly maintained. Without a well-functioning liver, your body will be unable to cleanse itself and absorb nutrients, which is a recipe for a health disaster.

The thousands of enzyme systems that are responsible for virtually every body activity are constructed in the liver,” writes Dr. Karl Maret, M.D., about the importance of vibrant liver function. “The proper functioning of the eyes, the heart, the brain, the gonads, the joints, and the kidneys, are all dependent on good liver activity.”

If the liver is impaired from constructing even one of the thousands of enzyme systems the body requires, there is an impairment in overall body function and a resultant greater metabolic stress on the individual.”

So here are seven important foods you may want to begin incorporating into your diet in order to maintain a healthy liver.

Garlic, grapefruit, green tea, and green vegetables

Garlic contains numerous sulfur-containing compounds that activate the liver enzymes responsible for flushing out toxins from the body. This bulbous relative of the onion also contains allicin and selenium, two powerful nutrients proven to help protect the liver from toxic damage, and aid it in the detoxification process.

Grapefruit is rich in natural vitamin C and antioxidants, two powerful liver cleansers. Like garlic, grapefruit contains compounds that boost the production of liver detoxification enzymes. It also contains a flavonoid compound known as naringenin that causes the liver to burn fat rather than store it (http://www.dailymail.co.uk).

Green tea is loaded with catechins, a type of plant antioxidant that has been shown in studies to eliminate liver fat accumulation and promote proper liver function (http://www.nature.com/ijo/journal/v26/n11/abs/0802141a.html). This powerful herbal beverage also protects the liver against toxins that would otherwise accumulate and cause serious damage.

Leafy green vegetables such as bitter gourd, arugula, dandelion greens, spinach, mustard greens, and chicory also contain numerous cleansing compounds that neutralize heavy metals, which can bear heavily on the liver. Leafy greens also eliminate pesticides and herbicides from the body, and spur the creation and flow of cleansing bile.

Avocados, walnuts, and turmeric

Rich in glutathione-producing compounds, avocados actively promote liver health by protecting it against toxic overload, and boosting its cleansing power (http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2000/12/001219074822.htm). Some research has shown that eating one or two avocados a week for as little as 30 days can repair a damaged liver.

Walnuts, which contain high levels of l-arginine, an amino acid, glutathione, and omega-3 fatty acids, also help detoxify the liver of disease-causing ammonia. Walnuts also help oxygenate the blood, and extracts from their hulls are often used in liver-cleansing formulas.

Turmeric, one of the most powerful foods for maintaining a healthy liver, has been shown to actively protect the liver against toxic damage, and even regenerate damaged liver cells. Turmeric also boosts the natural production of bile, shrinks engorged hepatic ducts, and improves overall function of the gallbladder, another body-purifying organ.


Sources for this article include:

FOOD PHOTOGRAPHY by MOHAMMED AL-SALEH on Flickr.

FOOD PHOTOGRAPHY by MOHAMMED AL-SALEH on Flickr.

Prawn Bhajis 

Prawn bhajis are delicious little snacks that you will probably have to make a double batch of. The prawn and fresh fresh herbs compliment each other so perfectly that you will need every ounce of willpower not to hide them from everybody you made them for. Prawn bhajis or sometimes known as pakoras can also be made using fish or vegetables but whatever type you make, you must have a good chutney to dip them in or a sweet chili sauce. This makes about 2 dozen bite size bhajis.

What you need

  • 600g peeled and deveined prawns chopped
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1 medium onion finely chopped
  • 3 or 4 green chilis finely sliced
  • Palm of finely chopped fresh coriander (2 to 3 tablespoons)
  • Pinch of bicarb of soda
  • water
  • Salt and pepper
  • Oil for frying

The process

  1. In a bowl add the flour and then about 2 tablespoons of water. Mix it to a thick batter. If you need slightly more water add another 1 tablespoon. It must be thick and mixed smooth. Use a fork to work out any lumps.
  2. Add all the rest of the ingredients and season with a grind of salt and pepper and mix to distribute everything evenly.
  3. Heat about 5cm of oil in a pot or frying pan to medium hot, not smoking. To test, drop a cube of bread in the oil and give it 15 seconds and if it is browned and not burned it is the correct heat.
  4. Now take tablespoons of the mixture and drop them into the oil. Fry until golden and irresistable.
  5. Serve with Chutney as an anytime snack. Try the Kerala country chicken recipe for a perfectly rounded off Indian food meal.
theartoffood:

Pasta With Northern Italian Tomato Sauce
Ingredients:
1.5 pints cherry tomatoes
4 cloves garlic
1 lb fresh lasagna or 1 lb linguine pasta
Olive oil
2 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
4 oz Parmesan cheese
Fresh basil
Salt and pepper
To Make:
Cut tomatoes into halves.
Peel and slice the garlic.
Pick off the basil leaves and set aside. 
If using lasagna sheets, cut them into 3 or 4 long strips.
Grate Parmesan cheese.
Boil large pot of salted water for the pasta. 
In a large frying pan, heat up some olive oil and the butter. Add in the garlic and saute for 30 seconds. Add the tomatoes and stir. Add in a bit of chopped basil. Add the balsamic vinegar and season with salt and pepper. 
Drop your pasta into the boiling water and cook until al dente. 3 minutes if using lasagna sheets or follow the package instructions for linguine. Drain when done and reserve a bit of cooking water.
Add pasta to frying pan and give it a good toss. Add a splash of pasta water and half the Parmesan cheese. Taste and season with salt and pepper. 
Serve in bowls with a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese and the basil leaves. 
Enjoy!
Zoom Info
Camera
Olympus uT6000,ST6000
ISO
100
Aperture
f/4.1
Exposure
1/6th
Focal Length
6mm

theartoffood:

Pasta With Northern Italian Tomato Sauce

Ingredients:

  • 1.5 pints cherry tomatoes
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1 lb fresh lasagna or 1 lb linguine pasta
  • Olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 4 oz Parmesan cheese
  • Fresh basil
  • Salt and pepper

To Make:

  1. Cut tomatoes into halves.
  2. Peel and slice the garlic.
  3. Pick off the basil leaves and set aside. 
  4. If using lasagna sheets, cut them into 3 or 4 long strips.
  5. Grate Parmesan cheese.
  6. Boil large pot of salted water for the pasta. 
  7. In a large frying pan, heat up some olive oil and the butter. Add in the garlic and saute for 30 seconds. Add the tomatoes and stir. Add in a bit of chopped basil. Add the balsamic vinegar and season with salt and pepper. 
  8. Drop your pasta into the boiling water and cook until al dente. 3 minutes if using lasagna sheets or follow the package instructions for linguine. Drain when done and reserve a bit of cooking water.
  9. Add pasta to frying pan and give it a good toss. Add a splash of pasta water and half the Parmesan cheese. Taste and season with salt and pepper. 
  10. Serve in bowls with a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese and the basil leaves. 
  11. Enjoy!

The Earl Grey Macaron

theycallmemaggie:

For the recipe, please refer to the lovely themacarondiaries’ page. Themacarondiaries had previously made a batch of earl grey tea flavoured ones that were very much enjoyed by thehouseofem. Some symptoms arose in thehouseofem that pointed to cravings of earl grey tea macarons and so I decided to make a batch. 

Ingredients for the ganache. 

Read More

cupcake-curiosities:

I love making turtle bread, but it’s always kind of sad when you have to cut it. I can never decide if I should go for the head or the tail.
I baked a massive loaf today (bottom right picture) but my family ate most of it, I only got two slices :(# edit: By popular demand, I have added the recipe and instructions below:
This recipe makes one big one, or you can divide it and make lots of little ones :)400g All purpose flour (plain flour)1 tbsp Quick active dry yeast1 tbsp Sugar (this makes it quite sweet, reduce the sugar by half it you don’t want it to be too sweet)1 tsp Salt80 ml Milk1 Medium egg120 ml Water1 tbsp Butter or margarineRaisins or sultanas for the eyes 
1.Mix the yeast, sugar, salt and half of the flour in a bowl and put to one side.2. Heat the milk, water and butter in a saucepan until the butter is fully melted, keep stirring whilst you are heating it.3. Pour the liquids into the bowl of dry ingredients and mix in an egg.4. Mix in the rest of the flour gradually until a firm ball of dough forms. (You may not need all the flour or you may need a little extra, just add enough for the dough to be firm and not sticky. I usually use my hands once I start adding the rest of the flour because I find it easier. If you use your hands make sure you have a bowl of warm clean water nearby to rinse them in or you’ll end up with dough all over your kitchen and taps!) 5. Sprinkle some flour on your work surface to stop the dough sticking, and knead it until it is firm and springy (This takes about 3-5 minutes).6. Wrap the dough in cling-film and set it aside for 15 minutes.7. Line a baking tray with grease-proof paper.8. Unwrap the dough and separate off parts of it and make a turtle shape on the baking tray (you can use my pictures for size reference, and I would recommend using a butter knife or palette knife to make the patterns on the shell. You need to cut them quite deep because the dough rises and puffs up in the oven).9. Put the tray and turtle in a warm place and leave it to rise for 25 minutes (I have a 2 compartment oven so I usually put the bottom half on a low heat and leave the dough to rise in the top compartment without the heat on).10. Take the turtle out of the warm place you left it (like it’s been hibernating >.< ) and re-cut the markings on the shell and insert raisins or sultanas for the eyes. (You need to re-cut the markings to get the best effect after baking).11. Heat the oven to 200 degrees Celsius (400 degrees Fahrenheit).12. Place the tray in the centre of the oven and bake for about 20 minutes (for the large turtle, about 10-15 if you are making a few little ones), or until it is golden brown all over.13. Spend about half an hour agonising over whether or not to start cutting from the head or tail.~ This is particularly good bread to have toasted with heaps of strawberry jam <3I hope you have fun! 
Zoom Info
cupcake-curiosities:

I love making turtle bread, but it’s always kind of sad when you have to cut it. I can never decide if I should go for the head or the tail.
I baked a massive loaf today (bottom right picture) but my family ate most of it, I only got two slices :(# edit: By popular demand, I have added the recipe and instructions below:
This recipe makes one big one, or you can divide it and make lots of little ones :)400g All purpose flour (plain flour)1 tbsp Quick active dry yeast1 tbsp Sugar (this makes it quite sweet, reduce the sugar by half it you don’t want it to be too sweet)1 tsp Salt80 ml Milk1 Medium egg120 ml Water1 tbsp Butter or margarineRaisins or sultanas for the eyes 
1.Mix the yeast, sugar, salt and half of the flour in a bowl and put to one side.2. Heat the milk, water and butter in a saucepan until the butter is fully melted, keep stirring whilst you are heating it.3. Pour the liquids into the bowl of dry ingredients and mix in an egg.4. Mix in the rest of the flour gradually until a firm ball of dough forms. (You may not need all the flour or you may need a little extra, just add enough for the dough to be firm and not sticky. I usually use my hands once I start adding the rest of the flour because I find it easier. If you use your hands make sure you have a bowl of warm clean water nearby to rinse them in or you’ll end up with dough all over your kitchen and taps!) 5. Sprinkle some flour on your work surface to stop the dough sticking, and knead it until it is firm and springy (This takes about 3-5 minutes).6. Wrap the dough in cling-film and set it aside for 15 minutes.7. Line a baking tray with grease-proof paper.8. Unwrap the dough and separate off parts of it and make a turtle shape on the baking tray (you can use my pictures for size reference, and I would recommend using a butter knife or palette knife to make the patterns on the shell. You need to cut them quite deep because the dough rises and puffs up in the oven).9. Put the tray and turtle in a warm place and leave it to rise for 25 minutes (I have a 2 compartment oven so I usually put the bottom half on a low heat and leave the dough to rise in the top compartment without the heat on).10. Take the turtle out of the warm place you left it (like it’s been hibernating >.< ) and re-cut the markings on the shell and insert raisins or sultanas for the eyes. (You need to re-cut the markings to get the best effect after baking).11. Heat the oven to 200 degrees Celsius (400 degrees Fahrenheit).12. Place the tray in the centre of the oven and bake for about 20 minutes (for the large turtle, about 10-15 if you are making a few little ones), or until it is golden brown all over.13. Spend about half an hour agonising over whether or not to start cutting from the head or tail.~ This is particularly good bread to have toasted with heaps of strawberry jam <3I hope you have fun! 
Zoom Info
cupcake-curiosities:

I love making turtle bread, but it’s always kind of sad when you have to cut it. I can never decide if I should go for the head or the tail.
I baked a massive loaf today (bottom right picture) but my family ate most of it, I only got two slices :(# edit: By popular demand, I have added the recipe and instructions below:
This recipe makes one big one, or you can divide it and make lots of little ones :)400g All purpose flour (plain flour)1 tbsp Quick active dry yeast1 tbsp Sugar (this makes it quite sweet, reduce the sugar by half it you don’t want it to be too sweet)1 tsp Salt80 ml Milk1 Medium egg120 ml Water1 tbsp Butter or margarineRaisins or sultanas for the eyes 
1.Mix the yeast, sugar, salt and half of the flour in a bowl and put to one side.2. Heat the milk, water and butter in a saucepan until the butter is fully melted, keep stirring whilst you are heating it.3. Pour the liquids into the bowl of dry ingredients and mix in an egg.4. Mix in the rest of the flour gradually until a firm ball of dough forms. (You may not need all the flour or you may need a little extra, just add enough for the dough to be firm and not sticky. I usually use my hands once I start adding the rest of the flour because I find it easier. If you use your hands make sure you have a bowl of warm clean water nearby to rinse them in or you’ll end up with dough all over your kitchen and taps!) 5. Sprinkle some flour on your work surface to stop the dough sticking, and knead it until it is firm and springy (This takes about 3-5 minutes).6. Wrap the dough in cling-film and set it aside for 15 minutes.7. Line a baking tray with grease-proof paper.8. Unwrap the dough and separate off parts of it and make a turtle shape on the baking tray (you can use my pictures for size reference, and I would recommend using a butter knife or palette knife to make the patterns on the shell. You need to cut them quite deep because the dough rises and puffs up in the oven).9. Put the tray and turtle in a warm place and leave it to rise for 25 minutes (I have a 2 compartment oven so I usually put the bottom half on a low heat and leave the dough to rise in the top compartment without the heat on).10. Take the turtle out of the warm place you left it (like it’s been hibernating >.< ) and re-cut the markings on the shell and insert raisins or sultanas for the eyes. (You need to re-cut the markings to get the best effect after baking).11. Heat the oven to 200 degrees Celsius (400 degrees Fahrenheit).12. Place the tray in the centre of the oven and bake for about 20 minutes (for the large turtle, about 10-15 if you are making a few little ones), or until it is golden brown all over.13. Spend about half an hour agonising over whether or not to start cutting from the head or tail.~ This is particularly good bread to have toasted with heaps of strawberry jam <3I hope you have fun! 
Zoom Info
cupcake-curiosities:

I love making turtle bread, but it’s always kind of sad when you have to cut it. I can never decide if I should go for the head or the tail.
I baked a massive loaf today (bottom right picture) but my family ate most of it, I only got two slices :(# edit: By popular demand, I have added the recipe and instructions below:
This recipe makes one big one, or you can divide it and make lots of little ones :)400g All purpose flour (plain flour)1 tbsp Quick active dry yeast1 tbsp Sugar (this makes it quite sweet, reduce the sugar by half it you don’t want it to be too sweet)1 tsp Salt80 ml Milk1 Medium egg120 ml Water1 tbsp Butter or margarineRaisins or sultanas for the eyes 
1.Mix the yeast, sugar, salt and half of the flour in a bowl and put to one side.2. Heat the milk, water and butter in a saucepan until the butter is fully melted, keep stirring whilst you are heating it.3. Pour the liquids into the bowl of dry ingredients and mix in an egg.4. Mix in the rest of the flour gradually until a firm ball of dough forms. (You may not need all the flour or you may need a little extra, just add enough for the dough to be firm and not sticky. I usually use my hands once I start adding the rest of the flour because I find it easier. If you use your hands make sure you have a bowl of warm clean water nearby to rinse them in or you’ll end up with dough all over your kitchen and taps!) 5. Sprinkle some flour on your work surface to stop the dough sticking, and knead it until it is firm and springy (This takes about 3-5 minutes).6. Wrap the dough in cling-film and set it aside for 15 minutes.7. Line a baking tray with grease-proof paper.8. Unwrap the dough and separate off parts of it and make a turtle shape on the baking tray (you can use my pictures for size reference, and I would recommend using a butter knife or palette knife to make the patterns on the shell. You need to cut them quite deep because the dough rises and puffs up in the oven).9. Put the tray and turtle in a warm place and leave it to rise for 25 minutes (I have a 2 compartment oven so I usually put the bottom half on a low heat and leave the dough to rise in the top compartment without the heat on).10. Take the turtle out of the warm place you left it (like it’s been hibernating >.< ) and re-cut the markings on the shell and insert raisins or sultanas for the eyes. (You need to re-cut the markings to get the best effect after baking).11. Heat the oven to 200 degrees Celsius (400 degrees Fahrenheit).12. Place the tray in the centre of the oven and bake for about 20 minutes (for the large turtle, about 10-15 if you are making a few little ones), or until it is golden brown all over.13. Spend about half an hour agonising over whether or not to start cutting from the head or tail.~ This is particularly good bread to have toasted with heaps of strawberry jam <3I hope you have fun! 
Zoom Info

cupcake-curiosities:

I love making turtle bread, but it’s always kind of sad when you have to cut it. I can never decide if I should go for the head or the tail.

I baked a massive loaf today (bottom right picture) but my family ate most of it, I only got two slices :(

# edit: By popular demand, I have added the recipe and instructions below:

This recipe makes one big one, or you can divide it and make lots of little ones :)

400g All purpose flour (plain flour)
1 tbsp Quick active dry yeast
1 tbsp Sugar (this makes it quite sweet, reduce the sugar by half it you don’t want it to be too sweet)
1 tsp Salt
80 ml Milk
1 Medium egg
120 ml Water
1 tbsp Butter or margarine
Raisins or sultanas for the eyes 


1.Mix the yeast, sugar, salt and half of the flour in a bowl and put to one side.
2. Heat the milk, water and butter in a saucepan until the butter is fully melted, keep stirring whilst you are heating it.
3. Pour the liquids into the bowl of dry ingredients and mix in an egg.
4. Mix in the rest of the flour gradually until a firm ball of dough forms. (You may not need all the flour or you may need a little extra, just add enough for the dough to be firm and not sticky. I usually use my hands once I start adding the rest of the flour because I find it easier. If you use your hands make sure you have a bowl of warm clean water nearby to rinse them in or you’ll end up with dough all over your kitchen and taps!) 
5. Sprinkle some flour on your work surface to stop the dough sticking, and knead it until it is firm and springy (This takes about 3-5 minutes).
6. Wrap the dough in cling-film and set it aside for 15 minutes.
7. Line a baking tray with grease-proof paper.
8. Unwrap the dough and separate off parts of it and make a turtle shape on the baking tray (you can use my pictures for size reference, and I would recommend using a butter knife or palette knife to make the patterns on the shell. You need to cut them quite deep because the dough rises and puffs up in the oven).
9. Put the tray and turtle in a warm place and leave it to rise for 25 minutes (I have a 2 compartment oven so I usually put the bottom half on a low heat and leave the dough to rise in the top compartment without the heat on).
10. Take the turtle out of the warm place you left it (like it’s been hibernating >.< ) and re-cut the markings on the shell and insert raisins or sultanas for the eyes. (You need to re-cut the markings to get the best effect after baking).
11. Heat the oven to 200 degrees Celsius (400 degrees Fahrenheit).
12. Place the tray in the centre of the oven and bake for about 20 minutes (for the large turtle, about 10-15 if you are making a few little ones), or until it is golden brown all over.
13. Spend about half an hour agonising over whether or not to start cutting from the head or tail.
~ This is particularly good bread to have toasted with heaps of strawberry jam <3
I hope you have fun! 

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