How To Use Nigella Sativa

Also known as fennel flower, Roman coriander, black caraway and kalonji, nigella sativa is a plant which originates from south and southwest Asia. Egypt is known to be the one of the earliest cultivation areas of the plant, which seeds are used as a spice in Middle Eastern and Indian cuisines. It was also found in Tutankamun’s tomb (Egyptians entombed their pharaohs with items that were to assist them in the afterlife). Let’s see what positive health effects nigella sativa has and how to incorporate it into your cooking. (more…)

Creating the ultimate cooks kitchen

Having a well-planned kitchen helps you to be a better cook; it makes the process of preparing food more enjoyable and saves time. A chef-friendly layout is one that intelligently accommodates storage, cooking and preparation areas, meaning you are not constantly moving back and forth to get a bowl, knife or cloth.  The most efficient way to divide up your culinary activities is to separate them into specific zones, so when one task is finished, you move to the next without having to clear a space.

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Easy Grow Foods That Compliment Any Meal

Growing your own fruit and vegetables is a rewarding activity, but it is time-consuming to do properly. There are other options, however, which will add a lot of flavours to your cooking and for far less effort. In this article, I’m going to take a look at how to grow four different kinds of plants that are easy to maintain, but great for adding to your cooking. They will all last for long periods of the year, and will infuse your food with flavour at every meal time. Let’s take a look at these four amazing foodstuffs right away. (more…)

4 Tools Every Baker Needs In Their Kitchen

Are you new to baking? Have you only ever made the odd tray bake or two? Don’t worry, we all have to start somewhere. And, believe it or not, one of the best things about baking is that with a bit of practice it is super easy to pick up. (more…)

Cooking A Romantic Meal For Your Partner? Here’s The Inspiration You Need

They say that the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach. Well, I could not agree more. If you want to do something special for your partner, cooking him a romantic meal is not a bad place to start. Why not surprise him with a three-course meal? If you make something that he likes, it will show him how much you care. Read these little tips to inspire you when you make the meal.

Create a romantic and blissful atmosphere

First, it is all about setting the right atmosphere. You can use a couple of tablecloths to cover your dining room table, and set the places with cutlery. Of course, you should also get some fresh flowers to put in the middle of the table so that your partner can see you have made an effort for him. You might want to put on some romantic music and light some candles as well – especially if you hope to impress.

You must make at least one sharing platter

There is nothing more romantic than sharing a meal with someone. For at least one of your courses, you need to opt for a sharing platter. You might want to make an antipasto platter for your starter, for example. All you would need is some cold meats, cheese and fancy bread. Failing that, you could opt for a fondue so that you and your partner can dip crusty bread into some delicious hot cheese.

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Please note – imagery via Flickr

Choose the right wine to complement the food

When it comes to wine, you want to ensure that you choose the right flavors to complement the dishes you make. As a rule, when you cook red meat, you should serve red wine. Choose a deep wine with rich, berry flavors so that it brings out the taste of your beautiful food. If you happen to serve white meat or fish, you should, of course, serve white wine. Avoid rose at all costs because it can be quite acidic, and you will rarely find a meal that it suits.

Keep the main course simple, yet delicious

So that you don’t end up spending too much time in the kitchen, you ought to think of a simple main course for the meal. For example, you could cook a steak with some roast potatoes. You don’t have to be experimental with your dishes. Sometimes, all you need to do is take a basic meal and cook it to perfection. A piece of delicious smoked haddock or British beef is the best way to impress your partner. Choose quality products so that the food is tasty and fresh.

Think about those little extras that make a meal

It is the little extras that make a meal special. For example, having condiments, such as balsamic vinegar and salad dressing, on the side of a dish can make all the difference. You should also make sure that you serve salad with each of your courses. You might think that these details don’t matter, but they will help you to make the meal memorable.  

Create a fruity dessert that your partner will love

For dessert, you can’t go wrong with something fruity. You might want to serve a homemade fruit sorbet or maybe some ice cream instead. Making a dessert that you know your partner likes is the perfect way to show him how you feel about him. Look at some recipes online and attempt something brand new that you have not made before now. Finally, all you need to do is wait for your partner so that you can surprise him with this lovely, romantic gesture!

 

 

The British and Their Delicacies

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The Britsh love their food, and the traditional British cuisine is a heart-warming fill of comfort food. It is sumptuous, satisfying and utterly delicious. Today most English plates are filled with different cuisines from around the world like pizzas, pastas and other dishes influenced by Chinese and Indian cultures, such as tikkas, curries and stir fries. Nonetheless, you will find some of the old favourites still on the menu of even your cheap & budget accommodation in Reading, even if they are not eaten as a main course every day, they are a treat to be sampled in abundance.

Fish ‘n’ chips

This dish has been around since the 19th century. It is a crunchy street food, eaten with your fingers, and a creamy dipping sauce is usually served alongside. The local “chippie” or the chip shops serves it in a nice white dish, with a little wooden fork. The fish used is usually plaice, cod or haddock, dipped in a light batter and deep-fried. The chips served are similar to the American French fries, except a little thicker, yet crispy nonetheless. The best way to eat them is to liberally sprinkle it with malt vinegar and sea salt, most Brits like a pickled onion, an egg or some curry sauce to go with it. Each place has a different version of it, and you will definitely have to try it at your hotels near Reading station like Rainbow Lodge hotel, after your long journey. The melting fish and soft potatoes are the perfect after travel snack.

The Sunday Roast

The most popular family meal in the UK is the big lunch roast. Families gather together every other Sunday and enjoy this popular meal made either with lamb,chicken,pork, turkey or beef that is roasted in the oven and served with roasted vegetables like potatoes,cabbage,carrots,Brussels sprouts,onions,peas. They are plated along with tiny wrapped sausages called “pigs in a blanket”, and a rick thick gravy made from rich meat trimmings. The traditional accompaniment is a horseradish sauce and a Yorkshire pudding. However, many families use apple sauce, mint sauce or even redcurrant jelly. Although this dish is enough to serve the entire family, the hotels and restaurants like cheap & budget accommodation in Reading, serve it in smaller portions, incorporating all the elements of the dish.

The Full English breakfast

Although this is rarely eaten every day, it is a classic breakfast option which is more like an indulgence every now and then. Also, known as the “fry up”, it traditionally consists of grilled or fried bacon, tiny sausage, backed small beans in a tomato sauce, fried eggs, grilled whole tomatoes, toasted sandwich bread, fried mushrooms and an optional black pudding. Other options include smoked kippers, kedgeree and soft scrambled eggs. These are usually served as a part of your room service menu in places such as accommodation in Reading near station. Apart from these hearty meals, other dishes to try include The British Banger, The Scottish Haggis and the warm array of tantalising puddings and pies, including the apple crumble, trifle, summer pudding and the bread and butter pudding.

London for Foodies

picDo you eat to live or live to eat? The right answer can perfectly assess whether you are a diehard foodie or not. If you like to explore the cuisine of various places around the world, London is surely a must visit for you. With a wide range of luxury restaurants, bistros, pubs, bars and cafes, get ready to tickle your taste buds on your holiday in London. A good idea is to stay at a hotel near Euston Station, since it is part of the Central London terminus that has train links via both the London Underground and Overground for convenient travelling options for tourists and locals. Central London is also a hub for foodies, since it has some of the top cafes and budget restaurants that serve delicious food without burning a hole in your pocket. Moreover, the food is healthy and of the best quality, since it is subject to various food laws that are part of England’s code of practice. According to the UK government’s Food Standards Agency, the current code of practice came into force in April 2014 and aims to make the quality of food being served at the various outlets across the country better for consumers. Be it fine dining or casual snacking, the capital of England not only holds such safety measures in high regard, it is home to several affordable, healthy and thriving dining options.

Where should a Foodie Stay?

A number of budget & cheap hotels in Central London will also be close to popular eating joints while providing great accommodation facilities for foodies. A good idea for foodies would be to stay at a hotel near St Pancras Station, such as Comfort Inn Kings Cross St Pancras London, located just a stone’s throw from the Central London station. With budget & cheap hotels near Kings Cross and St Pancras, you not only get to easily explore the centrally located restaurants, cafes and food junctions of the city, you can conveniently travel to various other places and try the diverse cuisine with ease. Let us take a look at a few budget cafes, restaurants and food streets in Central London for you to check out.

Popular Budget Restaurants and Cafes in Central London

If you love junk food, then Koshari Street is a slick canteen that offers Egyptian snack food at affordable prices. They serve soup, wraps and salad with an Egyptian twist, topped with unique herbs, spices and nuts. If you prefer traditional comfort food, you will not be disappointed by Honest Burger, popular across London for serving 35-day aged beef in burger buns and attracting locals from all across the city. The delicious and meaty burgers may be moderately priced, but make sure you plan on an early arrival since a number of hungry burger lovers will be already waiting in queue. For a unique taste of London coffee, Foxcroft & Ginger is a hip, utilitarian, white tiled, coffee and snacking junction that resembles a quintessential modern cafe or bistro. With a brilliant display of cakes, brownies and other bakery products, you can pick up a goody bag of munchies and delicious coffee at F&G.

 

A Brief Look at Adult-Orientated Slushy Drinks

For many kids there is nothing better than a refreshing and cooling icy and sweet slushy on a hot day in the summer.  As adults, we know the feeling all too well and although we are older and maybe feel too grown up for a straight forward slushy, there are other options open to us.  In a similar way to popcorn, ice-cream and even candy floss machine being available to buy for your home, there are now a large variety of slush machines available.  This means that you no longer have to pay extortionate prices at shops or restaurants and cafes to get your kids an icy liquid treat 

It has also open the doors of creativity for adults who are looking for a great way to enjoy the buzz and chill of a slushy drink with the flavour of something a little more grown up than red or blue.  Yes, we are talking about alcoholic slushy drinks!  The chance for you to take your favourite cocktail or alcoholic beverage and transform it into a slushy!

If the thought of a Mojito flavoured slushy has you salivating in front of your computer, then you are probably wondering how you would go about making these alcoholic versions of a childhood classic.  There isn’t really a secret technique or special ingredient required.  All you essentially need is a selection of your favourite drinks to explore and test in slushy form, some slushy syrup or fruity drink and a slushy machine.  Even if you don’t have a slushy machine like those featured on www.myslushmachine.co.uk you can still make slushies using a blender and some ice.

slussyTo make the process even easier companies such as Chilly Drinks have their own selection of adult-orientated syrups available, such as the Summer Cocktail Slush Syrup.  This features 6 different flavours, all of which are summer time cocktail favourites.   The flavours included are Sour Apple, Super Sour Cherry, Jungle Juice, Pina Colada, Blue Lagoon Margarita and Strawberry Daiquiri.

You use specially flavoured syrups in the same way as normal syrups and juices in your slush machine and add a touch of your favourite tipple at the end to make them extra special and give them an extra kick!

Even if you don’t buy one of those of packets you can still easily make alcoholic slushy drinks.  Dilute some of your favourite fresh fruit juice, squash or soda and make a batch of slushy in the machine.  At the end add an alcoholic drink.  We recommend you use vodka as this mixes the easiest with virtually any flavour.

In our opinion the best thing about normal kid-friendly slushy drinks and the more adult-orientated varieties is how much fun it actually is to mix and match different flavours, spirits, wines and even ginger beers.  When we were young, slushies were a lot of fun, and when you start experimenting with different cocktails and alcohol you can have fun again drinking new and exciting variations on a childhood classic.

Best Cheesy Appetizers and Snacks for the Big Game

Best Cheesy Appetizers and Snacks for the Big GameWith football season underway, Sunday afternoons have never been better. Great food and cold beer are a must at any football party—whether that’s at home or tailgating at the stadium. While chips and dip are always a game day staple, adding in a few new cheesy and meaty dishes will definitely kick it up a notch in the food department.

Here are three Sargento Cheese Recipes that are quick to prepare and always a fan favorite:

1. Mini Barbecue Chicken Sandwiches

Ingredients:

1 lb. ground chicken or turkey

¾ c barbecue sauce

½ c sliced green onions

½ tsp hot pepper sauce (optional)

8 slider rolls, split in half and toasted, if desired

8 slices of Sargento Ultra Thin Sliced Longhorn Colby Cheese

Beginning with the meat, sauté either the chicken, turkey, or mix of both over medium heat until the meat is lightly browned and no longer pink. Once cooked through, about 6 minutes, drain the meat and return it to the skillet.

Pour the barbecue sauce and green onions (and hot sauce if using it) over the meat, stir until the meat is coated, and allow the mixture to simmer until it is heated through, about 3 to 4 minutes.

Lay open rolls and spoon the mixture over the bottom of the rolls. Top the meat with a slice of cheese and place the tops of the buns on.

With the layers of barbecued meat and melted cheese, it’s safe to say these will be gone before halftime.

2. Cheddar Bacon Stuffed Potatoes

Ingredients:

4 baking potatoes

1 ½ c Sargento Artisan Blends Shredded Double Cheddar Cheese

4 slices cooked bacon, diced

2 c broccoli florets, cooked crisp-tender

½ c thinly sliced green onion

½ tsp salt

¼ tsp pepper

Optional: salsa or sour cream

In a 400-degree oven, bake potatoes for 55 minutes. Once they have cooled 10 minutes, cut potatoes in half, and scoop out the potatoes with a spoon, leaving ¼” thick shell.

Mash potato. In a separate bowl, mix cheese and bacon. Set ¼ c aside. Add broccoli, onion, salt, pepper, and remaining cheese and bacon to the potatoes. Add mix back into potato skins, top with set the leftover bacon and cheese, and bake for 20 minutes. Top with salsa or sour cream.

The mix of cheese, bacon, and potato kick game day food up to a whole new level.

3. Avocado and Tomato Quesadillas

Ingredients:

4 large tortillas

8 slices Sargento Colby-Jack Cheese, halved

2 avocados, sliced

2 plum tomatoes, chopped

1 chopped red onion

On one side of each tortilla, layer 2 slices of cheese, avocados, tomatoes, and onions, and 2 more slices of cheese. Fold the tortilla over, and cook in a skillet until cheese is melted and each side is golden brown, about 3 minutes per side.

These three cheesy appetizers are pure comfort food. So, regardless of whether your team wins or loses, these snacks are perfect to drown both your sorrows and elation in.

Image Source: www.burai-an-blogspot.com

 

International restaurant culture

Japanese joy on a plateNothing gets a food lover’s mouth watering quicker than the prospect of an international restaurant tour. Let’s take a virtual trip around some places where food is served up in different ways. Every corner of the world has its own take on how food should taste, be prepared and served and whether it’s the formal traditions of French cuisine, or the casual grab-it-while-you-can street food of the East, everybody sees it differently. A country’s cuisine is an expression of its cultural heritage and crucial part of their identity – so let’s see who is on today’s menu.

Japanese joy on a plate

The country that introduced the world to sushi has a rich restaurant culture. In cities such as Tokyo, you can grab plated food from conveyor belts that circulate the restaurant, choosing whatever looks tasty as it passes by. Alternatively, sample grand Japanese cuisine, prepared and served with high drama by chefs that really become stars of the show. Japanese cuisine is centred on rice, with fermented foods such as miso, natto, soy and plenty of fish. An emphasis on tradition and ritual is important and dining is viewed as a social and communicative event. Interiors in Japanese restaurants are usually dimly lit with low tables and seating positioned for optimum interaction. Rice paper screens, lacquered surfaces, wood, and natural materials are commonly used in Japanese restaurant design.

Italian idyll

Justly proud of their culinary heritage, the Italians take immense pleasure in what’s on their plate. Pizza, pasta, ice cream and many other mouthwatering creations originate from Italy, making it a popular destination for foodies. The Mediterranean diet is globally famous for its flavour and health-giving properties, and traditionally meal times are celebratory and family oriented. At weekends, dining tables in trattorias and bistros are packed with hungry diners enjoying the traditional look of gingham tablecloths, bread baskets, jugs of olive oil and blocks of Parmesan – to share and enjoy a feast just like Mama used to make…

Moroccan magic

Dining in a Moroccan restaurant is all about comfort and relaxation. The furnishings will be richly coloured and luxurious. Cushioned benches, tapestry covered walls, ornate wooden carved screens and exquisite jewelled tiles and brass lamps give interiors a welcoming and hospitable edge. Traditional Riad courtyard buildings make popular and atmospheric restaurant settings. Order spicy tagines, couscous, seafood and sweet Moroccan pastries washed down with mint tea.

Thai taste sensation

In Thai taste hotspots such as Bangkok, the choice of food on the streets is vast. Vendors sell exotic meals cooked to order right in front of you, either from a stall, converted tuk-tuk or window onto the street. Choose from noodles, sate, omelettes, bean curd, meat balls and much more, all boasting that bold blend of sweet, sour, spicy and salty flavours for which Thai food is famous. For dining at a more relaxed pace in comfortable surroundings, there are many traditional Thai restaurants. Generally, interiors feature lots of dark wood, bamboo, colonial styling, spiritual iconography and carved and gilded screens that evoke a real sense of opulence and calm.

Great food requires a complimentary setting and whether you choose to dine out on sushi, pizza, tagine or noodles, make sure the surroundings match up to the mouthwatering menu.