Category : Cooking

Citrus Fizz Recipe

Sometimes, you crave a cocktail that does not actually have that which constitutes a cocktail – the alcohol. Non-alcoholic cocktails, or “mocktails” if you prefer, are becoming more and more popular now that there are so many to choose from. No longer are your choices seltzer or a Shirley Temple! There are hundreds, if not thousands, of wonderful mocktail recipes available that will satisfy your wish for a mixed drink without involving alcohol. Whether you are choosing to refrain from drinking because you are the designated driver, underage, or other personal choices, there is a mocktail out there for you that will help you stay part of the party!

Try a Citrus Fizz if you are looking for something incredibly refreshing on a hot summer’s day. This is a wonderful choice of drink to serve at a brunch or breakfast, as well. It looks beautiful and goes fantastically with some fresh-made crepes filled with cream and berries, or with a nice pain au chocolat. Of course, it is also a great choice for a mid-afternoon pick-me-up or an after-work treat!

CITRUS FIZZ MOCKTAIL RECIPE

INGREDIENTS

2 measures fresh orange juice, chilled
Superfine sugar
A squeeze of fresh lime juice
A few drops of Angostura bitters
2 to 3 measures sparkling water, chilled

DIRECTIONS

1. Chill a champagne flute, then dip the rim of it into a bit of orange juice. Dip it into the superfine sugar to create a rim.

2. In a separate container (preferably one with a spout; a cream pot used for tea should work nicely), combine the rest of the orange juice, a squeeze of fresh lime juice, and a few drops of Angostura bitters. Stir to combine, then pour into the chilled champagne flute.

3. Finish off the drink using 2 to 3 measures of sparkling water, or to taste.

Reference:
1. Citrus Fizz with Smirnoff Citrus | Recipe | Smirnoff
2. Citrus Fizz Recipe – Taste.com.au


Chinese Wines

Alcohol has been known to exist in China for over 5,000 years. In 1928, archaeologists discovered bronze vessels for wine in the Shandong province which dated back to the Shang dynasty. In 2003, an ancient tomb was discovered from the Shaanxi Province which also had wine vessels. And again, this past May, another wine vessel in a tomb was discovered. Archaeologists have also discovered written instructions from 4,000 years ago on the various methods for making alcohol.

China has two forms of alcohol to enjoy: Huangjiu or yellow alcohol and baijiu or clear alcohol.

Huangjiu

The yellow alcohol is a fermented beverage, usually made from wheat or rice, though sometimes with broomcorn millet as well. The alcohol content ranges, but is generally under 20%. Huangjiu is a general term used for all of the yellow alcohol in China. The Huangjiu are broken down into classifications based on the production method, the type of started used and the dryness of the beverage. 

Production Methods of Huangjiu

Hot rice method: Rice straight from the cooker is set outside to cool. Once it is warm, but not too cool, the processing will begin.

Cool rice method: Rice straight from the cooker is soaked with cold water in order to cool it. Then it is ready for processing.

Feeding rice method: Rice straight from the cooker is put into the fermenting mixture three times to make a sweeter wine.

Fortified method: This method makes the sweetest variety of wine because it used distilled wine to stop the fermenting process. 

Types of Starters

Small: This method is mostly used in the humid, tropical region because it produces the least amount of heat out of all the starters.

Large: This method is the most popular.

Red: This method is where the flavored and colored beverages fall into.

Dryness and Sweetness

Gan (dry): low heat and almost no sugar

Ban Gan (semi-dry): this version is the one that is the most exported. It has between 1% – 3% of sugar.

Ban Tian (semi-sweet): The difference in this one is that instead of water, it uses some dry wine for liquid instead of water. It has anywhere from 3%-10% of sugar. 

Tian (sweet): It is possible to make this wine all year long.

Nong Tian (extra sweet): Has more than 20% of sugar. 

While still in the huangjiu category, there are two more wines that are also fermented, but not part of this category. They are choujiu, which distinguishes itself because it is made from glutinous rice, and Qingke jiu, which is made from the highland barley of Tibet.

Moving on to the baijiu, or distilled category, the most famous one is known as Mao-tai. This is known as China’s national drink, just as sake is Japan’s drink. This drink is served at all diplomatic and state dinners and is saved for those special occasions, such as holidays. It is extremely expensive to acquire. Not only are the ingredients special – quality sorghum, a specific kind of yeast, and water from a specific spring – as this is what gives it that unique flavor. The production process is also lengthy: after going through over 5 distillations and fermentations, each, it is then aged for 3 years. But, supposedly, the wait and the expense are worth it. The beverage is as clear as water and goes down just as smooth.

Baijiu are classified based on fragrance. The fragrance categories are pretty self-explanatory, except for a few of them. The heaviest is the sauce fragrance, which has been said to be unappealing for the untrained nostril. For connoisseurs, however, the fragrance is quite lovely. The sauce category is followed by heavy, light, rice, honey, and layered. 

There are also many different types of baijiu, falling into either the flavored or unflavored category. The unflavored range from the cheapest variety which is great for the common man to those that have been double- or triple-distilled.

The flavored variety incorporates many different types of flowers, herbs, medicinal herbs, tea leaves and crystal sugars. 

Whatever your taste variety, whatever your wallet will allow, there is certainly a Chinese beverage or two for you to try. Cheers!

Reference:
1. Wine in China
2. Learn about Wine: China | Regions | Berry Bros. & Rudd


Chicken thigh casserole

Chicken casseroles, although in theory delicious, can unfortunately sometimes see the chicken served dry and a little bit chewy. There are three principal reasons why this may be the case. The most likely is the lack of fat on the chicken and in the casserole. Fat not only adds flavor to meat during cooking, it serves to help keep the meat moist. Secondly, the chicken may be overcooked, a condition which will see further juices lost from the meat. Thirdly and finally, the casserole may not have been allowed to rest when it is taken from the oven, just as a whole chicken would be rested prior to carving.

The good news is that all of these issues are very easily addressed and resolved. The first point you should consider is the type of chicken pieces you include in your casserole. Rather than simply using diced chicken breast meat, why not try using whole chicken thighs? The meat on chicken thighs is probably the most tender and juiciest on the bird and by cooking them whole, with the skin on, you are incorporating the thin layer of fat under the skin in your casserole to help keep the meat moist, as well as gaining the additional flavor from the bones.

Ingredients for four servings

12 large chicken thighs
½ stick (2oz) butter
2 large carrots, scraped and roughly chopped
1 large white onion, peeled and quartered
2 large baking potatoes, peeled and roughly chopped
2 large cloves of garlic, peeled and finely diced
2 sprigs fresh rosemary
2 sprigs fresh thyme
2 pints fresh chicken stock
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Directions

Begin by putting your oven on to preheat to 350F.

Put the chicken stock in to a pot and on to the heat to reach a simmer. Add the butter to a large frying pan or skillet and gently melt. Season with salt and pepper before adding the chicken thighs in two batches to brown and seal. Lay the chicken thighs in the casserole dish and add the carrot, potato, onion and garlic. Sit the fresh herbs on top and season with more salt and pepper before carefully pouring in the hot chicken stock.

Put the lid on the casserole dish and cook in the oven for forty-five minutes. Remove the dish to a heat proof surface, take off the lid and leave it alone for fifteen minutes for the meat to rest. It will not go cold in this short time period.

You may wish to use this fifteen minutes to complete the preparations of your casserole accompaniments. Try serving it with a vegetable such as cauliflower or broccoli, or alternatively in a deep dish with fresh crusty bread for dipping.

Reference:
1. Smothered Chicken Casserole recipe from Betty Crocker
2. 20 chicken thigh recipes – goodtoknow


Carls Jr and Hardees Fast Food Chains Launch Location Based Rewards Program

Fast food, as the term implies, is often consumed by people who are too busy to sit down and eat food that takes more than a few minutes to prepare and serve. These fast food aficionados are usually on their way to some meeting, a class or some other activity and they grab a burger and fries and devour them on the way to the destination.

Because they’re constantly on the move and they typically have a smartphone to incessantly check emails and keep them on schedule, customers of quick serve restaurants (QSRs) are ideal prospects for location-based loyalty programs. Leave it to the company that produced televisions ads that featured a scantily-clad Paris Hilton washing a car while eating a burger and Kim Kardashian consuming a fresh salad in her PJs to come up with a loyalty/rewards program that is based on the hottest social media.

Advertising trade publications such as Mashable and Ad Age first reported that the Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s chains have launched a GPS-enabled loyalty program that rewards users for checking in at these restaurants across the U.S. The program is called The Happy Star Rewards app and it is available for iPhone and Android smartphones. This is the first time that the fast-food industry has combined location-based check-in technology and rewards, according to parent of the two chains, CKE Restaurants, Inc.

Just Drive Through and Check In

Because of the competitive nature of the quick serve restaurant category, innovative or even wacky promotions have always been a part of winning the dollars of the very fickle fast foodies. While some would question the taste or nutrition of their food, the company’s promotional efforts have always been ranked “Four Stars” by marketing observers and this Happy Star app is an evolution of this past success. In addition to enabling digital tracking of customer visits, the new app offers guaranteed rewards, a restaurant locator, a social media interface, streaming videos, menus and nutritional information.

In announcing the new location-based loyalty program, the company said that users who download the rewards app from the iTunes App store or Android Market and check in at any of the chains’ locations will begin to earn awards immediately. The first check-in and every subsequent fourth check-in will earn the participant a spin on “The Wheel of Awesome,” which is the rewards app already present on both chains’ Facebook pages.

By spinning the wheel, the customer can earn a chance to win discounted and free menu items, branded gift cards, prizes and merchandise from participating partners. The current partner prizes include Sony electronics and movie tickets to the upcoming film “The Green Hornet.” Participants in the promotion can transfer coupons from the prize wheel app on Facebook directly to their mobile phones in order to redeem.

Users who check in but have not yet earned an “awesome” spin can receive a coupon for a currently featured item. They may choose to save the coupon for seven days or redeem it immediately in-store or at a drive-through. In a deft move to integrate the promotion to the company’s social network media, once redeemed, users can share the experience with friends by posting on Facebook and Twitter. In an effort to increase loyalty of these participants, reward offers increase in value with the frequency of check-ins.

The company notes that check-ins are limited to three per day and are also limited to one per day-part (breakfast, 5:30 to 10:30 a.m.; lunch, 10:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.; and dinner/late-night, 5 p.m. to 5:30 a.m.).

The combination of Carl’s Jr and Hardee’s is the #4 ranked burger chain in the United States. McDonald’s is ranked first in terms of locations with 31,000 stores and it is followed by Burger King and Wendy’s chains. Carl’s Jr/Hardee’s are primarily found in the Southern, Western and Southwestern U.S. and the company is expanding into Canada, Mexico, Singapore, Russia, Vietnam and China in the coming years.

A Marketing Recipe for Success

The population that embraces mobile technology is the bull’s eye for fast food marketers. This group is seldom without some form of mobile device – whether it be smartphones or other web enabled gadgets – and they are heavy users of social networks such as Facebook and location based applications such as Foursquare and Gowalla. Marketers at the CKE Restaurant chain have evidently been noticing these trends and have implemented a strategy to take advantage of them.  

The Happy Star application integrates with the chains’ existing digital communities by offering the same look and feel as the brands’ Facebook pages and streaming YouTube videos. It builds on CKE Restaurants’ community approach to social media, which has driven their combined Facebook fans to more than 1 million friends. All of these tactics are textbook examples of integrated marketing

While some fast food purveyors have been tweaking their offerings to include more healthy items, Carl’s Jr and Hardee’s have not made this move. This app is not going to make burgers and fries any healthier. However, most likely, it will get busy people who enjoy getting a reward for their loyalty to these restaurants to buy these products on a regular basis and that’s a marketing recipe that CKE Restaurants will find very tasty indeed.

Reference:
1. Hardee's
2. Carl's Jr. and Hardee's Launch Innovative Mobile Rewards App …


Christmas Gift Ideas for Beer Connoisseurs

As the Christmas season approaches, it comes time to start scouring the streets for gifts for friends and loved ones. As we all know Christmas shopping can be a challenge at the best of times. A task that becomes even more difficult if you’re shopping for someone with specialised interests. So, what do you get for someone whose specialised interests include all things beer? Well, after no small amount of searching it seems as though there is an excess of potential gift ideas fir for any lover of beer.

A Good Read

Anyone who professes to be a connoisseur of fine ales and lagers will appreciate the opportunity to learn more about the beers he or she loves. Here you might want to pick up a copy of The Brewmaster’s Table by Garrett Oliver or The New World Guide to Beer by the late Michael Jackson. Both of these books describe the world’s major styles of beer, give a bit of history as well as offer tasting notes about the classic examples of each style. Or, if the person you’re buying for is interested in making his own beer, The Complete Joy of Home Brewing by Charlie Papazian is a must.

If your friend prefers a shorter read or access to more diverse information, a magazine subscription might be the way to go. “All About Beer” and “Zymurgy” are very informative magazines dealing with everything beer. Both magazines offer great articles about beer, news, reviews of breweries, and lists of beer related events taking place around the country. In publication since 2008, “Beer” magazine promises to be a fun, interesting addition to the world of beerzines.

Gift Baskets and Such

Many department and specialty stores offer gift baskets for all occasions. With a little time and effort you can put together such a basket for the beer connoisseur. Any major city has at least one beer store that offers a stellar selection of craft brewed or imported ales and lagers. Decide on a theme (your friend’s favorite brewery or beer style let’s say) and pick out a variety of beers in that theme. Place them in a gift bag or basket and you’re ready to go. If you don’t know what kind of beer your friend really likes, more and more beer stores offer gift certificates that person can use any time.

There are more and more beer of the month clubs these days than there used to be. Beer of the month clubs can be a little pricier than other gifts, but they offer so much more than other gifts can. First of all, someone else puts your friend’s gift basket together for you. Second, whoever gets this gift enjoys a wider variety of beers than they might otherwise receive. Check the company’s rules and regulations, though. Some companies won’t ship outside the country or to certain states.

Beer Collectibles

Beer collectibles are an opportunity for your friend to build up a killer collection of beer related paraphernalia. The best place to start searching for beer paraphernalia is your local craft brewery. Breweries like Anchor, Brooklyn, and Bridgeport brewing offer a variety of beer mugs, shirts, tap handles and so on for anyone with money to pay. If you live far away from a brewery you want to order from, most will ship within North America and take most major credit cards.

There are also websites that offer collectible items for sale. With a little searching you can find items from now defunct breweries. Anything from beer glasses to tap handles, serving trays and bar towels are out there for the budding collector or serious enthusiast. In addition to websites like eBay and amazon.com, the following sites can help you find whatever collectibles you might track down.

.www.ciuitre.it

www.breweriana.com

www.beerhistory.com/breweriana

Reference:
1. Gifts For Beer Lovers – Business Insider
2. 18 Gift Ideas for Beer Lovers | Men's Journal


Candy Making Basics

I started making home-made candy about six years ago and through trial and error I have learned some things that are very important to know when making candy. If you are making candy that requires a candy thermometer, try to find a good metal one or a nice digital one. These prove to be more accurate then the glass ones. You may pay a little more but it’s better than having to throw a whole batch of candy in the trash.

When it comes to sugar in candy-making pure cane sugar is preferable. Pure cane sugar melts better and combines well with the other ingredients. Sometimes when using beet sugar you will end up with a gritty texture. Don’t, however, use extra fine sugar. It measures slightly differently than granulated sugar. And no matter what do not use artificial sweeteners unless the recipe calls for it.

When cooking candy on the stove-top be sure to use a good heavy aluminum pan. Don’t try to use a nonstick pan. The candy cooks to very high temperatures and can damage the surface of your nonstick pans. Also a heavy aluminum pan with distribute the heat more evenly and your candy is less likely to become scorched. Also, make sure you use a good size pan, to prevent boil over.

Butter and margarine are both acceptable to use when making candy, unless the flavor of the candy requires a buttery flavor, such as toffee. Margarine can be used when you are trying to bring out another flavor such as chocolate or peanut butter.

Suppose you have a problem with sugar crystals sticking to the sides of the pan? Here’s what you can do. Cover the pan when you start the cooking process, the lid holds in the steam and washes the sugar crystals down the side of the pan.

Now lets say you accidentally over-cook the candy. It can be saved as long as it isn’t scorched. Leave the candy on the stove-top and carefully add 1/4 to 1/2 cup of liquid, water, milk, whatever liquid was used in the original recipe. The temperature of the candy should drop and you can continue cooking it until it reaches the correct temperature.

When using chocolate to dip your candies, you need to melt it slowly. You can use the microwave, just make sure you stir it every 30 seconds to keep it from burning. If the chocolate seems too thick you can add one or two tablespoons of oil to it to thin it out. If you have a double boiler, you can use this. When using a double boiler, heat the water to boiling in the lower pan, remove from the heat, place the top pan from the double boiler on top and add the chocolate. Stir the chocolate until it melts. The benefit to using the double boiler is that the temperature of the chocolate does not drop as quickly. Whatever you do, do not let any water get into your chocolate. This will cause the chocolate to seize up and will ruin it.

If you are uncomfortable using baking chocolate for dipping, please feel free to use the chocolate or white bark coatings available at the grocery store. There are also colored candy melts you can get in the craft section of your favorite department store.

Candy-making does not have to be intimidating. There are many recipes that you can try that don’t require a candy thermometer. Start out with something easy and work your way up. Check out some of the recipe web sites on the internet and type in easy candy recipes in the search bar. You will be sure to find some recipes that suit your skill level. It can be a very fun and rewarding hobby.

Reference:
1. Candy making
2. Candy Making Basics (A Beginners Guide)


Can you tell me how to Cook Low Fat Meals on a Budget

Do you think that eating a healthy low fat diet on a budget is impossible? 

So many people believe that cutting back on food costs means that you can’t buy healthy food anymore and they even persuade themselves that healthy weight loss is only possible if they spend a lot of money on their food. 

However this is all wrong, eating a healthy low fat diet on a budget is quite possible with some planning.The first thing you must do is to plan your menus, not only will you save money but you will get a greater variety in your diet. Plan your menu for the week n ahead, check your cupboards, fridge and freezer to see what you already have and then make your shopping list based on what you still need, you’ll be surprised what you will save.Next step is your shopping – try not to go shopping on an empty stomach – you will only be tempted to buy more things than you need, and items that are not suitable for your low fat diet. Buy store own brands instead of well-known ones – they’re usually much cheaper and equally as good, but do be careful about being tempted into purchasing BOGOFs (Buy One Get One Frees) – while these can seem good value  you can easily  be  tempted into buying  more than you need or can actually use, leading to overeating or throwing away food. And DO stick to your shopping list while you are shopping, supermarkets are very clever in getting you to buy items that you don’t really need. When it comes to buying fresh fruit and vegetables, always choose the ones that are in season. As well as being less expensive they will have a better flavour.; and remember that canned fruit or frozen vegetables can be cheaper than fresh ones and can be just as nutritious, just remember to opt for the reduced salt and sugar versions. While on the subject of vegetables, try adding some vegetarian dishes to your menu, vegetables are much cheaper than meat, fish and poultry and are full of vitamins, minerals and fibre and also low fat, there are some great vegetarian dishes that are easy to make and so much less expensive. 

Naturally cooking your own food is not only cheaper but better for you and you will be able to regulate the amount of fat that you are adding to your meal, processed foods can often contain a lot of hidden fats, salt and sugar.It is also a good idea to cook in bulk, do a big shop when it is financially best for you looking most and then you can plan meals around that.  Making large dishes like stews, lasagne , shepherd’s pie etc saves on time and heating , they can then be divided into servings and frozen for later in the month..Soup is perfect for using up odd vegetables before they go past their best, and will freeze well if you make a large quantity, other dishes that I make in bulk and freeze are

Fish Pie ·

Cottage Pie ·

Lasagna ·

Chicken Casserole ·

Bolognese Sauce ·

Chicken Curry ·

Hot Pot

You will need to make sure that you have plenty of freezer-proof containers so you can store your meals in single or family sized servings. If the containers are microwave and/or ovenproof as well you will be able to defrost them without dirtying more dishes.Do remember though to label all your foods, as when they are frozen they look completely different.

Here are a couple of budget low fat meals for you to try, the first is a vegetarian one:-

QUICK AND EASY VEGGIE CHILLIE

Serves 4
8 mushrooms 

2(400g) cans chopped tomatoes

1(250g) can baked beans 

3 teaspoons onion powder 

2 teaspoons hot chilli powder ( or to taste)

2 zucchini, chopped

1 red pepper, de-seeded and diced

300ml vegetable stock

Rice to serve

Fry the mushrooms zucchini and pepper. Put tinned tomatoes in a pan and bring to heat. Add chili powder to taste. Add cooked vegetables, baked beans, vegetable stock and onion powder. Simmer for 15 minutes. Boil rice and serve straight away.

The second uses chicken thighs, which are low fat and reasonably priced:-

HEALTHY, CHEAP AND CHEERFUL CHICKEN CASSEROLE

Serves 4

1tbsp olive oil

1 onion, halved and finely sliced

2 carrots, peeled and thickly sliced

2 celery sticks, thickly sliced

600g chicken thigh, without skin

500g new potatoes, quartered

Leaves from 2 rosemary and 2 thyme sprigs

600ml stock, made from a stock cube

2tablespoon corn flour

410g can butter beans, drained

Preheat the oven to 180°C/356°F/gas 3.

Heat the oil in a large ovenproof pan and cook the onion until soft. Add the carrots and celery and stir so they are all coated in oil. Cook for 4-5 minutes.Add chicken the pan and cook until lightly browned. Then add the potatoes, rosemary, thyme and stock. Heat until simmering, cover and cook in the oven for 45 minutes. Mix the corn flour with four tablespoons of water to make a paste. Stir into the casserole and then add the beans and cook for another 10 minutes

So please don’t worry too much about the cost of a low fat diet, it is very possible to manage on a low budget.

Reference:
1. Low Budget Meals on Pinterest | Budget Meal Planning, Noodle …
2. Healthy Eating on a Budget : Recipes and Cooking : Food Network


Candy Dipping Tips

Whether you want to make a romantic dessert, give the gift of chocolate or just spoil yourself, candy dipping adds a beautiful and delicious finishing touch to strawberries, cookies, pretzels and much more.

Dipping is not a difficult process, but it can take time and require a few pieces of specialized equipment.

Choosing a dip: There are three choices available.

Confectioner’s coating is a chocolate-like product, also known as white chocolate, almond bark or summers coating. It is available in block form or round disks and preferred by many candy makers because it does not require tempering; simply chop and melt.

Semisweet chocolate contains at least 35 percent chocolate liquor, additional cocoa butter and sugar. Available in pieces, block form and round disks.

Milk chocolate contains at least 10 percent chocolate liquor, additional cocoa butter and 12 percent whole milk solids. Also available in pieces, block form and round disks.

Tempering semisweet or milk chocolate: A must for professional-looking dipped candies.

Tempering refers to the process of melting and cooling chocolate to the correct dipping temperature. As chocolate melts, the cocoa butter separates from the chocolate liquor. Then, as the mixture cools, the cocoa butter blends evenly back into the chocolate liquor. Without tempering, the surface of the chocolate will speckle or develop gray streaks as it hardens.

Dip chocolates on a cool, dry day, 60 to 65 degrees F. Use no more than 1 to 1-1/2 pounds of chocolate for dipping to ensure maximum coverage of candies. More than 2 pounds is difficult to keep evenly melted during the dipping process. Finely chop the chocolate so it will melt quickly and evenly.

Place water in bottom of a double boiler to within 1/2 inch of the upper pan. Make sure the upper pan does not touch the water or the chocolate could be overheated. Bring water to boiling and remove from heat. Place about one-fourth of the chocolate in top of double boiler and set over hot water until chocolate begins to melt. Add remaining chocolate, about 1/2 cup at a time, stirring constantly after each addition until melted. Stir until chocolate reaches 120 degrees F.

If chocolate does not reach 120 degrees, reheat water by removing upper pan of chocolate. Bring water to boiling and remove from heat. Then place the upper pan over hot water again.

Once the chocolate has reached 120 degrees, refill bottom of the double boiler with cool water to within 1/2 inch of the upper pan. Place chocolate over cool water. Stir frequently until the chocolate cools to the dipping temperature of 83 degrees F. This should take about 30 minutes. When dipping you will want to work quickly, stirring chocolate frequently to keep it evenly heated. Chocolate will stay close to dipping temperature for about 30 minutes. If chocolate cools to below 80 degrees it will need to be re-tempered.

Dipping: Use any treat as long as it’s dry. Otherwise you risk “seizing” the chocolate and ruining it.

Fruits: Hold the stem or green leaves of the fruit and dip into the chocolate and swirl to cover two-thirds and leave the very top unvarnished. Give the fruit a shake as you lift it out of the chocolate. Place on the prepared greaseproof sheet. Allow the chocolate to harden for 30 minutes.

Candy: Drop one at a time, into melted chocolate and turn to coat. Lift out and draw fork across rim of pan to remove excess chocolate. Invert onto a baking sheet lined with waxed paper. Twist fork slightly as candy falls so you can swirl the top. Allow the chocolate to harden for 30 minutes.

Cookies and pretzels: Hold onto edge and dip into melted chocolate, swirl to cover two-thirds and leave the edge unvarnished. Shake as you lift out of chocolate and place on prepared greaseproof sheet. Use a spoon to cover remaining area with chocolate. Allow to harden for 30 minutes.

Reference:
1. Chocolate Dipping Tips ~ Dip it in Chocolate
2. How to Dip Truffles in Chocolate – Candy – About.com


Cannelloni

Who doesn’t love great Italian food? Well, I know that I do and am sure you will enjoy this recipe for cannelloni. You will amaze your friends when you make them this dish.

You will need:

one teaspoon of chopped parsley

three quarters cup of chopped onion

one half cup of shredded cheddar cheese or if you prefer to use monterey cheese then go right ahead, or mix the two cheeses

two tablespoons of oil

one quarter teaspoon of Italian herb seasoning

three quarter teaspoon of salt

one large beaten egg

two tablespoons of flour

half a cup of chicken broth or beef broth if you prefer

one and a half cups of ground cooked chicken or beef (meat of your choice)

one cup of ricotta cheese or you may use dry curd cottage cheese

eight egg roll wrappers

Italian sauce: wine, sugar, garlic salt, italian herb seasoning, and a can of tomatoe sauce

First you will make your Italian sauce. Simply stir one quarter cup of white wine, one teaspoon of sugar, a half teaspoon of garlic salt and a half teaspoon of Italian herb seasoning into a bowl with a fifteen ounce can of tomatoe sauce.

Gather your ingredients and organize them. Pour your oil into the frying pan and add the onion. Fry the onion until it is soft. Then add the herb seasoning stirring it in with the flour. Blend in the beef or chicken broth.

Cook the mixture stirring until it boils and gets very thick. Remove the mixture from the heat. Then stir in your chicken or beef meat, ricotta, egg and salt. Take half of your Italian sauce and pour half of it into a greased baking dish.

Set an egg roll wrapper on some waxed paper and spoon about one third cup filling into one end. Roll up the wrap using the end of waxed paper to lift the wrapper. Set it seam side down in the sauce. Repeat this process with all of the other wraps and filling.

Then pour the remaining sauce over the rolls you’ve made. Cover your dish tightly with foil. Put the dish into the oven and bake at 350 degrees for about 45 minutes. Remove dish from oven and sprinkle the cheddar or monterey cheese on top. Place the dish back into the oven and bake for five more minutes. Remove the dish one last time and sprinkle with parsley. This will serve about four people.

Reference:
1. Cannelloni
2. Italian Baked Cannelloni Recipe – Allrecipes.com


Cake Recipes

BANANA CAKE

INGREDIENTS

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking soda
1 pinch salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1 cup white sugar
3/4 cup light brown sugar
2 eggs
4 ripe bananas, mashed
2/3 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup chopped walnuts

DIRECTIONS

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease and flour 2 – 8 inch round pans. In a small bowl, whisk together flour, soda and salt; set aside.
In a large bowl, cream butter, white sugar and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs, one at a time. Mix in the bananas. Add flour mixture alternately with the buttermilk to the creamed mixture. Stir in chopped walnuts. Pour batter into the prepared pans.

Bake in the preheated oven for 30 minutes. Remove from oven and place on a damp tea towel to cool.

This is a very versatile and fast cake recipe. Not only is it moist and delicious, the same batter can be used to make banana bread and muffins. Delicious frosted with chocolate or cream cheese frosting.

Reference:
1. Cake Recipes – Allrecipes.com
2. Cake Recipes – Betty Crocker