What is traditional Christmas cooking

What is traditional Christmas cooking? Well, that depends on you and your family. Tradition is something you make up as you go along. A traditional Christmas is what is traditional in your home. It may be a recipe handed down from your great grandmother or it may be something you thought of in a desperate hurry last Christmas Eve. Anything can become a tradition. What makes something traditional depends on how we feel about it.

That said, once something becomes traditional then you change it at your peril. If your children expect to come home to stir the Christmas pudding and put in the family favors then you had better not change it. For more details www.cooking-chinese-style.com .They may be away at college or carving out a big career for themselves in the city but they will still expect Christmas to be the Christmas they remember. Christmas cooking is a big part, maybe the biggest part, of the way we remember Christmas.

Every part of Christmas is accompanied by food of one sort or another. The tastes and smells of that food fixes the memory of Christmas in our minds. That smell of cinnamon or hot sugar. If we catch a hint of it anywhere at anytime we are transported instantly back in time to a Christmas kitchen of our childhood. That is the power of traditional Christmas cooking.

I remember how when my mother-in-law was alive and would come to us for Christmas dinner, I had to cook a big traditional turkey dinner with all the trimmings. Turkey seemed a very dry meat to me so I looked through one of my cookery books and found a recipe that involved glazing the turkey with apricot jam for the last 15 minutes of cooking. As a “proper” cook I was appalled, but it seemed to work, so every year I poured a pot of apricot jam over my turkey and, I have to confess, it was delicious.

When my mother-in-law died I saw the opportunity to change our family’s traditional Christmas cooking routine. At last my culinary skills would find true expression in a Christmas dinner that would be original and exciting. No more apricot jam for me. I would amaze family and friends with my creations. For more details www.atkins-diets-recipes.com But no matter what I tried in subsequent years nothing was quite as good as the old turkey recipe with its apricot jam. It had become part of our family’s traditional Christmas cooking. So I gave in and everyone was much happier, even me.

However good a cook you are and whatever new recipes you may attempt in the rest of the year Christmas is a time to come back to traditional Christmas cooking whatever that might be for you and your family. There is a profound wisdom in that which cooks too easily forget. When we cook we are engaging in one of the great acts of social ritual. We are not just cooking for ourselves we are cooking for other people. Our Christmas dinner table expresses not just our skill but our human relationships. Traditional Christmas cooking encapsulates all those relationships, gathered over the years, with people still living and people long since dead that go into making us what we are. At Christmas ghosts sit down at out tables. Traditional Christmas

Eleven Steps to a Better Cup of Coffee

If you are like most coffee drinkers, you probably think you are already getting an awesome cup of coffee. However odds are that you can probably still improve the quality by following these eleven steps:

1. Use Quality Coffee Beans

Stay out of the grocery stores! OK that is a serious statement, but seriously do not buy coffee beans at the grocery store. No one knows when it was roasted and that is a critical, key point in coffee freshness. These beans are known for being stale, whether they are in the gravity bins (especially stale!) or bagged (usually stale!). No one really knows how long the beans have been in the bins or bags. Buy your coffee from an area independent coffee shop or artisan coffee roaster that can verify the roasting date. This is the only way to know you are buying freshly roasted coffee beans of gourmet quality. Their reputation is on the line so they strive for the best quality coffee freshly roasted.

2. Store Properly Remove your beans from the original bag and put in an airtight container like Tupperware or Glad Ware. The more opaque the container, the better to keep harmful light out. Extreme light like keeping coffee in a glass jar on the sink can cause deterioration of your beans, allowing your final cup of coffee to taste flat or stale.

Do not store in the freezer or refrigerator. Keep them in an airtight container in a cool, dry and dark place like a cupboard or pantry. Refrigerators harbor many odors and coffee is very porous. It will act like a sponge to odors whether it’s ground or whole bean. Freezers can cause freezer burn, and the flavor oils to crack and lose flavor. These oils are where the flavor is. Storing in the freezer freezes the surface condensation each time the coffee is taken out of the freezer.

Excess moisture will cause your beans to stale faster and shorten the life span of your coffee so a cool, dry and dark place it recommended for storage.

3. Proper Grind and Grind Just Before Using

The grind of the coffee matters. Your coffee should be ground for the type of brewing method you are using. Coarse for French press and single serve, fine for espresso. The in between matter but for most auto-drip makers your grind should be just finer than coarse meaning that when you rub it between your fingers the grinds should feel similar to typical bread crumbs. Espresso grinds should feel like somewhere between sugar and powdered sugar. Also, by using a burr grinder your coffee will receive less friction than a typical blade grinder giving your grinds less chance to get scorched during grinding.

Coffee is very porous and will absorb odors and air (oxygen) very fast. Oxygen will make your coffee taste really bad! So, the longer your coffee is ground and not used the longer it has to stale and make a bad cup.

4. Measure Properly

Weigh your coffee before you grind it. To make a good, well-rounded cup of coffee you should use approximately.75oz (22g) of coffee beans to every 8oz of cold water. You can +/- to taste but this is a good starting point.

5. Purified Water at Precise Temperature

Fresh, clean tap water (purified is best) or quality spring water is recommended. Do

The Effect of having Sports in the Bars

It is well said that 2 is company and 3 is crowd. However, I do not think so. In fact, after 2 it is a group. That’s right. Once you are a group or a clan, everything falls your way. It is an immense pleasure and fun to be a part of a big clan with all the members sharing the common interest and passion towards the sports being offered at the Singapore bars. Being a couch potato at home, sitting before the idiot box and watching your favorite match series is only one side of the world. You ought to get out of your couch and visit the sports bars in Singapore. Only then can you understand the fun of watching the matches together. (more…)

The Convenience of One-Cup Coffee Makers

The one-cup coffee maker has many benefits. Perhaps you are the only coffee drinker in your house, and you are tired of pouring good coffee down the drain because you made too much. Maybe you enjoy gourmet coffee, but do not have the time or inclination to grind beans for a full pot. Or perhaps you want a convenient, mess-free way to enjoy a fresh cup of Joe at your desk.

If any of these are true, then a single serving brewer may just be for you.

Most of these individual coffee brewers have a built in filter. You just drop in a sealed cup or pod of your favorite coffee, hit a button, and in less than a minute, you have a fresh, steaming mug of java.

You can use your favorite cup with most of these, and some come with a thermal travel mug. There are compact machines that will even let you choose between coffee and tea.

If you do opt to go with a smaller version of the coffeepot, make sure you drink your coffee within 20 minutes, or it could turn bitter.

The one-cup coffee maker is perfect for your office at work, or for your desktop at home. You can have everything you need for a freshly-brewed cup sitting right in your desk drawer, never needing to interrupt yourself to get a quick coffee fix. The best part is that they are not messy, and cleanup is a snap. Any removable parts can be rinsed or thrown into the dishwasher.

Here are some favorites based on customer reviews.

o Melitta Single Cup – This sleek, modern-looking machine has earned the Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval. A metered tank allows you to brew up to five cups before having to refill, and it comes in three color choices. Use your own mug and have a hot cup of coffee in less than 60 seconds, or a cup of tea in about 35 seconds.

o Keurig – One of the most popular brands of single-serve coffee maker today, the Keurig offers an adjustable brew size – up to 11.25 ounces. The programmable functions and removable water reservoir add to the ease of use, and its quiet brew and auto shut-off functions add to its appeal. Beginning at around $99, this is one of the more expensive single-cup brewers.

o Senseo – Another of the nation’s favorites, Senseo’s compact design allows you to use your favorite mug, and removable parts can go right in the dishwasher. Brew either four-ounce or eight-ounce cups with an auto-shut off feature. Priced at around $70, this one-cup roaster is a great bargain.

o Black & Decker – The little Brew-n-Go percolates fresh coffee right into a handy travel mug. The auto shut-off feature will give you peace of mind. This little bargain model is another customer favorite.

o Bialetti – This java maker lets you make the perfect cup of espresso at home. Just put your water and coffee into the specially designed pot and heat up over your stove. Starting at around $47, this little coffee pot gives you the choice of brewing two cups or four.

o Bunn – The fast brew option on the My Café not only gets your coffee ready in a hurry, but allows you to brew between four and twelve ounce increments.

If you choose to

Buy Best Quality Charcoal for Your Barbecue

Buy charcoal than there are several vendors on the web these days that are involved in the selling of quality charcoal and other such elements that help you enjoy a beautiful meal after all the hard work and efforts that have been made by you. Charcoal is easily available in the e-stores as well as in the physical stores at cost-effective rates. They are usually stocked in a pyramid fashion. Spread out the heated charcoal evenly all around the grill to enjoy the best barbecued food ever.

If you enjoy an outdoor barbecue then, there is nothing best than the charcoal barbecue. Charcoal is the most commonly used fuel for grilling and barbecuing. Food lovers often love to have their barbecue cooked over a charcoal flame as it is what induces that peculiar and authentic taste to the food being cooked. Nothing beats the aroma of the food that is cooked over a charcoal or wooden barbecue not even the so called modern gas grills. The quality of charcoal too plays a very important role in the barbecue apart from the quality of meat, ingredients used and arrangement of the grills. To enjoy a good meal one should always buy best quality charcoal for cooking.

There are specifically made barbecue grills are available in the market that makes use of the charcoal as the main source of heat generation in order to cook the meat thoroughly from inside out. The form, pattern and size of the grills may vary from place to place. Thus depending upon your requirement you can pick up a size that cat cater to your family needs. To ensure that the meat is well cooked and has that peculiar aroma, it must be cooked on low heat over supreme quality charcoals. Following the step by step guide of the barbecue meat helps you bring forth onto the table something amazing not only in looks but at the same time in taste too.

Also while, barbecuing makes sure that you do not add the charcoal lighter fluid to the already heated charcoals as they can further strengthen the heat which in turn might result into the fire that might be hazardous. This should be avoided in all situations as they can lead to unwanted and unnecessary burns and rashes. If a little care and attention is paid, one can easily cook food without getting oneself hurt or injured. Soak the charcoals beforehand only in the charcoal liquid for about 10mins to get absorbed.

Care should also be taken while igniting your barbecue grill to make sure that the meat being cooked is not burnt and is well cooked from inside out, leaving no raw corners. Place the meat only when the charcoal is well heated and appears to be white hot and ashy. Further you can serve the meal thus cooked with freshly chopped veggies or a salad. The dishes that are prepared in the similar fashion are simply mouthwatering and lend an exceptional taste in the mouth.

If what you are seeking is a place to buy charcoal than there are several vendors on the web these days that are involved in the selling of quality charcoal and other such elements that help you enjoy a beautiful meal after all the hard work and efforts that have been made by you.

Reduce Childhood Obesity Through Food, Fitness and Fun

The ever growing problem of childhood obesity is challenging community based and commercial organizations. The health care industry is very concerned about this “epidemic” because the cost of care for these children continues to rise, and will continue to increase as these children grow into adulthood. Across Canada, 1 in 4 children are considered overweight or obese according to the Ontario Medical Association. What can be done?

Family cycling together – staying fit and having fun!There are a variety of factors that contribute to obesity in children. These include genetic, environmental, behavioural and social issues. It’s not just a matter of over eating or under exercising or a lack of willpower and self control. However, if the problem is going to be addressed, it does come down to personal and family commitment to making a change.

So, what can you do if you have a child struggling with their weight? The approach I would recommend comes down to food, fitness and fun for the whole family. This could be a significant lifestyle shift but if you’re concerned about your child’s health, it shouldn’t be a big deal. Here are some tips.

  • Avoid skipping meals, especially breakfast.
  • Work on incorporating more home made meals into your diet instead of eating out or using heavily processed foods for major meals.
  • Try to include foods from at least 3 of the four main food groups in each meal. Plan meals and snacks so you’re choosing a variety of nutritious, tasty foods.
  • Limit the serving sizes of snacks and limit snacks to 1 or 2 per day. Choose things like fresh fruit and yogurt or cheese, a muffin or cereal with milk.
  • Allow your child to enjoy their favourite foods in moderation.

Of course, exercise and overall activity level is equally important as how many calories your child consumes. We all know we should be more active for our general health and well being. Here are some activity suggestions.

  • Encourage your child to aim for at least 30 minutes of vigorous activity 5 days a week.
  • For family activities, choose a variety your family will enjoy.
  • Choose activities that can be done from home like walking, cycling, hiking and playing games outdoors.
  • Limit screen time (television, video games and computer time) to less than 2 hours per day.
  • If your child has a television in their bedroom, remove it. A research study showed children with a TV in their room watched close to 5 hours more programming than those without.
  • Exercise with your child and set a good example for them. Community or in home exercise programs are an ideal solution.

As you can see, dealing with childhood obesity requires a lifestyle change for the family. You can not expect your child to do everything on their own. Your role as a parent is to support your child’s change to a healthier lifestyle. Ultimately it will benefit your entire family for years to come.

Typical Culinary Arts Career Prospects

Someone who aspires to venture into a culinary arts career would typically want to know “what prospects do culinary arts careers have for me?” This is a simple and typical question and yet not simple to answer. Like every other profession, a culinary arts career demands certain skills that are very specific. These skills can be divided into technical and soft. Technical skills, of course, mean the ability to cook well and soft skills would mean ability to understand your customers and their tastes; persistence and determination to overcome odds and hazards the job brings with it.

Usually, people complete formal education on culinary arts before they take the jump. However, this is not essential that one has to. A formal education, such as a diploma has many advantages. One, it helps you land a job which an absence of formal education may not.

Second, a formal education on culinary arts usually train you on the soft skills and you become better at understanding varied customer tastes and preferences; you also become a good communicator. Third, a formal education is great because it gives a thorough idea on the hygiene aspect of a culinary arts career, which is an essential component. However, there have been many instances where people have gone on to do very well in spite of not having a formal education on culinary arts.

People usually have a defined career path when they join a hotel or a culinary institute. The objective of each such people is to rise to the position of chief chef and there are a number of positions or grades they have to be in before they go on to become the chief chef. These people typically begin as assistants who help their seniors by providing the materials required for cooking.

They are expected to pick up the art of cutting, grating, mixing and applying condiments well. These people graduate to the level of chefs who begin by actually getting to cook. The expectations from this level are the tastes and the hygiene factor. Lastly, one can rise to the level of the chief chef who would be expected to supervise a group of chefs and even strategize on the dishes and their way of preparation, depending on customer preferences.

A culinary arts career can be a rewarding career, if handled properly. This is the instant gratification career where you will be solely judged based on how tasty and hygienic your food is and that would be an instant feedback. This single factor can make or break your career. If you decide to take the plunge, you must carefully consider whether you have the acumen. This is a seriously acumen based career and often, you either have it or you do not have it.