Six Best Culinary Herbs for Cooking

Freshly picked culinary herbs add flavour to food and many are delicious additions to salads. Edible herb flowers such as pot marigold, nasturtium and rosemary can also be added to the salad bowl. Many culinary herbs are rich in vitamins and minerals and when freshly picked and eaten raw they can form part of a well-balanced diet. Raw herbs can also be used to add flavour to oils and vinegars for cooking and for salads.

Parsley

Parsley leaves gives a fresh flavour to sauces and salads, when added just before serving. The stems and leaves of parsley can also be used in bouquet garni. Parsley tastes particularly good with pasta dishes, omelettes, vegetables, fish and any meat or poultry.

Parsley is one of the most widely known and used of the culinary herbs. There are two main types of parsley – curly leaf and flat leaf – and both are excellent for culinary purposes. Both of these herbs are a rich source of vitamins and minerals and they can be used to enhance the flavour of cooked dishes and green salads.

Basil

Basil goes with almost any dish but it has a special affinity with tomatoes and is a favourite in Italian cooking.

Sweet basil with its soft green leaves and creamy white or purple tinted flowers is the most popular type of basil. This culinary herb can be used in sauces and salads and to enhance the flavour of cooked dishes such as soups and stews. Perhaps the greatest basil dish is pesto sauce, eaten with spaghetti. This combination makes a wonderfully delicious meal.

There are many other types of basil. Purple ruffle, dark opal and Greek basil are three of the other more unusual varieties, all with differing flavours.

Mint

Spearmint and peppermint are two members of the mint family most widely known and used as culinary herbs. There are many varieties of mint, some with distinct scents and flavours and some can be used for a variety of culinary purposes, such as in sweet and savoury dishes, in salads and for herb tea.

Spearmint is a favourite for mint sauce to accompany lamb and tastes particularly good with dishes such as soups, stews, plain meats, fish and lemon-based deserts.

Peppermint is also popular as a culinary herb flavouring. This herb is most commonly used as flavouring for sweets and chocolates etc. and is also used to flavour cordials. Fresh peppermint leaves can be used to make peppermint tea and the leaves can be added to fresh green salads.

Thyme

Thyme can be used to improve the flavour of most dishes. Both the fresh and dried leaves of this herb are used for cooking. Fresh thyme leaves are useful in many savoury dishes.

Thyme has a rich flavour which makes it an ideal accompaniment to roast meats and tastes good in slowly cooked dishes such as stews and soups. The finely chopped fresh leaves may be added to new potatoes or salad.

Thyme is regarded as one of the great culinary herbs and is widely used in European cooking. This herb is an evergreen perennial it is recognisable by its mauve flowers and small leaves.
Warning: Avoid using Thyme if you are pregnant.

Rosemary

This lovely culinary herb has a strong but pleasant flavour. It enhances the flavour of many dishes such as strong tasting fish and some meat dishes but goes especially well with lamb and also tastes good with strong flavoured vegetables.

Feeling Depressed, Irritable, Tired, Perhaps Lacking In Sex Drive Low Glycemic Index Food May Help

Are you regularly feeling burnout, constantly exhausted, irritable and perhaps lacking in sex drive? This may be because you’re suffering from adrenal fatigue. Often people that suffer from this condition use coffee, sugary soft drinks and other stimulants to pep themselves up during the day.

Adrenal glands are small pyramid shaped organs that sit just above each kidney in the lower back. The adrenals release their own stress hormones in response to certain situations or environmental conditions. They control the release of many important hormones in the body such as DHEA, estrogen and testosterone. The adrenal’s main function is to assist the body to deal with life-threating, or stressful situations. The adrenal responses to such situations by determining the amount of energy level available for the necessary response.

In many western cultures, due to the fast paced lifestyles that many of us live, as many as 75 percent of individuals suffer from adrenal fatigue sometime in their lives. This occurs when the adrenal glands can no longer keep up with the pace of release of stress hormones or no longer respond to repeated demands.

Symptoms may include severe fatigue, light-headedness upon standing, depression, irritability, lack of sex drive, exhaustion and general uneasiness or discomfort. This condition is often associated with intense or prolonged stress, life crisis, trauma, and chronic illness.

When your adrenals responds to stress your metabolism speeds up burning more nutrients than needed. With adrenal fatigue, the cells have used up much of your body’s nutrient stores, creating a nutritional void.

You therefore need to replenish the nutritional stores with high quality food at frequent intervals, thereby avoid low drops in blood sugar, which will make a difference to your adrenal health and energy levels.

Timing of when you eat is important if you’re suffering from adrenal fatigue. Eat before 10.00 am to restore depleted blood sugar levels from the previous night. Then eat an early lunch preferably before noon because your body will have quickly used up the morning’s nourishment. Eat a healthy snack between 2 and 3 pm to sustain yourself before the cortisol dip which typically occurs between 3 and 4 pm. And finally, your evening meal should be eaten around 5 and 6 pm and a small healthy snack before you go to bed can help you get through sleep disturbances.

Stick with low glycemic index foods as these will moderate your blood sugar levels and your insulin response. In addition low GI will also provide your body with a variety of nutrients that it needs on a daily basis. Its best to also avoid sugary products and too much caffeine if at all possible.

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. Continue reading

Great Gourmet Coffee is Not Created With a Single Bean

The word “coffee” brings specific thoughts and images to mind. Smooth, rich, fragrant, dark, soothing and eye opening are just some of the words that probably come to mind. On television we see rich, thick cups of coffee that simply look amazing. It is very possible to brew that same cup of coffee from home with the help of master roasters from Italy.

People often try everything to change the taste and texture of their coffee. They resort to buying expensive flavored creamers to improve the overall coffee experience. More often than not, all that does is mask the flavor of the coffee. True coffee lovers don’t wish to mask the coffee flavor, they prefer to enhance it.

In effort to achieve a better coffee at home, people resort to cleaning their coffee pot, or even buying a new one. They are often led to believe that using bottled water will enhance the flavor of their coffee. Soon they realize it isn’t the coffee pot, the problem is the type of coffee. When all else fails, change the type of coffee you purchase. If you’re in the market for a heavy, thick coffee with a full bodied taste, go for a Sicilian gourmet coffee.

Coffee beans grown in South America and Indonesia are kept at a certain height and cultivated while the fruit is at its prime. These coffee beans have a heaviness and aroma that assaults the senses and creates an entirely new love of coffee. The flavor lingers in your mouth, never turning bitter. Your morning cup becomes a savory, satisfying way to start the day.

Entertain Your Guests with Sicilian Gourmet Coffee

If you love entertaining guests who love great coffee, switch your usual grocery store coffee with a rich, bold Sicilian blend. The coffee itself will become an instant conversation starter. You may choose to share your new-found coffee secrets with your guests, or keep them to yourself. Sicilian gourmet coffee brings with it a warm feeling of friendship that your friends and guests will talk about for months to come.

Some people may believe they’re coffee lovers, but they’ve never tried anything other than grocery store brands. Every coffee drinker has slightly different tastes. The wide variety of gourmet coffee blends is sure to offer something for everyone. While planning your next get-together with friends, choose your coffee carefully.

Coffee Beans Make All the Difference

Coffees sold in your local grocery store are created in mass quantities to sell. While they try to maintain some sense of quality, quantity often reigns supreme. Coffee plants aren’t always properly nourished and cared for the way they should be to create really amazing coffee grounds.

Gourmet coffee plants are nourished and cared for. They are grown at specific altitudes that ensure the overall quality of the coffee beans. They are generally grown to a specific height and the beans are cultivated at a precise time to create the perfect balance between aroma, taste and body.

Not All Gourmet Coffees Are Created Equal

The overall quality of the variety of gourmet coffee types depends on the coffee bean used. Two types of bean are Arabica and Robusta. These two coffee beans are grown in different areas of the world at completely different altitudes. The Arabica bean is grown in the mountains of South America while the Robusta bean is grown and cultivated in Asia at about sea level.

The amount of each coffee bean used to create a cup of coffee can greatly impact the taste. The Arabica bean creates a smooth, delicate flavor. Adding Robusta beans to Arabica beans adds a true, classic Sicilian flare. The combination of 70 percent Arabica beans and 30 percent Robusta beans create one of the greatest golden blends of gourmet coffee Sicily has to offer.

Tips for Quick and Easy Iced Coffee

Coffee is a fantastic drink at any time of day, during any season of the year. That being said, a steaming hot cup of java isn’t always welcome once summer rolls around. Don’t let the summer heat deprive you of your favorite beverage when you can switch to iced coffee!

During the warmest months of the year, iced coffee makes for a refreshing change of pace. While most cafes and coffee shops serve these cold concoctions, you may be wondering how to get iced coffee at home. Here are my tips for serving up delicious iced coffee without having to break a sweat:

o Get ice.

This may seem obvious, but you need ice to help you make iced coffee. If you don’t plan ahead by freezing some cubes, you won’t be able to make iced coffee when you want it. While plain old frozen water will do, I prefer freezing several of my favorite Keurig coffee brews in an ice cube tray. When combined with your freshly brewed coffee, these coffee cubes won’t water the drink down.

o Brew coffee.

Next, brew your favorite coffee variety. While you’re welcome to use a regular drip brewer or instant coffee, I prefer my Keurig single cup coffee maker. To make a cup of coffee in less than a minute, all I have to do is pop one of the K Cup portion packs into the machine and press a button. This allows me to brew multiple cups and different flavors very quickly – which means I can pour the fresh coffee over the coffee cubes and start drinking iced coffee that much sooner!

o Mix things up.

Once you’ve poured your freshly brewed coffee over your frozen coffee cubes, you can either drink it straight or add a splash of your favorite liquor. I recommend the flavors of coconut rum, Irish cream, butterscotch schnapps or crème de menthe. If you’re in the mood for extra flavor but don’t want alcohol, try adding a few drops of vanilla or adding some Italian-style flavored syrups.

o Try something different.

If you’d like a more slushy drink, skip the hot coffee. Simply throw a cup of the frozen coffee cubes into a blender and give it a few pulses. Don’t over do it with the blender or you’ll end up with soup. Pour the crushed coffee cubes into a mug and serve with a straw or spoon.

Another fun idea is to create a coffee dessert by freezing your favorite brew in an ice pop mold. If you don’t have an ice pop mold, freeze plastic spoons into the coffee cubes you make in an ice cube tray. Once your coffee pops are frozen solid, remove them from the tray and enjoy. Be careful not to consume your chilled treats too quickly – it might be the first time you get brain freeze from your coffee!

Gourmet Foods For Every Occasion

Enjoying fine food is definitely one of the pleasures of life. There is so much fast food and bland tasting dishes today because of the lack of time to really prepare food right, that when you do get to enjoy gourmet fine food, it’s a special treat.

So what makes any food or drink qualify to be called “gourmet”?

Well, in general it means that a particular food or drink is considered above average in quality, and will appeal even to those who have the most discriminating tastes. It also usually means that a lot of time and effort has gone into it’s preparation too.

What comes to mind when you think of gourmet foods? Here is a list of many fine foods and beverages that can be found in the gourmet food category:

1. Coffees – Gourmet coffees include many exotic coffee blends from around the world and flavored coffees. Frequently you can get a nice mixture of various gourmet coffees that allow you to sample them before buying more of each kind.

2. Teas – There are several specialty teas from all over the world that qualify to be called gourmet tea.They can be either green, black, oolong or herbal teas. Again, you can often get sampler packs of these exotic teas to try them out first.

3. Chocolates – Whether milk, dark or white chocolate,gourmet chocolate assortments often come with fruit, nuts, and cream centers that are just incredibly delicious.

4. Caviar – If you really want to taste the good life, enjoy any of the various kinds of caviar, from the American Golden to the Russian Dark variety. Of course this is one type of gourmet food that can get really pricey fast, but there is a caviar for pretty much any budget if you look carefully enough.

5. Seafood – There are lots of seafoods that have been specially prepared as gourmet foods including smoked herring, oysters, shrimp and lobster rolls and bisques. There’s lots more in this category too and again you can often get samplers for taste testing in advance.

6. Fish – Some of the favorite gourmet fish foods are salmon, tuna, and halibut.

7. Meats – This is one of the largest gourmet categories and lately has become very popular. Entries in this field include ribs, roasts, steaks, and even some dried and cured meats.

8. Poultry – There are any number of gourmet foods prepared with chicken, but duck and turkey is also top favorites for special dishes.

So where can you use gourmet foods? Almost any special occasion is a good time to include gourmet foods, drinks, or desserts on the menu. Everything from intimate dinners for two to large social gatherings are all acceptable places to include the delicious taste of gourmet foods to help make that occasion truly special and unforgettable.

Your Culinary Herb Garden

The romance of caring for a culinary herb garden is appealing to all kinds of people. City dwellers often plant edible herbs in window boxes and flower pots while people surrounded by land may plant and maintain several dozen different culinary and fragrance herbs. Cooking with herbs has always been popular. Herbs enhance the flavor of food and can add new life to old favorites.

All herbs are wonderfully easy to grow, which has long made them a favorite of gardeners everywhere; culinary herb gardens have the added benefit of making a valuable contribution to the kitchen. Instead of paying high prices at the grocery store or farmer’s market, people who grow culinary herbs only have to snip a few leaves from a plant to get the fresh flavors they need for cooking.

Choosing Culinary Herbs

To get the most out of your culinary herb garden, it is important that you choose your plants wisely. While the idea of growing spearmint may sound appealing at first, if you don’t care for the taste of mint then you probably won’t get very much out of growing it. To choose what culinary herbs to grow, think about the kinds of foods you like to prepare. If you like Italian cooking, then you will frequently use oregano, basil, and thyme. Mediterranean cooking makes frequent use of parsley and mint, and meat-based dishes can benefit richly from the addition of rosemary.

Growing Your Herbs

Just about every garden center and nursery has a selection of live herbs available for purchase in the late spring. Spring is also the time to get a good price on seeds; it’s possible to get many seed packets for the price of a single live plant, so people wishing to grow several herbs can save money by purchasing seeds. Herbs are hardy plants that are easy to grow from seed. Simply sow the seeds according the guidelines provided on the package and wait a few weeks.

After purchase, live herbs should be promptly repotted into larger containers. A roomy flower pot gives your herbs space to spread out and grow, so choose a container that will promote a thriving plant. To get the most out of your culinary herbs, consider buying a book of herb growing or borrow one from the library. Learn about the different needs of each herb; you’ll have a much better chance at gardening success if you provide the right kind of soil, light conditions, and amount of water.

Enjoying Your Herbs

Before you know it, your culinary herbs will be ready to use. To harvest, clip leaves or stems from the plant while taking care not to disturb the roots or take too much of the growing plant. This bit of pruning gives you the herbs you need and can stimulate further plant growth.

When using your herbs in recipes, read the instructions carefully. Many recipes were written with the assumption that the cook is using dried herbs; if you use the same amount of fresh herb, you may find that you’ve used too much. It only takes a small amount of fresh herb to deliver a large amount of flavor.

Once you start cooking with herbs, you’re sure to discover many more ways to use them. Your cooking will be more flavorful and enjoyable than ever with the addition of fresh culinary herbs.

Dieting and Fitness

A lot of people these days are getting a bit more health and fitness conscious. But it does not just stop there. These health and fitness nuts have one common goal and desire to sculpt their bodies into shapes fit to be flashed on magazine covers. Because of that, fitness centers like health gyms and spas have been flourishing all over since these establishments provide what these health and fitness buffs want and need.

The domination of weight loss merchandises, exercise machines, and other fitness and health paraphernalia is getting pretty much evident as it gains control over communication waves and has made its way into our households. And yet, as you would most probably already know, exercise alone will not give you the beautiful body you have been wishing for. Being body beautiful requires a specific degree of responsibility and discipline, not just with training and exercise, but also with your diet. To be completely immersed on the road to health and fitness, you will need to pair up exercise with the proper diet. And proper diet means knowing what food to eat.

Having a proper diet is just as vital as getting adequate exercise. Dieting or choosing the right food to eat offers a person the important nutrients that he needs in order to repair muscles that have been damaged or worn out, and helps such muscles to develop and be restored in a healthy manner. In short, one should never take dieting for granted. The popularity of keeping fit has given rise to the creation of several health programs and strategies for dieting from many health and diet experts. The high-fat diet and the high-carb diet are among those popularized diet strategies that have invaded our suddenly health conscious society. And so the big question now is which of the two diets is better and more effective? To answer this, let us first dissect the basic differences between the two diets.

A high-carb diet is that which requires a person to concentrate on ingesting only foods that are rich in carbohydrates. While presumably so, a high-fat diet is that which sanctions foods that are rich or high in fat. Now, we all know that carbohydrates are high in glycogen, and this element gives a person a rather high level of energy. Fats, on the other hand, are the richest calorie source.

But the most important thing to keep in mind is that no matter what diet you follow, the one that will work best for you is the one that is right. Remember that our bodies react differently to stimuli. So to have a fit, healthy, and sexy body, stick to the diet that satisfies you best.

How to Shop for the Best Coffee Machine

Trying to find the perfect coffee machine is like trying to find a needle in a haystack. Considering the variety of different coffee makers out there, the entire experience can be more than a little overwhelming. Take time to focus on the big picture, before making any decision. There are six basic methods of making coffee. Select which method you’re going to use, then find a machine that fits.

Single Cup Coffee Machines are liked by many for their speed, ease of use and flexibility. This style of coffee maker uses either a coffee pod or a coffee capsule. Coffee pods come complete with ground coffee inside its own filter. The pods are produced by a number of corporations and may be switched between different brands and models. Single cup coffee brewers that use capsules pose a disadvantage since they are not interchangeable. Both the capsules and machine need to be purchased from the same company.

Introduced in the early 1970s, the drip coffee maker quickly replaced the percolator as the most common way to brew coffee at home. They are economical to use and quite simple to operate. Place some ground coffee in the paper filter, pour water into the reservoir and turn on the machine. As water is heated to the correct temperature, it drips onto the grains in the filter and runs through to the glass carafe below. Be careful not to leave the coffee sitting on the hot plate for too long, as it can start to cook. One way around this problem is to use a thermally insulated carafe.

The combination coffee machine is basically a drip coffee machine combined with a grinder. It’s simple to use and easy to brew a fresh pot of coffee. Place some whole beans in the bean reservoir, pour the right amount of water into its reservoir in turn on the machine. The appropriate amount of beans gets ground and poured directly into the filter. From this point forward, it operates exactly as a drip coffee maker. You can set the machine up the night before, to make the freshest cup of coffee,for the next morning. These combination coffee makers are usually bigger than standard coffee machines. So make sure you take measurements, if you want to put it on your kitchen counter underneath the upper.

The French Press Coffee Maker (or coffee plunger) could very well be one of the best coffee machines. It’s actually quite simple and some models are very aesthetic. The French Press is simply a glass beaker with a plunger and mesh filter on it. Put some coarse coffee grounds in the jar, mix in some hot water and let it steep for about three to four minutes. Then simply push the plunger down to separate the grounds from the coffee. Some people feel the flavor and essential oils are better captured because the grounds stay in direct contact with the water, and a fine mesh is used instead of a paper filter. However, because of the direct contact the coffee will become bitter fast if left to stand.

A vacuum coffee maker is the machine with two chambers, where vapor pressure and vacuum work together to produce coffee. Admirers of this method of coffee making it feel that produces a much cleaner, crisper, richer and smoother coffee. With your you agree or not, one thing is true. This is a complicated and time consuming method of making coffee. These are not easy machines to keep clean, due to their convoluted shape. Perhaps that’s why it’s not a very popular way of making coffee.

Prior to the 1970s, the percolator could be found in practically every coffee drinking home in North America. Whether it was a stove top or an electric model, everyone had one. They are called percolators because of the percolating action that occurs continuously. Cold water is poured into the bottom of the percolator where it warms up and moves to the top through a pipe. The water disperses onto the coffee grounds and gravity pulls it back down to the bottom of the machine. Here it heats up again and the cycle repeats. Once the coffee reaches boiling point the perking action stops and the coffee is ready to drink. These days, percolators are mostly used for larger crowds. It’s very rare to find one sized for regular home use.