BBQ-Tips-and-Tricks

BBQ Tips & Tricks

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Summer is almost here, which means it’s time to brush up on your BBQ knowledge! Here are a couple of handy BBQ tips & tricks to get you started.

How-to-BBQ-Flavour-your-Meat1. Flavour Your Meat

Make sure your food packs a punch, and flavour it well. You can flavour your meat with glazes, wet or dry rubs, and marinades.

Glazes

Glazes are brushed onto meats when they are cooking on the grill. Common glazes are barbecue sauces and honey sauces. Glazes work best with thicker cuts of meat, such as pork chops and ribs.

Dry or Wet Rubs

You can also flavour your meat with dry or wet rubs. A dry rub consists of a mixture of dried herbs and spices. A wet rub will also contain some water or oil. You get the best result if you rub the spices onto the meat 30 minutes before grilling. Steaks and loins are delicious with a dry or wet rub.

Marinades

A marinade usually contains a variety of spices, herbs, sauces, and a little bit of oil. Marinades can work in as little as 30 minutes, but you get the best results when you marinate your meat overnight. However, don’t add salt to your marinade if you plan to marinate your meat overnight. You don’t want the salt to overpower the other flavours. Simply add some salt just before grilling.

2. Don’t Grill Cold Meat

Get your meat out of the fridge (at least) 20 minutes before cooking. If the meat is too cold in the centre, there is a chance that you will burn the outside while the inside remains uncooked.

3. Preheat Your Grill

How-To-BBQMake sure you preheat your grill 20-30 minutes before you start cooking, if you want that delicious barbeque crust on your food. When a grill is heated properly, it will sear the food. This keeps your meat moist and it helps to prevent sticking.

4. Oil Your Grill

You can also prevent sticking by brushing the grill rack with a little vegetable or canola oil.  Slightly dip some paper towels into the oil with some tongs, and coat the grill rack evenly.

5. Food Hygiene

Just because you are cooking outside, you shouldn’t forget the “inside kitchen” rules! Use separate cutting boards, utensils and plates for raw and grilled foods. You don’t want to make your guests sick by contaminating cooked food with raw food bacteria! After all, you want it to be a BBQ they won’t forget for the right reasons…

6. Temperature Control

Make sure you know your grill’s hot spots. Usually the heat is highest in the middle of the grill. Sear your meat in the centre, and then move it to the outer edges of the grill to get the best results. You don’t want to overcook or burn your food!

7. Keep it Clean

Food hygiene is important, so make sure your grill is clean. It’s easier to clean your grill when it’s hot, so brush your grill with a wire grill brush after preheating. After you are done grilling, brush it again.

8. Hands Off

When your meat is grilling, give it time. Don’t flip, poke, or stab it too often. You do want all those tasty juices to stay in the meat, right? Also, it takes time for that delicious BBQ crust to develop. So, only turn your meat once or twice.

BBQ-Tips9. Give it a Rest

Leave your grilled meat to rest for a bit before attacking it with your fork. When you rest your meat, the meat sinews will reabsorb the juices. If you don’t rest your meat, the juices will run out when you cut it. You can rest the meat under perforated foil to keep it warm or you can serve it on a warm plate.

10. Is it done yet?

Make sure you don’t serve undercooked meat by checking its internal temperature with an instant-read thermometer. It is safer to use a thermometer than to do the old poke and prod.

I had my first BBQ of this year this past weekend. How about you? Do you have any BBQ plans? If you do, don’t forget to memorise our tips and to check out all the delicious marinade and dry-rub recipes we will be posting this week!

Emmy

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Cheese-Platter

The Perfect Cheese Platter

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I LOVE cheese. No really, I LOVE it. This is not an exaggeration. Some have said that I am slightly obsessed by it. In fact, I would rather live in a world without chocolate than in a world without cheese. I am THAT serious about my cheese. When I have friends over, I like to serve them what I like to call the perfect cheese platter. Are you THAT serious about cheese too or/and do you want to know how to arrange the (my) perfect cheese platter? Read on!

The Best Cheese Platter is a Varied Cheese Platter

Scrumptious Cheese PlatterTo keep your selection interesting, choose cheeses with different textures and flavours. Serve at least 3-4 different cheeses when you have 4-8 guests. I usually serve a cheese plate with 5 different cheeses: 1 goat cheese, 1 semi-hard/hard cheese, 1 soft cheese, 1 blue cheese, and 1 smear-ripened cheese.

Examples:
  • Goat (or sheep): Valençay, Paille cru, Brin d’amour
  • Semi-hard/hard cheeses: Gouda, Cheddar, Comté
  • Soft cheeses: Brie de Meaux, Camembert de Normandie, Brillat-Savarin
  • Blue cheeses: Gorgonzola, Stilton, Danish Blue, Blue d’Auvergne
  • Smear-ripened cheeses: Munster (the French one), Port Salut, Taleggio, Reblochon

Make sure the cheeses are at room temperature when you serve them. Cold temperatures mute the flavour of the cheese. Also, soft cheeses spread better when they are at room temperature. Take your cheese selection out of the fridge at least 1 hour before serving!

Great Cheese Platter Accompaniments

Don’t forget the accompaniments! Your cheese platter is not complete without them. Include some bread, crackers, or a nice baguette. Add some fresh and dried fruit, such as grapes and apple slices. Pair strong cheeses with sweet jams or onion chutneys. Hard cheeses such as Gouda taste great with a dollop of mustard. Goat cheeses taste extra delicious with a drizzle of honey and chopped walnuts. I always like to add some extra party nibbles as well, such as prosciutto, salami, fuet and olives. Serve your cheeses and accompaniments on a wooden cutting board, for that extra wow factor.

Additional Cheese Platter Tips

Delicious Cheese Platter

  • It’s quite handy to label your cheeses, so your guests know what’s what (keeps them from asking you all night).

  • Cut each cheese with a different knife, so the flavours don’t mingle.

  • Pre-cut some starting slices to prompt your guests to dive in. This way they also know the best way to cut the cheeses.

  • Are you serving strong cheeses? Serve a tasty dessert wine as well (Port for example).

  • Talking about strong cheeses…Don’t serve all strong cheeses. You might have some “beginner cheese” guests, who will prefer mild and creamy cheeses over stinky and runny cheeses.

What does your perfect cheese platter look like? Do you prefer mild cheeses over stinky cheeses? Do you LOVE cheese too? Let us know & leave a comment!

 

Emmy

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EmmyThe Perfect Cheese Platter
How-to-Boil-Eggs-Perfectly

How To… Boil Eggs Perfectly

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Boiling eggs… So simple and yet so difficult at the same time. There are many different methods you can use, but the following are my preferred methods!

Perfect Soft-Boiled Eggs

Soft-Boiled-EggThe perfect soft-boiled egg will have a runny yolk and a firm white. How to get a perfect soft-boiled egg? Make sure your eggs are at room temperature to prevent cracking. Fill a saucepan with water (about halfway) and bring it to a boil. Adjust the heat so the boil becomes a rapid simmer. With a slotted spoon, gently lower in the eggs, one at a time. Cook the eggs for 5 minutes. Take the eggs out of the pan and shock the eggs in cold water, so they will stop cooking. You can drop them in an ice bath or you can run them under cold tap water for about 1 minute. This easy method will create delicious soft-boiled eggs, which you can eat straight from the shell. A true breakfast favourite!

Perfect Medium-Boiled Eggs (Slightly firmer yolk)

Medium-Boiled-EggThe perfect medium-boiled egg will have a firm white and a slightly firmer yolk than a soft-boiled egg. My favourite! Use the same method as described above (perfect soft-boiled eggs), but cook the eggs for 7 minutes.  Because these eggs are firmer than the soft-boiled ones, you can peel them like a hard-boiled egg. Medium-boiled eggs are delicious in salad Niçoise or a Caesar salad!

Perfect Hard-Boiled Eggs

Hard-Boiled-EggThe perfect hard-boiled eggs call for a slightly different method than the soft-boiled and medium-boiled eggs. First, put your eggs in a saucepan. Fill the pan with cold water, making sure the water covers the eggs by 1 inch. Bring the water to a boil. Is the water boiling? Remove the pan from the heat source. Put on the lid and let the eggs sit in the water for 12 minutes. After cooking, don’t forget to shock the eggs in cold water. You can use hard-boiled eggs to make deviled eggs, a party favourite!

Peeling Tips

Older eggs will peel better than fresh eggs. Are the shells particularly stubborn? Peeling under running water will help. For easier peeling, you can also make a small hole or indentation in the shells before boiling the eggs. You just have to make sure you don’t rupture the membrane, because then the egg white will come out of the crack. You can buy an egg pricker or piercer to do this (available on Amazon and other online kitchen gadget sites).

How do you cook your eggs? Do you prefer soft-boiled or hard-boiled eggs? Do you have a preferred method you swear by? Let us know & leave a comment!

Emmy

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EmmyHow To… Boil Eggs Perfectly
Healthy-quinoa-seeds

The Next Quinoa is…

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In just a few years’ time, quinoa has become immensely popular in the Western world. Where it first was an obscure grain from Peru and Bolivia, it is now known as a superfood and health nuts all over the world go bananas over it (myself included). Unfortunately, its rising popularity has had some negative consequences. The pseudo grain tripled in price, sparking the Great Quinoa Debate.

Guardian Journalist Joanna Blythman writes that “The appetite of countries such as ours for this grain has pushed up prices to such an extent that poorer people in Peru and Bolivia, for whom it once was a nourishing staple food, can no longer afford to eat it.”

Ari LeVaux from Slate argues that this is an oversimplification of the problem and that discouraging people from eating quinoa might end up hurting the quinoa farmers instead. And so the Great Quinoa Debate continues…

Whether you don’t want to eat quinoa because of ethical reasons, whether you are tired of the quinoa craze, or whether you just want to try something new, here are some cereals that are also worth taking a look at:

Teff

Teff-FlourTeff is a wheat-like grain (also known as Williams lovegrass). It grows in the northern Ethiopian Highlands and the Eritrean Highlands of the Horn of Africa. Injera, a sourdough-risen flatbread and a national dish in Ethiopia, is made from teff. The grain is similar to quinoa in cooking and it also has similar health benefits.

Teff Health Benefits
  • It is suitable for people with celiac disease, as the gluten in teff does not contain the a-gliadin-fraction that causes a reaction.

  • It is high in calcium.

  • It is high in protein.

  • It features significant levels of the minerals phosphorus, magnesium, aluminum, iron, copper, zinc, boron, barium and thiamin.

  • It is higher in lysine than wheat or barley.

  • It is high in fiber.

  • It includes all 8 essential amino acids

You can probably buy teff at your local health store, but you can also buy it online on Amazon (what can’t you buy on Amazon these days).

FreekehFreekeh

Freekeh is a Middle Eastern cereal food made from green wheat. When the grains are yellow and the seeds are soft, the wheat is harvested, sun-dried, and carefully set on fire. Because the seeds have are high in moisture, they don’t get burned. This unique roasting process gives the grain its distinctive nutty flavour.

Freekeh Health Benefits
  • It is high in fiber (4x higher in fiber than other comparable grains)

  • It has a low glycemic index, so it is very suitable for managing diabetes.

  • It is low carb. Its starch content is “resistant starch”.

  • It has a low fat content (similar to brown rice).

  • It is high in protein.

  • It is high in calcium, iron and zinc.

Just like Teff, you can find Freekeh in health stores or online. Some Middle Eastern shops may also sell this superfood.

Fonio

FonioFonio is a grain that is quite similar to couscous and quinoa in appearance and texture. It is native to West Africa, and has been cultivated for thousands of years. It is used to make porridge, couscous, bread and beer. The grains are very small, making it difficult (and time-consuming) to remove the husk. Fonio is relatively unknown in the Western world, but it has been gaining popularity slowly thanks to its nutritional properties.

Fonio Health Benefits
  • It is gluten free, which makes it suitable for people with celiac disease and gluten intolerance.

  • It is high in iron.

  • It is high in fiber.

  • It contains high levels of amino acids methionine and cystine.

Fonio is a bit harder to find than teff and freekeh. African shops may sell it and you can also buy it online.

Have you ever cooked with teff, freekeh or fonio? Are you going to? How do you feel about the Great Quinoa Debate? Let us know & leave a comment!

Emmy

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EmmyThe Next Quinoa is…
Roald Dahl's Cook Book

Unlikely Celebrity Cookbook Chefs

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It all started when I saw that Coolio had published a cookbook. The rapper Coolio? Coolio Gangsta’s Paradise Coolio? Yes, that Coolio (is there another?!) has written a cookbook. So, I started wondering… Are there any other unlikely celebrity cookbook chefs out there? Turns out, there are!

Coolio CookbookCoolio – Cookin’ with Coolio
(5 Star Meals at a 1 Star Price)

The book that got this whole post started. Apparently Coolio has been cooking longer than he has been rapping. He started making 30-minute meals when he was just 10 years old. What can you expect from Cookin’ with Coolio? Inside this cookbook you can find a lot of Ghetto Gourmet recipes with a healthy twist, such as “Finger-Lickin’, Rib-Stickin’, Fall-Off-The-Bone-and-into-Your-Mouth Chicken”. As well as delicious comfort food recipes, you will also find a lot of funny in this cookbook. Just look at what some of the chapters are called: “How to Become a Kitchen Pimp”, “Appetizers for That Ass”, and “It’s Hard Out Here for a Shrimp”.

Liberace CookbooksLiberace – Liberace Cooks!
Recipes from His Seven Dining Rooms

Władziu Valentino Liberace, mostly known as just Liberace, was the highest-paid entertainer in the world from the 1950s to the 1970s. Last year’s HBO movie Behind the Candelabra with Michael Douglas as Liberace focussed on the flamboyant pianist’s secret gay love life, which had people’s tongues wagging throughout his career (and after). Liberace’s love for cooking is lesser known. His opulent Hollywood mansion featured 7 different dining rooms, each with its own purpose. There was a regular dining room of course, but there were also dining rooms for buffets, cookouts, midnight suppers, banquets, TV, and DIY dining in the kitchen. What did Mr. Showmanship serve his guests? Tasty dishes like “Braised Oxtails”, “Squid Casserole”, and “Beef Stroganoff” apparently. This cookbook is not widely available anymore, but signed copies are often available on sites like Amazon.

Dom DeLuise CookbookDom DeLuise – Eat This…
It’ll Make You Feel Better

American actor Dom DeLuise was mostly known for the many comedy films and TV shows he was in. He often appeared in Mel Brooks’ films, such as “Blazing Saddles”, “History of the World”, and “Spaceballs”. But Dom was more than an actor and a comedian; he also was a great chef! Dom didn’t publish just one cookbook, but he published two! In both his cookbooks, you can find delicious Italian recipes from Dom, his family and his famous friends.

Boy George CookbookBoy George – Karma Cookbook:
Great Tasting Dishes to Nourish Your Body And Feed Your Soul

English singer-songwriter and 80s pop icon Boy George was the lead singer of Culture Club, a Grammy and Brit Award winning pop band. But being an androgynous pop singer from the 80s is not the only thing Boy George is famous for. His problems with drugs and subsequently the law overshadowed his singing career for a long time. He was even sentenced to 15 months’ imprisonment for assault and false imprisonment in 2009. But despite all of his legal problems, Boy George did manage to publish a cookbook in 2001. Inside the book you will find dozens of macrobiotic recipes to boost your immune system and to please your taste buds, such as “Creamy Carrot Soup” and “Watercress and Shiitake Salad”.

Roald Dahl CookbookRoald Dahl – Roald Dahl’s Cookbook

When I was a kid, Roald Dahl was one of my favourite writers. I spent hours upon hours reading his books, over and over again. “Matilda”, “The Witches”, and “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” were my absolute favourites. I was surprised to see that he had also written a cookbook. Roald Dahl’s Cookbook was written by Roald and his wife Felicity “Liccy” Dahl, during the last year of the author’s life. It includes hundreds of recipes, as well as photos, illustrations by Quentin Blake, and (naturally) wonderful stories and anecdotes from the Dahl family. All the royalties from this lovely cookbook go to the Roald Dahl’s Marvellous Children’s Charity, which helps thousands of seriously ill children every year.

Did you know these celebs had written a cookbook? Do you own any of these books? Let me know & leave a comment!

Emmy

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EmmyUnlikely Celebrity Cookbook Chefs