8/29/12

How to Make Delicious Iced Coffee at Home

My absolute favorite type of drink is an iced coffee! Iced coffee can be done in a variety of ways and methods, and without a doubt Starbucks knows how to make a great iced coffee. The problem with Starbucks is, it can really break the bank if you make it a regular habit. The great thing is, you can make delicious iced coffee at home, just as good as Starbucks can, without spending a lot of money!

The key to making it is to make it very strong. Personally, I think there is nothing worse, than receiving an iced coffee that is simply hot coffee poured over ice. This is never pleasing because the temperature is typically lukewarm as well as the ice melts. In this case, I would actually prefer to drink hot coffee than a luke warm coffee drink.

There are two methods to making great iced coffee. The first is to simply brew a pot of strong coffee and let it chill in the fridge over night. This is an easy thing to do, but you have to make sure you make the coffee strong enough, typically an espresso roast or very dark roast, and let it cool completely before serving. I have tried this method a few times, but find the following method to be even better than this one.

The second method to making a perfect iced coffee is to brew it the old-fashioned way. In this method you actually add the ground coffee to water and let it steep all night long. You take a large pitcher, add a good amount of coffee grounds, stir in water and let it hang out all night on the counter. Once you have let it steep all night long, you simply want to strain the coffee mixture into a new pitcher the next day with the use of cheesecloth and a strainer. What you have is very dark, rich coffee that is perfect for this summer drink!

After you have made the coffee base in your preferred method, comes the fun part! Making the drink just how you like it. Personally, I love an iced coffee that is made the Thai or Vietnamese way, which is adding a bit of sweetened condensed milk to the drink. This is a great pick me up and sweet treat for a hot summer day. It is also lovely on its own or with a bit of milk and simple syrup!

8/25/12

Watermelon Salad


Watermelon Salad

Watermelon salad is an intriguing summer salad, cool and refreshing. This is a very light and filling salad and goes very well with grilled meat fish or even veggies. Watermelon is definitely a fun food to enjoy during summer. The bright red triangular wedges packed with sweet juices are not only eye pleasing but full of healthy nutrients. Many of us think watermelon as a great snacks but when you will come to know about it nutritive value you will give it a star place in your menu.

Now count the healthy facts, watermelons are excellent source of Vitamin A which help to maintain the eye health, Vitamin C which strengthen your immunity, prevent cell damage and Vitamin B6 which helps to convert protein into energy and helps in brain function. In this salad we are also using toasted pumpkin seed which is high in calories but on the positive side pumpkin seed are rich in mono -unsaturated fatty acids (MUFA) that helps lower the bad cholesterol. Research shows that Mediterranean diets which are rich in MUFA prevents coronary artery diseases.

Other than this pumpkin seeds are also packed with fiber, vitamins, minerals and various healths promoting antioxidant. Pumpkin seeds are good source of vitamins like B- complex and vitamin B-6 and folates. It is also good source of copper, manganese, potassium, calcium, iron, magnesium, zinc and selenium. Consumption of pumpkin seed boost the immune power of our body. Today we are taking this two healthy ingredients water melon and pumpkin seed and making a very appetizing salad.

Ingredients:
  • Watermelon 1 deseeded cubed or scoop balls
  • Onion 1 small finely slice
  • Simple syrup ¼ cup
  • Olive oil 1tbsp
  • Lemon juice 2 tbsp
  • Ginger juice 1tsp
  • White pepper ¼ tsp
  • Black salt to taste
  • Crumbled feta cheese ¼ cup
  • Pumpkin seed (toasted) 1 heaping tbsp
  • Walnut 8 to 10 chopped
  • Fresh mint leaves 1 tbsp chopped

Procedure:

Cut the watermelon in triangles and then with a small fruit scooper scoop small deseed scoop. Take them in a bowl. Now in bowl mix simple syrup, olive oil, lemon juice, ginger juice, white pepper, black salt. Mix well. Now mix half of the vinaigrette with water melon and sliced onion. Place it on a serving bowl now sprinkle crumbled feta, toasted pumpkin seed, walnut and mint leaves and then drizzle rest of the vinaigrette. Have it as healthy snacks or serve it in a brunch with grilled fish or meat. I am sure you will love it.

8/23/12

Coffee With Fruit Recipes

I have been testing various types of coffee recipe since last year. Recently, I have tested coffee with fruits and the outcome was so good. Therefore today, I have decided to release Fruit with coffee series coffee recipes for all the coffee lover. Hope you enjoy these recipes too.

# First Coffee Recipe: Passion Fruit with Coffee latte Recipe
Fruit mix with coffee, does this make sense? If you have tried this, please let me know what do you feel about this recipe too.

Ingredients:

Enough for 1 person (just nice for one tall glass)
1) 2 tablespoons of Passion Fruit syrup as well as Coffee Syrup
2) 1 shot of organic espresso
3) 0.75 cup of low fat steamed milk
4) 2 to 3 ice cubes

Equipments Needed:
Espresso maker and electronic blender

Steps for preparation:

1. Take an empty blender cup and mix all ingredients into it.

2. Once that done, blend it with low speed for 60 seconds.

3. We need a clean tall glass to pour the latte over.

4. At last, you can enjoy your fruit passion latte now.

#Second Coffee Recipe: Passion Fruit and Vanilla Latte Recipe

I have tried vanilla and coffee before, but today I would like to add in some fruit in this recipe too. Just wonder how would it be after that?

Ingredients:

Enough for 1 person (just nice for one tall glass)
1) 2 tablespoons of Passion Fruit syrup as well as Coffee Syrup
2) 5 ice cubes
3) 1 shot of organic espresso
4) 0.75 cup of low fat steamed milk

Equipments Needed:

Espresso maker and electronic blender

Steps for preparation:

1. We need an empty blend cup to put passion fruit syrup, coffee syrup, espresso, ice cubes as well as steam milk.

2. Blend it for 1 minute until they are well mixed.

3. Take an empty glass to pour your latte into the empty glass.

4. You can now enjoy your latte.

Thank you for reading Coffee Lovers!

8/11/12

Sweet Potato Soup


Sweet Potato Soup

Starchy vegetables have a long history of being used to make tasty and nutritious soups. Potatoes, pumpkin, butternut squash, zucchini, peas and beets are all main ingredients for soups all around the world. One of the most overlooked starchy vegetables is the sweet potato, which is a shame because it is full of flavor and goodness.

To be clear, I am talking about the sweet potato that is also sometimes referred to as a "yam". True yams are not often found in North America, but the confusion arises because there are two common varieties of sweet potato. First, there is a harder variety with a yellow interior, and a softer orange type. The orange ones that are sometimes called yams are my favorite, and they are best ones to use in this soup.

Sweet potatoes have a much more complex blend of starches and sugars, and because of this they benefit greatly from the carmelization that takes place in the roasting process. Their natural sweetness gets intensified and the overall flavor becomes richer. If it sounds like it will turn this recipe into a dessert, don't be fooled: even savory flavors get better when roasted.

To start making this soup, preheat your oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Clean two or three large sweet potatoes and poke some holes in them with a steak knife or something similar. (Don't peel them.) Place the sweet potatoes in a baking dish and roast them for about an hour or so. They'll be soft to the touch when they are done, and they will probably be leaking an orangey liquid. Let them cool, and then peel the skins off (they will come off very easily if they are done.) You can roast the sweet potatoes ahead of time and use them later, or you can start the next process when you pull them out of the oven.

The next step is to thinly slice a large onion. Heat up a small amount of butter and olive oil in your soup pot and add the onion and a bit of salt. Slowly cook the onions until they become golden brown, but don't allow them to burn. The darker the onions get, the more they are getting carmelized, just like the sweet potatoes. This will really enhance the flavor of the soup. (Note: if you like, you can add a few cloves of garlic for even more flavor.)

Chop up the cooked sweet potatoes and add them to the pot. Mash them up a little, then add about 4 cups of chicken stock, or whatever broth you prefer. Bring the soup to a boil, then reduce and cook until it reaches a desirable consistency. Use an immersion blender to puree the soup. Add up to half a cup of heavy cream, and a dash of nutmeg, and you're done!

Here are the ingredients listed again for convenience:
  • 2-3 large sweet potatoes;
  • 1 large onion;
  • 1-4 cloves of garlic (if desired);
  • butter and/or olive oil;
  • salt;
  • 4 cups chicken stock or some type of broth;
  • half a cup of heavy cream;
  • nutmeg (or try some allspice and cayenne for a spicy version)
I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as I do!

8/8/12

Chicken Caesar Salad

To start make the croutons and the salad dressing and put to one side.

Instructions.

Really really quick fake croutons.
  • Take two slices of shop bought bread chopped roughly into cubes. You can use stale bread or fresh. I keep my bread in the freezer as I can never eat a loaf quick enough! It defrosts in the microwave on full power for about 20 seconds per slice.
  • I like to add a few squashed cloves of garlic to my pan to flavour the croutons. You could alternatively add garlic salt/garlic powder/dried herbs or fresh herbs.
  • Put the pan on the stovetop and turn the heat onto medium wait for the pan to warm up a little add the oil or butter and then add the bread. Move the bread around straight away so as to make sure it is evenly coated with the fat. Keep moving the bread in the pan until it is golden brown. Add some more oil or butter if the pan starts smoking. Only a little bit of oil though, you don't want soggy croutons!
  • Add to any salad or soup just before serving.
  • These can be stored in a an airtight container for up to a week.

Low fat homemade caesar dressing.

I know essentially that most salad dressings are probably wheat and gluten free. However you would be surprised where wheat and gluten can and will be sneaked into the most innocent of food stuffs. I have found over the years that if make my own food and sauces then I know exactly what ingredients are in my food. It also means a lot less time reading labels in the shop as as well! Then I know there is no danger of accidentally eating some wheat or gluten and suffering the terrible consequences.

I have found that when you make your own salad dressings it takes minutes, costs less and wait for it, tastes better.

Instructions.
  • Put the yoghurt or buttermilk into a bowl.
  • Slowly add the lemon juice according to your taste.
  • Finely chop or crush a garlic clove and add to mixture.
  • Season with salt and pepper and a glug of good olive oil.
  • Adjust seasoning according to taste. I like mine with a real lemony kick and lots of pepper.
  • I also like to sneak in a cheeky splash of anchovy sauce by Geo Watkins.
  • No one will ever guess low in fat.
Chicken caesar salad.


Instructions.
  • Chop and wash the lettuce, pat dry.
  • Fry bacon until crispy. Leave to cool. Crumble with your hands or chop roughly with a knife.
  • Cut the chicken into strips and fry for 7-10 mins. I cook mine in a big wok and keep the chicken moving all the time. If you are grilling the cooking time may be a bit longer. Cook the chicken until the juices run clear and there is a slight browning. Try to make sure it is not dry and overcooked.
  • Coat the lettuce in the homemade dressing. Add the chicken, anchovies, bacon or bacobits, shaved parmesan and last but not least croutons.
  • This is how I like mine but you could keep it simple and just have the chicken, lettuce, croutons and parmesan with the dressing.
Eat and enjoy.

8/2/12

How to Recognize Good Quality Coffee



Good quality coffee comes in four roast categories: regular, blends, flavored and organic. Because coffee roasts are sold with many different titles under a lot of different brands, choosing the right one really wants is more difficult.

To start with, regular is defined as a single-origin and single-named coffee variety bean that is roasted to varying roast levels. For example, the beans would all be just one of the following: Arabica beans, Robusta beans or India beans.

Blends are combinations of two or more different varieties of coffee beans. These beans may be blended before or after they have been roasted to varying roast levels. The reason for blending is to create new flavors or to add body or crema. They may also be blended to keep the flavor consistency when new crops of the same bean are used. The best definition for blended is it is a mixture which is mingled inseparably.

Flavored are beans that have been roasted and are sprayed with flavoring. Coffee that has been flavored may have inexpensive beans or it may have lower quality beans. The quality of the flavoring may be strong to create the tastes and aroma to other foods by contact with surfaces used previously to hold flavored coffee.

Fair Trade beans are organic. Organic Free Trade coffee is currently being exported by 23 countries around the world. They include those from Asia are Papua New Guinea, Thailand, Indonesia and East Timor. African nations of Tanzania, Rwanda, Uganda, Ethiopia and Kenya sell Fair Trade coffee. In Central and South America Free Trade coffee comes from Colombia, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Colombia, El Salvador, Brazil, Mexico, Bolivia, Honduras, Ecuador, Dominican Republic, Haiti and Paraguay.

How does this help you recognize good quality coffee? Fair trade is always organic coffee that is sold to coffee companies and roasters. They roast these beans in a way that brings out their unique flavor. Some of these beans are Robusta beans that are often looked down on as not a quality bean. While some beans like those from Ethiopia, Peru and other parts of South America may be Arabica beans. These beans are said to be a better bean and do not have as much caffeine in them as the Robusta.

Blended coffee beans may also include Arabica and Robusta beans together. These beans are usually found in instant coffees because they are so processed that they will taste better when made into liquid hot coffee.

Recognizing a good quality coffee does not always match what your tongue tells is the best coffee. Think about what you have read here and possibly do some exploring to find a quality coffee that matches what your tongue tells you is the best quality coffee.

7/27/12

Coffee May Help Treat Parkinson's Disease

Drinking too much coffee can give the average Joe the jitters, but scientists say caffeine may have the opposite effect on people with Parkinson's disease.



The Canadian study found that drinking between two and four cups of coffee a day can help control tremors, opening the door to new treatment options for the progressive neurodegenerative condition that affects more than 10,000 Kiwis.

Symptoms can include tremors, stiffness of muscles, depression, disturbance of normal sleep, fatigue and lack of sense of smell.

Parkinson's New Zealand chief executive Deirdre O'Sullivan said she was excited by the research but expressed caution at the small scale of the study.

The effect of caffeine on the healthy human brain was widely known but she had not heard any research into its effects regarding Parkinson's, she said.

Coffee could also lead to negative effects, so she said it was probably not wise for those suffering from the disease to dramatically increase their intake until more research had been done.

The study was one of the first in humans to show that caffeine can help with movement impairment in people who had the disease, said study author Ronald Postuma, of McGill University in Montreal.

Previous studies have found that people who drink caffeine are less likely to develop Parkinson's.

Sixty-one sufferers - whose symptoms included daytime sleepiness and some motor symptoms - were given either a caffeine supplement or placebo pill.

Members of the caffeine group were given 100 milligrams of caffeine twice a day for three weeks, then 200 milligrams twice a day for three weeks, which is the equivalent of between two and four cups of coffee a day.

After six weeks, the half that took the caffeine supplement experienced an improvement in their motor symptoms compared with the placebo group, Dr Postuma said.

"This was due to improvement in speed of movement and a reduction in stiffness."

Caffeine had borderline effects on sleepiness, and did not affect depression or night-time sleep quality in the study participants.

Dr Postuma said larger-scale studies need to be carried out over a longer period to clarify the caffeine-related improvements.

"Caffeine should be explored as a treatment option for Parkinson's disease. It may be useful as a supplement to medication and could therefore help reduce patient dosages."

The study was published yesterday in Neurology, the journal of the American Academy of Neurology.

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