Trouble Free Cooking?

Believe it or not, trouble free cooking is a common desire around the world. Even those among us who love cooking and eating almost equally will be the first to confess that being able to cook without the worry of creating a mess, spilling, or burning would be a blessing. Truthfully speaking there really is no such thing as trouble free cooking though there are things you can do that will take a good deal of trouble out of your cooking. (more…)

Turkish Coffee FAQ

Turkish coffee is the oldest way of making coffee. This is a short article answering frequently asked questions about Turkish coffee. You can also post your question as a comment and I’ll do my best to answer it.

Questions are in bold.

What kind of coffee must I use for Turkish coffee?

Turkish coffee nowadays is usually made of Latin American blends. Usually the blends contain two kinds of coffee: Arabica and Robusta. Except for the Latin American coffees the blends may also include coffees from Asia or Africa. Some of the best coffees for Turkish blends come from Brazil, Ethiopia and Yemen.

Should I use a coffee particularly made for Turkish coffee or can I use any blend?

Turkish blends are created in a special way to be optimized for Turkish coffee making. Most people that drink the popular Turkish coffee brands are used to a special characteristic taste. This doesn’t mean that you cannot use another coffee blend to make Turkish coffee. For example you can use an espresso blend. The only requirement is that it must be ground very fine like powder. If it isn’t ground fine enough there will be no foam on top of the coffee after you make it and the taste will be weak.

So, in other words you can experiment with any blend you want if you grind it fine enough for Turkish coffee. The taste will be different than the usual though.

Is it healthy?

Turkish coffee is as healthy as any regular coffee. Actually according to some some researches a quantity of two small Turkish coffee cups (demitasse cups) can be beneficial for the heart. If you exceed this amount then it may become bad for your health like any other coffee. Bear in mind that Turkish coffee is made almost as quickly as instant coffee but it’s far better for your health.

What is this thick thing on top of Turkish coffee? Is it like espresso?

When you make Turkish coffee properly you will notice on top a layer of dark, thick and homogeneous foam. This is also known as kaimaki in Greece. If the coffee doesn’t have kaimaki then something is definitely wrong with the coffee making:

  • small quantity of coffee used
  • not properly heated
  • ground coarser than required
  • very stale coffee

In some Eastern countries it is an insult to serve Turkish coffee without this special foam on top.

Kaimaki foam is looks similar to the espresso crema but it very different in terms of physical properties. The espresso crema is formed not only due to heat but also because of high pressure so it’s quite different.

Do I need any special expensive equipment for Turkish coffee?

Making Turkish coffee is very easy and very fast. All you need is a small coffee pot and a heat source. You can use a small stainless steel pot and your electric stove top but it’s preferable to use a traditional copper or brass Turkish pot. Regarding the heat source it’s better to use low fire to make the coffee. A gas burner or an alcohol burner is my favorite heat source for home use.

What size coffee pot do I need?

This is a question that creates a lot of misunderstandings. Basically it depends on how much coffee you are going to make each time.

First, what you need to know is that you will need a coffee pot that holds approximately double the amount of coffee. This is because coffee must have enough room in the pot to foam up and furthermore because of the so-called “oven effect”.

Let me explain…

Traditional Turkish coffee pots have an hourglass shape. This special shape creates an oven-like effect when making Turkish coffee. The oven-effect is highly desirable for better taste. The only requirement for this “oven-effect” is to fill the pot till the point where the pot diameter is smaller. Usually this means a half-full pot.

So, If you want to make two demitasse cups, for you and your friend, you will need a 4 demitasse-cup size coffee pot.

Please note that sizing differs among manufacturers. So instead of looking for a 4-cup size coffee pot look for a coffee pot that holds 4*60ml which equals 240ml. 60ml or approximately 2oz is the size of a demitasse cup.

What about a coffee pot for just one cup?

In this case you will need a coffee pot that holds 2*60ml=120ml coffee.

What about one normal cup?

One normal cup is approximately 250ml so you will need a 500ml pot.

These numbers are not exact. They are just guides to help you. Most of the times buying a bit smaller coffee pot will also be adequate.

Can I grind Turkish coffee with my coffee grinder?

Turkish coffee is ground at the most fine grind setting. Most grinders for home use are incapable of grinding so fine. If you have a blade grinder consider upgrading to a burr grinder. This doesn’t mean that every burr grinder can grind Turkish coffee. So if you are in the market in research of a burr grinder make sure it has a Turkish coffee setting. Some burr grinders don’t have a Turkish coffee setting but they can be modified very easily to grind fine enough for this coffee. This information can be easily found if you make a couple of searches in a search engine.

Another solution are manual-operated Turkish coffee grinders. These grinders are much cheaper than burr grinders and because of their low speed coffee is ground gently without getting heated. In cheap burr grinders because of the small burr dimensions the rotating speed is higher. This way the friction is bigger and the heat generation is higher. More heat means more coffee taste destruction! So in other words small grinding speeds of manual grinders are better for your palate! The big drawback is that this sort of grinding can remind you of manual labor sometimes…

Is there any special way to serve Turkish coffee? Any special tradition?

If you have guests and you want to impress them with your coffee making mastery and your hospitality you can do some simple things. First use a big traditional looking serving tray and put some glasses of water for your guests. Water is used to clean the mouth before tasting the coffee. Prepare the coffees immediately before serving time so that they keep their kaimaki foam and their temperature. You can pair the coffee with some cookies or muffins.

For dessert after the coffee you can offer traditional Turkish delight or baklava. Your guests will be grateful!

If you have any questions about Turkish coffee please post your comments. Enjoy!

Boiled Vegetables While Keeping Freshness Family Events

IF wish to present a dish of boiled vegetables for a party, you can use the following technique. This technique keep vegetables always look and feel fresh when eaten.

Refresher, this is the technique of inserting vegetables that have matured into ice water to stop the processes mature. Because the veg will continue to ‘cook’ although has been lifted from the stove.

You do not have to worry about food immature or too mature. Refresher techniques will lock flavor, texture, and color of vegetables, especially useful when there are events. You can cook it in advance and warm it up just before serving.

To make always looks fresh vegetables, here are the steps, as reviewed Realsimple:

1. Use an ice cube. Prepare a large bowl, then fill half is on the rocks and enough water, enough to cover the vegetables. Add approximately ½ tablespoon of salt for every quart of water.

2. Boil. Cook water with salt to a boil and cook the vegetables and then enter again until you reach the desired level of maturity.

3. Soak the ice water. Transfer the vegetables that have been cooked from the pan using a slotted spoon to a bowl of ice water earlier. Lift immediately after the vegetables to cool, after approximately 1 minute.

4. Keep vegetables. Save the vegetables that have been boiled down into an airtight container or sealed plastic and put in the fridge. Vegetables can last up to five days. You simply heat up by using a medium heat if you want to use.

Achieve Your Diet and Fat Loss Goals Faster

Food – none of us can go without it! But how does the way in which we think about food impact our diet? Are you someone who just sees food as body fuel, or do the different tastes, textures and nutritional values of food excite you? In today’s health conscious world, I would think that most of us fall into the latter group. If you want to achieve your diet goals quicker, then you need to clearly understand you relationship with food.

Eat and Burn

In its simplest form, food gives our body the calories it needs to run on a daily basis. When there are too few calories, the body looks to its own reserves. When there are too many calories, the body puts them away in storage (i.e. as body fat). On a purely mathematical level, so long as we burn as much as we consume, we are not going to produce excess body fat. So yes it is possible to eat junk food and stay thin but we also know that what food we eat can be as important as how much food we eat.

Food Fanatics

Not all foods are created equal. It would be nonsense to say that a caramel flapjack and an organic apple containing the same number of calories are of equal health benefit. At the ‘eat and burn’ basic level then yes they might provide our body with the same number of calories but substance is surely just as important. We have all learned that the organic apple is bursting with healthy goodness, whilst the flapjack will be laden with sugar and other nutritional nastiness.

The food world has gone crazy over the past few years. Every other program on television is a cooking program. But why are we so obsessed? It is just body fuel at the end of the day…

I have to admit, I am a modern day ‘foodie’. I love cooking and experimenting in the kitchen and I strongly believe in the health benefits of natural food. In my eyes, there is nothing wrong with this, food has the fantastic ability of making us happy so let’s take advantage. However, you need to be aware of your root relationship with food. There is definitely a risk of obsessing over food. Such obsession may manifest itself as punishing yourself for eating ‘junk’ food, a lifetime of calorie counting, or possibly worse. We each have unique relationships with food and to get the most from food we should strip away the layers and get to the bottom of what and why. Why did you have to eat popcorn whilst watching that movie yesterday evening? Why did you have to drink alcohol when socialising last week? It is good to sit back and think about our food choices so we understand why we made them and can enjoy those choices instead of feeling guilty about them!

Strategies to Avoid Food Obsession and Achieve Your Diet Goals

As we are dependent upon food for survival, all of us have a relationship with food.

Here are a few ideas to help you find out, change, and nurture your food relationship.

  • Make a Black, Grey, White list of foods you commonly eat. Black for the least healthy, White for the most. Then keep it in your kitchen, making sure that your cupboards are full of those foods on the White list (typically fresh fruit, vegetables, unsalted nuts and seeds, whilst trying to cut out those on the Black list (basically anything processed containing sugar, as well as alcohol and if you follow the Paleo diet, then all grains too). To take things further, you can keep a score board to measure how many food items from each colour group you are eating – monitoring your results forces the truth upon you, so there is nowhere to hide!
  • Work out what type of food personality you are. Do this by clearly identifying what you enjoy about food. For me, I know that eating healthily will make me feel happy but so does the odd treat. I have a soft spot for beer and ice cream (not together though!), so I indulge in these things every now and again. It may be that you enjoy a certain type of cuisine, or need to eat every two hours. Being aware of your food personality will help you identify your strengths and weaknesses in your diet, which you can then address sensibly instead of obsessively.
  • Be wise about food availability – possibly the most important factor in keeping a healthy diet is to always have the healthy food readily to hand. Most people resort to less healthy foods because they are so accessible. A little bit of effort on your part and healthy food can be fast food in any hectic lifestyle. Prepare your healthy food in advance and keep stock levels high (i.e. always have fresh fruit and vegetables at the ready).
  • Equally, if it isn’t in your house in the first place then you can’t eat it! If you don’t have very strong willpower, avoid the lethal step of bringing junk foods into your home. Too often I have picked things up and thought it would be saved for a rainy day but the evenings are full of temptation and before you know it that treat is in your belly. I know that keeping sweet food in the house can undo my healthy eating, so it’s best kept out most of the time.

Free Your Food, Do Not Trap it with Rules

The key to making healthy eating a lifestyle choice and not a short term diet is to make it fun and enjoyable, not boring and burdensome! I think adopting a ‘rule free’ food psychology is more realistic than to simply ban certain foods altogether. To be truthful, we all fall off the healthy eating bandwagon. In my eyes, this can be a good thing providing that you that you do enjoy your treats (e.g. cake) that you consume otherwise what is the point!? Don’t worry and just get right back on track instead of dwelling on that junk food.

Please find more information about the ability of food to change your mood on my website, where I have given examples of foods that could help you achieve your diet goals.

Luke Moghaddas-Davies – A fitness enthusiast who has trained for over 12 years and believes everyone should take ownership of their health and achieve their fitness goals – no excuses! By making healthy living more realistic, and for me that means ‘rule free’, I know how to stay lean and fit for life not just for summer!

In order Beef Not Losing nutritional

When shopping weekly, usually you will buy some groceries at a time to be stocked. Maybe one beef, because storage is fairly easy. You enter into the freezer and the meat was preserved for days. When in fact this method is not effective enough to keep the meat.

Meat will indeed be kept in the freezer, but improper storage method will make the meat loses more nutrients. Here are some tips to keep fresh beef that is not a lot of wasted nutrients.

1. If the meat is not cooked immediately, should be stored in the refrigerator in the coldest part (not the freezer) or chiller. Keep the temperature between 1-5 degrees Celsius so that bacteria does not grow and the decaying flesh.
2. If the meat is dirty, you should not be washed with water. You simply clean the meat by hand or cut the dirty part. Wash meat will only add to the number of bacteria (which exist in tap water) to the surface of the meat. This will speed up the decomposition process and shorten the shelf life of meat.
3. Before storing meat, you should put in a container, then cover tightly with plastic airtight.
4. Keep the meat in a separate container, do not mix raw meat with meat that has been processed or cooked.
5. If you have a large supply of meat, meat store reams. Always put raw meat just one layer only.
6. Let’s not keep the meat intact. Store in small pieces.
7. If all this is done properly, then the meat can last more than three days.

Low-fat milk is also good for making bread

Bread is a variation of the cake that was not too difficult to make, and the ingredients were easily obtainable. Herman Ahmad, Baker PT ASA Food (manufacturer of bakery Pane del Giorno) reveals the main ingredient of bread making are only four types, namely wheat flour, water, salt, and yeast (yeast).

“This is the main ingredient. Yet in its development, there are other additives that are used to make it more tender and delicious. Example eggs, butter, and others-others,” said Herman, currently cooking demonstrations in Sentul, Bogor.

Other additives are also used to make bread to be more savory, tender, and delicious is milk. Basically milk with any formula, both liquid and powdered milk, can be used. But really notice when making dose milk. In addition, the milk of any kind either skim milk or full cream milk can also be used as you see fit.

Perhaps you think that milk is full cream milk the most appropriate to make bread, because it is more savory. The savory flavor of creamy milk is due to the high fat content in it. Then if skim milk is not good to make bread?

“It is often mistaken. Was true fat milk will make it more enjoyable. However use any kind of milk will have no effect because both are equally milk contains fat,” he added.

Skim milk that is lower in fat than full cream milk. However, this does not mean that skim milk does not make the bread so much more enjoyable.

“Do not forget that you also add the butter or margarine into the dough. Dough is formed between skim milk and butter will be the fat that makes it more delicious. So might as well use the full cream milk,” he said.

Besides as good with full cream milk, skim milk adding the batter can also make your own bread is healthier and safer for you who are on a diet.

A Look on Diet Fitness

Many people nowadays are very much conscious about their own health and fitness. In addition to that, these people, and many others as well, are now having that desire to sculpt their bodies to achieve that magazine-cover look. As a result, gyms, health spas and other fitness centers have proliferated all over to cater to the needs of the fitness buffs and aficionados.

Even on television exercise machines, weight loss products, and other paraphernalia to improve fitness have more or less gained control over the airwaves and made their way into the households. But exercise is not the only way to build that body beautiful. It also entails certain amount of responsibility on the foods one chooses to eat. Being healthy and fit requires one to observe diet fitness.

Diet fitness is as essential as exercise itself. Diet for fitness provides the essential nutrition one needs to restore worn-out muscles and for healthy growth. Diet fitness should never be taken for granted. With the popularity of keeping fit, many different views, methods, programs and dieting strategies have been formulated by many professionals. Among these are high carb diets and high fat diets. Which one is more effective and which one should one choose to follow?

First thing to know would be the fundamental differences between these two diet approaches. As the name implies, high carb diets concentrates on taking in carbohydrate-rich foods while high fat diets endorses fat-rich foods. High carb diets are utilized to glycogen stored in the liver and muscles. Glycogen is a glucose complex that provides large amounts of energy ready for use in anaerobic exercises.

Fats, on the other hand, is well-known for being the richest source of calories. It actually contains 2.5 times more calories than carbohydrates and proteins alike. Studies also show that it takes the body 24 calories to metabolize carbohydrates while it only takes 3 to burn down fat. So which one to follow? A person can follow a high carb and low fat fitness diet or the other way around. It is absolutely not recommended to follow both at the same time; unless of course if you want to gain body fat.

But then diet fitness is not all about losing fat, one must also consider his diet in order to keep fat away. Research shows that sustainable loss of weight can only be achieved on a diet which suits the individual food preferences, lifestyle, medical profile and satiety signals.

Diet programs all over can help you shed off excess pounds, but only one diet can help you stay sexy, and it is the one that satisfies you most. Other important aspects of having a fit diet are moderation, balance and variation. One must be careful not to leave out important nutrients and other substances necessary for healthy body functioning. health organizations are clear about the amounts of nutrients an individual should have in the body.

Low fat high carbs, high carbs low fat; the question is not which diet program will work out but which is it that will work for you. Striving for a sexy and healthy body does not have to burden an individual, diet fitness does not have to mean sticking to the same kind of food for life. One may even try to be adventurous and try out new foods out there. Who knows? one may even discover spinach interesting.

How to Find the Best Antique Coffee Grinder

Finding an antique coffee grinder is the best thing you can do to create a special coffee or espresso. The taste and flavor of coffee initially dissipates after the coffee beans were grinded. So it is much enticing tasting a coffee or an espresso if you were the one who grinded the coffee beans.

A coffee grinder plays a big role because the machine is essential on how the coffee beans would look like after they were ground. Espresso grinders tend to be very sensitive about the type of grind it can work best on. On the other hand, a drift coffee machine is a little more forgiving because of the quality of grinds they give.

There are many options to choose from when buying coffee grinders. You may just want to keep your antique coffee grinder and place it on your collectible items and keep save it for special coffee grinding sessions. Here are some other antique selections of grinders that are recommended for your coffee making sessions.

1. The Antique Burr Grinder can crush beans to a more uniform size. You can find Burr grinders that are conical and flat in shape. The grind setting on this type of grinder can create the similar and almost perfect grind on the beans. With their convincing accuracy, these grinders are recommended for use with any type of coffee brewing sessions.

Nonetheless, you should pay attention on the grinder setting when grinding large amount of coffee beans. Some grinders may not perform well as an antique burr grinder especially when making Turkish coffee or French press coffee.

2. The Antique Blade Grinders use only a single blade that can rotate at very high speed to grind beans. The perfection of the chops is mainly controlled for how long the blade will spin at fast mode. It is better to let longer run for the blades to create a perfect grind. The Blade grinders are appropriately matched in making drift coffee. It can actually compensate the type of grinds of drift coffee filters of the Antique Blade Grinders.

3. There are also those Bodum products for the coffee maker enthusiasts. They have impressive coffee grinder designs with timeless classics like the antique Bodum Chambord coffee grinder that keeps old and new coffee customers to come back and drink the finest grind coffee around. As their slogan says “nothing makes your day better than a perfect grind cup of coffee.” They know this even better, which is why they created the best coffee grinders in the business. Two of their popular best sellers are the Bodum Antigua Grinder and the Bodum C-Mill Grinder.

Even if you are new to the coffee world or you are a seasoned coffee lover, it is still recommended that you know how to find the best purchases of coffee grinders. There are many types of grinders you can choose from that can satisfy to your coffee making needs. Always remember to take care of the grinder that you bought and always keep it clean so that it can last for more and tasteful coffee making sessions.

Coffee History – A Rich Tradition For More Than 1,000 Years of Coffee Produced and Enjoyed Worldwide

The history of coffee has a rich and fascinating tradition, resulting in gourmet coffee available to you in your kitchen or at your favorite coffee house.

Coffee dates back to the 9th century. Today, a good cup of coffee ties our world together in ways that are truly amazing through the years.

The Origin of Coffee

No one knows how coffee was discovered. One popular legend says coffee was discovered by an Arabian shepherd named Kaldi who found his goats prancing around a shrub bearing bright red fruit. He tasted the fruit and experienced the same energy.

Kaldi shared his discovery with the local monks, and they used the fruit to stay awake during long hours of prayer. The “mysterious red fruit” spread to monasteries all over the world, starting the relationship between the church and coffee that has lasted for centuries.

Coffee is mentioned in writings as early as the 10th century, and historians since then have followed coffee’s history and use throughout the world.

In 1471, not long before Columbus left to discover America, the first coffee house opened in Constantinople. The merchant trade of Venice brought coffee to Italy, where the first European coffee shop opened in 1645. Coffee houses spread throughout Europe and England and later to America. By 1675, there were over 3,000 coffee houses in England, demonstrating coffee’s tremendous appeal so many years ago.

As coffee production started around the world in different tropical regions, the growing conditions produced new and distinctive flavors. Various cultures invented new ways of enjoying coffee, and starting new traditions.

Coffee Making Through the Years

How we roast, grind and brew coffee has changed tremendously over the years. At first, coffee was boiled after being crushed by a mortar and pestle, as it still done with Turkish coffee.

Drip brewing started around 1800 in France, about the same time as percolators were invented also. Vacuum coffee makers were invented in 1840 to brew coffee that was clear and without sediment. By the end of the 19th century, espresso machines were developed for brewing coffee through the pressure method. Paper filters were invented by Melitta Benz in 1908. She and her husband patented them and started the Melitta family coffee business, which their grandchildren continue to this day.

Drip coffee makers for home use in the United States became popular after the Mr. Coffee coffee maker was introduced in 1972. Prior to that time, most coffee at home was made with a percolator, either electric or on the stove top.

The rise of the corner gourmet coffee house in America is an even more recent event. Founded in 1971, Starbucks popularized dark, gourmet coffee and expanded on a massive scale in the 1990’s. Now there are 16,000 stores worldwide, including 11,000 in the United States and 1,000 in Canada. This rise in gourmet coffee houses has brought a new coffee lifestyle to American society, greatly increasing expectations for coffee quality.

Growing Coffee Around the World

From coffee’s start in the Arabian peninsula, coffee has become one of the largest commercial crops grown around the world.  Coffees are grown in tropical and subtropical areas, including some of the most impoverished areas of the world. The traditional coffee production areas in are in South America (with Brazil and Columbia as the two largest coffee producers in the world), Africa (primarily East Africa) and Indonesia. Other areas grow coffees that have become prized, including Jamaica, Hawaii, Australia, India, and Costa Rica, winning the hearts of coffee aficionados worldwide.

Gourmet Coffee Today

In general, the coffee beans from from Central and South America are known for their mild yet potent flavor. East African and Arabian coffee beans are known for their intense flavor and bright acidity.  Indonesian coffee beans produce smooth, rich and low acid flavors.

Coffee has brought amazing changes to our society and our world in the past 1,100 years. Coffee continues to span the globe, connecting us with people far away. The coffee in your cup came from beans grown in an exotic location far away and transported around the world to you.

What will be next for coffee? Who knows, so enjoy your cup of gourmet coffee and the rich tradition that goes with it!