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Again, I find myself torn apart with choices when deciding which is the most ethical, eco friendly and/or healthy option when it comes to shopping for food and non-food products.

Fairtrade, Organic or Locally Produced Food?

Fairtrade, Organic or Locally Produced Food?Should I buy food and products that support workers in Third World by buying Fairtrade labelled products even though these goods normally travel thousands of miles from Africa, South America or South East Asia? What if these foods were produced with the use of pesticides and additives? It makes sense then to look for and to buy Fairtrade, organic food to both help the producers in the Third World and fulfil my lifestyle choice to eat healthy and additive/pesticide free food. Thankfully, many producers are now wising up to this dilemma by increasingly producing organic and Fairtrade labelled products. I am currently using Fairtrade, organic t-bags at home! Now comes another important question, should I buy Fairly Traded organic sugar from Kenya that has travelled thousands of miles, or should I buy apples grown in the UK (ideally from a farmers market) that have only travelled only a few hundred miles which means less carbon dioxide and other nasty emissions from the lorries that you see constantly on the motorways in the UK? Buying UK products not only ensures less food miles but also supports local farmers, communities and economies. Unfortunately, choice is often limited and can be more expensive then food produced in other countries Decisions, decisions, its probably best to abstain from eating and give your choice making brain a rest!But I can safely say that I make attempts to avoid food or products that have travelled from far away destinations such as Australia even if they are organic! Next time you are in the supermarket or wherever you buy your food from check the labels and you will be surprised by how far your food has travelled. Also look at the amount of unnecessary wrapping such as individually wrapped peppers, mushrooms and kiwi fruit in wrapped boxes. When I buy from the local market I tell them to throw it all into one bag, the customer next to me often has 10 individually wrapped portions of fruit and veg. Thats 11 (10 plus one big plastic bag) bags into the landfill site that day. For maximum eco efficiency we need to be using jute or other bags made from recycled materials and putting all the loose food into that. For recycled bags, Fairtrade and Organic companies, products and food see GuideMeGreens Green Directory.

How To Achieve Victory In A Cooking Contest

How To Achieve Victory In A Cooking Contest

Competitions are still one way of really gauging the strength of a person or even of a product. People join contests to prove their worth or if not try to see how they could respond to the expected comparisons, the consequence of beating the competitors off.For the performing Arts like dancing, people realize a next door out. Contests involving the need show talent or ability, sets criteria in choosing the most wanted winning throne. One problem in contests is the incidences of fraud caused by contest organizers, some unfairness from the jurors or judges.There is one contest that is far from the flaws mentioned above. It is the cooking contests. Cooking is a good past time and as a contest it I has the most unbiased results. Does it end there? No of course. There are helpful steps to join in debates and to go home away with the bacon.1. Read and follow directions carefully. Directions are part of the contest. A misunderstanding will cause a big effect if neglected.2. Creativity is the key. Watch food trends and adapt your recipe accordingly. Try to use your own means to discover ways on how to keep your skill improving.3. Do not use abbreviations. If asked to write the recipe down, show industry and do not use short cuts.4. Simplicity and ease of preparation make winning recipes. Do not act hurried or look so pressured.5. Use accurate U.S. measurements. Measurement will affect the taste of your recipe so be keen about it.6. Garnish is very important. Always remember--eyes eat first. Catch attention and later the taste.8. Analyze recipes that have won previous contests. There may be a trend in the taste of judges or organizers.9. Be sure ingredients used are readily available. For you not to cram and destroy your own show, be very prepared.10. Keep up with current diet and health trends. Health is wealth.11. Write preparation directions in complete sentences. Think of the receivers of your work. Consider their understanding. And how you could help.12. List ingredients in order of use.13. Study your favorite cookbook.14. Be creative when naming your dish.15. Streamline a recipe by combining steps.16. Adapt a recipe for a different occasion.17. Create a recipe using ingredients that were once considered unusual but are now readily available in your grocery.18. Consider a dish's versatility.19. Look for ways to enhance flavor.20. Create a new shape or appearance for an old recipe.21. Include the size of any dish, pots, pans, or casseroles used.22. State the cooking temperatures and time needed to cook the dish.23. Give the number of servings. Be realistic. "Serves four" is different from "four servings."24. The recipe should have wide appeal.25. Type or print your recipe.26. Double-check the contest rules.27. Make a copy of your recipe. Always make a copy of your recipe for your files.28. Use a separate envelope for each recipe entry.29. Your recipe must be original. Originality is a very big edge over others. It will show how creative one really is.Cook. Express. Win.

Basic Cookware Explained

Basic Cookware Explained

What is All-Clad stainless steel cookware and why is it the best top-of-the-line bake ware you can buy? All-Clad cookware is made with a heavy aluminum inside which extends up the sides of the pan. It is coated with a stainless steel cooking surface and has an outside layer of magnetic stainless steel. This type of bake ware is ideal for cooking on a gas stove where the flames can burn up the sides of the pots and pans. These types of pots and pans are heavier than the less expensive kinds that you find at cheap discount stores. This cookware is extremely popular among the expert chefs, holds up well in high heat up to 500 degrees Fahrenheit and it comes in a nonstick version as well.Maybe you like to do lots of browning. If so you may want to use uncoated or non coated cookware for your favorite recipes. A top brand of uncoated pots and pans are made by Wolfgang Puck. Chances are you will never see a review that will not give Wolfgang Puck high marks for its baking performance and price value. Uncoated bakeware has an aluminum plate as the foundation or base. It does not run up the side as does the All-Clad type which is a big reason why uncoated is less expensive. Calphalon nonstick bakeware is a hard anodized aluminum bake ware with a nonstick coating. If you are looking for a cheaper brand that will perform almost as well as the more expensive ones this may be what you are searching for. Plus it is also lighter in weight than most All-Clad varieties or brands. It may require a little more energy on your part during cleanup though since most Calphalon nonstick pots and pans are not dishwasher safe. Another positive aspect to this type of cookware is that it can be used in your oven in temperatures up to about 400 degrees Fahrenheit.Similar to Calphalon, Emeril (Emerilware) is a high quality cookware that compares favorably to other top-of-the-line pots and pans and is a very good value for the money. Your favorite recipe will still taste delicious. Famous TV chef Emeril Lagasse has this line made by All-Clad which is similar to their hard anodized cookware. The major difference is the designs added to the pieces. This cookware is made of hard anodized aluminum with nonstick cooking surfaces. It is not recommended for the dishwasher, but comes with a lifetime warranty. That is something you do not see everyday. The debate about nonstick or uncoated has endured for many years, but which is actually better? Experts have always said that uncoated cookware gives better results, but nonstick has its advantages too. Fried eggs and pancakes are a couple of obvious examples of foods that are more fun to cook or bake on a nonstick surface. No more sticking to the pan during cooking or cleanup. Scraping cooked eggs off the pan is not one of the most enjoyable cooking activities. High quality nonstick skillets will contain a fully coated aluminum plate bonded with stainless steel allowing for even heat distribution. You can also find top brands that are dishwasher safe, although most manufacturers will recommend hand washing.Starting with high quality cookware is a must if you are looking for the most enjoyable cooking experience. And before you can purchase the most ideal bakeware for your needs you have to ask yourself a few questions. How much can I afford? Will it bother me if they are not dishwasher safe? Do I want nonstick or uncoated? Would I prefer better cookware or easier cleanup? After answering these questions you will have a much better idea as to the type of cookware best suited for your personality.

How To Remove Lobster From The Shell

How To Remove Lobster From The Shell

Lobster is an an all-time favourite seafood with most people, and many dishes using lobsters require that the flesh be removed from the shell. Here are some handy tips when you prepare a lobster dish at home.A preliminary way to prepare a lobster, which should be alive, is to grasp it firmly by the back, plunge it quickly, head first, into a kettle of rapidly boiling water, and then submerge the rest of the body. Be sure to have a sufficient amount of water to cover the lobster completely. Boil rapidly for 5 minutes; then lower the flame or remove to a cooler part of the stove and cook slowly for 1/2 hour. Remove from the water and allow to cool.After being prepared in this way, a lobster may be served cold or it maybe used in the preparation of various made dishes. If it is to be used without further preparation, it is often served from the shell, which is usually split open. Mayonnaise or some other sauce is generally served with lobster. The flesh is removed from the shell with a small fork as it is eaten.To remove lobster from the shell, first pull off the two large claws and the four pairs of small claws, and break the tail from the body. Then using scissors, cut a single slit the entire length of the shell covering the under part of the tail and remove the flesh inside the tail in a whole, large piece. The intestinal tract, which can be readily observed, will be found embedded in this piece and running the entire length. Slash the flesh and remove it. Next remove the flesh of the body from the shell, retaining only that part which appears to be fibrous, like the flesh of the tail. The stomach, should not be removed from the shell. However, care should be taken to obtain all the flesh surrounding the bones in the bony part of the lobster. The coral substance, that is, the roe of the lobster, should also be removed, as it can be used for a garnish.With the flesh removed from the shell, proceed to take out the flesh in the claws. Break open the large claws, using a nut cracker or a small hammer for this purpose, and remove the flesh that they contain. If the small claws are to be used for a garnish, as is often done, remove the flesh without breaking them; otherwise break them as in the case of the large ones.Nora MaskuriFor more tips and recipes, visit http://mycookery.com/blog

Gas Ovens

If you want to take your cooking skills up another notch then it might be time to look at changing to a gas stove.Gas stoves are the preferred choice of professional cooks for the simple reason that they offer more flexibility.The heat adjustments are more accurate and instant.If you turn the gas down, the heat will lower immediately, unlike an electric stove that will take time to cool down to the lower heat setting.Gas stoves also allow varied cooking styles that arent quite so easily achieved with an electric stove such as wok cooking.Gas stoves give you the ability to fine tune the heat and with the use of a wok you can cook various different meals that wouldnt be possible with an electric cook top.Many people are concerned with the use of gas in the kitchen and in particular the safety aspects of using gas.There are certain adjustments that need to be made to your cooking procedures when cooking with gas, and in particular you need to be aware of the importance of avoiding contact with the naked flame.The latest gas ovens have many safety factors built into them that werent standard features several years ago.Modern "gas ovens" have automatic ignition of the gas and safety gas cut off to ensure the optimum safety possible.Another benefit of a gas cooker is the fact that they cool faster than an electric cook top when you have finished cooking.For this reason alone many people consider using gas a safer alternative.It is all personal preference but the ability to prepare better meals is good reason to consider buying a gas oven.The prices range considerably, from relatively inexpensive to astronomical depending on the features that you desire, so it is wise to shop around before deciding on the gas oven for your requirements.

What do you really need in cookware and crockery

Cookware is always a rather contentious subject. I have seen chefs turn up to even the simplest of cooking jobs carrying more than it would take to maintain your average oil tanker (though maybe this is not the best use for your cookware), when all that was really needed was a knife and something to sharpen it with. So what are the real cookware essentials, the things that you really cant do without? Well surprisingly you actually need only a very small amount of things to get you going. Probably considerably less than you have already. All the cookware you actually need is a good knife, a means of sharpening it, a chopping board and a couple of pans. You may prefer a bit more cookware but you can cook with just that. Dont get me wrong, Im as partial to a kitchen full of mixers, blenders, electrical appliances and assorted useful, and otherwise, gadgets as the next person. But although good quality cheap cookware ( yes it is possible )like grinders and blenders give you a lot more scope there are plenty of things that you can cook without them, but a good knife, or three, is absolutely essential. The first and most essential piece of cookware you need is a cooks knife, thats as large as you feel comfortable with, an 8 inch knife with a blade that curves slightly to allow a rocking motion is a good start, then a smaller knife, about 4 inches, for cutting small vegetables and a carving knife. If you buy one about 10 inches long it can also double as a bread knife. Although there is no point buying extra knifes just to line the pockets of the large kitchen equipment manufacturers. A set can actually be quite good value and give you more for a similar amount of money. But check carefully what is in the set first. If you cannot find a set with what you think will be useful to you, dont buy it. Many sets come with extras like a case or wooden knife block but try to see past the free gifts. Its much better to have a few good knives in your drawer than a fancy polished beech wood block with fifteen designer knives, fourteen of which you never use, and one that is not the right shape for your hand and gives you blisters. I have a small, not very expensive set of French Sabatiers that are comfortable but not as posh looking as some of the more fashionable makes like the Japanese globals which I find too light which makes chopping a lot of vegetables for example much harder work. If you learn how to use them properly then steel or grinding stone is a good way to keep your knives sharp otherwise there are a good choice of proprietary sharpeners that keep the knife at the right angle while you pull it through the sharpener. Pans also need to be good quality, nothing over the top, no need to spend a fortune. Just make sure they are of a good solid construction. This promotes good even heat distribution and helps to prevent things burning. Stainless steel is a good option. A good wok on the other hand should be made of a thin light steel and cost very little, but always check that it has a good well-fixed wooden handle. The best place to buy this most useful of pans is (perhaps unsurprisingly) usually the local Chinese supermarket. A good chopping board is another necessity though two are better than one as this helps to prevent cross contamination if you designate one for uncooked meats/fish etc. and another for things like fruit and salads. No matter how much you think you will always be careful and wash them between uses this is the best single way to prevent contamination between foods. Mixers can be useful if you intend doing a lot of baking. But unless you make bread on a regular basis (always a good idea), then buying a simple, good quality hand held mixer rather than a heavy standalone version could save you a couple of hundred dollars in as well as a lot of space on your worktop. A blender is always useful for soups and the occasional smoothie, and a grinder will give you a lot more options in your use of nuts etc. and will also provide a constant supply of fresh coffee for the more manic cook. A good way to combine the functions of all three is to buy a food processor. A good quality machine such as a Moulinex or Robot coupe will save space and allow you to buy a much better processor than if you bought their items separately. There is an almost unending list of kitchen equipment that you could buy (if in doubt walk into your local cookery shop and ask the owner what he thinks you need!), but make sure you get the essential good quality cookware right and it will make your cooking easier and more enjoyable. Did you find this article useful? For more useful tips and hints, points to ponder and keep in mind, techniques, and insights pertaining to guides on cuisines, culinary styles, recipes and more , do please browse for more information at our websites.www.infozabout.comwww.cookery.infozabout.com

Summary

Again, I find myself torn apart with choices when deciding which is the most ethical, eco friendly and/or healthy option when it comes to shopping for food and non-food products.