Archive for the Articles Category

Food trend: Coconut Oil for good health

Posted in Articles, Recipes with tags , , , , , , on June 7, 2009 by lickthebowlcomau

coconutsOlive oil continues to be highly favoured as the preferred oil to lubricate your salads, bruschettas and pastas.  But is it the best oil in the pan?

Take note: unadulterated coconut oil is the oil du jour in terms of health benefits and more people are turning to it to promote weight loss and beneficial cholesterol levels.  Yes, you can fry a steak, your crumbed chicken and your eggs in something that’s good for you!  Coconut oil is the only oil that doesn’t denature as the temperature escalates.  That means that it doesn’t break down into not-so-harmless elements that won’t do your body any favours.  The following information comes from the website of a Brisbane company, Aclara Health, who supply kosher and Organic certified extra virgin cold pressed coconut oil for both bulk and domestic orders with in Australia and internationally.

aclara coconut oilWhat Coconut Oil DOES NOT do:

  • It does not increase blood cholesterol level
  • It does not contribute to heart disease
  • It does not contribute to weight problems
  • It does not contain trans fats and is NOT hydrogenated

 What Coconut Oil DOES do:

  • Supports healthy metabolic & thyroid function that promotes weight loss.
  • Coconut oil is the only natural source of beneficial Lauric acid other than human breast milk
  • It has a mild delicate flavour.
  • Is highly resistant to spoilage due to the antioxidant nature of the oil .
  • Is heat resistant (the healthiest oil for cooking).
  • Helps prevent premature aging.
  • Functions as a protective antioxidant which may reduce risk of cancer and degenerative conditions.
  • Supports immune system function.
  • Helps prevent bacterial, viral, and fungal (including yeast) infections.

Pacific Stir Fry recipe (from Aclara Health website)

como advanced 36cm Wok with Steamer

como advanced 36cm Wok with Steamer

1 teaspoon sesame oil
2 tablespoons Extra Virgin Coconut oil
1 medium onion, sliced in rings
4 cloves crushed garlic
250 grams cubed pork, beef, seafood or tofu
1 green and 1 red capsicum, cut into fine strips
2 cups sliced Chinese cabbage
½ cup coconut chips
2 tablespoons soy sauce
150 grams rice noodles

Heat the oils in a wok over medium high heat and add the onion and garlic. Sauté until golden brown then add the meat or tofu and sauté until just brown. Add the pepper, stirring continuously and sauté for 5 minutes. Add the cabbage and sauté for another 5 minutes. Stir in the coconut and sprinkle over the soy sauce, combining well. Remove from the heat. Plate the prepared noodles and top with the stir fry.

Chef’s Toolbox recommended products: como advanced 36cm Wok with Steamer, or 28cm Saute Pan.

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Food trend: White Polenta is the new mash

Posted in Articles with tags , , , on June 7, 2009 by lickthebowlcomau
Parmesan Polenta - image from www.taste.com.au

Parmesan Polenta - image from http://www.taste.com.au

I, for one, have never been bored by mashed potato.  In fact, a good steak is only made better by being served upon a sumptuous bed of comforting, homely mash, especially as it soaks up the juices and keeps the steak warm whilst you savour each morsel.  Still, it has to be assumed that Australia’s collective palate could be in danger of becoming jaded.  Why else would mash alternatives spring up from time to time?  (Never fear though, as tasty and trendy as they may be – think cous cous last winter – mashed potato never stays away for long.)

This winter, the emphasis seems to be on White Polenta.  Nothing wrong with that; we love our carbs and we don’t really care what they are.  Ok, within reason.  Under the direction of the trailblazing chefs whose fare we pay to feast upon, our taste buds have departed from the African continent that gave us cous cous, and we’ve skipped across to northern Italy where polenta has long been a carbohydrate staple.  Lest it seem like something old dredged up to be fashionable, it can’t just be any polenta.  Nope, it’s white polenta, make no mistake.  It’s on all the latest menus and mark my words, it’ll be the new mash you’ll be serving to your family before long.

No one can claim that polenta, white or otherwise, is particularly tasty but it serves a purpose, that’s for sure.  As with the aforementioned king of carbs, mashed potato, it sops up the goodies a treat and doesn’t dare clash with the robust richness of a rare eye fillet, nor does it meddle mischievously with the delicate freshness of a perfectly grilled fish.

Folks, white polenta could linger a while.  You might as well embrace it, just as you did focaccia in the 1980’s and pomegranates in more recent times.  Why not visit your local deli, pick up a packet and give it a whirl?  I promise you, it’s very rewarding to turn a dry grain into a silken delight in the warmth of  your fragrant kitchen on a Sunday afternoon.

Soft Parmesan Polenta recipe (from www.taste.com.au).  The perfect cookware to make polenta at home is the como advanced 28cm Saute Pan or the 2L Saucepan.

As seen on Channel 9’s Brisbane Weekend Extra

Posted in Articles with tags , , , , , , , on April 29, 2009 by lickthebowlcomau

As seen Channel 9’s Brisbane Weekend Extra … me and the Saute Pan stove top pizza (recipe here)!!

To buy a Saute Pan so you can make stove top pizza at home whenever you like, contact me!  At $220, it’s not the cheapest pan in your kitchen cupboard, but it IS the most useful, most versatile, easiest to clean and the one you’ll grab over and over for everything you want to cook!

  • Make risotto (on the stove or baked in the oven)
  • Pasta sauces
  • Pizza Scrolls – recipe here
  • Paella with Chorizo – recipe here
  • Pancakes/pikelets (Mother’s Day breakfast in bed) – recipe here
  • Rice pudding
  • Lasagna
  • Moussaka
  • Frittata
  • Quiche
  • and so much more!

Turn your $900 stimulus bonus into $1,400+ in cookware!

Posted in Articles with tags , , , , on March 16, 2009 by lickthebowlcomau

stimulus-package-kevin-ruddHow can you get more than $1,550 worth of products for your $950 government stimulus bonus?  Turn it into more than $1,550 worth of high quality Chefs Toolbox products!

• Book a party to be held in March and with just $950 in sales and 1 party booking, you will receive $400 WORTH OF FREE PRODUCTS!!

• Introduce me to someone who decides to join me as a Chefs Toolbox Consultant (even yourself!) and receive ANOTHER $200 WORTH OF FREE PRODUCTS!!

Seriously, if you want true value for your stimulus bonus money, this is the way to do it. And when I say you will receive more than these figures, I really mean it. For instance, with 2 party bookings, you will also receive a free Flexibake item valued at up to $42. PLUS, take advantage of half price shopping to the value of one third of your sales.

Even better, you do not even have to spend all of your stimulus bonus to get up to $950 in sales. At a Chefs Toolbox cooking party, the cookware sells itself and your friends will love the opportunity to try before they buy, by cooking up a couple of easy recipes and enjoying eating them afterwards.

The $400* and $200 offers end on 31st March so CALL ME TODAY to book your March cooking party!

Set up your kitchen in style and put your stimulus package bonus to great use!

*Normally $200 worth of free products for $950 sales + 1 booking.

How to spend your $900 stimulus package bonus

Posted in Articles with tags , , , , , , , on March 16, 2009 by lickthebowlcomau

stimulus-package-moneyWell seriously, how hard can it be?  Many of us have been granted a $900 windfall courtesy of Rudd & Co and we’re being told to spend, spend, spend.  Sure it’ll help the economy, but will it help us individually?  The Government says yes … ultimately, by ploughing the money back into the economy, it will help us all.  As for what to do with it, we believe we’re faced with 3 choices:

  1. Spend it on luxuries, long-awaited necessities or day to day living.
  2. Save it for the proverbial rainy day.
  3. Make a dent in your mortgage (however grand or small the dent may be).

How about putting your $900 towards something useful, practical, used by the whole family, durable, high quality and absolutely necessary?

Yep, you knew I was going to make a Chef’s Toolbox sales pitch here but think about it.  Every home has to have cookware.  If $900 falls out of the sky, why not invest in some good cookware?  Items that last and last, pots and pans that will serve you for many years whilst turning out healthy meals for your family.  Upgrade your blunt old set of knives and add a knife sharpener to keep them in tip top shape.  Treat yourself to beautiful, practical, easy-to-use, easy-to-clean cookware that you can be proud to show off in your kitchen.  Start building your collection and add to it as you wish to.

Click here to see how you can turn $900 into over $1,400 worth of cookware!

Cooking at home cheaper than takeaway

Posted in Articles with tags , , , , , , , on March 11, 2009 by lickthebowlcomau

french-friesWhen Australia’s leading recipes website says something, you know they’ve done their homework.  Taste.com.au recently reported that some clever number-crunching revealed that it really is cheaper to cook at home than to purchase takeaway.  Read the report here.

The expression ‘cheap as chips’ seems quite outdated when you consider that the cost of fries at any of the popular fast food chain stores is beyond the budget of after-schoolers wandering in to satisfy their raging hunger.  Make them at home and you can serve up piles more than the takeaway version.

Home cooking is usually healthier than takeaway too.  You know what goes into it because you’ve bought the ingredients and you can prepare meals with less fat, sugar and salt than what you’d get at a takeaway.

But what about ease?  Many complain that home cooking is too tiring and difficult.  What you need to compare is, the time it takes to get in the car, drive to the takeaway, get out of the car, stand in line (or wait increasingly long periods in drive-thrus), get back in the car, drive back home, unpack the food and serve it up.  Surely it’s easier and more convenient to stay in the comfort of your own home and put together an easy recipe?

There’s always going to be a place for takeaway; we deserve time out and we deserve to have someone cook for us.  But in the cost debate as to home cooking versus takeaway, preparing meals at home will logically be cheaper.

At The Chef’s Toolbox, our mantra is “cooking is fun”.  Well, not only is it fun, but it’s economical, and even if you splash out and treat yourself to our generously sized Square Roaster at $299, you’ll be investing in years of enjoyable cooking, courtesy of Chef’s Toolbox recipes and your friendly Consultant!

How to make your non-stick cookware last longer

Posted in Articles, The Chef's Toolbox with tags , , , , , , , , on February 25, 2009 by lickthebowlcomau

como-set-3Whether you’ve treated yourself to some gorgeous, hard-wearing, highly functional Chef’s Toolbox non-stick cookware or you’ve chosen to purchase another brand, here are some important tips on how to make your non-stick cookware last longer.

Before cooking

New pans should be washed in hot, soapy water, then rinsed and dried. There is no need to season the pans before use.

Cooking

Heat settings

  • A lower heat setting than usual can be used as como advancedTM conducts heat very efficiently.
  • The correct heat setting should be chosen for the cooking method being used:medium heat for frying, sautéing or stir frying low heat for simmering or warming.
  • When cooking with gas, the flame must not be allowed to extend beyond the stainless steel base of the pan.

Pre-heating

  • The pan should be heated to the desired cooking temperature before adding the food. This will ensure the food cooks as expected from the moment it hits the pan. Due to the heavy gauge alloy base, the pan heats quickly and evenly.
  • The pan should not be overheated to hasten the heating process. Overheating the pan will cause the non-stick coating to deteriorate and turn brown. Overheating voids the warranty.

Oven cooking

como advancedTM is oven-safe to 250°C.

Utensils

Even if your non-stick cookware claims to be resistant to scratches, it is best to use silicone, nylon or wooden tools so that it lasts longer.

spray-bottleOils

As much or as little oil as desired can be used in the pans. That’s the beauty of non-stick.  Any dishes may be cooked with minimal fats for a healthier meal. However, oil or butter can be added for a crisp texture, golden colour and more flavour.

TIP => Aerosol sprays should not be used directly on the pan as they leave a gummy residue that is very difficult to remove. For a lighter coating, the food can be sprayed before adding to the pan, a small amount of oil can be wiped over the surface of the pan, or pure oil in a pump-action spray container can be used, see example at left.

Safety
High heat, long cooking times, and oven cooking may cause the handles to become very hot. Care should be taken. Care must also be taken when carrying a full pan as it will be heavy and hot food may be spilled.

Cleaning

To extend the effectiveness of the non-stick surface, the pan must be cleaned thoroughly after every use. Any build-up of oil or food particles will impede the ability of the non-stick surface to release properly.

It is recommended that:

  • the pan is washed while it is still hot, and
  • the pan is washed with a micro-fibre cloth.
  • Where needed, a non-abrasive cloth can be used on the non-stick surface.

Should food particles stick to the pan, it can be filled with water and bicarbonate of soda and left to soak for 30 minutes. Any food residue should now wash away.

dishwasherDishwasher use

como advancedTM has been treated to withstand occasional dishwasher use. However, we recommend hand cleaning to extend the life of the pan. The dishwasher-safe treatment will withstand 200 cycles in the dishwasher. After this number of cycles, the harsh alkaline agents in dishwasher detergents may begin to damage the hard-anodised surface.

Storage

Pots should not be nested inside each other without protective cloths as hard-anodised surfaces are twice as hard as stainless steel and may scratch the non-stick coating.