Archive for the Hints and Tips Category

Tip of the day – cutting boards

Posted in Hints and Tips with tags , , , , , on March 25, 2009 by lickthebowlcomau

The best type of cutting board to use is a ‘soft’ one.  Wooden and plastic boards are best, but cutting foods on marble or glass ones will blunt your knives.

cutting-boards-for-sharp-knives

Make a triple treat chocolate house without the gingerbread

Posted in Hints and Tips with tags , , on November 19, 2008 by lickthebowlcomau

gbread-triple-chocolateIt’s not always about the gingerbread!  You can use the Gingerbread House Kit to make an utterly decadent triple treat chocolate house.  In dark chocolate, it’s a grown-up’s delight.  Or, make it in white chocolate for a white-themed centrepiece for your buffet.

How to make a gingerbread fairy castle

Posted in Hints and Tips with tags , on November 19, 2008 by lickthebowlcomau

gbread-fairy-castleIf you thought gingerbread houses were just for Christmas, think again!  We have lots of cute ideas so that you can use your Chef’s Toolbox Gingerbread House Kit all throughout the year!  Spend just $45 and you can enjoy the fun of making childhood wishes come true whenever you want something to do together.

The lovely thing is, you get the recipe with the kit and then you can adapt the design to suit your imagination!  This one includes a few upturned ice cream cones, a variety of pink and white lollies and plenty of rainbow coloured sprinkles.  Add a couple of fairy dolls, some pink cotton wool and some other decorations.  Not just easy, but breathtakingly impressive to any little girl!

Seasonal goodies to enjoy now

Posted in Hints and Tips with tags , , on November 1, 2008 by lickthebowlcomau

lemon-lime-orangeWhen fruits and vegetables are in season, not only are they cheaper, but they taste their best too!  That’s why it’s always important to embrace in-season produce, rather than going for the inferior-quality, long-term stored goods (such as apples from the previous year!) or over-priced imports such as U.S. cherries in the middle of our winter.

What’s great right now?

Bananas, oranges and lemons are vitamin packed, at their cheapest and looking gorgeous in the fruit and veg section.  It seems not that long ago that we were paying a massive Cyclone Larry-influenced premium for bananas at between $11 and $15 a kilo!  Get into them now to boost potassium (the good mood mineral), add fibre and bump up your fruit intake.  They’re the perfect little package to take to work or school and eat anywhere, any time.

Oranges and lemons are infinitely edible, drinkable and usable in many forms.  They pack a mean Vitamin C punch and help your body absorb iron if consumed with meats, leafy greens and other iron-rich foods.  Add citrus zest to salads, cakes, pastas and puddings.  Juice a couple of oranges and gulp down with breakfast.  Add fresh lemon juice to warm water to kick-start your metabolism in the morning.  Or simply peel an orange and eat; or cut thin slices or wedges of lemon and add to a salad for a bit of bite!

blueberriesBlueberries are in plentiful supply and they are perfect little antioxidant bubbles.  At current prices, around $3.50 a 125g punnet, throw a few in your bowl of cereal, bake some easy muffins, munch between meals, make a blueberry and mango salad and enjoy with some low fat vanilla yoghurt.  Irresistible!

Strawberries and raspberries are ideal low GI treats, fantastic to snack on thanks to their high fibre and succulent goodness.  Raspberries are a little higher priced so buy when you see them on special.  The abundance of strawberries at the moment means you can indulge often.  Yet, since when was fruit an indulgence?  It’s an absolute must-have in your daily diet, so scoop up a couple of punnets and pump your body full of Vitamin C.

Mangoes are everywhere right now.  It’s possible to pick up a bargain as I did when I walked into Aldi one day and saw them at 69c each!  Guess who bought a whole tray and has been overdosing ever since?

Now, onto vegies, which may not be considered as fun and indulgent as fruit, but if you try new and wonderful ways with different varieties, you can truly enjoy getting your 5 serves a day.

artichokeYou just know spring has arrived when you see artichokes, asparagus and fresh beetroot in the shops.  Don’t shy away from them just because you don’t know what to do with them.  They taste superb, go a long way towards fulfilling your daily fibre intake and they are an excellent way to add variety to your vegie repertoire.

Spinach, mushrooms and peas are also plentiful.  Think stir fry.  Think pasta accompaniments.  Think salads.  Vegetables are just so versatile; they can be eaten fresh and raw or cooked.

Here are some easy peasy ideas to rev up your vegie consumption:
Quiche – spinach, mushrooms, asparagus, onions, pumpkin, carrot, leek, tomato.
Salads – lettuce, spinach, carrot, tomato, onion, beetroot, cabbage, other leafy greens, capsicum.
Pasta accompaniments – tomato, spinach, pumpkin, onion, broccoli.
Stir fry – bok choy, carrot, onion, spinach, celery, snow peas, green beans, broccoli, cauliflower.

When nature is this generous, how on earth can you resist?

Stake Your Reputation on the Perfect Steak

Posted in Hints and Tips with tags , , , , on October 20, 2008 by lickthebowlcomau
Vegetarians ... look away now!!

Vegetarians ... look away now!!

Ever noticed how succulent, tender and tasty steak is in restaurants, and you can never achieve these results at home?  It’s a common complaint and probably a big reason why mince is so popular!  Isn’t it funny how we go to so much trouble to grind steak into mince, only to then stick it all back together in a rissole?  I’d be willing to bet that it has something to do with our steak cooking prowess!

Here are some hints that will help you turn out juicy, steaks fit for your favourite carnivore!

Heat source
Chances are you don’t have access to a gorgeous charcoal grill.  Unless you want to barbecue every time – and without gas – you can achieve some very satisfactory results on a griddle pan that you can use on your gas or electric stove.  The Chef’s Toolbox como advanced 20cm Square Griddle Pan, or Chef’s Grill are perfect for just this purpose.  The Griddle Pan can even be used on induction stoves!

Be sure to have your pan or grill VERY hot!  If the meat doesn’t sizzle when you place it on the surface, the temperature is not hot enough.

Massage the meat
Always apply the oil to the meat, not to the pan.  That way, you’ll avoid the excessive smoke that the pan will give off, and besides, there is great satisfaction in the tactile enjoyment of massaging the olive oil into the meat and rubbing it with seasonings.

When to turn
Don’t be in a rush; it’s one of the biggest mistakes you can make when cooking steak.  Allow the steak to cook for a couple of minutes on the first side before being tempted to turn it.  And when you do turn it, do it assertively so that it all goes over in one swift action.  Make sure you have another hot spot ready to flip the steak onto so that you hear that familiar sizzle again.

How do you like your steak?
The trend away from ‘well done’ is well and truly in force.  Meat lovers are starting to recognise the benefits of a steak that is still tender and juicy inside, rather than seared all over and cooked to within an inch of its existence.  Try yours medium to well for a change and see how you enjoy it.

Use a meat thermometer
The Chef’s Toolbox Digital Timer/Thermometer is just the trick for cooking steaks to perfection!  Pork should only ever be served Medium (75°C) or Well Done (85°C).
Beef/Lamb/Veal:
Blue 45°C
Rare 50°C
Medium Rare 60°C
Medium 65°C
Well Done 70°C

Rest before eating
No, not you, the meat!  Allowing a steak to rest – off the heat source – before serving lets the juices settle and the meat to reach optimum succulence.  Five minutes is fine, then you can cut it or serve it whole.

Serve on warmed plates
You wouldn’t serve ice cream in a hot bowl so why serve your steak on a cold plate?  Warm your serving plates in a low oven and remember to use oven mitts.  You’ll notice an enormous difference if your steak is served on warmed plates.

What to do with Leftover Egg Whites

Posted in Hints and Tips with tags , , on October 20, 2008 by lickthebowlcomau

Sweet, delectable meringue

Sweet, delectable meringue

 

 

Ok so you’ve made ice cream and now you have all those leftover yolks.  What to do, what to do.  Well here are some ideas to use that abundance of egg whites.  I have two lovely hens who produce eggs daily for me but despite the fact that they’re ‘free’, I hate to think of wasting the fine efforts my chooks put into their egg production!

Quick tips – EGG WHITES

  • Use egg whites in meringues, pavlovas and Angel Food Cakes, Almond Bread, soufflés, marshmallows, Macaroons, Bombe Alaska, .
  • Make an egg white omelette and add leftover vegetables, ham, bacon or other tasty ingredients.
  • Lightly beat then store, covered, in the fridge for up to 4 days.  Use to seal pastry or to brush over pastry for a shiny finish.  Sprinkle with caster sugar for sweet recipes.
  • Whisk egg whites until loose then whisk through boiling chicken soup and add a little grated parmesan cheese.  Chopped parsley goes beautifully too.

Stay tuned for what to do with leftover yolks!