Loading…

Cooking From The Heart

Healthy Eating & Living Guide
Shrimp and Wine

Serving Up Shrimp – Which Wine Works Well?

As with any seafood, tasting that beautiful ‘sea’ flavour is essential. However, if you go and pair it with a glass of heavy, oaky wine you bought from an online wine retailer, or at a restaurant, you run the risk of merely feeling the food in your mouth. You will lose all connection with the subtle delicacies of the flesh and how the flavour dances on your palate.

Therefore, when it comes to pairing shrimp with wine, you want to treat it like a complex surgery. Every ingredient of your shrimp dish must work well with each undertone of the wine, which can often seem like a challenging and impossible task. Even though it is difficult, it’s certainly not impossible. We aim to offer some classic pairing combinations from your kitchen below.

Vinho Verde

Any Vinho Verde lover will tell you that you don’t need food to drink it because it’s fabulous on its own. While that’s undoubtedly true, this particular wine is a match made in heaven with most shrimp dishes. The best part is – because it’s available in red, white, or rose, you are bound to find one you like – from the first sip to the very last.

(more…)

Kitchen Life

Kitchen Life

Some people prefer large kitchens while others are quite happy in smaller ones. How big should your kitchen be and does size matter? It gets down to the size of the family. Certainly what suits a couple may not suit a family of, say, five. Basically you need room for the cabinets, the under sink storage, a refrigerator, some benches and shelves, and most importantly, plenty of room to prepare meals. If an individual likes a lot of elbow room, then size does matter.

All is not lost if your kitchen is smaller than you would like, as there are lots of ideas for space savers. If you want a bit more room, use your kitchen walls. There are ranges of compact appliances you can use as well that will blend into the room.

Dining or meal preparation

Some people like to eat in the kitchen as well, so you might want a dining area or a dinette, for example. The space you need for dining depends wholly on the amount of people that reside in the house and will eat together. Some kitchens are set up so you can have a snack bar for a light breakfast, or quick meal, but have a formal dining room for regular meals.

(more…)

Sauvignon Blanc

What to Serve with Sauvignon Blanc

Finding wine, either in a restaurant, a bottle store, or online wine provider that you can pair with almost anything is a challenge. Even if you “know” your wines and consider yourself a connoisseur, there is going to be that one time where you made the wrong choice of wine to go with that fish, steak, or a cheeseboard.

Given that Sauvignon Blanc is an exceptionally versatile, far-reaching white wine that’s quite lean in flavour, it becomes most people’s “go to” beverage for a natural pairing. We’ve included a few of the many things you can eat with it below.

Cheese

If you’ve gathered the girls for a night out, a staple of that night out is undoubtedly wine and cheese. However, if you’re not usually one to dabble in cheeseboards, you may have trouble deciding which wine to pair with it. Even if you have help from a shop assistant, or descriptions on an online wine website, it’s not easy. Sauvignon Blanc is the best answer. Because of its crispness, it matches beautifully with all manner of cheese, making it a great option to serve to your guests. Goats cheese is also one of the best options, as are cheese balls of different varieties.

Green Vegetables

If summer has arrived and you’re at your local restaurant for a meal, or you’re whipping up something at home, you will find salads are a big hit on the menu. Bitter greens, fresh peas, and all manner of salad ingredients work beautifully with a glass of Sauvignon Blanc. What’s more, it may have you reaching for that second glass as well…

(more…)

Kitchen Renovation

Materials For Your Kitchen Renovation

Premium Materials to Use on Your Kitchen Renovation

When we speak of home improvement, the work of the cabinet makers on the kitchen is one of the most integral areas of the renovation. Without compromising on the choice of using quality materials, we can still make the remodelling process cost effective.

To get the results you desired for your dream kitchen design it is essential to use premium quality materials. To uplift the ambience of your kitchen, the finishing touches and aesthetics play a vital role. For example, if a newly furnished kitchen has cheap quality cabinets and shelves, the overall look of the kitchen will certainly not be that of an expensive and classy one.

The part of a kitchen which withstands maximum daily weathering is the countertops. In order for them to last long, it is crucial to use high end materials for them. For a kitchen to last long it’s got to be strong.

Essentials for a High End Kitchen 

  • Use High Quality Tools – In order to achieve desired results. It is imperative to use good quality tools to build the basic structure of a long lasting kitchen. You would need a good flat pack kitchen, a quality caulking gun and strong cupboards to have the renovation stand the test of time. Make sure the fitting materials like appliances and sinks are of a renowned brand in order to keep the kitchen’s finish intact. 

(more…)

Tips For Entering A Regional Show Cooking Competition

As the Newcastle Show Cookery & Jams Competition draws closer (March 16-18) I’ve had a number of friends mention they would like to have a crack at entering. Their reasoning is that if Dean can win Best Chocolate Cake then surely it can’t be too hard. And they would be right. With a little preparation everyone has equal standing for a first prize medal. There’s nothing sweeter than victory in a cooking competition, especially if it’s your first time. Of course, Dean and I will both be back defending our titles in 2012.

To help the novices, I’ve drawn up a list of do’s and don’ts. Some of these I learnt as a result of the live judging that took place at the Newcastle Show last year, and some gleaned from speaking with Cookery Steward and medal-winning competitor, Ellice Schrader.

I’d also recommend purchasing The Country Show Cookbook if you intend on entering any classes that don’t provide recipes. These are recipes from successful entrants at Country Shows all around Australia. This is the book from which my award-winning scones came from. I also would never have realised chocolate chip biscuits are different to chocolate chip cookies without the help from this book.

(more…)

Peach Jam

The Magic of Preserves

For many preserving is classed as one of the dark arts of the kitchen. A mystifying process reserved for those with a supernatural ability to calculate a fruit’s pectin potential by just looking at it. These are people who have the innate ability to mix measured quantities of fruit and sugar in large pots and make the mix miraculously gel. They know the rules, they cast the spells. They collect the resulting concoction in recycled jars with homemade labels to adorn their pantry shelves while they await the inevitable apocalypse, or gift-giving season, whichever comes first.

The truth is, preserving will cast a spell on you. But only once you realize just how easy it is to do. The only magic going on is the simple pleasure of spreading a taste of summer on a piece of toast on a cold, wintery morning. And if you aren’t the kind of family that gets through jar after jar of jam, the feeling of goodwill  as you hand a friend a jar is heartwarming. Homemade always means something more.

Always the pedant, here’s a low-down of the different preserving definitions, just so we are all on the same page. All use the same process which is to heat fruit and sugar which releases pectin, the natural setting agent in fruit.

(more…)

The Great Decider

My first experience with cider is one that will most likely be shared by many others. It involves being underage, overzealous and out of my depth. ‘Tis the reason I avoided it at all costs…until recently when a friend of mine was diagnosed with coeliac disease. Unable to imbibe his preferred tipple of beer (coeliacs are intolerant to gluten, a protein found in some components of beer such as barley malt and wheat starch), he turned to cider to keep his whistle wet. Any time he joins us for a bbq I case out bottle shops for less lackluster offerings than the one I’d had the misfortune of overindulging in all those years ago. And yes, I’d end up partaking in a glass or two as an act of comraderie for my friend who would otherwise be the only one drinking cider. And I have been enjoying it immensely.

It’s quite apparent that cider has undergone a revival of sorts over the last few years, with growing numbers of cider labels popping up in bottleshops and cideries opening in many regions of Australia. Particularly in the Yarra Valley, Adelaide Hills and south of Perth. While the varieties of cider apples grown in Australia is considerably less than in the UK and Europe, this hasn’t stopped cider being made from more widely available eating varieties such as Granny Smiths, Pink Ladies and Galas.

(more…)

Chilli Trepidations

Chilli Trepidations

Brrrr! The chill factor is extreme for this time of the year don’t you think? I don’t know about you, but autumn seemed to pass in the blink of an eye. I’m into winter comfort food in a big way already, with lots of recipes popping into my head that involve slow cooking on the stove top or a bit of spice to heat us up from the inside out.

Out of pure ignorance, I was once completely terrified of all foods hot. If there was the slightest hint of chilli I’d got for another item on the menu. Heat in food is just something I didn’t grow up with and with only movie references to practical jokes involving chilli as my reference; I came to the conclusion that it was to be avoided at all costs. Worse, I equated anything with spice or pepper to be ‘hot’ and as such any foods including such items were blacklisted.

Over time, I started to get an inkling that I was missing out. There were just so many delicious-smelling meals I’d refuse all because of an unsubstantiated fear. With the encouragement of friends, I started on working on overcoming my trepidation by introducing some not-so-hot foods, one of which was a mild laksa. It was love at first slurp.

(more…)

Tasty Brownies

Brownies

I had a little trouble deciding whether to include Rocky Road or Brownies in The Design Files chocolate story so I asked Twitter and the responses came back with Rocky Road winning by a narrow margin of just one vote. So I thought it best to include this great little Brownie recipe here so no one misses out.

My allegiance to Rocky Road is high having grown up eating Darrel Lea’s version and Brownies are a relative new-comer having only been exposed to it in its physical form after many visual reference on The Brady Bunch and other American TV shows in the 70s & 80s. There’s a million different Brownie recipes out there. I’m not much of a fan of those that include nuts so when I came across this recipe from Alice Hart’s Alice’s Cook Book gave it a try with stunning results.

(more…)

Mushroom

Mushroom

Have you experienced a mushroom explosion in your backyard recently? It’s as if a village of Smurfs decided to set up camp on our lawn, at the base of the old fig tree and beside the lettuce, seemingly overnight. It’s a pity identifying them is next to impossible because the white ones in the lawn look quite delicious. Having them around has me thinking my favourite way to eat mushrooms; large flat field mushrooms stuffed with lemon, chilli and oregano, flavoured ricotta and baked in the oven.

There’s quite a diverse range of mushrooms available at the farmer’s market and at supermarkets these days. I’ll have to see to it that I start marking up some more mushroom recipes beyond the flatties. Here are some I’ve bookmarked:
(more…)