The Rice you Eat

Posted by Garry | Cuisine and Food | Tuesday 29 March 2016 11:01 am

One of the common cereals or the most consumed is rice. About 1/3 of the world population consumes rice. It is an annual crop grown in swamps, dry land depending on variety and mode it is being planted is through spraying in large scale or using the nursery. Some countries have much capitalised on it as it is a source of revenue to the government due to their exportation. Even kids cherish rice to other foods. There was a time when a relative was taking one of these rice varieties and he said it taste like you are eating sponge, why? Because he ate another part of the same ‘rice’. The science inclined refers to rice as Orysa sativa, Orysa glaberrima.

Also there is different rice produced from different parts of the world like the one cultivated majorly in:


The African Rice is one type of rice cultivated by peasant and commercial farmers. It can’t be milled unlike its Asian counterpart. They are good resistant variety to climatic, soil PH and diseases.

New Rice for Africa looks like a hybrid  or the crossing of the Orysa sativa and Orysa glaberrima and it got the character of both. This rice is just an improvement to boost the production of rice in Africa as there are teeming demands for rice. So, Africa Rice Centre developed a method to supply the masses with enough cereal.

Ofada Rice is very common in South West Africa (Nigeria) . The specie of rice has this commercial importance in this part of the world as it supplements the imported Asian Rice. Apart of that, the Ofada rice is a demand especially among commercial caterers in that part as it swells better when cooked than other species and this increase their profit.


Indian Rice/Canada Rice/water Oat; they are historically grown by North America and China but it’s almost going into extinction in that part. Grown in small lakes and shallow waters commercially. A source of food as many eat the grains and its stem  as its good vegetable.


Forbidden Rice; also known as purple rice or black rice. It has got high nutritional value, with a deep black colour which can turn purple when cooked. The Chinese use this rice to produce some of their foods like noodles, porridge, rice cake or bread 

The Indian varieties

Basmati Rice; traditionally from the Indians and Pakistanis has different varieties. To complement it is its fragrance like that of pop corn

Ambemohar Rice; grown in India, with a  good flavour and has this aroma like that of mango when cooked. It is preferred to others  as when it is prepared, it looks soft and can be chewed easily.

Dubraj Rice; Grown by the Indians available in sizes ranging from short to medium. Having an aromatic taste in cooked.

Joha  Rice; a variety of rice grown in paddy field in India and notably for its aroma, delicate and excellent taste.

Rosematta rice; also known as Matta rice, rich in fibre which takes long time when cooking and takes much of water.

Navara Rice; One of the popular grown rice in India which is said to have mineral and chemical compositions which energises weak muscles. Also used in treatment of neuromuscular disorders such as arthritis, rheumatism and other related problems.

Patna Rice; a good staple food  known for its elongated kernel with large grain greater than 6mm. Possessing a strong aroma  in  relation to Basmati Rice.

Improved Samba Mahsuri;a kind of hybrid from a research institute(Directorate of  Rice Research ) present in India, which made the variety resistant to bacteria blight disease. Fine grain with excellent cooking quality.

Iranian variety

Domsiah Rice; a long grain rice possessing black spot at one end. It is more or equal to the Basmati Rice.  When being cooked, it becomes flaky, fluffy and tasty.

Italian variety

Arborio Rice; a short grain rice that when cooked it has this firm, creamy and chewy nature due to its starch content.

Cornaroli; different from Arborio Rice with higher starch content, firm nature and longer grain.

Variety in Japan

Sasanikishi; produced from Furukawa Agricultural Experiment Station. What is very particular about this rice is its ability to retain its taste even when it is cold and it is good for Sushi.

Thai variety

Glutinous Rice; Also known as sticky, sweet rice or waxy rice grown in the Asian continent which is sticky when cooked. The glutinous rice also has this distinguishable feature like possessing amylase and high amount of Amylopectin responsible for its sticky nature.  The bran can be removed or not removed if it is to be processed.

United States variety

Wehani Rice is an aromatic brown rice slightly resembling Wild Rice. Slightly chewy and when cooked have an aroma similar to hot buttered peanuts.

Calrose Rice is a medium grain variety produced from California Rice Industry accounting for more than 70% of rice consumed in the US. After cooking it the grain holds flavor, soft, stick together making it good for sushi.

The difference between brand name food and store brand food

Posted by Garry | Cuisine and Food | Saturday 26 March 2016 3:01 am

The concept of store brand food is a recent innovation and has become increasingly popular at supermarkets as a competitor to brand-name products from companies such as Heinz, Coca-Cola or Nestle.

It is clear that store-brand food versus brand-name food has certainly gained a greater place in consumers’ consciousness. Indeed, some studies have even predicted that store-brand foods will represent 20% of sales in the next few years.

There are several reasons for this innovation, which include better margins, a more vertically integrated supply chain and more control over the customer experience and business operations. All of these are relevant factors to consider when comparing store-brand food versus brand-name food.

The history of store brands

Although some brand name companies argue that their products provide better quality than those of store brands, this myth has been widely debunked by companies such as Loblaws.

The company has been actively increasing the presence and credibility of store brand foods through their President’s Choice, which was widely touted as the first premium store brand, an innovation which was widely duplicated in the grocery industry. This is just one example of the prominence of store-brand food versus brand-name food.

A great advantage that President’s Choice and other store-brands had over their brand name competitors from the onset was that the cost of selling their product was always below their brand name counterparts, which created greater incentive to give them more shelf space, flyer space and advertising exposure .

Since the grocer has control over what he or she displays on the shelves, it became easier for store brands to gain prominence in the consumer’s mind.

The argument for brand names

Brand name companies argue that their products are better quality and also contend that the brand names are often the ones driving innovation within the industry, only to be copied by store brand imitations.

Unfortunately, it is very difficult to patent or trademark a food recipe so brand names are very susceptible to this type of competition, the ethical implications of which have been debated by many.

However, as store brands gained more exposure, customers began to appreciate that the quality in many cases was in fact comparable or better than the supposedly ‘more premium’ items created by the big multi-national conglomerates.

Nonetheless, brand loyalty has helped large companies like Pepsi maintain their staying power and continue their reach to millions of customers. Especially for products which are difficult to differentiate such as Pepsi, the power of the brand name is even more pronounced than normal.

It is clear that there are arguments to be made in favor of both store-brand food versus brand-name food. While there is debate as to whether the quality of food is superior to brand name providers, there is no doubt that their exposure will decrease as supermarket and grocery chains realize their store brand items are able to earn better profits for their stores.

There is no Danger in using Aluminium Cookware – No

Posted by Trent | Cooking | Wednesday 23 March 2016 3:01 am

There is a misconception that aluminium cookware is somehow unsafe. The main concern centres on a possible link between aluminium and Alzheimer’s disease and the other on the possible toxic nature of aluminium itself. Both these concerns are unwarranted.

The first suggestion that there was a link between aluminium and Alzheimer’s disease was made in the 1970’s when research from Canada showed that patients suffering from Alzheimer’s had evidence of higher levels of aluminium in their brains than healthy patients. In the intervening years further research has discounted this link. It is possible that Alzheimer’s causes more aluminium to accumulate in the brain, but there is no evidence to suggest that higher consumption of aluminium heightens the risk of contracting the disease.

Of course aluminium is toxic is large concentrations, but we all consume aluminium and for most of us that means about 30 to 50mg every day. Aluminium is one of the most common elements in our environment, drinking water has minute traces of it, and it is present in many foods and many medications. There are relatively high levels of aluminium in antacids, aspirin and in the antiperspirants many of us use everyday. Most of the aluminium consumed passes harmlessly through our digestive systems, only a very tiny fraction is actually absorbed into the body.

Aluminium cookware was singled out as something that should be avoided because certain foods with a high level of acidity, such as tomato sauce and vinegar, can react with aluminium, leaking trace amounts from the cookware into the food. Needless to say, most aluminium cookware is treated so that there can be no reaction to food. However, even an untreated aluminium pot will leak only minute traces of aluminium into the food that is being cooked in it. This is backed up by research, showing for example, that cooking tomato sauce in an aluminium pot will lead to the release of about 3mg of aluminium into the food, a small proportion of normal daily intake.

Therefore aluminium pots and pans pose no risk to users, even if they are old and scratched and pitted. Additionally, as mentioned briefly above, aluminium cookware is almost always treated so it cannot react with foods. When aluminium is anodized it goes through a chemical bath and an electrical current and this binds the metal into the pan, sealed in this way the aluminium cannot leach into food.

Furthermore, most aluminium cookware is coated. The exterior is either porcelain enamel, which has a distinctive gloss finish and is very heat resistant, or it is a PTFE (polytetrafluoroethylene), the most common non stick coating which most of us know as Teflon. PTFE is not damaged by acid or alkali, and is heat resistant to 400°C. PTFE is approved in the USA, Europe, and in many other countries for use on cookware as it has no reaction to food, water or household cleaners. PTFE is used to coat heart stimulators and has even been injected into patients with serious kidney problems. If this non stick coating does peel or scratch and PTFE particles are accidentally ingested, there is nothing to fear as they are not absorbed and simply pass through the body.

Aluminium cookware represents a substantial part of the cookware market, between 40-50% in total. It has significant advantages over other types of cookware. It is lightweight, it has superb thermal conductivity, 13 times more than stainless steel, and heat diffusion is excellent, making for even cooking results.

The Benefits of Eating Shiitake Mushrooms

Posted by Hildred | Cuisine and Food | Saturday 19 March 2016 3:01 pm

Shiitake mushrooms are commonly associated with Asian cooking, primarily because they are native to Asia. However, in recent years, they have become popular in many other countries. In the United States, for example, they have become so popular that many local farmers are now growing the mushrooms and selling them at $16 a pound.

As a USA Today article explains, the Department of Agriculture, recognising that there was huge market potential in shiitake mushrooms, gave a grant to the University of Vermont Extension’s Center for Sustainable Agriculture and Cornell University Cooperative Extension. As a result, 20 farms in Vermont and New York were chosen as research sites. The farms in question are now selling to local restaurants and cooperatives after workshops in shiitake mushroom growing. The initial injection of capital is relatively low because all that is needed is logs, mushroom spawn and hard work. 

There are a number of reasons why shiitake mushrooms are currently in such high demand:

Great taste

USA Today describes the taste of fresh shiitake mushrooms as “both light and meaty, with a rich nutty flavor featuring a hint of garlic,” yet depending on the type of logs they are grown on and how they are cooked, they can have a range of different flavours. In the past, dried shiitake mushrooms, which can be imported very cheaply from Asia, have been more commonly available and are certainly full of flavour. However, as the market in the U.S. has shown, the fresh version is increasingly in demand.

Nutritional benefits

People don’t generally think of mushrooms as being nutritious, but in the case of shiitake mushrooms, they certainly are. They contain high amounts of Vitamins B2, B3, B5 and B6, as well as Vitamin D. They also contain minerals in the form of selenium, manganese, copper, zinc, potassium and phosphorus as well as a variety of phytonutrients, dietary fibre and protein. They are very low in calories.  

Health benefits

Probably because shiitake mushrooms are so full of nutrients, they are believed to have a number of health benefits. According to WH Foods, numerous studies have shown that shiitake mushrooms “help prevent excessive immune system activity.” However, they can also stimulate the immune system when necessary. They are also believed to help reduce the amount of cholesterol in the body and, because of the antioxidants that they contain, they help prevent damage to the lining of blood vessels. Finally, there is ongoing research that suggests shiitake mushrooms have anti-cancer properties. 

Long shelf-life

Although shiitake mushrooms are primarily grown in the United States to be eaten fresh, they do have an excellent shelf life. According to, if they are refrigerated and stored in paper bags or cartons, they can be kept for about a month. They can also be dehydrated if they cannot be eaten within a month. The flavour of dehydrated shiitake mushrooms is more intense than the fresh, which some people find preferable; however, eight pounds of fresh mushrooms which are dehydrated and then rehydrated only make about four pounds. 

Whether you are thinking of growing shiitake mushrooms, or just want to eat them, there is no doubt that they have a number of benefits. Perhaps that is why the average person in the United States eats 4 pounds of them per year. 

There are lots of different coffees out there but what are the ingredients?

Posted by Trinidad | Drinks | Thursday 17 March 2016 7:01 am

You’re standing in line at the new Starbucks on the corner, mulling over the menu as the woman ahead of you gives her order. “I’ll have an iced venti doppio breve mocha latte with a shot of cinnamon.” She might as well be speaking a foreign language. She moves down the line and it’s your turn. The barista is looking at you expectantly while you feel like an alien on your first trip to Earth. Don’t panic. As long as you understand the basic ingredients, you’ll be prepared to enjoy coffee in all its many forms and flavors.


In the world of coffee drinks, size matters. In coffee lingo, small, medium, large, and extra-large transform into short, tall, grande or venti. These sizes are usually 8oz (short), 12 oz (tall), 16oz (grande) and 20 oz (venti). The amount of coffee in a drink also varies. A solo is a single serving of espresso. Most coffee drinks, such as cappuccino, are made with a solo. You can also order a doppio, also known as a double shot, a triple, or a quad (4 shots).


This isn’t your grand-daddy’s cup o’joe. Coffee drinkers are faced with a cornucopia of roasts and preparation styles. In a bean shell, roasts range from very light, such as Half-City and American, to very dark roasts such as French or Italian. The darker the roast, the more of the bean’s natural oils rise to the surface. More oils mean stronger flavor.

The brewing method is another factor in the flavor of coffee. Most people are familiar with automatic drip coffee makers that pass hot water over ground beans. Other methods, such as the French press, steep ground beans in hot water to make coffee. Espresso is a special process of brewing, which forces water near the boiling point (around 195F) and under high pressure through finely ground, firmly packed coffee. The result is a very concentrated and intensely flavored drink. When prepared properly, espresso will have a dark tan layer of foam on top called crema.

Turkish coffee (also called Greek or Middle Eastern coffee) is brewed by grinding coffee into a fine powder and then boiling it in water. The coffee isn’t filtered, which results in a thicker beverage with a strong flavor.

New Orleans iced coffee uses a cold brewing method similar to making sun tea. Coffee beans are coarsely ground and mixed with cold water in a large container. The container is stored either at room temperature or in the refrigerator for at least 12 hours. When the concentrate has brewed, it’s poured through a fine mesh sieve or coffee filter into a clean container and stored in the refrigerator.


A single shot of espresso equals 1 – 1.5oz of liquid. The short shot, or ristretto, is .75oz of liquid. The smaller amount of water intensifies the flavor even more than a normal espresso. A lungo uses twice the amount of water as a regular shot to brew the coffee. A Cafe Americano starts with a single regular shot of espresso and then adds hot water to make an 8oz cup. The flavor is similar to the coffee from your pot at home.

Dairy and dairy substitutes

Many coffee drinks use dairy products, usually steamed or foamed milk. Your barista will use whole milk unless you specify something else. If you order a low-fat drink your barista may use 2-percent milk; a “skinny” or non-fat drink uses skim milk. For those who aren’t worried about fat and calories, a breve uses half-and-half or heavy cream. Whipped cream often tops drinks such as cafe mocha. For the lactose intolerant, many coffee shops offer dairy alternatives such as soy or rice milk.

The amount of milk or dairy substitute can also vary from a spoonful of foam in the espresso macchiato to the familiar cappuccino, which layers equal parts steamed milk and foamed milk over a shot of espresso. Some coffee drinks, like cafe au lait, are made with steamed milk added to regular drip coffee. Others, like the granita, use frozen milk.


Beyond the standard coffee and milk combinations, many gourmet coffee drinks include extra ingredients for flavor. You’re probably familiar with cafe mocha, which blends powdered cocoa or chocolate syrup with espresso. Espresso Romano combines espresso with a twist of lemon peel and Cafe Medici is made from a doppio poured over chocolate syrup and orange peel, and topped with whipped cream.

Once a popular coffee substitute, chicory root is still a cultural preference for some people, and prized as coffee flavoring for many more. No trip to New Orleans would be complete without sampling a cup of chicory coffee. Italian syrups come in a wide variety of flavors such as hazelnut, raspberry, or peppermint and add a little extra joy to your java. Most coffee houses carry sugar-free varieties for those who want the taste without the calories.

Another popular coffee drink is Irish coffee. This recipe is made with Irish whiskey layered over regular drip coffee. Milk is then poured over the back of a spoon to create a cap. Since it’s made with alcohol, you won’t find it on the menu of your favorite coffee shop. However, some manufacturers sell Italian syrups that approximate the flavor of Bailey’s Irish Creme so you can get the taste of Irish coffee without the hangover.

Finally, many popular coffee drinks are topped with spices such as cinnamon and nutmeg. Some specialty drinks, such as a frappe, blend espresso with crushed ice or ice cream. Enjoy your coffee in any weather.

Tips for Cooking Fried Meatballs

Posted by Reynaldo | Cooking | Monday 14 March 2016 11:01 am

In my family, when we make meatballs, we make them fried. And, not surprisingly, they always turn out delicious. However, as with other foods that are fried, fried meatballs have their pitfalls. They can sometimes fall apart or they can come out dry, and no one wants to eat dry and messy-looking meatballs. With the tips that I’m going to share with you, however, I’m sure that you will be able to enjoy picture-perfect fried meatballs with little effort.

First, you have to consider the different types of meats that you can make meatballs with. I believe that meats that are not too lean are perfect for making fried meatballs because they have enough fat to hold them together. Turkey meatballs are best baked or steamed. You should try to purchase ground meat that is no more than 70% lean (sometimes, the ratio of leanness is described as 70/30 or 80/20).

Then, you have to consider the types of things that you will mix the meat with. Dried herbs are best used for frying because the fresh ones will release natural moisture that will interact negatively with the hot oil. You want to keep splattering to a minimum so that your cleanup will be fast and easy. Herbs such as rosemary, oregano, dill, and basil are perfect for meatballs. Consider adding spices, even if they aren’t spicy, to your meat mixture. Garlic powder and onion powder are best used instead of fresh garlic and onion because of their lack of moisture.

Whether you want to deep-fry the meatballs or just shallow-fry them, you want to allow the oil to get hot enough. If the oil isn’t hot enough when you are ready to fry, then take some time to yourself and allow it to get hot enough. There is nothing worse than really greasy meatballs that are undercooked. The oil shouldn’t be too hot, however; it shouldn’t be smoking. One tip for making meatballs is not to mash and handle the meat too much. Mix your ingredients just enough so that it holds together, then refrigerate the balls for an hour or until the meat is firm. This prevents the meatballs from falling apart. Using a deep-fryer is not absolutely recommended when you want to fry things; in fact, I think I prefer frying in my own pan instead (a stainless steel one, which is able to take very high temperatures) because I don’t have to clean up a bulky item with so many different parts. Also, I prefer not to shallow-fry meatballs because I want them to finish up quickly. Although deep-frying does use more oil than shallow-frying, I would rather use the former method because I will not have to think about having to turn them over, because that means less work for me.

Fry only a small amount of meatballs at a time. Frying too many at once lowers the temperature of the oil too quickly, and you will get soggy, greasy meatballs. Also, once you take one batch out, wait for a couple of minutes for the oil to come up to temperature again. When you fry things in this way, you will always get picture-perfect, restaurant-quality fried foods that everybody will enjoy.

The Pros and Cons of using Aluminum Cookware

Posted by Barabara | Cooking | Saturday 12 March 2016 3:01 am

This article will discuss the pros and cons of using aluminum cookware. The pros are that it is a good conductor so food heats up fast. It is lightweight and easy to move around, this can be a con too because it can be easily damaged by rough handling. But aluminum cookware is mostly used in commercial kitchens.

Aluminum pots and pans are very popular and easy to find. They are low cost because of their popularity which took off in the mid 20th century.

Another con is that it can discolor sauces when they are mixed with a metal spoon and stored in aluminum pots. Also, aluminum can react with certain foods and discolor them making them less appealing to eat so aluminum pots can not be used to store certain sauces and foods.

In the book “Professional Cooking” by Wayne Gisslen it mentions that there are special types of aluminum pots called anodized aluminum that have a harder, corrosive resistant finish on them, unlike regular aluminum pots. These pots are beneficial because foods stick less to the surface of the pot than with regular aluminum pots and other types of pots. However, these pots are more expensive and they are not as heavy duty and long lasting as regular aluminum pots. Also, this type of pot easily stained and not dishwasher safe.

There are different types of aluminum pots and each one has its own unique advantages and disadvantages. Heavy aluminum pots heat quickly and evenly. Thin aluminum pots heat unevenly as well as become dented quickly making more difficulties to let food lay evenly in the pan and cook evenly. Low end lines of pots have are usually enamel coated aluminum pots. There are other varieties of aluminum pots such as heavy-cast, pressure-cast and polished aluminum.

The three main catagories of aluminum pots and pans are:

These are the cheapest variety and they have the shortest lifespan. They are easily tossed out after they become damaged through rough handling.

These pots last longer than pressed pots because they have thicker sides and off more porousness. Heat is held in longer with these pots offering better cooking abilities.

These pots were mentioned earlier. The aluminum in them has undergone electro-chemical changes to affect its cooking abilities. They are the most expensive of the three catagories of pots but they offer great benefits such as non-stick surfaces, and scratch resistance.

At the end, if you are looking for a good quality pot or pan that can be found easily than invest in anodized aluminum pans. They have been used for a long time and have a good reputation for quality and cooking strength.

Face Treatment Oil From Grape Seeds

Posted by Lon | Living life | Thursday 10 March 2016 4:25 am

Massaging the face with grape seed oil is a very effective way to reduce wrinkles. ThisĀ face treatment oil is good for tightening the tissues in the skin. This method also reduces the aging process naturally. In addition to massaging with this oil it also comes in the form of a scrub. According to experts the immune system becomes stronger with the grape seed oil application. Another benefit is that circulation is improved promoting a better metabolism. Treatments with grape extracts provides a healthier and more natural way to younger looking skin.

In a method known as wine therapy the grape seed oil is cold-pressed. Unsaturated fatty acids is a very important factor in reversing the signs of aging.

This is a valuable method combined with the use of olive oil. The benefits of olive oil is that it is rich in vitamin E which makes it great for the skin. This is also good for both baths and wraps. This is one of the many ways of achieving younger beautiful skin naturally. And it also makes for a great anti wrinkle treatment.

The benefits of digital slow cookers

Posted by Clyde | Cooking | Thursday 10 March 2016 3:01 am

Slow cookers are not a new addition to kitchen products. What is relatively new is the digital slow cooker. With manual slow cookers, you turn the knob to warm, low or high and let it go. That is nice and simple and works pretty well. 

On the other hand, digital slow cookers offer more options and convenience. When shopping for a slow cooker, it pays to weigh the options offered in digital models. Some digital models offer more features than others.

Time settings

One big difference and benefit in using a digital slow cooker is that you can set the cooking duration. With a manual cooker, once it’s on, it’s on until you shut it off. So if your roast is only supposed to cook for four hours but you get distracted, too bad. Digital cookers shut off after the designated time.

With time and temperature settings, digital slow cookers really are nearly the perfect cooking appliance. The only thing you have to do is enjoy the tasty cooked meal. Well, then there is the clean up. 

Fix it and forget it

With a digital slow cooker, you truly can fix it and forget it. Simply add all of the ingredients to the cooker, set the timer and temperature and walk away. When the cooker has been on for the allotted time, it goes into “warm” mode or shuts itself off.

Warm mode is nice because it keeps the food nice and hot until you are ready to eat. After an hour or two of being on warm mode, it will then shut itself off. The auto shut of is a really nice feature that manual cookers just do not have. 

Plan ahead

Some digital models offer settings for cooking at a later time. For example you can put all of the ingredients for a desired meal in the cooker and then set the time for it to come on and start cooking. This is nice for people that go to work early in the mornings or late at night. 

The other nice thing about this feature is you can preset the cooker and then add the ingredients right before it is set to come on. This way the kids can help with dinner without any safety issues of the stove or oven. Hint: cutting meats and veggies before hand makes this even easier. 


This is the one thing that factors in when most people shop for a slow cooker. It is good to note that digital does not always mean super expensive. It is true that some fancier brands are more pricey. However, there are plenty of affordable digital slow cookers in your local stores. 

The key to finding the right digital cooker for you is knowing what you need it to do. Check out the features of several different models before making a final purchase. There is no good reason to pay more for features you may never use.

Slow cookers brought more convenience to all day cooking. Before the slow cooker, people had to stick close to the kitchen when slow cooking soups and chili and some meat dishes. The manual cooker did a great job of taking some of the hassle out of the process by not having to check on it as often. 

Now with the advent of the digital slow cooker, these tasks are even easier and safer. A manual cooker stays on until you shut it off, a digital cooker will shut off at the designated time. Another nice feature is that after the allotted cooking time has passed, the cooker switches to “warm” mode and then shuts itself off after an hour or two.