Tea is a natural and additive-free beverage.

Served hot or cold made by steeping processed leaves buds or twigs of the tea bush in hot water for a few minutes.

Cherries are glossy deep-red stone fruit, related to the plum, peach and apricot.

Cherries are used to decorate desserts, in fruit salads or as a garnish to cocktails.

Starwberry is unique in that the seeds grow around the outside of the fruit rather than inside it

The name of this fruit comes from the fact that they were orignally grown on straw.

Eat brighter, live lighter

Eat 5 serves of vegetables everyday.

1/06/2018

Olive oil


Olive oil provides excellent flavor both in salads and cooking.  It is mainly produced in the Mediterranean countries of Spain, Italy and Greece as well in southern parts of France and increasingly in Australia and California.  Wherever wines are made, you will also find olives and their oils. 

In general Spanish oils have a stronger flavor, Greek oils  have a thicker texture/consistency, Italian oils have a nutty flavor and French oils are quite fruity. Olive oil has a slightly lower heating point and it is therefore not suitable for deep frying.  It is more expensive as well thus making its use more selective.  


The beneficial health effects of olive oil are due both to the monounsaturated fatty acid content and the high incidence of antioxidant substances. 

Olive oil is an integral part of the Mediterranean diet, which appears to be better at helping to prevent high blood pressure than typical western diets.  


The following list describes attributes of the various olive oil types: 
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil -Virgin Olive oil with pure flavor and aroma, acidity of no more than 1%.
  • Virgin Olive Oil-Virgin Olive oil with pure flavor and aroma, acidity of no more than 2 %. 
  • Ordinary Virgin Olive Oil -Virgin Olive oil with pure flavor and aroma, acidity of no more than 3.3%.
  • Pure Virgin Olive Oil -Virgin Olive Oil with pure flavor and aroma, acidity of no more than 2%.
  • Refined Olive Oil -Olive oil obtained from generally defective virgin olives by refining techniques acidity of 0.5% or less.
  • Olive Oil- A mixture of refined Olive Oil and Olive Oil which is not pure, having an acidity of 1.5% or less. 
  • Olive Pomace Oil- Pomace is the ground flesh and pits after pressing.  It has a free acidity of not more than 1 gram per 100 grams. Use for bulk purposes.  


1/03/2018

Vinegar


The production of vinegar involves acid fermentation of fresh wine.  Vinegar can be used for preserving, dressings, marinades, sauces and with condiments.  Adding herbs, fruit and spices can provide a wide variety of vinegar for menu use.  Alternatively, rice, wine, malt liquor, cider or other spirits can be used.

The following list describes the various vinegar types:


  • Distilled or white vinegar – Produced from diluted and purified ethanol.
  • Malt Vinegar – Made from malted barley and beech shavings.
  • Cider Vinegar - Produced from apple wine and mother of vinegar, light gold in color.
  • Rice vinegar, Sweet Chinese vinegar- Distilled from fermented rice and alcohol, Japanese and Chinese origin. Used for sushi rice. Sweet vinegar is Chinese. It has a caramel flavor with spice undertones and is best used for braised dishes.
  • Fruit based vinegar -  (i.e. raspberry, blueberry and mango vinegar) The fruit is steeped in white vinegar to extract the flavor and color.  The flavors go well in dressings and harmonise with walnut oil, macadamia nut oil and other high quality oils.
  • Wine vinegar - Can be produced from either white or red wine.  Acetic acid or mother of vinegar is added and the vinegar has to mature afterwards to mellow it.
  • Herbal or spice vinegar- Herbs and spices are used to impart flavor to wine vinegar. 
  • Balsamic vinegar - Originally from the Modena region in Italy. traditional Balsamic Vinegar is obtained by converting simple sugar through acid fermentation of cooked grape must.  The subsequent ageing and refinement phases take place in barrels of different types of wood, mostly cherrywood. The must is situated in the largest barrels where mother bacteria colonies transform the sugary must into vinegar, this process is repeated each year. The vinegar is transferred each year to medium-size barrels for maturation.  After three years it is then transferred to smaller barrels for ageing. 

1/02/2018

Tomatoes


Although botanically a fruits tomatoes are more often used as vegetable.  Tomatoes are grown worldwide, there are many  varieties, in numerous sizes, shapes and colors, from the tiny cherry tomato to pear-shaped yellow tomatoes and the oval roma to name a few. Most varieties are red, although  others are yellow or pink. Unripe green tomatoes are used in pickles and chutneys.

The best flavor are those that are vine-ripened. For immediate use tomatoes should be firm and bright colored, with no wrinkles.

Tomatoes need to be purchased for the purpose for which they are intended on the recipe or menu. Always choose smooth, well-formed tomatoes that are heavy for their size for sandwiches, salads, buffets and presentation work.  Sound ripe tomatoes will be suitable for cooking. 

STORAGE
Pale red tomatoes can be left to ripen naturally in your kitchen windowsill.  Tomatoes will not ripen if left in the fridge.  It is recommended that tomatoes be bought as 'pinks' a few days in advance of requirements and allowed to ripen at room temperature in the kitchen.  This will avoid bruising and allow the ripest tomatoes to be used first. 

TYPES OF TOMATOES

  • CHERRY  -Come in various sizes but essentially are a tiny variety tomato. Some are red, others are yellow and some are pear-shaped and yellow.  Good for salads or used whole or halved in stew and pasta sauces.
  • PLUM (Roma) -Commercially used for canning and drying.  They have few seeds and a dry flesh which make them ideal in sauces and purees. 
  • BEEF STEAK -These are larger tomatoes, either smooth and rounded or more irregular and ridged. Can be used for stuffing or in salads.
  • ROUND -The most common tomato, commercially bred to be round and red. Can be bought vine-ripened or on the vine, an all-purpose tomato.     

1/01/2018

Satay sauce


A very popular sauce and has many variations.  In general, you sauté onions, ginger and garlic, chillies and then add coconut cream.  Roast slightly, add coconut milk and stock.  Add crushed peanuts or peanut butter, soy sauce and simmer for about 30 minutes.  You can add a variety of other ingredients such as lemon grass, oyster sauce or  fish sauce.  Asian ingredients to achieve different flavors.



The term satay refers to the grilled skewers of meat.  The meat is threaded onto the skewers, marinated and then grilled.  Remove the skewers from the barbecue, place onto rice and then top with the satay sauce. 


12/27/2017

Mushrooms


There are hundreds of varieties of fungi, some of which are poisonous. Edible fungi are generally known as mushrooms.  The common ones are now cultivated but may be harvested from the wild. 

Mushrooms are versatile food, they and be used raw in salads or cooked in combination with other ingredients in pies, sauces, soups and stuffings, with meat, poultry and fish.  They may also be served as hors d' oeuvre and as a vegetable in their own right.

Cultivated mushrooms include shitake, swiss brown, straw, oyster, endokidake and chinese black. 

Common mushrooms are available in three grades.

  • Button - which are small, tightly closed mushrooms to be used whole in garnishes.
  • Caps - which are medium-sized closed mushrooms suitable for slicing for salads and cutting into halves or quarters for garnishes.
  • Open - which are suitable for stuffing, slicing for garnishes and hopping for duxelles mixture.
  • Wild - mushroom varieties includes cèpes, chanterelle, boletus, morel and matsutake.  These have a stronger flavor than the cultivated varieties and should be eaten cooked. 
To cook mushrooms
  • Preparation:
Unless they are old, cultivated mushrooms do not require peeling.Trim the stem and wash in basin of cold water.Keep the trimmings for stock.  For some recipes,  it is necessary to saute them lightly in butter.  

  • Procedure:
  1. Wash and trim and slice the mushroom and put them in a saucepan.  Add just enough cold water to cover them
  2. Season lightly with salt and add 5g butter and 5 ml lemon juice for every 200g mushrooms. 
  3. Bring quickly to the boil and simmer for 2 minutes.
  4. Remove from the heat, drain and use as required.  if not required immediately leave in the cooking liquor and cool. 

12/26/2017

Bouquet Garni


This is a bunch of herbs tied into a bundle,bit is used in sauces and braised dishes to impart flavor.  It is removed at the end of the cooking time and must never be served with a dish.  The size of the bouquet garni depends on the number of portions in the recipe.

A number of bouquets garnis should be prepared fresh each time you need it.

To make a bouquet garni, tie with string into a neat bundle 6-8 cm long the following:

  • 3 or 4 parsley stalks
  • 1 bayleaf
  • 1 sprig thyme
  • surrounded with 2 or 3 pieces of celery

11/09/2017

Tips for making salads



All raw salad vegetables should be washed and drained thoroughly. Remove the excess moisture from the leaves by using clean toweling, a colander for draining, or a salad spinner.  It is very important that all moisture/water be removed from the leaves, as it will dilute the dressing and leach out the vitamins.

Store covered in the refrigerator to retain freshness.  Salad greens tend to deteriorate rather rapidly so prepare them as close to service as possible.

Due to fragile nature of salad leaves and herbs, it is important to handle these carefully in the preparation stages.

  • Salad greens should not be dressed until they are ready to be served, as the acid in the dressing will begin to 'cook' the greens causing them to rapidly deteriorate and become limp. Salt also draws out the moisture and thus softens the salad ingredients.
  • Salads have to be crisp, fresh and colorful in their appearance.Taste is influenced by the choice of dressing, the ingredients and the texture.
  • All ingredients need to be of good quality.  Salad items should be purchased and used in season whey they are at their best. Ensure all produce is free from blemishes, bruising, pests and soil.
  • Lettuce should be torn carefully along the natural fibers rather than being cut.  Cutting lettuce tends to bruise it, causing it to quickly turn brown and wilt.
Salad greens should be presented in bite-size pieces.  This way the customer can eat without having to cut the leaves.  The use of precision cuts can enhance the presentation of the salad.

Ensure correct hygiene and storage principles and adhered to at all times. Avoid crossing contamination and store prepared produce in the refrigerator, neatly covered.