Avoid Bones when Eating Seafood

A few years ago I dined with a business associate who ordered Whitebait as a starter. Whitebait are the tiny pencil thin fish coated in milk, seasoned flour, deep fried and eaten whole. My colleague decided to fillet all the fish. It took him a while, to concern the waiting and kitchen staff who were wondering how long it would before serving the main course.

His expectation of a boneless piece of fish was a little extreme. With most people the concern is to remove the hidden, lurking throat assassin – the small pin bone. Ask help from your fish supplier to remove them, and state your concerns about any remaining in the fish you buy. If on your return home you still find a bone in the fillet then try another fish supplier next time.

If help is not at hand then complete the task on your own. You can easily find the bones. They are usually either in the stomach wall or down the length of the fish in the centre of the fillet. Gently feeling around will find them. Using a set of tweezers will remove the smaller bones, with a small filleting knife coming handy to cut out the bones in the stomach wall. You will end up with a totally bone free fillet and be able to cast all your worries aside.

With some types of firm textured flat fish, such as Dover Sole, the fish will not need filleting. You will find that after cooking, the fillet can easily be removed from the carcass of the fish.

Balcony Grill

If you want a balcony grill that does all of that, and even more, you should consider the Cobb Premium Portable Grill. The Cobb is a wonderful little grill that is really a complete cooking system, a “kitchen in a bag.” Here’s some more information about it.

Weighing in at just under nine pounds, with a convenient carry bag, the Cobb Portable Grill takes up a little more than a square foot of space, so no matter where you keep it, there will be lots of room left for the rest of your gear.

Because the Cobb burns very little fuel – up to 3 hours on just eight to ten briquettes – you can get away with keeping a tiny supply of charcoal in your closet or spare room. Whether you do your grilling on a balcony, terrace, patio, or rooftop, the Cobb makes the perfect balcony grill.

No matter what kind of cooking you like to do – smoking, grilling, pan frying, or roasting – the Cobb Premium Portable Grill does it easily. The Cobb is available with accessories – like a frying dish/wok, a roasting rack, a griddle, and a frying pan/skillet – that make any of these cooking chores a snap. The Cobb also has a “flavor well” around the heat chamber that let’s you use your liquid of choice – beer, wine, whatever – to impart that “just right” flavor to your food.

Designed with safety and clean up in mind, the Cobb’s aluminum and stainless steel construction heats up in just minutes, and cools down for cleanup just as fast. Additionally, the Cobb’s mesh base – made of stainless steel – stays cool during the complete cooking process, which lets you place your Cobb on almost any surface. The Cobb really is the ideal tabletop balcony grill! You can even move your Cobb around safely during cooking.

Basmati Brown Rice Pulav

It is the healthy gluten free option which will help you meet all your nutrition requirements without compromising on taste and diet.

Just removal of the outer hull of the rice kernel gives is this variety of rice which has a layer of bran.

Over the few years, It is gained popularity and have a designated place on the shelf in many kitchens. It has become a great pick for those who are health and fitness conscious. However, cooking brown rice is time consuming process. And moreover, people assume that being a healthy option, brown rice has a boring taste.

In today’s fast paced world, where people run on the ticking clock, regular brown rice that takes 60 minutes to cook makes people skip it. It cooks quickly can help in lot many ways and can be a time saver by just cooking in 15-20 minutes.

However, it is slightly differs from Basmati brown rice in certain other ways too. It is long, fluffy when compared to the mushy texture of regular brown rice.

It is grown in Himalayan foothills, have a distinct texture and nutty flavour. These tiny long grains are more lighter than the regular brown rice.

Paired with your choice of favourite vegetables, a dash of spices and raitha as a sider, brown rice can serve as a complete protein and fiber rich meal.

The side hull and bran content in brown rice aids digestion. It gained popularity off late due to its rich nutrient content providing the body essential needs like thiamine, potassium, fiber and magnesium.

The low glycemic rate aids weight loss and even is healthy option for diabetics.

There are many people who find it difficult to stick to brown rice due to its versatile taste.

Here is the delicious recipe of Brown rice pulao just in five easy steps, which will make you swap from white rice to brown basmati organic rice easily.

Note: check the label and select Basmati brown rice as per your preference. It is the best option and it retains all the wheat nutrients.

Before going ahead to the cooking part, wash it thoroughly and for one cup rice you might need to add three cups of water.

Preps:

  • 2 cups Basmati brown
  • 1 finely diced onion, 1 chopped carrot
  • 2 capsicums finely chopped
  • 1 spring onion for garnishing
  • 1/2 cup green peas

Paste:

Take two to three green chillies, 1 dried red chilli, 1 small piece of ginger and a handful of curry leaves, stalks of basil leaves and a few mint leaves. Churn them until it becomes a paste after adding a little amount of water.

Recipe:

Pour 6 cups of water in a vessel, add little salt as per your taste and add two cups of Basmati brown rice. Squeeze half lemon and let it boil until cooked. Remove the excess water once cooked but little firmly al dente. Make sure the rice doesn’t turn out mushy. After straining the excess water, allow the rice to settle down by itself.

On the other side, take all the vegetables except onions in a vessel and add water. Allow the vegetables to boil until cooked but a little firm. Then strain the excess water.

Meanwhile, heat a non stick pan and add oil. Sautee the onions till they turn purplish brown.

Add two cloves in powdered form, 1 pinch cinnamon and two pods of cardamom. Add the paste and stir cook for about two minutes. Add boiled vegetables and put off the flame. Add rice and mix with a loose hand. Add salt as per the taste and lemon if required.

For garnishing purposes, add lemon zest and coriander. Serve the rice with piping of a refreshing chutney in the dish or serve with curd for the delicious taste. Nutritional info:

Per 100 gram serving

81 calories, 1.9% protein and 1.2% fats.

Essential Culinary Skills

  1. Cooking Methods – As there are many types of meat, there are also various ways to cook them. Roasting chicken would definitely differ from roasting meat due to the meat’s texture and weight. Aside from learning the right temperature to cook certain cuts of meat, it is also necessary to learn how to prepare simple sauces. Even poaching eggs the right way is very important because restaurant customers can be very picky. If you need to know the right way to stew, caramelize, broil, bake, or simmer any dish – learn cooking methods.
  2. Familiarity with Kitchen Equipment – There are many varieties of kitchen equipment that can be used to prepare food. However, it is significant to understand when and how they should be used. Proper handling of equipment such as mixer, oven, or even a spatula promotes efficiency and safety. Think of cooking for a dinner party with a hundred guests then you would understand the necessity of learning this culinary skill.
  3. Knife Handling Skills – The knife is an indispensable tool for any chef or cook. Use it properly so it can drastically reduce your food preparation time. There are many types of knives each with a specific purpose. Cheese knives, bread knives, cleavers, carving knives, sushi knives ” they all play a role in creating the right cut or slice. A good chef or cook should master knife skills; in fact, a good chef demonstrates the right way to mince onions. It seems trivial but a chef is measured by how he handles the knife.

If you are serious in making a career out of your passion for cooking, enroll in a reputable culinary school. Make sure the school has accreditation to make it easier for you to land a job. There are many local schools offering culinary courses to choose from. Make the right choice today by getting a certificate or diploma in culinary arts.

Kedgeree

Smoke the fish yourself

Don’t be put off, because it is simple and adds to the fun of cooking the dish. Traditionally the process would start with the curing of the fish in water and salt, by covering the bone less fillets of fish in the liquid solution then removing and allowing the fish to dry. This was to start the removal of water from the fish which would help in the preservation. However for your own needs at home, preservation is not needed, and in addition by removing this stage you will be reducing the chances of excessive amounts of salt being in the finished dish. Salt which is vital in small amounts to control the electrolytic balance of the body, but is hazardous in large amounts because of it increasing our blood pressure levels.

So I suggest that you start with the smoking of the fish. You will need some wood shavings, ideally from a used whisky barrel, if you have one lying around. Failing that you can buy supplies at very reasonable rates from the Internet. The fish needs cold smoking for a minimum of eight hours. At a temperature of no more than 30 degrees Celsius. Without initially buying a specialist smoker, make you own. You will need an enclosed metal container large enough to hold the fish, with a lid and a raised surface to keep the fish off the embers of wood. Over heat, with the lid on, bring the wood shaving to a temperature where they start releasing a mild burning smell. Add other flavourings if wanted, such as crushed juniper berries or a slug or two of a malt whisky. Take off the heat and add the fillets of fish. Whilst the overall temperature needs to be low the embers still need to keep smouldering, so keep a check on the temperature and if need be put back on the heat or slightly open the lid. Keep the process going for around eight hours, at the end of which you will have produced your own smoked, salt free fish. Do not worry if the temperature rises too high at any stage, just remove the fish and use as normal in the dish.

Making up the Kedgeree, the simple way

Gently heat a pan and add 150 g of cooked rice, 125 ml of cream, and a teaspoon each of ground Turmeric and Ga-ram Masala, then 100 g of the flaked smoked fish. Allow to warm and plate topped with chopped boiled egg and parsley. If you prefer replace the cream with fish stock.

An alternative way is to not add the flavourings to the mix but to serve with a jug of curry sauce. Each to their own.

Serving Kedgeree with more elegance

With this option warm the rice, cream and spices; as you are serving add a handful of chopped spinach or kale and stir until warm. Separately poach the smoked fish in milk, and when cooked place on top of the flavoured rice and spinach. Top with a poached egg and parsley.

Baked Whipped Fruit Dessert

For this dessert I use dried fruit. Prunes will give you fiber which is usually not found in cakes or pastries. Apricots, raisins or dried cherries are also good to use. I remember my grandfather eating this with his breakfast. He would always make sure there was some left for his breakfast. I prefer it as a dessert.

To make this I take1/2-pound of pitted prunes and cover them with water and let them soak all night. The next morning I cook the prunes in the same water in which they were soaked until they are tender. I let them cool and puree them. Next I add 1/4-cup of sugar and cook for 5-minutes. Then I let them cool to room temperature.

Next I beat 2-egg whites until they are very stiff. Next I stir 1/2-tablespoon lemon juice into the prunes. I then fold the beaten egg whites into the prune mixture. I lightly butter a shallow baking dish and pour the mixture into it. I bake it for 20-minutes in a pre-heated 325-degree oven. This very good served warm or cold and with or without real whipped cream.

If other dried fruit is used just remember to use 1/2-pound of that fruit.

Paneer Palakh

Paneer Palakh, also known as saag paneer or spinach paneer is a divine dish, fit for royalty, fit for your favorite party or get together, and maybe also the perfect dish you’d like to make for your family as a tempting Sunday night dinner.

Some things that make Paneer Palakh a dish as tempting as none other are:

  • It’s a tasty, fulfilling meal
  • Very nutritious, spinach happens to be a rich source of minerals while cottage cheese is one of the best sources of protein.

The dietary value of paneer paalakh is high, and this acts as an excellent source of vitamins A, C, and also Calcium, Iron, sodium and potassium.

The best part is that the dish is relatively easy to make.

So if you are trying to get your kids to start liking leafy greens, paneer palakh is the alternative to go for. If the kids happen to admire cottage cheese, they will develop a liking for spinach as well.

Go for paneer palakh, and see you guests rave in awe, admiration and delight.

With the high percentage of minerals, vitamins, pigments and phytonutrients that we find in spinach, the vegetable is beneficial for a host of vital processes.

Let’s run through some of the additional benefits of spinach that we should be aware of:

  • Maintaining A Good Eyesight
  • Preventing AMD or Age related Macular Degeneration. High percentages of antioxidants that are present in spinach help prevent harmful effects of free radicals which negatively affect vision. Consuming spinach regularly could work towards preventing age related conditions such as glaucoma or even macular degeneration.
  • Neurological Benefits. Components of spinach such as potassium, folate and several antioxidants offer neurological benefits to people who regularly consume them. So the risk of Alzheimer’s disease reduces. Potassium is essential for brain health and works towards improving cognition, concentration and neural activity.
  • Maintaining Blood Pressure. Spinach has high potassium content and low sodium content. The combination is extremely effective for someone suffering from high blood pressure as potassium lowers blood pressure while sodium increases blood pressure.
  • Bone Mineralisation. Spinach is a rich source of minerals such as manganese, copper, magnesium, zinc and phosphorus which keep the bones strong and help prevent osteoarthritis. Alternately, vitamin K present in spinach helps retain calcium in bone matrix so as to ensure bone mineralization.

Fruit Foil Desserts

Baked apples are a camp favorite. To make this delicious dessert, take a large apple, leave the peeling on and core it, leaving a portion of the bottom intact. If possible, save a portion of the top to cover the filled apple. Fill the core with your choice of filling, such as cinnamon and sugar, walnuts, raisins, marshmallows, nutmeg, brown sugar, butter, and/or coconut. Replace a portion of the top to keep the filling in as the apple cooks. Wrap the entire apple in tin foil, shiny side up. Heavy-duty aluminum foil is best. It will be less likely to puncture and will help keep the food from burning. Place the foil-wrapped apple in coals and cook for about 10 minutes. Carefully remove the package, unwrap and enjoy.

A different way to do baked apples is to simply slice the apples, put the slices in the middle of the foil and sprinkle with the desired toppings. Close the foil, and cook on the coals. You can substitute peaches instead of apples for this if desired.

Another favorite foil fruit dish is banana boats. To make banana boats, cut a v-shaped wedge along the top entire length of the banana, leaving the peel attached at one end if possible. You can eat the wedge. Fill the cavity with fillings such as chocolate chips, mini marshmallows, nuts, peanut butter, butterscotch chips, Reeses pieces, or any other filling that you desire. Replace the peel over the top of the filling and wrap in aluminum foil, with the shiny side to the inside of the package. Place the fruit package on its side in coals. Cook for about 2-3 minutes on each side. The key is to get the fillings to melt, without totally cooking the banana, which makes it somewhat mushy. You end up with a dish that is a campfire version of a banana split (without the ice cream!).

Cabbage and Polish Sausage

I believe it’s a trait I learned from her. Here is a cabbage recipe I would like to share that I learned from watching her. I have several ways I prepare cabbage, and it’s a very versatile side dish or you can add meat to it to make it an entrée. This recipe is how I fix it for when I want it as a main course. It is best served with hot water cornbread.

Ingredients

  • 1 head cabbage
  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • 1 large potato or 2 small ones
  • Half an onion
  • 1 lb package smoked sausage (turkey sausage optional)
  • A sprinkle of red pepper
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Take the head of cabbage and cut into quarters. I sometimes remove the outer layer of the cabbage if the edges are turning brown. Remove the hard-core of the cabbage and cut the quartered pieces into smaller pieces. Wash in a colander and add to pot. Add about ¼ cup of water to the pot. You don’t want to cover the cabbage in water because cabbage makes its own water. Peel the potato and dice the potato to add to the pot. Dice the onion and add with the cabbage ingredients. Slice up the polish sausage into 1 inch pieces or smaller slices if you have small children and add to pot. Put in 2 heaping Tbsp of butter and salt and pepper the ingredients. Add in a touch of red pepper or more depending on how much heat you like in your food. I usually do a couple of shakes of red pepper to the pot to give it a little quick. Cover and quick for about 30 minutes or until cabbage is tender. I usually serve this with hot buttered cornbread.

Healthier Fast Food Choices

Noodles & Company

Generally speaking, if you opt for one of the small plates here you’ll do just fine. At the top of the list is the Bangkok Curry which contains broccoli, carrots, red peppers, onions, mushrooms and a light portion of rice noodles, which are coated with a sweet coconut curry sauce and served on a bed of cabbage. It clocks in at a very healthy 250 calories and 430 mg. sodium.

Rubio’s Fresh Mexican Grill

The Chicken Street Taco is very yummy and quite filling. It features a warm corn tortilla filled with chicken, cilantro, onions and a dab of guacamole. And at just 90 calories and 180 mg. sodium, you can even have two!

El Pollo Loco

The “naked” Grilled Chicken Salad has 232 calories and 517 mg. of sodium; and it includes lettuce topped with chucks of grilled chicken breast, pico de gallo, tortilla strips, corn poblano mix, cilantro and cotja cheese. Skip the salad dressing and instead top it with a dab of salsa, or even some jalapenos from the salsa bar.

Taco Bell

Run for the border and get a Chicken Gordita Supreme. This flatbread taco is filled with grilled chicken, reduced-fat sour cream and shredded lettuce; then topped with a cheddar, pepper jack and mozzarella cheese blend. Nutrition wise it stacks up pretty well, with 270 calories and 510 mg. sodium.

Subway

This fast food deli chain has a number of healthy choices, but the Veggie Delite Flatbread Sandwich tops the lists. It’s served on 9-grain wheat bread and contains lettuce, tomatoes, onions, green peppers and cheese. And if you pass on the condiments, it’s only 230 calories and it has just 310 mg. sodium.

KFC

Although the fried chicken is a no-non here, a grilled chicken thigh with a large ear of corn is a manageable choice, at 310 calories and 535 mg. sodium.

Burger King

The flame broiled Hamburger is pretty tasty, and it has just 240 calories and 460 mg. sodium. Cut that down even more by ordering it without the bun, and have it as lettuce wrap.

McDonald’s

Try the Premium Grilled Chicken Classic Sandwich and ditch the bun. Pick up a few extra napkins because it’s a little messy. On the plus side, it’s also very filling, yet has only 150 calories and 490 mg. sodium.

Wendy’s

Choose the Sour Cream and Chive Potato, which has just 320 calories and 50 mg. sodium. Be sure you specify “no butter” though, as they tend to pile it on if not specified otherwise.