Sunday, March 30, 2014

10 quick ideas with herbs

10 quick ideas with herbs
There isn't a cuisine around the world that doesn't use some type of herb in its cooking.

Herbs not only add a flavour hit to a wide range of dishes, they can also add a splash of colour.

Soft-leaf herbs, such as basil, parsley and coriander, should be added at the end of cooking for maximum intensity as they lose their pungency if overcooked.

Woody herbs such as thyme and rosemary work well when simmered throughout cooking. Try setting up your own herb garden - there's nothing quite like freshly picked herbs.

Top 10 quick ideas:
  1. Finely chop parsley, basil and mint. Mix with olive oil, capers, garlic and lemon juice to make a salsa verde. Serve with grilled meat, chicken, seafood or vegetables.
  2. Add a twist to your scrambled eggs by stirring chopped fresh mixed herbs through the beaten eggs.
  3. When making basil pesto, substitute mint or parsley for the basil.
  4. Stir chopped dill through tzatziki for a delicious dipping sauce for prawns or chicken.
  5. Add finely chopped rosemary to breadcrumbs when making chicken or pork schnitzel
  6. Fry sage leaves in butter for a simple sauce for tortellini.
  7. Steam asparagus, refresh. Toss through chopped dill, mint, extra virgin olive oil and fetta.
  8. Stir chopped herbs through cream cheese for a quick and tasty sandwich spread.
  9. Flavour your mashed potato with chopped fresh thyme leaves
  10. Add mint to simple green salads for a freshness hit.

10 quick ideas with citrus

10 quick ideas with citrus
A squeeze of lemon juice, a pinch of lime zest - we all know how a dash of citrus can really lift a dish, adding freshness and tanginess. Think how well the acid of citrus juice works with extra virgin olive oil to balance a dressing or how in a marinade it carries flavours such as garlic into chicken or lamb.

These intense bursts of flavour can come from lime, lemon or orange, and from the juice, the skin or the flesh itself.

Slightly sweet and tangy elements come from grapefruit and oranges or add a sour zing to savoury dishes with lemons and limes. Raid your fruit bowl to add this distinctive boost.
Top ideas:

  1. Finely chop the flesh of a lime and add to a green salad.
  2. Add grated lemon rind to crushed garlic and chopped parsley to make a classic gremolata.
  3. Ceviche, a South American dish, is made from the freshest fish soaked in lime juice to ‘cook'.
  4. When roasting a leg of lamb, go Greek-style. Add lemon juice and wedges to the roasting pan. Add pan juices to the gravy.
  5. Make a simple Italian fennel and orange segment salad with an orange and olive oil dressing.
  6. Combine lime juice, sweet chilli and fish sauce to dress noodles.
  7. Toss cooked broccoli with grated lemon zest and parmesan.
  8. Make a marinade for chicken by combining orange zest, orange juice, olive oil, garlic and thyme.
  9. Grapefruit pairs well with seafood such as scallops.
  10. Make a citrus salsa with chopped orange, lime and grapefruit flesh, coriander leaves and sliced chilli. Serve with grilled fish.

How to make flavoured butter

Flavoured butters add a finishing touch to grilled steaks, salmon and sides. Start jazzing up your dishes by following these easy steps for how to make flavoured butter.

Here's a secret weapon to keep in your freezer: flavoured butter. A dab of anchovy, caper, herb and garlic butter transforms a basic minute-steak into French bistro fare, while butter infused with lemon and tarragon is an easy way to enliven grilled fish or roast chicken. Or simply slice rounds to serve with crusty bread at your next dinner party. Garlic, chilli, lemon zest and juice, spices, fresh herbs and sautéed shallots are all great ingredients to play with.

Step 1:

Soften 125g of butter in a mixing bowl - do not melt. Stir in finely chopped ingredients such as garlic, herbs and capers. Alternatively, use a food processor to combine butter and fresh ingredients.

Step 2:

Spoon the mixture along the edge of a piece of plastic wrap. Roll tightly to form a uniform log shape, twisting the ends to enclose.

Step 3:

Refrigerate until firm and slice into rounds to serve. Store in the fridge for up to a week or transfer to the freezer.

Tip: Pre-slice rounds and store in the freezer, ready to serve.

3 ways to dress up soups

3 ways to dress up soups
Cool weather calls for hearty soups, and with our easy but impressive presentation tips and tricks, you can transform what would otherwise be a simple dish into something special.


Preheat oven to 200°C. Cut the tops from large crusty bread rolls and remove most of the bread inside, leaving a shell about 2cm thick. Place rolls and tops on a baking tray. Bake until crispy. Place rolls on serving plates and fill with hot chunky soup. Place the tops on the side and serve.

Place two varieties of different-coloured yet complementary smooth soups in two separate heatproof jugs - try potato and leek soup in one and mushroom soup in the other. Holding one jug over one side of the serving bowl and the second jug on the opposite side, pour the soups simultaneously into the bowl and watch them swirl. Serve.


Use a vegetable peeler to slice sweet potato or parsnip lengthways into thin ribbons. Deep-fry the vegetable ribbons in hot oil until golden. Drain on paper towel, then serve on top of hot soup.

What is Filet Mignon?

A filet is a boneless cut of meat or fish, and mignon is a French word that means cute or dainty. A filet mignon, then, is a "dainty filet." It's pronounced fih-LAY meen-YAWN.

A filet mignon is cut from the tenderloin, which lies in the middle of the animal's back. Because the muscles in this area are not overly exerted, their tendons do not toughen -- and that's why a tenderloin is so tender. Strictly speaking, filet mignon comes from the tail end (the smaller end) of the tenderloin; it is generally only 1 to 2 inches in diameter. However, you can use beef filet mignon and beef tenderloin steaks (cut from other parts of the tenderloin) interchangeably. Both are usually cut 1 to 2 inches thick, though beef tenderloin steaks tend to be larger in diameter (2 to 3 inches).

Note that what you gain in tenderness, you lose a bit in flavor -- the lack of marbling, fat, and bone diminishes the beefy taste of these cuts. That's why tenderloin steaks are often served with sauces, toppings, or pan juices. Steak houses also often serve beef tenderloin steaks wrapped in bacon to keep them moist while cooking and add meaty flavor.

How to Wash Fruits and Vegetables

  • Start by choosing produce that's free of bruises, mold, or other signs of damage. If you are purchasing precut items, make sure they have been refrigerated or displayed on ice at the supermarket.
  • Once home, store perishable fruits and vegetables in the refrigerator (at 40 degrees F or below) until you're ready to use them. Always store precut fruits and vegetables in the refrigerator, too.
  • Wash your hands for 20 seconds with soap and warm water before and after handling fresh produce.
  • Use a sharp paring knife to cut away any damaged or bruised areas of the fruit or vegetable.
  • Wash the produce before you peel it. That way, contaminants will not be transferred from your knife to the fruit or vegetable.
  • Hold the fruit or vegetable under cool running tap water, gently rubbing it as you rinse it.
  • For firm produce, such as melons and winter squash, use a clean vegetable brush to scrub the surface as you rinse it.
  • Produce with bumpy, uneven surfaces, such as cauliflower and broccoli, should be soaked for 1 to 2 minutes in cold water to remove contaminants from the nooks and crannies.
  • Use a clean cloth or paper towel to dry the produce before using it.

How to Toss a Salad

  • Just before using, tear salad greens into bite-size pieces.
  • Use 1 tablespoon vinaigrette or dressing per side-dish salad or 2 tablespoons per main-dish salad
  • Have all other ingredients and the dressing prepped and at hand on your counter.
  • Choose a large salad bowl that will easily accommodate all the ingredients.
  • Using salad tossers, toss the lettuces, without the dressing, to ensure that the varieties of lettuces are well distributed throughout the salad.
  • Add the other ingredients, except any ingredients that are fragile, such as chopped eggs and ripe avocado, or ingredients that will be sprinkled atop the finished salad, such as cheeses, nuts, and croutons.
  • Gently toss the lettuces with the other ingredients, without the dressing, to ensure that all are evenly distributed.
  • If using a vinaigrette-style dressing, drizzle the dressing over the salad and gently toss until all ingredients are lightly coated with the vinaigrette. Arrange the salad on individual plates to serve; top with additional toppings as desired, and serve immediately.
  • If using creamy dressings, arrange the salad ingredients on individual salad plates. Drizzle with the dressing; sprinkle with additional toppings as desired, and serve immediately.