Top 10 Pieces of Essential Gear for Starting Your Own Kitchen

You’re no longer in your parents’ house, meals aren’t on the table waiting for you at day’s end and you have empty cupboards in your new kitchen. You’ve ordered pizza in a few times, but that’s going to get old (and expensive) fast and Weet-Bix for dinner was a pretty cool novelty the first four times, though it’s starting to lose a bit of its charm.You need to gear up fast. But what are the items that are most vital to a functioning kitchen? You can see that there are many pages on Kitchenware Direct with heaps of appliances, but certainly the line has to be drawn somewhere: what’s critical and what’s simply nice to have at some point?
How much do you want to spend? We ask this not to be crass, but because there are two ways you can go here. You can get a lot of pretty good basics for, say, under $300 or you can purchase a few really nice pieces for less than double that and slowly build a lasting collection. While we have gourmet and exceptional pieces in all our ranges, we’ll just give you the entry level options and the respectable collectibles (i.e., really good mid-range stuff) here because, after all, you’re just starting out. A quick word on the ‘just to get you by for the time being’ stuff. Lower-end goods don’t have to be a waste of time and money. When you upgrade, those entry-level pieces serve as good back-up or they can be used in, say, a caravan or as permanent pieces in an outdoor kitchen. If you become a multimillionaire, you’ll look on those inexpensive pieces fondly someday.
Okay, we’re going to assume that you have nothing at this point. What are the Top 10 Pieces of Essential Gear for Starting a Kitchen? Take a look below. We’re also assuming that you’re not looking to become the next MasterChef just yet, but simply want to get yourself and maybe your parental units (who were kind enough to raise you to the point of being able to leave the nest) a quick meal.
  • Cutlery Sets. Even if you’re eating take-away from the take-away container, you need to have a knife and fork. There are sets for under $50 and many that fall in the $100-$150 range. (Right up to $350+)
  • Crockery. Put that take-away food on your own plates and you can at least give the impression (for a minute or two) that you’re serving home-made. This purchase will make everything seem a bit more homey. Sets here will cost you less than $150 (or as low as $60).
  • Cook’s knife. Even if you were to just make salads for the next month, a good cook’s knife will make life much easier. If you’re going to purchase one to hold you for a while, there are plenty in our collection under $30. On the other hand, Wusthof has plenty of knives for under $200 that will last for decades and serve as a good starting piece in a lasting collection.
  • Fry pan or sauté pan. Take it from us: there’s a huge mark-up when it comes to scrambled eggs. You can make a big batch for yourself for about a buck or you can pay trough the nose at a restaurant… but you’ll need a fry pan to make ‘em. We’ve got frypans for about $10 and we have some great Scanpans in the $100 – $150 range. Sauté pans, on the other hand, usually have a cover and deeper sides, allowing you to make mains in them, if you’re so inclined. You could get something pretty specky that will last a lifetime from Le Chasseur for about $160.
  • Saucepan (also known as the humble pot). A good mid-sized saucepan (3 – 4 litre range) is needed to do even the humblest of meals, like smaller batches of pasta and noodles. The saucepan can also be used to boil water for tea or instant coffee, in case you’re avoiding appliances at this point. You can get something perfectly serviceable for around $23 or spend a bit more than $50 for a Scanpan number that will look great and work admirably for ages.
  • Cutting board. When you’re making the salad we mentioned above, you’ll want a work surface you can trust. We have a small board for under $5—and that would be great for cheeses—but get yourself something larger. You can pay $10, $20 or even $299.
  • Toaster. If you don’t eat toast, you can get away without getting any appliances. Having said that, a lot of us eat toast. There’s one here for about $55. There’s even a four-slicer for about $80.
  • Can opener. As we’re talking the very basics here, you’ll definitely need one of these. Spend about $17 or even go electric for $50.
  • Colander. That first pot of spaghetti you make in your own how will bring you a lot of joy, but try separating the hot water from the edibles without one of these! You can get a little one that will do the trick for $7.50 or shoot the moon and spend $30. You’ll also use this baby for cleaning veggies, too. Gotta have one.
  • Mixing bowl. As you’re just starting out, this can serve as your salad bowl, storage for leftovers, combining ingredients… just about anything, really.  Really big stainless steel for $8.50 or good-sized Pyrex for $15.

How to Vacuum Pack Food at Home

how to vacuum pack food

What Is Food Vacuum Packing?
Vacuum packing is a way to help preserve the quality of your food. The process draws air out of your food’s container, then seals the package. The low oxygen environment slows the growth of bacteria and fungi, prevents discolouration, and stops food from drying out. Since the process of vacuum packing results in an airtight seal, your food is protected from humidity and even some pests. At home, food vacuum packing is done with vacuum sealing machines, which most commonly use specially designed plastic bags.

How to Vacuum Pack Food at Home

To take advantage of the benefits of vacuum packing food at home, you will need some equipment.
-Vacuum sealing machine
-Bags or other containers that will work with your machine

-Prepare your food. You will need to make sure your food is clean before using the vacuum sealer. If you’re packing meat, now is a good time to trim it. If you want to pack liquids, try freezing the portion first, otherwise the machine may suck the liquid out of the bag.
-Pack the bags. When you are setting up your packages, consider portion sizes. You might find it most convenient to measure out one portion into each bag.

-Seal the bags. The particulars of this step will depend on your machine. Check your owner’s manual to learn how to make the best use of your vacuum packing equipment.
-Label the bags. Make note of the contents, the date, and cooking instructions if needed.

Examples of Vacuum Packed Foods

There are countless foods that will benefit from being stored in a vacuum sealed container. Vacuum packing is perfect for extending the shelf life of dry foods. It will help keep brown sugar from hardening, keep coffee beans or grounds fresh, maintain the quality of dehydrated foods, and prevents nuts from going rancid.
Vacuum packing will help keep your food safe from freezer burn. Package and freeze fresh fruits and vegetables when they are in season to enjoy later. Take full advantage of sales on meat by vacuum packing and freezing bulk buys into meal sized portions.
You can even use vacuum packing to prep meals. Soups and casseroles can be vacuum sealed and frozen, then boiled in the bag when you need a quick meal. Or keep balls of frozen cookie dough on hand for an almost instant dessert.

Brain Foods: Smoked Salmon and Avocado Salad Recipe

Eating a balanced diet is part of any healthy lifestyle, but did you know there are actually “super foods” that can boost your brain? There are a number of “brain foods” out there that nourish the brain, enhancing your mental alertness, ability to concentrate and can even help prevent memory loss and diseases like Alzheimer’s. There are plenty of puzzle games for brain training, but here, one of the best ways to improve your concentration and stay sharp is to also eat a brain-healthy diet.

When you search for brain food recipes, you’re bound to see plenty that are focused on grains or fish. Salmon in particular is rich in essential fatty acids (EFAs) that cannot be made by our bodies organically and must be obtained through diet. Those who avoid fish altogether are severely lacking in these rich oils and fats that promote healthy brain function as well as increased wellness of the heart and smoothness of joints. You can obtain these essential oily fats in other ways, such as flaxseed oil, walnut oil, pumpkin seeds and soya beans and their oil.

Salmon is loaded with healthy omega 3-fats, and when you combine it with another brain food such as avocado, you wind up with a delicious and mind-fueling meal. Since salmon and avocado are among the top super foods which improve brain health, it only makes sense to combine them in a dish. You can find loads of healthy salad recipes online, but the key to the perfect brain foods meal is selecting two dishes that compliment one another in flavor and texture.

Both salmon and avocado have smooth but distinct textures, and while salmon packs a strong taste, avocado is much less unimposing without losing any of its originality. The following recipe is easy to make and will take you through the process of making your own smoked salmon with a hearty avocado salad on the side.



Easy Smoked Salmon Recipe


  • 2 large salmon filets. You can buy these fresh or in the frozen food section of your supermarket.
  • 1/4 cup kosher salt.
  • 1/2 cup sugar.
  • 1/2 cup dark brown sugar.
  • 1 tablespoon crushed black peppercorn.
  1. Combine your sugars, salt and black peppercorn into a bowl. Spread a sheet of aluminium foil slightly longer than the length of your salmon filets, and top it with a sheet of plastic wrap. Cover with about 1/3 of your seasoning.
  1. Lay one side of the fish skin onto the rub, then sprinkle 1/3 of the rub onto the flesh of the salmon. Place the second side of the salmon flesh down onto the first side, and use the remaining rub to cover the exposed skin.
  1. Fold plastic over and close the edges of foil tightly around the fish.
  1. Place the fish onto a plank or sheet pan and top with another pan. Weigh it down with a heavy phone book or brick and refrigerate for 12 hours. Flip the fish over and repeat the process for another 12 hours. Have a bowl prepared to gather the juice that will leak out during the process.
  1. Unwrap fish, rinse off the cure with cold water. Pat the salmon dry with paper towels and place in a cool, dry space until the surface of the fish is dry. A fan can be used to speed up the process that usually takes 1 to 3 hours.
  1. Smoke the fish using this guide over smoldering hardwood chips or sawdust, and keep the smoker between 150 degrees F and 160 degrees F until the thickest part of the fish registers 150 degrees.



Quick and Easy Avocado Salad Recipe


  • 1 ripe avocado (or one per person if serving multiple people)
  • 1 or more bags of your preferred leafy greens.
  • 3 teaspoons lemon juice.
  • 3 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil.
  • 1 teaspoon of kosher salt.
  • 3 teaspoons of ground black pepper.
  1. Peel and cut your ripe avocado vertically so you have 4 to 6 long pieces. Sprinkle with a pinch of black pepper and set aside.
  1. Combine your oil, lemon juice and seasonings in a boil, adding more to taste as you go along.
  1. Wash and prepare your salad, and place it into your serving bowl.
  1. Top with avocado and toss well.


Coconut Oil Chocolate

Just in Time for the Holidays – Healthy Coconut Oil Chocolate Recipe!

The holidays are right around the corner, and that means that chocolate is bound to be everywhere you go. Even the most conscientious eaters have a hard time saying no to this sinfully sweet delicacy during this (sometimes) infuriating time of year that tends to be so detrimental to the waistlines of people everywhere.

What if I told you that it doesn’t have to be this way? That you could have your proverbial ‘cake’ (in this case, chocolate), and eat it too? You can indulge this season my friend, and the secret lies in your favorite local eco store!

The key to being able to eat chocolate without the guilt that inevitably comes afterward is in making it yourself with one of the healthiest substances available, coconut oil. This fabulous oil comes packed with health benefits too numerous to name in detail here, but here are just a few of them when consumed:

* Coconut oil is a long-lasting energy source for your body without the high then crash of sugar or caffeine.

* It supports thyroid health and helps to keep hormones balanced.

* The oil helps to suppress cravings and hunger pains throughout the day, which is excellent news for dieters and binge-eaters alike.

* No one knows quite why, but people who eat coconut oil on a regular basis report a noticeable change in their moods (for the better, of course!).

* Coconut oil has natural antibacterial, antimicrobial and antiviral properties which are all excellent for your digestive system.

* It helps aid in the absorption of vitamins and minerals, so your body actually gets the nutrients you are trying to feed it.

On the other hand, regular chocolate is loaded with sugars, hydrogenated vegetable fats, artificial flavors and emulsifiers. Why put your body through all of that when you can have a healthy chocolate, made by your own hands? If you are worried that making chocolate yourself will be difficult, fear not. It is actually quite simple, and there is no baking involved! Just load up on the eco friendly products below and you will be snacking guilt-free in no time at all.

Fantastic (& Healthy!) Coconut Oil Chocolate Recipe:

Cocoa Powder

You Will Need:

1/2 cup virgin coconut oil

1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

5 TBSP finely grated coconut

3 TBSP organic honey

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

1 pinch of salt


Simple Steps:

1 – Melt the coconut oil in a non-stick saucepan over low heat.

2 – Add the cocoa powder well using a whisk.

3 – Add the honey, vanilla extract and salt, whisk in well.

4 – Remove from heat and stir in coconut.

5 – Pour into a tray lined with wax paper or into candy molds.

6 – Refrigerate until hard, approximately one hour. Remove from molds or if on wax paper, break into pieces.


Cook’s Variations:

* Coconut can be omitted if you like.

* Any type of nut can be stirred in or sprinkled on top.

* There are many different ways to change the flavor if you wish. Try switching the vanilla extract for orange, rum, peppermint or almond extract.

* You can also add other spices like cinnamon, nutmeg, pumpkin pie spice or even cayenne to change the flavor.

Enjoy this delicious recipe and make extra for your friends!

Delightful French Macaron Recipe


If you’re searching for classy hens party ideas, macarons from France can be terrific options for you. Not only are these French sandwich cookies absolutely delectable, but they also can give your celebration an air of class and sophistication. A great high tea recipe and plate of macarons can do wonders for any hens party. When you need hens day ideas for delectable treats, you simply cannot go wrong with classic French macarons. Thankfully, this French macarons recipe is a delight and is also very easy to prepare.


Before you begin preparing your macarons, you have to gather all of your necessary ingredients. A quick trip to the grocery store should be just fine. You also may already have some of the necessary ingredients in your kitchen at home. The required ingredients are the following:


  • Almond extract (1/4 of a teaspoon)


  • Big egg whites (four total)


  • Salt (1/4 teaspoon)


  • Almond meal (1 and 1/4 cup)


  • Confectioner’s sugar (1 and 3/4 cup)


  • Granulated sugar (half a cup)


  • Strained jam (you can swap this out with any sweet filling option you like, however)




Begin preparing your French macarons by beating confectioner’s sugar and almond meal together. Then sieve the blend into a big bowl. Whip your egg whites until they take on a foamy appearance and texture. This process should take anywhere between one and two minutes total. Gradually introduce both almond extract and granulated sugar. Stir until you get to the medium-peak stage. The mixture should have a glossy look at this point. This process generally requires anywhere between three and five minutes.


Fold your egg whites into your almond blend. Do this until both elements merge successfully. Then enthusiastically blend everything together using a spatula. Do this until the blend has a soft and even texture that’s similar to that of honey. Do this until it descends quickly, as well. Then transport this blend over to a pastry bag. Remove roughly half an inch from the tip. Place your rounds (one inch) on parchment paper. Be sure to space them roughly an inch away from each other.


Allow everything to dry for anywhere between 30 and 90 minutes. Wait until you notice that the upper portions are both dry and solid in texture. Then preheat your oven to exactly 350 degrees. Bake all of sheets individually. Do so for 14 minutes each time, with single rotations. Allow everything to cool down completely over wire racks. Then you can end the process by filling your macarons with your preferred option, whether strained jam or anything else. You can then sandwich your cookies. Voila! You’ve just prepared a wonderful treat for your upcoming hens party. If you want to feed the guests of your hens party treats that are a wonderful combination of familiar and exotic, then there aren’t many better choices around than macarons. Although macarons are joyous sandwich cookies that are sweet and scrumptious, they also give an impression of Europe and France, taste-wise. This French macaron recipe not only is a piece of cake, but it’s also not at all time-consuming.


Chocolate Fountain Recipe

One of the often overlooked aspects of planning a bucks party is the food. Though you might have already began to buy alcohol and schedule entertainment, it is important to also think about what your guests will eat. Small appetizers and finger foods are a good choice so that your guests can eat while still enjoying the bucks night, and most people prefer a variety of sweet and savory treats. A good food idea for bucks night is a chocolate fondue fountain, since it is a great conversation piece and a delicious treat. Your party can dip pretzels, pieces of cake, fruit, and marshmallows into the chocolate fondue that flows through the fountain.


If you only need a chocolate fondue fountain for this occasion, then there are many companies that will rent them at reasonable prices. There are also many affordable options if you are considering buying a fountain for repeated use. Though you can get a premixed chocolate solution for the fondue fountain, making your own chocolate fondue will allow you to customize it, and you can even spike it with a bit of Kahlua to make it a special party treat. Here is a delicious recipe for chocolate fountain that is sure to be a hit at your bucks party.

servings: 20
preparation time: 0 minutes
cooking time: 4 minutes
calories: 257


  • 3 unsweetened chocolate squares
  • 2 12 ounce bags of chocolate chips
  • ¾ cup canola oil
  • ¼ cup Kahlua coffee flavored liqueur (optional)

1. Finely chop the unsweetened chocolate squares.
2. Put the chocolate squares, the chocolate chips, and the canola oil into a large, microwave safe bowl.
3. Microwave the bowl on medium high for two minutes, stir it, then continue to alternate between microwaving for two minutes and stirring until the chocolate is melted. It should be a smooth liquid without any lumps of unmelted chocolate.
4. If you are adding the Kahlua, warm it slightly and then gently stir it into the chocolate mixture.
5. Set the fountain up on a sturdy, level table so that it does not tip over, and make sure the cord is not in an area where guests can trip over it. In order to prevent the chocolate from hardening or splattering, do not put it in an area with any cold drafts or wind.
6. Pour the chocolate mixture into the bowl at the bottom of the fondue fountain.
7. Let the chocolate fondue fountain run for two minutes, and then turn it off for roughly 20 seconds, in order to get rid of any air gaps.
8. If the chocolate is not smoothly flowing through the fountain, add another ⅛ cup of canola oil to the chocolate mixture in the base.
9. Arrange platters of tasty treats around the fountain and provide toothpicks so guests can dip things into the chocolate.

Pork Sandwich Recipe


Party food sometimes has a reputation for being unhealthy, but that does not have to be the case. Nor should you have to resort to the standard veggie tray platter either. While quick and easy, pre-made party platters are both expensive and impersonal. If you are planning a work party and want to bring a healthy contribution that doesn’t skimp on taste, there are plenty of healthy party food recipes to be found on the Internet. Below is a recipe of a roasted pork sandwich that is delicious and good for you too!


I discovered this recipe on accident when I told a friend to use some of my whiskey as part of a marinade for pork chops. Instead of using a shot, he used half the bottle. They were the best pork chops I ever had. This recipe is a modified version of the marinade my friend made.


The use of whiskey gives the pork a strong flavor, but the presence of the honey keeps it sweet and tangy. If you enjoy the unique flavor of this sandwich, try investigating other recipes for party foods on the Internet. You never know what new favorites you may discover.




4 pounds boneless pork loin

½ cup black pepper

¼ cup rosemary

¼ cup salt


¼ cup Jack Daniels Tennessee Honey

2 tablespoons red pepper flakes


¾ cup Jack Daniels Tennessee Honey

¼ cup chili powder

¼ cup cornstarch


1 cup Jack Daniels Tennessee Honey

2 tablespoons oregano

1 tablespoon basil

1 tablespoon black pepper

2 teaspoons paprika

1 ½ teaspoons salt




In a small bowl, combine ¼ cup Tennessee Honey with the red pepper flakes. Let sit one hour.


In a small saucepan, combine the cornstarch, ¼ cup of chili powder and ¾ cup of Tennessee Honey. Heat over medium-low until the cornstarch is completely dissolved, stirring constantly. Remove from heat.


Meanwhile, combine 1 cup whiskey, ¼ cup chili powder, 1 tablespoon pepper, 1 ½ teaspoons salt, oregano, basil and paprika in a large bowl. Add the red pepper whiskey and the cornstarch whiskey and stir vigorously until thoroughly mixed.


In a small bowl, combine ½ cup pepper, ¼ cup rosemary and ¼ cup salt. Rub this mixture into the pork loin until it is worked in.


Using a brush, rub as much of the whiskey marinade onto the pork loin as possible. Put the pork and the remaining marinade in a 9×13 baking dish, cover, and let sit for at least two hours, rotating the meat at least once. Soaking the meat overnight will produce a better flavor.


Heat the oven to 350 degrees when ready and cook the pork to an internal temperature of 145 degrees. This will take about an hour.


When the pork has cooled, cut it into thin slices using a meat slicer or knife. Place a healthy amount on your favorite sliced bread and top it with a slice of tomato, red onion, some cucumbers and Swiss cheese. Cut the sandwiches in half diagonally, serve and enjoy.


Healthy Banana Chocolate Breakfast Bars Make Mornings Easier




Everyone knows that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, but in the rush to get the family to work and school, breakfast is often skipped or left to the drive-thru. Breakfast bars are an easy way to make breakfast ahead of time to make mornings easier. This recipe features bananas, oats and sweet chocolate chips, without any added butter, sugar or flour. They would also be great as a multigrain snack. Make these easy homemade breakfast bars to give everyone in the family the nutritious start to the day that they need.


Prep Time: 15 minutes


Cook Time: 15 minutes


Total Time: 45 minutes, including cooling time


Servings: 16




For Bars:


2 1/4 cups gluten-free oats

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 cup chia seeds

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon cinnamon

3 medium ripe bananas

2 teaspoons pure gluten-free vanilla extract

1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce

1/4 cup honey

1/3 cup chocolate chips


banana-823778_640For Chocolate Drizzle:

2 tablespoons chocolate chips

1/2 teaspoon coconut oil




Begin by preheating the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Lightly spray a nine-inch by nine-inch baking dish with non-stick cooking spray and set aside.


Make oat flour by placing the oats in a food processor a blender. Pulse or blend the oats for two to three minutes or until the oatmeal resembles a finely ground flour. Stop the blender or food processor every 30 seconds to stir the oats, ensuring that all get evenly pulsed. Transfer the oat flour to a medium-sized bowl. Whisk in the baking powder, Chia seeds, baking soda, salt and cinnamon. Set the bowl to the side.


Next, smash the bananas with a potato masher or a fork until they are smooth. Place them in a small bowl and add the vanilla, applesauce and honey. Stir until the mixture is well-combined. Add the banana mixture to the oat flour mixture. Stir just until the flour is no longer visible. Fold in 1/3 cup of chocolate chips. Spread the batter into the prepared baking pan, making sure that it is even.


Bake for 15 minutes or until a knife that is inserted in the center of the bars comes out clean with very few crumbs. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for ten to 15 minutes on a wire cooling rack.


While the bars cool, prepare the chocolate drizzle by placing two tablespoons of the chocolate chips and the coconut oil in a glass bowl. Microwave on high for 30 seconds. Stir until all of the chocolate chips are melted and the chocolate and oil are combined. Allow to cool briefly before placing the chocolate mixture in a piping bag and drizzling over the cooled bars. Cut the bars into 16 squares. Enjoy these gluten free crunchy snacks immediately or place in the refrigerator to enjoy throughout the week.


Note: This breakfast bars healthy recipe can be prepared in advance and then frozen. Once the bars are baked, cooled and sliced, place them in a resealable zip-top bag, pushing the air out as it is sealed. Place flat in the freezer. When ready to serve, re-heat the bars individually for 30 seconds in the microwave or until warmed through.


Hong Kong Dumpling Noodle Soup

This authentic Hong Kong soup features a rich broth, thin noodles and wonton dumplings that are filled with pork and shrimp. It’s simple in nature, but it tastes incredibly rich and filling.

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 60 minutes

Total Time: 60 minutes, as dumplings can be prepared as broth is cooking

Servings: 8


For Broth:

1 pound pork bones
2 ounces dried shrimp
1 piece of ginger, peeled and sliced
2 quarts of chicken broth

For Dumplings:

1 pound ground pork
1 pound shrimp, deveined and finely chopped
5 to 6 green onions, chopped
1 piece ginger, peeled and minced
1 tablespoon soy sauce
3 teaspoons rice vinegar
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
2 eggs
Flour for dusting
1 package wonton skins, thawed if frozen

For Soup:

8 ounces egg noodles
5 to 6 green onions, chopped, for garnish


To Make the Broth:

In a large pot, bring the chicken broth, pork bones and ginger to a boil. Reduce the heat until the broth is simmering. Let the broth continue to simmer for one hour, adding the dried shrimp during the last 20 minutes of cooking.

To Make the Dumplings:

While the broth is cooking, assemble the dumplings. In a medium-sized mixing bowl, mix the pork, shrimp and green onions together. Add the ginger, soy sauce, vinegar, sesame oil, salt and pepper. Thoroughly combine until the mixture is slightly sticky.

In a separate bowl, lightly beat the eggs. Dust the counter lightly with flour, keeping the flour nearby in order to dust the counter again if needed.

To assemble the dumplings, open the wonton wrappers and remove one from the package. Lay a damp paper towel on the remaining wrappers to prevent them from drying. Lay the wonton on the floured counter with the corners of the wonton pointing up like a diamond. Using a small brush or fingers, brush two edges of the wrapper with the egg mixture. Spoon one teaspoon of the filling onto the wonton.

Fold the wonton by pushing the bottom corner to the top corner, forming a triangle. Carefully push all air out of the wonton, starting around the filling, smoothing to the edges and pinching to seal. For a more authentic boat fold, after the dumpling is in the triangle shape, brush the egg wash onto the two side tips of the triangle and pinch together.

Put the completed dumpling aside and cover with a damp paper towel. Repeat filling the dumplings with the remaining wontons.

Once the dumplings are all assembled, fill a large pot with two quarts of water and bring to a boil. While the dumplings can be cooked in the soup broth, this will add flour and cause the broth to be murky. Once the water is boiling, gently place the wontons in the pot. Simmer until the wontons float to the top. Cut open one wonton to ensure it is cooked through and then remove all of the dumplings from the pot and set aside.

To Make the Soup:

Once the broth is complete, remove the shrimp and pork bones from the pot. Bring to a boil and add the noodles. Cook the noodles for three to five minutes, or until they are al dente.

To serve the soup, place six to seven wontons in each bowl. Ladle the broth and noodles over the wontons and garnish with the remaining green onions. Serve immediately while it is still warm.

Recipe inspired by FantAsia Brisbane.

Natto no Age Yaki (Fried Natto Stuffed Tofu)


2 packs Natto
20 g Scallions
2 tsp soy sauce
6 Aburaage


1. Chop scallions finely and place into a bowl
2. Add natto, soy sauce, sesame oil and some finely sliced fresh chillie.
3. Mix well until the ingredients become sticky
4. Fill the aburaage pouch with the natto mixture.
5. Close the pocket by threading a skewer along the open edge.
6. Fry the pockets in a pan without using oil. [ the aburaage already contain oil] Fry until the aburaage pouches turn crispy.
7. Cut the pouches in half and serve with pickle ginger.

Kenchinjiru: A Traditional Japanese Clear Soup

Japanese hospitality has developed a global reputation for exceptional service. Dining at a restaurant in Japan is a wonderful experience because of the sincerity, grace and respect of the chef and the wait staff. The Japanese are raised to be respectful and attentive, and this attention to detail and respect is how Japan has perfected hospitality culture. The employees are so attuned to your every need and come across as genuinely interested in you. The chef wants you to enjoy his food and your gastronomical experience, so attention to detail is reflected in the quality of the food as well as the service. One of the most popular dishes in Japan is a home-style dish called Kenchinjiru.

This traditional hearty Japanese soup is similar to a winter stew. Historically, Kenchinjiru was considered a traditional Buddhist temple cuisine because the name Kenchin was derived from the Zen Buddhist temple named Kencho-ji in the historical feudal town of Kamakura. Jiru translates to soup in Japanese; hence the name, Kenchinjiru. It is a light soup with stir-fried and stewed chunky vegetables.
Most Japanese recipes require a fish-based stock, but this soup uses kombu and shiitake mushrooms for flavor. Traditionally the soup is made with soy sauce, but if you prefer a bolder flavor, you can use miso. Typical ingredients include a wide variety of root vegetables. You can purchase traditional Japanese vegetables in Asian markets. Gobo and daikon add flavor and texture to the soup. Gobo has an earthy flavor and is a key ingredient in the soup. This classic soup is a favorite of all Japanese families and as a result, there are many different versions of the recipe.

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• 1 block (10oz) of firm tofu
• 1 small block (6oz) of konnyaku
• 3 medium carrots
• 2 dried shiitake mushrooms, or 6-8 fresh shiitake mushrooms
• 1 small gobo root
• 6oz of daikon radish
• 1 sheet of dashi kombu or 8 cups of dashi stock
• 1 tbsp. of vegetable oil
• 2 tbsp. of soy sauce
• 1 1/3 tsp. of salt
• 1 tbsp. mirin


Boil 4 cups of water with dashi kombu and shitake mushrooms for 5 minutes, or add the mushrooms to the dashi stock. Remove the kombu and shiitake mushrooms and continue to simmer the broth. Drain the tofu for 10 minutes, and then crush it using your hands. Set it aside for later. Peel and thinly slice the carrots, daikon and gobo. Thinly slice the shiitake mushrooms and konnyaku.
Pour the vegetable oil into a heavy-duty preheated pot and cook the carrots, daikon, gobo, shiitake and konnyaku on a high heat for 3 minutes. Pour the dashi broth into the pot with the sautéed vegetables and simmer for 10 minutes. Add the crushed tofu and boil for 5 minutes. Add soy sauce, salt and mirin and simmer for 3 minutes. Serve in individual bowls.
Kenchinjiru can be seasoned with soy sauce, or be served as a miso soup. Typically, it has been a vegetarian soup, but including chicken or pork in the recipe has become popular. Whichever recipe you sample while dining out will be prepared and served with exceptional Japanese hospitality.

Chickpea And Lentil Curry Stew

Chickpeas and curry both have significant health benefits when consumed. In addition to being great for weight loss and chalk full of fiber, this nutty legume is an excellent source of protein and energy booster. Curry powder is a blended spice that is often used in Indian cooking. While most cooks enjoy it for its flavors and heady aromas, it has anticancer and blood pressure lowering benefits.

Looking beyond its nutrition, chickpeas and curry can also be palate pleasers whether you’re cooking for family members or entertaining friends. You could also add some other antioxidants to the dish such as kale. This cruciferous vegetable is only 36 calories and goes well when blended in the following stew. It also adds a bit of brightness and color to the dish.



1 onion finely chopped
2 garlic cloves crushed
1 tbsp. olive or vegetable oil
1 tsp. chili powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. fresh ground black pepper
1 tsp. ground turmeric
1 tsp. paprika
1 tbs. ground coriander
1 tbs. cumin
15 oz. can chickpeas drained
1 c. chopped tomato
1/4 c. lentils
1 tsp. garam masala
1/4 c. chopped kale (optional)


  • In a medium sized skillet, saute the garlic and onion on medium high heat until they are transparent in color.
  • Add the salt, paprika, chili powder, turmeric and cumin and cook for an additional three minutes.
  • Add the drained chickpeas, lentils and tomatoes and gently stir until the mixture is combined.
  • Simmer with the lid on for 20 minutes and stir occasionally.
  • Add the garam masala and simmer another 10 minutes. If you’d like to add kale to the dish, you can add the uncooked vegetable at this time.
  • When the stew is done, garnish with freshly chopped coriander leaves if you so desire.

This recipe makes a great topper when served on a bed of rice or wrapped up in a pita. For the best results, toast the pita bread in the oven or broiler for a couple of minutes before serving.

These recipes are so easy to make, that they require minimum supervision while simmering. You can also prepare the stew in a slow cooker before you leave for work. Place the ingredients in your cooker and set on low for eight hours or high for four. When you return home, you’ll have a delicious meal waiting for you.

This recipe is from Archie who originally posted his recipe here on Recipe Yum


Barazushi is simple, easy to make and tasty!

Preparation Time: 30 minutes
Cooking Time: 20 minutes
Makes: 2 servings

4-5 dried Shiitake mushrooms
1 small carrot
1 small Bamboo shoot
1/2 cup Dashi
1 Tbsp soy sauce
1 Tbsp Mirin
2 tsp sugar
1 cup Sushi Rice
8 snow peas
Kinshi Tamago
Roasted Seaweed
Pickled ginger


  • Hydrate dried Shiitake mushrooms for 20 minutes, squeeze out water then cut them thinly.
  • Cut carrot and bamboo shoots into small pieces.
  • Boil Dashi, soy sauce, Mirin, and sugar, add all the vegetables (except snow peas), and cook at medium heat for 10 minutes until the liquid is almost evaporated. Let it cool.
  • Mix the Sushi rice and cooked vegetables.
  • Serve with Kinshitamago, Roasted Seaweed, sliced snow peas, and pickled ginger.


This recipe is from Archie who originally posted his recipe here on Recipe Yum

Apple Cinnamon Syrup

This apple cinnamon syrup is good with pancakes, French toasts and more. 🙂

Preparation Time: 10 minutes
Cooking Time: 15 minutes
Makes: 2 servings

1 apple
2 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon butter
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
3/4 tablespoon water


  • Add butter, apples, sugar, water and cinnamon to a medium sauce pan.
  • Stir over medium heat for 10 minutes or until apples are soft and syrup has thickened.
  • Serve apple topping over warm pancakes or French toasts.

This recipe is from Archie who originally posted his recipe here on Recipe Yum

Vegetarian Pikachu Omurice

Omurice is ketchup fried rice wrapped with a crepe-like, thinly fried egg. I made it into a Pikachu shape. Most people use chicken with this recipe, but since I’m a vegetarian, I used tofu in my omurice.

Preparation Time: 10 minutes
Cooking Time: 10 minutes
Makes: 2 servings

– 50g firm tofu
– 1 small onion
– 1 small garlic
– 1/2 small carrot
– 1 tbsp butter
– 1 tsp oil
– 2 cups cooked rice
– 1/4 tsp salt
– pepper
– 3 tbsp ketchup
– 4-5 snow peas

Egg Crepe
– 2 eggs
– salt
– 1 tsp oil



 Cut tofu into small pieces.

 Cut garlic, onion and carrot finely.

 Melt butter and add oil in a frying pan at medium heat. Add onion and garlic and cook until onion becomes translucent.
 Add carrot and tofu and cook for 3 minutes.
 Add cooked rice and snow peas and cook, mixing for 2 minutes. Season rice with salt and pepper.
 Make room in the frying pan and add ketchup. Cook only ketchup for 30 seconds. Mix rice and ketchup and fry together for 1-2 minutes.
 Beat eggs and a pinch of salt together.
 Heat frying pan with 1/2 tsp oil.
 Pour 1/2 of egg mixture onto hot frying pan and make a crepe-like, thin round egg sheet.
Make rice into a Pikachu shape and cover with egg sheet.


This recipe is from Archie who originally posted his recipe here on Recipe Yum

Cinnamon French Toast Recipe

A classic french toast recipe with vanilla and cinnamon, this recipe combines the sweetness of challah bread with the slightly nutty cinnamon flavor for the perfect breakfast combination.

1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
2 tbsp sugar
4 tbsp butter
4 large eggs
1/4 cup whole milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
8 slices challah, or if unavailable, brioche
1/2 cup maple syrup, warm

1. Mix together cinnamon, nutmeg, milk, sugar, eggs and vanilla.
2. Dip egg slices in milk mixture, coating evenly.
3. Melt butter in skillet on medium heat.
4. Add slices to skillet, browning on each side, about three minutes
5. Serve with warm maple syrup

This is one of the best cinnamon french toast recipes available, and using challah or brioche means that you will have a thick slice that will hold up to the batter and not tear during cooking. The thick crust on these breads also gives the toast a delicious crunch, and is great for soaking up pure maple syrup.

This post was republished with the permission of our friends at Noosh Catering, a Brisbane caterer. Check out the original article here.

Bananas Foster French Toast Recipe

Adding bananas to your breakfast menu is a must for anyone who wants a shot of potassium in the morning. The best banana french toast recipes combine fresh bananas with a sweet and creamy batter that gives your french toast with bananas a delicious crunch.

4 large eggs
1 cup of heavy cream
1 teaspoon finely ground cinnamon
8 tablespoons butter, divided
8 large croissants, sliced in half
1/2 cup dark corn syrup
1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 cup maple syrup
1 cup chopped pecans
6 ripe bananas, halved crosswise and lengthwise
1 teaspoon rum extract

1. Whisk together heavy cream, eggs and cinnamon.
2. In a large skillet, heat butter until melted.
3. Dip croissants in egg mixture until well coated
4. Add croissants to hot skillet, cooking 2-3 minutes on each side or until browned. Set aside or place in oven set on warm.
5. In large skillet, combine pecans, maple syrup, brown sugar and corn syrup. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for three minutes. Add bananas and rum, mix thoroughly to coat.
6. Spoon banana mixture over french toast slices. Serve warm.

This post was republished with the permission of our friends at Noosh Catering, a Brisbane caterer. Check out the original article here.

Blueberry Stuffed French Toast Recipes

If you are a fan of blueberries, then make them a staple of your breakfast feast. It can be hard to find a recipe for blueberry stuffed french toast, but once you find one you love, you’ll stick with it and make it your go-to dish.

8 large eggs
1 1/2 cups whole milk
1 1/2 cups half-and-half
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
3/4 teaspoon finely ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon salt
12 slices day-old french bread, Texas toast bread or other thick-sliced Italian bread
1 eight-ounce container of cream cheese
2 cups of fresh or frozen blueberries
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1/4 cup room temperature butter, unsalted
1 tablespoon maple syrup

1. Spray a rectangular baking dish with non-stick spray.
2. Combine eggs, milk, half and half, vanilla, cinnamon and salt. Set aside.
3. Line pan with half of the slices of bread, top each slice with a generous helping of cream cheese. Sprinkle blueberries on top of the bread.
4. In a small bowl, combine cinnamon, brown sugar, maple syrup and butter. Spread the mixture on top of the remaining slices and place on top of the cream cheese topped slices.
5.Take the milk and egg mixture and pour it over the bread slices.
6.Cover pan with aluminum foil and refrigerate for at least three hours, preferably overnight.
7. When you are ready to bake, preheat oven to 350 degrees for 10 minutes. Bake uncovered until bread is puffed and golden brown, about 45 minutes. Serve your stuffed french toast blueberry with warm maple syrup.

This post was republished with the permission of our friends at Noosh Catering, a Brisbane caterer. Check out the original article here.

Chickpea and Lentil Curry


  • 1 chopped onion
  • 2 crushed garlic cloves
  • 1 tbsp. veg. or olive oil
  • 1 tsp. chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. black pepper
  • 1 tsp. turmeric, ground
  • 1 tsp. paprika
  • 1 tbs. coriander, ground
  • 1 tbs. cumin
  • 15 oz. can drained chickpeas
  • 1 c. chopped tomato
  • 1/4 c. lentils
  • 1 tsp. garam masala


Saute onion and garlic in skillet on medium heat and cook until transparent. Add chili powder, salt, turmeric, paprika and cumin and cook for three minutes. Add chickpeas, tomatoes and lentils stirring until combined. Simmer with lid for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add garam masala and simmer for 10 more minutes. Garnish with chopped, fresh coriander leaves if desired.This recipe is delicious served on a bed of rice or wrapped up in pita bread. Toast the bread in the broiler for several minutes for best results. These recipes are easy to make and require minimum supervision while cooking. You can also prepare any of these recipes in a slow cooker on low for 8 hours or on high for 4 hours for a delicious meal.

This post was republished with the permission of our friends at Noosh Catering, check out the original article here.

Curried Lentil and Chickpea Stew


  • 3 c. vegetable or chicken broth
  • 1 c. lentils
  • 1 c. canned Garbanzo beans
  • 2 tbsp. curry powder
  • 2 potatoes cubed
  • 1 c. carrots, chopped
  • 1/2 medium onion, chopped
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • red pepper flakes to taste


Heat oil over medium heat and cook onions until clear. Add curry powder and cook for 30 seconds. Add broth, carrots and lentils. Bring to a rolling boil, then turn down heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Add cubed potatoes and continue to cook for 15 minutes. Add Garbanzo beans and cook until lentils are tender. If you want the stew to be thicker, then use an immersion blender. Serve over your favourite rice.
This post was republished with the permission of our friends at Noosh Catering, check out the original article here.

Curry Red Lentil Stew with Kale and Chickpeas


  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 diced onion
  • 5 garlic gloves, minced
  • 2 tbsp. minced ginger
  • 2 tbsp. curry
  • 1 tsp. cumin
  • 1 tsp. turmeric
  • 1 tsp. Himalayan salt
  • 1 tbsp. red pepper flakes
  • 1 15 oz. can fire roasted tomatoes
  • 2 c. dry red or green lentils
  • 1 1/2 c. cooked garbanzo beans
  • 6 c. water or veg. broth
  • 3 c. kale, julienned
  • juice of one lemon
  • cooked rice as needed


Heat oil in Dutch oven or large pan over medium heat. Saute onion and garlic until clear. Add ginger, curry, cumin, turmeric, Himalayan salt and red pepper flakes. Add tomatoes, beans, lentils and liquid to bring to a boil. Cover and reduce temperature and simmer for approximately 30 minutes. Add kale and lemon juice and cook for 10 more minutes.

This post was republished with the permission of our friends at Noosh Catering in Brisbane, check out the original article here.

Chickpea Curry


  • 2 tbsp. vegetable oil
  • 2 minced onions
  • 2 minced garlic cloves
  • 2 tsp chopped ginger root
  • 6 whole cloves
  • 2 crushed sticks cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1 tsp. ground coriander
  • 1 tsp. cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp. ground turmeric
  • 2 15 oz. cans garbanzo beans
  • 1 cup chopped cilantro
  • salt to taste


Simmer onions in skillet with oil until tender. Stir in the rest of the ingredients except for the cilantro. Cook for one minute over medium heat while constantly stirring. Add the garbanzo beans with the liquid. Cook for another 20 to 30 minutes or until all flavors are combined. Stir in cilantro before serving.

This post was republished with the permission of our friends at Noosh Catering, check out the original article here.

Mexican Pizza: Pizza with the Goodness of Tacos

Mexico’s exotic dishes are vastly popular in different restaurant chains and for family dinners. There are the burritos, enchiladas, tacos, and quesadillas, which are known mostly for the spices, varied flavour, and colourful garnishes that are the distinct qualities of authentic Mexican cuisine.

Now, combine the idea of something Mexican with “pizza” and you have a delicious meal of corn totillas topped with meat, chilli pepper, shredded cheese and basically all the taco toppings that you love.
You can make Mexican pizza even with just leftover tortillas, taco beans, and meat, and then other ingredients that you have on hand. It’s a good dish to try, especially if you love Mexican food and are tired of the old standby’s.

You can find the recipe for Mexican pizza below. It uses alternatives, such as extra-lean ground beef instead of the ordinary kind and baking the tortillas instead of frying, to lessen the calorie count and make it way more healthier, so you can enjoy more Mexican goodness without guilt.


Servings: 6


448 g vegan or low-fat refried beans

255 g extra-lean ground beef

1 package taco seasoning mix

6 6-inch corn tortillas

225 g low-fat cheddar cheese, shredded

86 g light sour cream

2 roma (plum) tomatoes, chopped

2 green onions, chopped

1 can of diced green chillies, drained

8 g black olives, sliced

  1. Preheat oven to 200ºC
  2. In a large pan, cook beef until evenly browned. Stir in seasoning packet.
  3. Layer each tortilla with beans and beef. Top a second tortilla and sprinkle with cheese.
  4. Bake tortillas in the preheated oven for about 10 minutes or until cheese has melted.
  5. Arrange tortillas on plates and top them with sour cream, tomatoes, green onions, chillies, and olives. Let cool slightly before cutting into wedges.

You can cut the tortillas in slices and serve as appetizers or leave it whole as a main dish. The best thing about this Mexican pizza is that you can adjust it to different tastes, add more or lessen toppings and cheese, or use more Mexican hot sauce and hot chilli powder.

This healthy Mexican pizza is incredibly easy to make, you can even do it as a last-minute meal. It also tastes so good, it’ll surely be a hit in your house and your family might even ask for it to be a regular family dish!

If Mexican pizza isn’t your thing, perhaps try this delicious Mexican beef taco recipe. If you prefer Spanish cuisine, be sure to try this amazing Paella recipe – it won’t disappoint!

Margarita-Rama: Cocktails with a Twist

Throwing a party, big or small? If you remember your days at university you may remember those delicious margaritas you used to make. Do away with the cheap, nitrous-fuelled tequila you used to use and prepare these refreshing drinks: you’ll be pleasantly surprised!


What you need:
 1 cup of ice
 45 ml tequila
 15 ml triple sec
 56 g strawberries, fresh or frozen
 A hint of sour mix
 Strawberry and/or pineapple, for garnish
Pour ingredients into a blender and blend until smooth. Pour the contents into a chilled margarita glass. Put finishing touches with a few slices of strawberries or a chunk of pineapple on the side.
If the mix is too thick, simply add more sour mix or triple sec. If too thin, blend in more ice.
Frozen MargaritaMARGARITA:
Lend sweetness to your margarita with this Midori margarita recipe.
Midori is the original melon liqueur that spawned the popular cocktails Midori Illusion and Japanese Slipper. In this recipe you’ll taste a refreshing honeydew flavour. Coupled with a vibrant green colour, it’s the perfect margarita to serve in a chilled margarita glass.
What you need:
    45 ml tequila
    60 ml sweet and sour mix
    30 ml Midori melon liqueur
Blend together the ingredients and crushed ice in a blender. Garnish with a lime wedge. If desired, subtly salt the rim of the chilled margarita glass.

Margaritas and a shotHINTS AND TIPS:

  • Margaritas have a wonderful citrus kick, which goes with Mexican snacks such as tacos, burritos, quesadillas and nachos.
  • The staples of margaritas include tequila, triple sec, and lime juice. You can mix and match other variations of these ingredients to taste.
  • Always use fresh lime where available.
For more hints on how to make a great margarita, have a look at this article from the Sydney Morning Herald – it’s packed full of great information. 


Home-made Peanut Butter Ice cream with Mini Marshmallows and M&M’s

bannerleftOne thing I know for certain about almost every single child in the world: they love ice cream. And come the hot summer months, there will be a lot of begging and pleading for said icy confection. I’ve seen it too many a time and when it’s sooo hot outside and they’re just begging sooo hard, it almost feels like bad parenting to refuse to buy them a scoop.

Let me put another proposition about children forward: they love to act like adults and make things. Therefore they love tinkering about in the kitchen, usually making a mess, in an approximation of what a grown adult does in the kitchen. My mother feared our culinary attempts so much that she convinced me at age 7 that wholemeal Lebanese bread would do as an Apple Pie Crust. It doesn’t in any way, shape or form and I still recall my disgust at seeing my slowly and carefully peeled and sliced apples in the wholemeal crust. It scarred me for a good 15 years. I digress…


Let me put through a proposition about parents throughout the world, they’re all trying to: cut down on additives, keep the kids amused and save some money. This is bizarrely where I’ve found a soft serve ice cream machine comes into play. I had some hungry boys to feed one weekend and I had to keep them amused for a short period of time while I was minding them. I’ve witnessed their mum spend a small fortune fueling their growth spurt with ice cream so I figured this was the best way to amuse them, amuse me and to feed them.


I decided on a Peanut Butter ice cream as it’s a kid’s (and adult’s) favourite flavour and one that would go well with the mix ins. Assembling the unit wasn’t too hard, but what I needed to do was make sure that my freezer was at least -18c or colder. If it wasn’t then it just wouldn’t work. It required a quick defrosting of the freezer but it was about time that it was done and I set the bowl inside a plastic bag and checked the temperature. -24c, excellent!
The next day (although you could do it a minimum of 12 hours later) I filled in the mix ins and made the ice cream mix and put it in the fridge to remain cold. The mix ins had to be a certain size, mini M&M’s were ok but full sized ones weren’t. Hundreds and thousands and other miniature sized sprinkles were the go. Skittles are fine but probably best saved for a fruity ice cream.
With everything ready, I removed the rock-hard, freezing bowl from the freezer, shaking it to see whether it had any liquid sloshing around (which means that it’s not frozen enough). I slotted it in the machine, snapped the lid on, turned it on and started pouring the mix in.
The kids were delighted, it was like a science project coming to life only better as they got to eat it. We waited 15 minutes while it churned and it was fairly firm but not quite right. Then at 23 minutes it looked about the right consistency. They devoured it hungrily, one even briefly getting brain freeze. Their mum was inordinately impressed when she came to pick them up as there was no more whimpering for ice cream and they got a box of it to take home with them (with a warning that they weren’t to get it all over the car).
I tasted some too and it was sweet and creamy, if anything I’d add a little salt into the mix to make it more Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup-ish. I also preferred it when it was harder (which you can easily do just by leaving it to churn for longer and then scooping it out instead of using the soft serve dispenser).
I got excited about the possibilities, not just for kids but for desserts like the Tetsuya’s Green Apple Sorbet I had bookmarked in his cookbook. So whilst this amused and delight the kids to no end, it will also do the same for me and my grown up dinner guests.
Pros: very cheap per batch of ice cream (although there is the initial outlay for the maker), healthy, no additives. easy to understand instructions and easy to put together, mix ins have a very cool way of being dispensed into the ice cream. Kids love it and for the cost of buying 1 child a $5 scoop of ice cream you can feed 8 or 9 kids a scoop.
Cons: A few nooks and crannies when cleaning and mix ins have to be very small. Can make one flavour at a time with 12 hours in between.
Peanut Butter Ice Cream
• 350g smooth peanut butter
• 2/3 cup of caster sugar
• 1 teaspoon salt
• 1 3/4 cup milk
• 3/4 cup of cream
1. Whisk peanut butter and sugar in a bowl until combined
2. Whisk in milk and cream until smooth and the sugar has dissolved. You can make this ahead of time and cover and keep in the refrigerator.
3. When ready to use, remove from fridge and pour into frozen bowl via the top opening. Churn for 15-25 minutes depending on how soft or hard you want your ice cream.


Green Tea Ice Cream: A Unique, Healthy Dessert

You’ve seen the usual: strawberry ice cream, vanilla bean ice cream, even banana ice cream. Well, if you’d like to get a little more out of your ice cream maker (and green tea just happens to be a personal favourite of yours) try this recipe – we promise you’ll love it. This green tea ice cream recipe uses green tea powder, also called matcha, an essential part of Japanese green tea ceremony and found in certain supermarkets, notably Japanese ones. It brings out the flavour of green tea in what would otherwise be plain ice cream.
You only need a few ingredients and an ice cream maker to make this delicious green tea ice cream.


Serving: about 1 litre
  375 ml. of heavy cream
  375 ml. of milk
  A pinch of salt
  1 1/2 tbsp. matcha
  5 eggs
  65 grams of sugar
1. Put cream, milk, and salt in a saucepan over medium heat and bring to a bare simmer.
2. Add the matcha and let it dissolve.
3. In a separate bowl, whisk the eggs and sugar together until thickened.
4. Combine the egg mixture with a cup of the heated cream mixture and pour into the saucepan. Constantly stir using a wooden spoon.
5. Cook over medium heat while stirring constantly until it thickens such that it coats the back of the spoon.
6. Do not overheat to avoid curdling; remove immediately from the pan.
7. Strain the mixture through a fine mesh sieve onto a medium bowl to leave off the solids. Leave to cool completely. You can also place it in a larger bowl with ice water.
8. Pour the mixture into an ice cream maker and process as per manufacturer’s instructions.
9. Transfer to an airtight plastic container and refrigerate until completely chilled and ready to serve.
Photo from Desserts with Benefits
This ice cream recipe has a lovely, surreal green color and a distinctive taste. You can serve by itself or pair with topical fruit slices such as oranges.
It doesn’t hurt that it’s healthy too, since the concentrated green tea powder retains the antioxidant content of real green tea leaves, and not the diminished nutrients in brewed green tea. Just make sure though that the matcha that you buy is pure, not mixed with sugar or milk powder. The key to making good green tea ice cream is in the quality of the matcha.
Amazingly easy to make, this green tea ice cream recipe is a real treat to green tea fanatics. It’s also perfect for a hot summer day or as a dessert to delight any unexpected visitors.
Written by Katherine Cortes
Or you can check out this video from Japanese Cooking 101

Weird and Wacky Ice Cream Recipes

We all love our ice cream – numerous recipes for the traditional vanilla, chocolate, coffee and conventional fruit flavours like strawberry, blueberry or mango flavours are always well-received everywhere, available online with just a few clicks. But with the advent of the ice cream maker, why stop at those? There are so many wonderful ingredients out there that we can use to make fabulous tasting and best of all, incredibly healthy ice cream!

Take a look at these vegetable (or fruits treated as vegetables) ice cream recipes. Odd as they may sound, these are actually great-tasting, plus you’ll have the satisfaction of having tried something new and exciting!

pumpkinPumpkin Ice Cream

440 ml fresh pumpkin puree or canned pumpkin

500 ml heavy cream

80 g sugar

5 egg yolks

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

¾ teaspoon grated nutmeg

¾ teaspoon ground ginger

750 ml whole milk

To make fresh pumpkin puree, peel and stem a large butternut pumpkin. Cut and quarter the pumpkin lengthwise. Preheat oven to 204C. Place the pumpkin pieces in a shallow roasting pan filled with a bit of water and bake for an hour, or until tender. Let the pumpkin cool, remove seeds and puree in a blender.

Pour all of the ingredients into a large mixing bowl. Whisk until smooth. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and place in the freezer for at least 3 hours, until chilled. Transfer the contents to the icecream maker and follow the manufacturer’s instructions.

galaxycarrotcakeicecreamCarrot Ice Cream

350 ml fresh carrot juice

350 ml heavy cream

100 g sugar

5 egg yolks

For fresh carrot juice, wash and peel young carrots and run them through a juicer. Take care that the juice is free from pulp or carrot bits.

Whisk the eggs and sugar together in a large mixing bowl until smooth. Pour in the carrot juice and whisk some more then transfer to a heavy-bottomed pot. Whisk the mixture consistently over low heat for 5-8 minutes until it thickens.

Remove the mixture from the pan and pour back into the mixing bowl. Put the cream in, whisk together and cool at room temperature. Pour into the ice cream maker and follow the manufacturer’s instructions.

Tomato Ice CreamTomato Ice Cream

600 g ripe tomatoes

50 ml fresh lemon juice

450 ml heavy cream

30 g sugar

1 teaspoon orange liqueur/triple sec

Peel and deseed the tomatoes. Blitz them in a blender and pass through a sieve. In a mixing bowl, combine the tomato juice with the other ingredients. Whisk until smooth. Transfer the mixture to the ice cream maker, churn and freeze according to manufacturer’s instructions.

Christmas Leftover: Roast Turkey

If you’ve prepared roast turkey for Christmas, chances are you have some of it left that needs to be used up. So here are a couple of recipes and ideas for leftover roast turkey, plus a short guide on its proper storage to ensure none of your efforts goes to waste.

Storing leftover roast turkey

Proper storage of leftovers is important to avoid food contamination.
To start, remove any stuffing from inside the turkey and refrigerate it in a separate storage container. Next, separate the meat from the bone to prevent bacteria build-up. Save the bones to make stock. Place the meat chunks in well sealed containers or snaplock bags and store in the fridge within 2 hours of preparation.
Tightly covered and kept in the fridge, the turkey should be eaten within 3-4 days; in the freezer, it keeps for as long as 2 months. Stuffing, meanwhile, isn’t suitable for freezing and should be eaten within 2 days of preparation.

Ideas for leftover roast turkey

A turkey soup can be as simple as simmering turkey bones with onion, carrots, celery and various herbs to make a tasty broth and then adding chopped turkey meat. It can also be as inventive as a creamy Mexican soup with corn and cilantro or as hassle-free as a squash soup with the diced turkey added a few minutes before serving.
You can do more than tomatoes and lettuce with turkey, since it works wonderfully with a lot of other flavours. Try to vary the fillings and kinds of bread used, such as in these popular turkey sandwiches:
 Turkey, bacon and cream cheese sandwiched between slices of raisin-walnut bread
 Turkey breast, ham, Swiss cheese, pickles and mustard sandwiched on a French bread, pressed on a sandwich press or panini grill
 Turkey with cranberry chutney, pecans, brie and rocket sandwiched between slices of sourdough bread
 Also try: Turkey and guacamole quesadillas or turkey and black bean quesadillas
Tip: Use dark meat turkey as it is juicier and makes for a better sandwich than light turkey meat.
Casseroles and Pasta
When using up leftovers, you need not strict recipes. For a turkey casserole, simply layer the stuffing, turkey and leftover vegetables (e.g., mushrooms, green beans, peas and corn), top with mashed potatoes and sprinkle with shredded cheese.
You can also use the turkey as an addition to the delicious American dish tetrazinni, pot pie or enchilada. 
Other Options: Beans and Salads
Adding turkey to beans or chilli is convenient since you only have to add it at the end of cooking. Try barbecue beans and turkey, served with coleslaw and rolls, or spicy white bean chilli. If you have more time in your hands, dice the turkey and try an elaborate French classic cassoulet with cannellini beans.
Lastly, a healthy and versatile way to use up turkey is tossing it in a green salad. For a basic turkey salad, dice the turkey and add sliced grapes, a little lemon juice and coarsely chopped pecans – serve in a bed of lettuce. Turkey breast, meanwhile, is particularly good for a chef’s salad such as in Eating Well’s PowerSalad.
What do you do with leftover roast turkey?

Spicy Crunchy Peas Make Perfect Party Snack

Whenever you are throwing a party, you want to offer your guests just the right combination of snack foods. Spicy Crunchy Peas, also called Roasted Green Peas, is a time-honored snack food from Thailand that is served in homes throughout Southeastern Asia. They are a very easy food to make and they provide you with one of the most healthy snack foods you can include on your party buffet. Party guests are always intrigued by them because they don’t initially recognize that they are made using green peas. Their spiciness and crunch makes them a good alternative to nuts. And they are really fun to eat!

You don’t need fresh green peas to succeed at this recipe. Frozen peas will do fine, but you will need 2 cups frozen peas to produce 1 1/2 cups of spicy crunchy peas. It’s also very important to use the freshest spices possible, so treat yourself to a new supply if your spice jars are been sitting in your kitchen pantry for more than 6 months. The ingredients you’ll need include: 2 1/2 tbsp. vegetable oil, 1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper, 1/2 tsp. salt, 1/2 tsp. ground cumin, 1/2 tsp. garlic salt, 1/4 tsp. paprika, 1/4 tsp. ground coriander, and 1/4 tsp. white pepper. If you don’t want your Crunchy Seasoned Peas to taste super spicy, use only 1/4 tsp. of cayenne pepper. If you want them to taste as spicy as possible, you can also add 1/8 tsp. of dried, crushed chili peppers.

Get your oven preheated to 375 degrees and cover a large baking sheet with aluminum foil or parchment paper to make clean-up easier. Thaw the frozen peas in warm water, then pour off the water and gently pat the peas dry with a clean paper towel because you want them to be as dry as possible. Place your peas in a deep mixing bowl and toss them with vegetable oil until nicely coated. Combine all of your spice ingredients in a separate bowl, sprinkle over the oil-coated peas and toss again.

Now it’s time to spread out the peas on your prepared baking sheet, making sure they are separated and not clumped together because you’ll only get the best results if they are in a single layer. Place this sheet on the center rack of your oven and set your timer for 60 minutes of baking time.

After an hour’s time, test one of the peas to see if it’s baked to the degree of crunchiness that you prefer. Don’t be surprised that they won’t look like green peas anymore but will be shrunken and brownish in color, looking a lot like pieces of nuts. If you prefer them more crunchy, return the pan of Crunchy Seasoned Peas to the oven for another 20 to 30 minutes. Cool them completely before storing in a sealed container. Their spicy flavor and crunch makes Crunchy Peas the perfect snack food for parties.

How To Make Your Custom Kitchen Dream Come True

The kitchen can be one of the most challenging rooms in the home to customize and renovate. Designing a custom dream kitchen is also one of the most rewarding projects to undertake. Estimates are that when kitchens are completely remodeled and modernized, homeowners can see between 60 and 70 percent return on their investment. So, renovating a kitchen makes complete practical, aesthetic and financial sense.

Once you decide to build your custom kitchen, there are some important things that should be considered. First, look at how renovating will affect the functionality of the kitchen. It’s also smart to look at how much more efficient your new kitchen will be in the style you’ve chosen. You want to choose a style that will still be fashionable in the future, to keep your kitchen’s value at a high level. This is especially true if you should decide to sell your home in the future.

Finding A Great Design

One of the most challenging things about creating your dream kitchen is finding the best design for your taste and one that will meet your family’s needs. It’s best to begin by searching on the Internet and in media for ideas. Many websites have been created to help with kitchen design. Some of them have virtual design templates you can use. By simply dragging and dropping ideas into spaces, you can see what the kitchen will look like when it’s done. This helps you picture your ideas visually.

You can find different colors, textures, appliance ideas, custom cabinet ideas, kitchen island ideas and unique floor coverings. You can then apply your ideas into a virtual kitchen on your computer. This way, you can virtually try ideas out before you actually put your design plans into place.

You can also use the skills of professional interior decorators to get their valuable input and feedback about your kitchen ideas. Another great way to get ideas is through recommendations and ideas from family and trusted friends.

What To Consider When Designing Your Dream Kitchen

Important factors to consider when designing your dream kitchen include:

– Options and ideas for layout

– Choices of appliances

– Flooring options for looks, functionality and ease of care

– Cabinetry choices that look and work beautifully in your plan

– Kitchen island designs if you plan to include an island

– Sink and fixture options

– Counter top ideas for beauty and usefulness

Consider Budget and Find Reliable Contractors

Once you’ve considered all these factors, you must also look at your budget and what you can comfortably afford to spend for your dream kitchen. It pays to think about what each renovation will do to the value of your kitchen and then use the ideas that will add the most value.

The next step is to find reliable, highly recommended and trustworthy contractors who can help you to put your dream kitchen plans into action. Using recommendations from friends and family is a good idea. Consulting lists of reputable contractors put together by trusted sources is another excellent way to find a great contractor. It’s important to be smart about making your kitchen dreams come true.