Thursday, December 22, 2016

5 Kitchen Updates That Will Make Festive Cooking Easier



You can feel it in the air when the festive season starts approaching. Whether it’s a cool chill or the sun starting to blaze, there is suddenly an atmosphere of preparation, of celebration, of togetherness. While many of us love hosting the events and parties that the season brings, preparing a feast for family and friends takes a lot of work. 

Streamline your food preparation and take the hassle out of hosting with our 5 tips on how you can make festive cooking easier.



1. Create Space for Food Storage




Clearing fridges and cupboards is a must-do before the festive season begins. Alternatively, if you’ve been meaning to invest in a larger cupboard or fridge, now is the time to do it. Sharing seasonal foods is a joy, but holidays are the times when shops are their busiest. You want your produce to be fresh, but shopping the day before a holiday is a guaranteed way to find yourself in the thick of frantic crowds, and stuffing produce into an overfilled fridge is a good way to ruin it. By freeing up plenty of space in your fridge, you’ll be able to complete your produce shopping a few days in advance and keep your food fresh for the big day. Creating fridge and cupboard space will also make the post-feast clean-up a much easier task – plenty of room for delicious leftovers!



2. Review Your Knives.



Struggling to cut pumpkin or carve chicken with a blunt or inappropriate knife is both time-consuming and dangerous. Having even just a couple of reliable multi-purpose knives to call on is an investment in efficiency. Use a guide to decide which style of knife will make the most valuable addition to your kitchen, and invest in some high quality makes. Consider a knife block, magnetic strip or customised draw for your knives – storing them separately protects edges from damage and makes grabbing the right one at the right time easier. Whether you’re putting together a Christmas barbecue, preparing Thanksgiving roast, or garnishing some New Years’ cocktails, having the right knives for the job will mean speedier, better results.



3. Get Organised.



This might mean organising your pots and pans so that they are easily accessible. Maybe you need to throw out unused utensils, or make it easier to find the right one by re-homing them in a purpose designed canister. It’s also a good time to review your condiments and seasonings - what was opened last year that has just been sitting around waiting for you? A spice rack with your favourite spices means that you don’t have to search through the rarely used for what you use the most. Look at getting an oil pourer attachment for your cooking oils - no more fiddling with greasy lids while you’re in the middle of browning onions! Getting organised doesn’t have to be a chore, either – with so many decorative canisters, strips, knife blocks, racks and holders on the market these days, think of it as a styling opportunity for your kitchen decor.



4. Utilise technology.




There are so many gadgets on the market today that can make food preparation easier. Tablets and smartphones are one of our top picks – you can browse all the recipes the internet has to offer with ease and store them in one place, which takes up far less room on the kitchen bench than multiple open recipe books! Make sure your meat is cooked to perfection with a Thermapen. Give your crème brûlée the perfect crust with the help of a kitchen blowtorch. Even non-electronic gadgets can help, such as garlic choppers and vegetable slicers. No matter which part of your chosen recipes you find the fussiest, there exists a gadget to help make your life easier!



5. Update Your Mindset.




Sometimes, we get so caught up in preparations that we forget we don’t have to do it alone. Hosting celebrations generally means that there are plenty of friends and relatives at your disposal – get the kids making biscuits, the cousins tossing salads and your uncle watching the barbecue. Any recipe that can be prepared ahead of time is a winner, and often guests feel best when they can bring something along to contribute. Teamwork means that you can spend more time with your loved ones than in the kitchen by yourself. Artisan bakers and specialty food stores are perfect for finding quality bread, dips, Christmas puddings, pies, cakes and sweets, and the fresher and higher quality your ingredients, the less preparation they’ll require to taste fantastic.
The most important thing to remember is that festivals and holidays are times to be around those we love. They are times to remember everything we are grateful for, and great food and drink is just the icing on the cake!


Sunday, December 4, 2016

How to Eat Well and Stay Fit this Christmas Season


We all love to enjoy the festive season with friends family and great food to bring the year to a close, but many of us regret the overindulgence of the holidays and aim to make changes in the New Year. 

What if we decided to be a little more proactive in eating better during the holiday period, giving ourselves a better shot at reaching our goals for the new year!?


One of the best ways to ensure we eat healthily during the Christmas period is to lower our intake of a number of foods that we don’t really need. Sugar, salt, fat and gluten tend to be the regular ‘nasties’ found in a lot of our food that we could well do with cutting down, or cutting out altogether.




A gluten-free Christmas is one to remember!



Creating a gluten-free Christmas sounds impossible due to all of the gluten laden foods that we consume every year, but with a number of great alternatives cropping up that offer a truly exceptional taste, we think it’s worth spending a little time making it work for everyone.




Gluten tends to rear its head in many savoury dishes at Christmas time, including cakes, pastries and a number of sweet favourites that we simply can’t miss out on. So finding a number of fantastic recipes for gluten free Christmas puddings will have many people head over heels!


One of the best ways to get your favourite desserts though is to order online from some of the best local shops that offer pre-made cakes and desserts that are free from gluten, and offer a much healthier alternative than the things in the shops.



Purchase Christmas puddings and deserts online


You can buy Christmas pudding online from a number of supermarkets and stores, but the real secret to a home-made dessert is with a boutique pudding specialist. Pud For All Seasons offers gourmet puddings that you can purchase online to treat yourself whenever you need it most.

With gluten free Christmas puddings created with care and baked with love, who could resist a little cheating to order your food in time for your Xmas dinner?

Gluten free puddings are one of the best alternatives for the real thing, considering they feature a much richer ingredient list that does away with gluten in favour for specialist flour and baking products to give it a uniquely classic taste to enjoy with family this year.



Cut down on unnecessary ingredients to give yourself a boost for the New Year


Cutting down on your stodge is a great way to feel fit, and take on much less gluten and fat than previous years. Take the time to look for alternative recipes in terms of butter, salt and sugar content for all of your meals and you may find that serving up the leanest Christmas lunch may be your best ever.

Not only will you feel lighter and healthier due to the lack of unnecessary ingredients, you will also see the praise of your guests who will have made a great start to the New Year, in keeping fit, healthy and gluten free for this holiday season!

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Gourmet Food Ideas for A Healthy Brunch


As we approach summer, the notion of breakfast and brunch outside on the weekends becomes all the more appealing! There’s no doubt that gourmet puddings make for a healthy and appetizing snack to enjoy on your patio or veranda, but there are plenty of other excellent options that you can enjoy on those beautiful sunny days that are so common through the latter parts of the year. 



We’ve had a look a few gourmet brunch and breakfast ideas in this month’s blog that you might just want to try out!



Eggs Florentine Waffles


As most foodies know, waffles make an amazing desert and there are multiple options if your planing to serve them in the morning. Having them with fruit such as strawberries, berries and even pineapple are good options, as is the classic maple syrup.

Eggs Florentine on bacon and cheese waffles, Image Source

But a savory waffle dish can be just as delicious, and the eggs florentine with bacon and cheese waffles is the pick of the bunch. When you make the waffles, you just need to add 2 strips of crispy bacon cut up into little pieces and a quarter cup of cheddar to the batter.

Serve with spinach and the hollandaise sauce, which as in all eggs florentine dishes comprises of egg yolk, butter and often lemon. Spices and herbs are also welcome on top - salt, pepper or paprika can be a good addition.



Buttered Mushrooms



Another savory delight that is healthy and tastes delicious, mushrooms are served over toasted buns with a delicious butter sauce. The mushrooms are lightly fried for 4 minutes but the real skill comes in getting the sauce right. A mix of various flavours, the sauce compromises of butter, lemon juice, garlic, and herbs including oregano and parsley. 

Image Source
 
This makes for a delicious tangy flavour that contrasts with that of the mushroom nicely, particularly when a little salt is added on top when serving.

The beauty of it is that this recipe can be added to and experimented with, so feel free to add other ingredients and see how it turns out!



Crepes, Honey & Oranges


We finish off with a gourmet brunch option for the sweet tooth’s out there; pancakes and crepes with fruit make a great healthy option! The dish involves the preparing of the crepes, which is fairly straightforward and made out of milk, sugar, flour, eggs and cinnamon. These ingredients are mixed together and fried to form the crepes.

Crepes and Honey
 
Orange slices and honey, which are lightly fried together, are placed on top, with the possible addition of a mascarpone mixture. This is made by mixing together honey, orange rind and mascarpone and refrigerating for a few minutes. When serving more honey syrup can be poured over the top. Then it’s time to enjoy!


Why not give a few of these gourmet dishes a try in the coming months? 

If you have any other recommendations, don’t be afraid to comment below and share them with us! Remember that for the best gourmet puddings in Victoria, browse through the Pud For All Seasons website today.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Interesting and Unique Christmas Traditions around the World


"Christmas" the word itself creates an atmosphere of warmth and happiness. More than 160 countries around the globe celebrate Christmas each year. Though the spirit of this day is more or less the same all over the world, the traditions very from country to country. Let's take a look at 5 countries having uniquely awesome Christmas traditions! 


Australia


Christmas in Australia has quite a few things that’s totally unique and different from the rest of the world. First they have Christmas in SUMMER, 'Christmas Bush' a native tree with small green leaves and cream coloured flowers and wait-for-it, kangaroos what they call the ‘six white boomers’ for reindeers!
As for traditional Christmas meal, they have cold ham and cold turkey, seafood and salads, traditional Christmas pudding, pavlovas and gingerbread in Christmas shapes.



Japan


Source: www.heitonbuckley.ie
It is a land where Merry Christmas becomes 'Meri Kurisumasu', and KFC (yes KFC) is the traditional Christmas food! We are talking about the land far at the east of Asia, we are talking about Japan. They have started celebrating Christmas only recently and they have already learnt how to do it right. 
Though it’s a not a government holiday on 25th of December and there’s not much religious value of this day, the Japanese spend the day spreading joy and love and eating lots and lots of KFC. Not so bad Japan!



Germany


Source: explosivetrafficsystem.com
The Germans celebrate Christmas pretty traditionally except for one thing. They decorate their homes with Christmas tree, lights, candles, glass ornaments which is very German by the way, read Bible and sing Christmas carols. Now the thing that’s a little different or should we say scary, is that, in Germany Father Santa comes accompanied by a scary devil-like character to warn the children to be good! 
In Germany they eat ‘Stollen’ which is a very special kind of traditional fruitcake, duck, goose, rabbit or a roast, accompanied by German delicacies such as apple and sausage stuffing, red cabbage, and potato dumplings for Christmas dinner.



Norway 


Source: www.lifeinnorway.net
Now let’s travel to a fairy-tale like Scandinavian country, where the actually believe Tim Burton’s “The Nightmare Before Christmas” is true! In Norway they hide away all brooms, men fire guns into open sky. According to their ancient belief, Christmas eve is the perfect time for witches and dark spirits to emerge from hell. They also believe a gnome like creature named Nisse will protect them and bring Christmas presents. Children leave a bowl of porridge out for him.

Julegrøt a rice porridge with an almond hidden inside, giant pork meatballs, ginger-bread these are traditional Norwegian Christmas dishes from Norway. 



The Czech Republic


Source: www.dobrarealitka.cz
This central European country has a very interesting tradition going on for Christmas. On Christmas eve, unmarried Czech women stand putting their backs at the door and throw a shoe towards it. If the shoe lands on it’s heel towards the door that means she has to be lonely for one more year, but if it lands with it’s front towards the door, that means she can kiss her parents goodbye and plan a wedding down the line! Some Czechs fast during the day till the Christmas dinner is served, that way they have hope to see a mystical ‘golden piglet’ appear on the wall, which means good luck!

The Czech traditional Christmas dinner is often consists of fish soup (made of carp), and fried carp with potato salad and home backed Christmas cookies.


In Spain, Portugal and Italy they re-create the village of Bethlehem along with the figures of Mary, baby Jesus and a ‘caganer. Now a caganer is figure of a squatting human as if it’s going to take a toilet. Ancient traditions, what to complain! And all in the good spirit of Christmas! 


Sunday, April 17, 2016

Go Gluten Free: For A Healthier and Better Life


Gluten, came from the Latin word 'Glue', is a binding agent that gives elasticity to dough, helps it rise and maintains its shape. It is a protein that is found in gains like wheat, rye, barley and all their species and hybrids. When flour is mixed with water, gluten forms a sticky ross-linked network of proteins, giving elastic properties to dough and allowing bread to rise when baked. Gluten contains hundreds of proteins, which have low biological and nutritional value and high contents of prolamins, as opposed to the grains of pseudocereals (gluten free), which are rich in proteins with high biological value. Gluten is used in many types of foods, such as bread, baked products, soups, pasta, cereals, sauces, salad dressings etc.

Why to Go Gluten Free?


Before you decide to go on a full blown “gluten free diet” you should have a clear conception of why do you want to do that. Though whole wheat, does offer some health benefits, the gluten can actually be harmful. The most sever thing that can be caused by gluten is Celiac disease. And that’s not all. Here are some reasons you may want to go gluten free!

Many People have Gluten Sensitivity or Celiac Disease

Gluten is consisted of two proteins: gliadin and glutenin. People react negatively to the gliadin part. When gluten reaches the digestive tract and is exposed to the cells of the immune system, they mistakenly believe that it is coming from some sort of foreign invader, like a bacteria. Now for those people who are gluten intolerant, this causes the immune system to mount an attack against it. 

In celiac disease, the immune system attacks the gluten proteins, but it also attacks an enzyme in the cells of the digestive tract called tissue transglutaminase cause the gluten protein looks pretty much the same as your own body tissue. That means gluten exposure in celiacs causes the immune system to attack both the gluten as well as the intestinal wall itself, which leads to nutrient deficiencies, various digestive issues, anemia, fatigue, failure to thrive as well as an increased risk of many serious diseases.

Gluten is a Pro-inflammatory Agent

Inflammation is the process through which your immune system treats injuries. Whenever you get a cut or splinter and the surrounding area gets all red and tender. That means the injured area is getting healed. The proteins in wheat are gut irritants: they’re like that papercut or splinter digging into the lining of your gut, causing an inflammatory response.
Go gluten free with Pud For All Seasons

Gluten Can Cause Leaky Gut Syndrome

Inflammation in the gut causes a problem called intestinal permeability. The gut has a very complex system of 'border control' that lets digested food into bloodstream while keeping everything else out. We swallow millions of random viruses, bacteria, indigestible molecules like dust, and other stuff every day, that need to go out the other end, not into our bloodstream. Inflammation in the gut messes up that system of border control. It loosens the junctions between cells in the gut wall so too much stuff can pass through. This is often described as making the gut 'leaky'. In short a Leaky gut syndrome is a condition whereby stuff is leaking from your gut into your bloodstream, stuff that shouldn’t be there.

Increased Vulnerability to Non-Celiac Autoimmune Diseases

You’ll find a bunch of studies linking it to all kinds of other autoimmune diseases if you go digging into the research on celiac disease and gluten. Wheat gluten is a major potential trigger of Type 1 Diabetes (that’s the autoimmune type, not the diet-and-lifestyle type). A study showed that feeding mice a gluten-free diet reduced the rate of Type 1 diabetes in their children. There’s also evidence that breastfeeding human children reduces the rate of type 1 diabetes, which would make sense if gluten is the problem because breastfeeding delays the introduction of gluten to the baby.

Wheat is a Top Listed Allergens

Wheat and wheat gluten is a trigger of various allergic reactions. Millions of people all over the world suffer from gluten allergies every year. For causing all these autoimmune skin diseases, gluten is one of the 8 allergens found these days. And the more concerning fact is people don’t even no they are allergic to gluten!


So does that mean you have to resist yourself from all the good tasty treats? Certainly not! Pud for All Seasons offers a range of excellent gluten free puddings to cheer you up. Here we are sharing two amazing gluten free pudding ideas for you!

Gluten-Free Vanilla Pudding

This simple yet delicious pudding comes together with just a handful of ingredients and a little stirring. Mix sugar, cornstarch, and a bit of salt, then whisk in milk and egg yolks. Then cook the whole mixture over medium heat, until thickened, then take off the heat and stir in butter and vanilla extract.



Strain it, and finally let it cool in the fridge, and you’re done! The hardest part of this recipe is probably the waiting for it period, before you can devour it. You can top this delicious pudding with sliced pears browned in a frying pan in butter and sugar, with a sprinkle of cinnamon or with a dollop of cream.


Gluten-Free Plum Pudding

The best way to finish your Christmas lunch is with a traditional Christmas pudding. What if the pudding is filled with healthy ingredients and completely gluten free. This gluten free delicacy is filled with the fruity goodness of plums and the sauce with is just makes it even more special, keeps well and is usually made well in advance of the seasonal festivities. Many families make their pudding on Stir Up Sunday, a month before Christmas.


Traditional Christmas pudding gluten free from Pud For All Seasons





A small percentage of the entire world population is actually gluten intolerant. But others may have negative effects by the over consumption of this protein. Cautious is the key here. To avoid all kinds of gluten related side effects you can easily skip this not-so-healthy ingredient all together!